Gimme That Old Time Dominionism…

I don’t spend as much time as I once did in the fever swamps of the left (I’ve been banned twice each from Democratic Underground and Daily Kos), so I’m a bit behind on the latest raving conspiracy theories that spring from those diseased minds. But thanks to some commenters at Ace Of Spades, I got tipped off to the newest (well, newest to me) Grand Conspiracy On The Right To Control The World, the great and powerful EEEEEVIL known as “Dominionism.”


I hadn’t even heard of the term before. My first thought was that it had something to do with a  certain card game that I happen to play a bit — and damn, if there was any game that could inspire a cult-like following, behind Magic and Pokemon, it’d be that one.


My second thought was it was a resurgence of a condition that affected our nation in its earliest days — the predominance of the Commonwealth of Virginia, or “The Old Dominion.” 12 of our 43 presidents were born in Virginia, including 4 of the first 5 and 7 of the first 12. The thought that the people of Virginia could start feeling nostalgic and attempt to retake their prominence struck me as possible, but unlikely.


My third thought was to stop speculating and simply look it up. That was a lot less fun, but a bit more productive, and it turned out I was actually familiar with the concept, but not by name.


“Dominionism,” as Wikipedia puts it, is the idea by some Christians that it is their religious duty to seek out public office and positions of power, so they can advance Christianity throughout the nation by law and regulation and the other implements of the state.


I first encountered this sentiment way back in 1988, when Pat Robertson ran for president. A friend of mine gave me an audiotape of a Robertson speech, distributed by his campaign, where he promised to appoint only born-again Christians to government office, and bring the laws of God to America. It was at that point that I began a deep and abiding resentment and contempt of Pat Robertson that still burns within me to this day.


Anyway, Robertson’s campaign went exactly nowhere, and from that I drew a lesson: what I now know as “Dominionism” is doomed to fail. Open proponents of it will get exactly nowhere in electoral politics, and “stealth Dominionists” — those who believe in it but don’t dare speak of it openly — will never succeed even if they do win.


The reasons for this are simple: it’s fundamentally un-American, and the majority of Americans recognize it and will resist it.


Let’s assume the worst possible case: Rick Perry is a “stealth Dominionist,” and wants to win the presidency in order to implement it in America. He wins the nomination, then wins the election. Just what the hell will he do?


Will he, like Robertson promised, only appoint Christians to office? Sorry, the Constitution prohibits any religious tests for public service. And in our lawyer-happy society, there will be a blizzard of lawsuits filed once that pattern starts emerging.


Next, he wants to start passing laws promoting Christian doctrine and principles. Well, guess what? Presidents don’t get to write laws. He’d need a majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate to get the laws before him to sign.


OK, suppose that Perry also gets his “stealth Dominionists” into Congress as well, and they start passing said blizzard of Christian laws. Remember that lawyer-happy society? The blizzard of lawsuits I alluded to earlier would be dwarfed by the New Ice Age. They’d be tied up in legal knots for years.


And within two years, the entire House and one-third of the Senate would be up for re-election. I have faith that the American people would toss those revealed Dominionists out on their sanctimonious asses. (There’s little more that the American people resent than candidates who get elected under false flags.) And two years after that, President Perry and another third of the Senate would be up for re-election, along with the entire House yet again. And shortly thereafter, those unresolved lawsuits would be dismissed as irrelevant, as the original offending laws would have been repealed.


Now, there are other ways a Dominionist President could advance his agenda. He could carefully appoint people of a similar bent to key agencies and offices, and hope they stay under the radar. He could also issue Executive Orders and other directives to the federal bureaucracy, which falls under his control, to have much the same effect as laws. We know those can work, because they describe how President Obama is acting to push his own agenda. See the staffing of the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Division with career radical liberal activists, whose beliefs on the matter have been rejected, time and again, by the courts. Or see how he’s bypassing Congress’ normal role in examples 3 and 4 of this article.


But Obama has an advantage — his ideology isn’t considered a “religion,” and therefore doesn’t run up against the protections the Constitution has against the United States becoming, in any way, a theocracy. Toss in the innate hostility for religion that a lot of the left has to begin with, and it’s clear that the “threat of the Dominionists” is nothing more than the latest attempt by the Left to… well, demonize their political opponents, to paint them as dangerous, scary extremists that ought to repel all right-thinking, decent Americans, just another variant of how the Tea Partiers are all terrorists and hostage-takers and racists and radicals and whatever the hell else they want to call them.


News flash: there is no “American Taliban.” There never has been, really (the closest would probably be the Ku Klux Klan), and there never will, because there never can be.


