File under "duh:"
With Tim Pawlenty out of the presidential race, it is now fairly clear that the GOP candidate will either be Mitt Romney or someone who makes George W. Bush look like Tom Paine. Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmannand Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional.
Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outré, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult. ...
Now, however, we have the most theocratic Republican field in American history, and suddenly, the concept of Dominionism is reaching mainstream audiences. Writing about Bachmann in The New Yorker this month, Ryan Lizza spent several paragraphs explaining how the premise fit into the Minnesota congresswoman’s intellectual and theological development. And a recent Texas Observer cover story on Rick Perry examined his relationship with the New Apostolic Reformation, a Dominionist variant of Pentecostalism that coalesced about a decade ago. “[W]hat makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government,” wrote Forrest Wilder. Its members “believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take ‘dominion’ over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the ‘Seven Mountains’ of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world.”
Scary, depressing, destructive as this is to everything we once loved about America, there is a certain karmic amusement. Even Karl Rove is worried. He may not have expressed it in so many words, but his plan to dupe the highly religious into the Republican fold, for their gullibility and tautological need for simple truths, might just becoming a bridge too far even for him, the most unapologetically untruthful manipulator since (insert outrageous name here.... Stalin? Machiavelli? L. Frank Baum?) See, the thing is, it's fine -- desirable, really -- to have a bunch of credulous voters, easily manipulable, bathed in religious certainty and preferring it to thoughtful reflection; what better way to get a bunch of people to vote against their own -- and their country's -- interest. But when they're taking over the party, running for office, winning, well, that's another thing entirely:
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I'd like to think -- although nowadays it's a long way from certain -- that even for enough Christians to be significant this dominionism is a little much. That among those who see this as a "Christian nation" there are sufficient numbers who retain a semblance of connection, however ephemeral, to the First Amendment, and who'd like the country to remain a thoughtful nation.