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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

1 + 0 = 1

There's a new way of doing math which is shaping and forming the "dominion politics" which we saw most clearly at play during the recent 11th hour shenanigans over the federal budget.

It's contained in a chilling story told by Darrow L. Miller in his book, Nurturing the Nations
A radio preacher was talking about Christian marriage, pondering the meaning of Genesis 2:24: “And they will become one flesh.” The preacher asked, “How can the two become one?” After a moment, he answered his own question: “Only if the woman becomes a zero. One plus zero equals one!”
This New Math comes to us from the Christian Reconstruction Movement and their "dominion theology" which holds that the human male is the "image and glory of God in terms of authority, while the woman is the glory of man."

That is, men are in the image of God in terms of authority over their households; women are created in God’s image in a decidedly different way, sometimes called "reflected glory."

Reflected glory.

I know. Pretty unbelievable, right? If you don't believe me, read it for yourself in "The Tenants of Biblical Patriarchy" by Doug Phillip - if you have the stomach.

It gets worse. Much worse.

Christian Reconstruction dominion theology is rooted in the creation story in Genesis in which God creates Adam and Eve and tells them to exercise dominion over the Garden of Eden.

Phillips argues that while men are to exercise dominion, women are to assist their husbands' dominion by serving in the home. Women in the "exceptional state" of being unmarried, according to Phillips, may have "more flexibility" but it is not the "ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion."

Fathers are responsible for the education of their children, primarily in the home (hence, the enormous rise in home schooling). Grown sons may leave their father’s home but daughters should not so until they are married to suitable spouses found by their fathers.

Male leadership "carries over from the family to the church insofar as only men are to lead the church" and "a God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres as an application of and support for God’s order in the formative institutions of family and church."

So, now you're thinking, "Well, there are wackadoodles in every religion. This is just a small number of people from an insignificant organized religious cult."

Think again.

As the Public Religion Research Institute poll released in the fall of 2010 demonstrated, there is a "significantly outsized proportion of white evangelical Christians in the Tea Party movement."
* Nearly half (47%) also say they are part of the religious right or conservative Christian movement. Among the more than 8-in-10 (81%) who identify as Christian within the Tea Party movement, 57% also consider themselves part of the Christian conservative movement.

* They make up just 11% of the adult population—half the size of the conservative Christian movement (22%).

* They are mostly social conservatives, not libertarians on social issues. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and less than 1-in-5 (18%) support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

* They are largely Republican partisans. More than three-quarters say they identify with (48%) or lean towards (28%) the Republican Party. More than 8-in-10 (83%) say they are voting for or leaning towards Republican candidates in their districts, and nearly three-quarters (74%) of this group report usually supporting Republican candidates.
Earlier this year, the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life released a poll which found that white evangelicals—44% of them—were the religious group most likely to agree with the Tea Party agenda, and least likely to disagree (8%).

As PRRI president Robert Jones has noted, more than half of the 81% of Tea Partiers who identify as Christian also report engagement in religious right political activism.

We dismiss them as a 'lunatic fringe' at our own peril.

Indeed, Republican legislators like Tea Party "rain maker" Jim DeMint from South Carolina frame their agenda as being broadened to include "moral issues" rooted in "Judeo-Christian" values.

Thus everything - including the economy - falls into that category.

It's a grand dream to "build a better yesterday".

It's a return to "the way we were" when "things were all so simple then".  However, "time has re-written every line" so that now many of us understand the gross inequality inherent in the dominion theology that shapes and forms dominion politics.

What's that other line from "The Way We Were"? Oh, yes. "What's too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget."

Should we choose to dismiss the Christian Reconstruction Movement and forget the painful lessons of history, we risk living the mistakes of the past all over again.

The attack on funding Planned Parenthood is not just about abortion and reproductive rights for women. It is, make no mistake - especially in terms of denying reproductive choice and birth control to unmarried people.

More importantly, it is part of a larger ideological and religious goal to "take back America" to its Judeo-Christian roots and restore the (white, Christian) male dominant social, cultural and religious paradigm.

As Bill Maher is quoted as saying, "New Rule: I don't want my country back. I want it forward."

Make no mistake: The attack on Planned Parenthood and NPR won't go away, even after all the columns of numbers have been calculated and justified and the budget is passed and approved and we move on to discuss the Deficit.

This is why it makes perfect sense that the Republican leadership in Congress supported a rider to the budget bill that would strip low income women from access to preventative health care "in order to balance the budget" but they are willing to sign a blank check to defend DOMA - the "Defense of Marriage Act".

It all adds up, if you are using the New Math of the New "Trickle Down Dominion Economics" of The Christian Reconstruction Movement.

If you believe the story of Creation in Genesis and subscribe to the dominion theology of the Christian Reconstruct Movement, your membership card in the Tea Party - and honorary membership in the Republican Party - will be in the mail.

The New Math of dominion theology is the hidden, secret formula behind dominion politics and dominion economics.

It's the basis of the War Against Women who must "diminish so that he can increase". Her "soul must magnify the Lord" - of the manor - not her own. And, all will be right with the world again.

And, if it isn't, they will just keep on chipping away - bit by bloody bit - at her rights until she gets the message and hears the "good news" that the "biblical patriarchy" is being restored to its former glory.

As Anne Lamott once wrote in Traveling Mercies, "I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish."

Make no mistake: The attack on Planned Parenthood and reproductive choice for women, and health care for women and children who live in grinding poverty, and NPR and freedom of thought, and Marriage Equality and the effort to defend DOMA will all continue unabated.

Of this I am quite certain.

I am also quite certain that these attacks are rooted in the dominion theory, dominion politics and the resulting dominion economics, which have their basis in the Genesis stories of Creation.

If you read the story closely enough, the "original sin" of sexism and misogyny is written in every line.

Lamott also wrote: "You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

1 + 0 = 1.

Sure sounds like a formula for idolatry to me.


whiteycat said...

WOW! Very revealing statistics! If we sleep through this trend, we're doomed. Thanks for the wake up call!

Burl said...

It's certainly, pagan, in the sense that all their "thought" leads to the necessity of sacred violence and bloodshed. Thank you for your insightful, truly prophetic (calling us to the true tradition) posts.

Wanda said...

Hello... I read the book, "Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse" back in the mid '90s and I've been saying for years that the Dominion/Reconstructionist right-wing christian movement scares me more than communism or socialism. I was glad to find this site and am sharing it with others because I think most christians are just ignorant of what is really going on. Thanks!