It’d be nice if the left could constrain their hysteria and fear-mongering… but I ain’t getting my hopes up. It’s all they seem to be able to do.

"I think some politics are involved" (UPDATED)
I, Racist
  • And all this time I thought Dominionism was a movement to have Virginia reclaim West Virginia — those anti-secessionist seceders!

    • j h

       We keep trying but Virginia won’t take us back!

  • jim_m

    It’s a good thing for the left that these so-called “Dominionists” are only the tiniest fringe of Christianity. For if they were a significant portion they would long ago have taken over the government in many states and perhaps even nationally. 

    No, the prevailing sentiment among many Christians is that temporal government is simply not of their concern.  For years now many Christian leaders have worked very hard just to get Christians to go out and vote based on the issues that concern them.  The reality is that many Christians view temporal government as a corrupting influence upon the church. 

    The left also fails to recognize that Christianity in America is very fragmented.  No one wants a theocracy that would potentially start dictating how one practices their faith.  Heck, you can hardly get the Baptists and the Episcopalians together, try to impose a state that would favor one over the other and look out.

    • Anonymous

      The Episcopalians would easily outnumber the Baptists.  

      Because wherever you find four Episcopalians, you always find a fifth.

  • Anonymous

    This will add to the idea that Perry is a Dominion-type:  a story today that Perry pledges to support a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

    This seems to be a religious-based attack on federalism, to say the least.  If New York and California enact gay marriage, WTF is Perry having the federal government be the central arbiter of what marriage is or isn’t?  Would the FBI or Federal Marriage Police move in to stop lesbians from getting married in Vermont?

    When Perry denounces Washington, he’s full of shit – he wants Washington to be in control, just under his religious rules. Or he’s a bullshit panderer to the boobs, which is also a strong possibility.

    • Anonymous

      Because, of course, only radical Christians are against gay marriage, right, Chico? Like Barack Obama, who clearly and repeatedly stated his opposition while campaigning?

      The push for the Constitutional amendment is purely a reaction to the pro-gay-marriage tactic of using courts and other non-legislative means to advance their cause. Why bother passing laws on the matter, when you can just get a couple of judges to rule in your favor? And that whole “full faith and credit” clause — that’s not relevant, right?

      I’m a proponent of gay marriage — when done legislatively or through constitutional amendments, both at the state level. I oppose that proposed amendment, but I take any kind of proposal for Constitutional amendments about as seriously as I take you — the process is so cumbersome and time-consuming that I’ll have plenty of time to express my opposition. Until it’s at the actual stage of consideration (introduced into Congress), it’s just a stupid distraction — much like this whole “dominionist” BS.


    • Anonymous

      So, the will of the sovereign people of New York and California expressed through their state legislatures should be thwarted by the likes of Perry controlling the federal government, because courts in other states have held in favor of gay marriage?  That’s a non sequitur.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, New York. Where gay marriage briefly came about by the actions of one mayor. Or Massachusetts, where a bare majority of one court made it legal. Or California, where another mayor tried the same. And when it went on the ballot, those who opposed it found themselves the targets of an actual hate campaign that pushed intolerance for the intolerant.

        Here’s a hint, Chico — those were the driving factors. Not states like New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine, who all legalized gay marriage by the legislatures. And it’s pretty much a non-issue here in northern New England.


    • Anon Y. Mous

      You seem to be very confused about what federalism means. Using the amendment process is not the opposite of federalism; it is part and parcel of federalism. Having a judge find previously undiscovered meanings in our 200 year old constitution is the way that the anti-federalists go about things.

  • Kathryn Wilton

    Eeeehh, not exactly… Speaking as a Christian, I would say that Christians should be very earnestly interested in running for and being elected to public office. However, once there, the only “Dominionism” they should exercise is the continued devotion to being a disciple of Christ. Therefore, a Christian – whether in public or in private life – should be displaying integrity, honesty, humility, kindness, self-control, &c. They should demand these same qualities of anyone who works for them, and encourage them in anyone with whom they come in contact.

    In other words, we should be living the Christian life to the best of our ability, so that “[all] may see [our] good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.”

    Sadly, that rarely happens… But if it *DID* – would that really be so bad for our nation?

    • herddog505

      Kathryn Wilton[A] Christian – whether in public or in private life – should be displaying integrity, honesty, humility, kindness, self-control, &c. They should demand these same qualities of anyone who works for them, and encourage them in anyone with whom they come in contact… [W]ould that really be so bad for our nation?

