The rising influence of the Dominionists is of increasing concern to some of us on the left in the States. Although I hadn’t heard of them until two months ago, extensive reading has shown that their roots go back decades over which they have been expanding their influence. The clearly stated goals of the Dominionists is to establish God’s rule on earth. No more “render unto Caesar”; it’s all to be God’s. The starting part for this goal is Genesis, where man is given dominion over all the earth. But it’s much bigger than that. They are planning for the second coming, since it’s part of their belief system that before the reappearance of Christ, God’s Kingdom must be established on earth (oh, and all the Jews must have been converted to Christianity).
If these were just Christian extremists in more normal times, they would just be annoying. What makes it different is the confluence of four situations.
1. ‘Control’ of Candidates
The Dominionists have the ear of major candidates in a way that they’ve never had before and they have money and influence to offer. All the Republican candidates are competing to be “most godly”, with Perry, Bachmann and Palin having the inside track. Bachmann is a true believer, while Perry and Palin are using religion while being used. Of those three, Perry is the most likely to get the nomination and he is also the most closely tied to the Dominionists.
2. George W. Bush / Obama election / Tea Party
George W. danced with some of the same religious characters that Perry does and they and the right in general just loved having one of their own, a righteous man as president for eight years. As much a tragedy as 9/11 was, it turned out to be a godsend for Bush and the right because it allowed them to justify so much that they wanted to do anyway. And it made it very difficult for others to challenge actions taken by the government, since they would be labeled un-American. The right still loves to wallow in the suffering of that day; sick self-flagellatioin.
When Obama was elected, the glory days abruptly came to an end. Not only did the religious right lose the Whitehouse, but it was lost to a black man, maybe a socialist, maybe a Muslim, certainly different, definitely ‘other’. The response was instant and primal and ugly; a lot of it was unspoken racsim, but not all of it.
Then an army arose; the Tea Party, whose sole raison d’etre was to rescue the country from the ‘other’. But what they became were the willing foot soldiers for the religious extremists. Almost to a man the Tea Party members are serious, go to church Christians, but I don’t think most of them are even aware of Dominionism. Ther’re just useful idiots.
3. Economy / Empire
Well the American economy has gone to hell; people are desparate and angry and they blame the current administration which they insist on calling socialist and godless. The religious right is trying to be their savior.
The right has been telling itself for a long time about American Exceptionalism; that this is the greatest country that has ever existed. (Full disclosure: I find that embarrassing). They don’t want to let go of the idea of empire, but we can’t afford it and they know that. If only the current administration didn’t want to destroy America, we’d have money and we wouldn’t be in this state. If we fail, who will bring Christianity to the world?
4. Obama as Failure
Obama inherited a terrible economic mess and he has been treated worse by Congress than any other modern president. He has also backtracked on many campaign promises and caved in to Republican demands without a fight repeatedly. His supporters are wondering what he stands for; if he has a spine; if he is in over his head; if he has sold out to corporate America. Many are standing strong and rationalizing, but many are disgusted and wondering if they will even cast a ballot. Therein lies the problem. Regardless how loopy Perry, et al, may seem, their base is highly motivated at a time when Obama is pissing his away.
To sum it up, I think it likely that we will have a Republican elected President and it will be someone connected to the Dominionists. I don’t expect theocracy right a way, but I am concerned that’s where we are headed. It won’t be terrible just for us; Theocratic American Empire with nukes — fuck.
More info on Dominionism