      I agree.  I am reminded of a drill sergeant in another platoon when I was in basic training.  Drill Sergeant Andrews was a Mormon (you know: that “weird” religion of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman?): the man didn’t swear, almost never lost his temper, and otherwise was hardly what one would think of as a drill sergeant.  He was also given an award for his performance at the end of the cycle, and was highly respected by his soldiers for both his technical competence and his personal qualities (as a good sergeant ought to be).  My sergeant major was a deeply Christian man who likewise displayed “integrity, honesty, humility, kindness, self-control, &c.”; he was one of the finest men I ever knew.  Both of these men walked the talk, and I can’t think of any organization that would suffer to have people like them leading it.

      All this being said, Jay Tea is absolutely right: theocrats, whether “Dominionists” or anything else, will never gain power in our country simply because the American people are not theocratic by nature, and our Founding Fathers (God bless ’em!) gave us a Constitution that makes theocratic rule virtually impossible.  The closest I think that we’ve come to it was Prohibition; we all know how that went.

      • Anonymous

        Some of the best folks I’ve worked with were LDS, and bless their souls they tolerated my sailor’s vocabulary as best anyone can.  One guy offered to have a “curse jar” for me to put a buck in everytime I explicatived.   I declined – my pay wasn’t good enough to handle it and I didn’t want to leave that much cash hanging around the office anyways (it was on an Army Base). 
        I never have seen any evidence of an attempt to force their beliefs on another OUTSIDE of Utah.  Now Utah is an example of a 60% majority of a single homogenous religion in a political State, and you’ll see that the effects are quite observable.  Hell, look at the business growth (growing steadily past 2 quarters) and unemployment rates (<7%).  And this is despite or because of the doubling of Hispanic population since 2000?  Hmmm.

        God forbid they make it to the White House and impose their way of life on us all!

    • Anonymous

      Render unto Caeser 🙂

  • Anon Y. Mous

    Some think that the reason W. wanted Harriet Miers on SCOTUS was that she was a fellow Evangelical. Look how that worked out. Not only did his regular adversaries oppose her, but many of his normal allies abandoned him and vigorously worked against her nomination.

    The idea that there is an organized conspiracy is ridiculous. However, Christians, like everyone else, bring their values to political life and try to promote them within our system of government. That’s what politics are about.

  • retired.military

    Let me save Spongebob Racepants the trouble.

    You mentioned Obama in a thread on a conversative blog site.  Therefore you are obviously racist.

  • The only religion that wants to practice “Dominionism” is the so-called religion of peace. They want to have every person in the world to be a Muslim. They will do everything in their means to achieve this goal, including killing the non-believers.

  • I used to lurk at DU back in the day . . . had a membership, but rarely posted and kept very under the radar as they would ban anyone who expressed a rational thought.  It was crazy before 2000, but after the Bush-Gore Florida fight, they were just bat-shi’ite crazy.

    The only person I “knew” there was the daughter of a lady who ran a conservative board, who had outed her own DU handle at the site.  She started a DU thread about meeting Sheila Jackson Lee – can you imagine the thrill?  Well, it was like she was Justin Beiber’s girlfriend or something, the thing got hundreds of comments, all fawning and stupid (“What is she like in person?”).

    After that, I just pulled out my teleporter and said, “Beam me up, Scotty, there is no intelligent life down here.”

    Never went back either – this was before Kos was so big, but I guess he had started.  Went there once or twice, but it was a different sort of set-up that made you look for the crazy and I couldn’t be troubled, just wanted to be entertained.

  • Anonymous


     “there will be a blizzard of lawsuits filed once that pattern starts emerging.”

    Yeah, just like the blizzard of lawsuits that flew when Billy J Finglestogey fired 93 attorneys?

    Oops! I mentioned blizzard. Its kinda white? Am I racially nuanced enough BA Racepantz?

  • Anonymous

    A couple notes:

    1)  Even if the Dominionism is doomed to fail, I think that doesn’t change a voter’s responsibility to evaluate candidates in their totality … including those candidates’ religiosity (for good or for ill) and how that religiosity influences a particular candidate’s policies.

    2)  Although Dominionism is unlikely to take hold at the federal or state level, it’s entirely possible for local governments, especially, to be dominated (not dominionated) by individuals who hold, shall we say, rather extreme ideas in the direction of the intersection of religion and politics.  This happens in part because people tend not to pay attention to their local politics.  

    3)  As far as appointments go, a president is entirely within his rights to appoint only Christians or only atheists if he so chooses, just as voters are free to reject non-Christian candidates for office.  The Constitution simply bars Congress (and state governments, via the 14th Amendment) from erecting legal barriers to holding office because of a person’s religion.