Unfortunately, this is a horror story, but its true. Part 1.

A vote for a Republican in the next election is a vote against democracy.  Even though Trump is not in the Whitehouse his ubiquitous, intimidating presence, keeps governors like Gregg Abbot and Ron DeSantis, as well as GOP congressmen and senators mimicking his style

Almost daily, I am reminded of the importance of the Democrats remaining in the majority in the House and Senate. While the USA functions as a democracy on the national level some states have been moving toward autocracy for a while. The GOP is moving the country backwards and into a dictatorship that will make the USA look more like Russia, Hungary, and Venezuela. GOP leaders are bullies, they are spiteful, often ignorant and arrogant, and their goal is to destroy liberal democracy.

When well-intentioned individuals say, “oh its just politics” they are so wrong. Democrats need to take this more seriously and acknowledge the life and death struggle that we are being pulled into. The GOP has become the arm of the Dominist Christians – this is cult and a dangerous one.

Dominion theology (also known as dominionism) is a group of Christian political ideologies that seek to institute a nation which is governed by Christians based on their understandings of biblical law. The label is primarily applied to groups of Christians in the United States. Three characteristics of the cult are –

  • Dominionists celebrate Christian nationalism, in that they believe that the United States once was, and should once again be, a Christian nation. In this way, they deny the Enlightenment roots of American democracy.

  • Dominionists promote religious supremacy, insofar as they generally do not respect the equality of other religions, or even other versions of Christianity.

  • Dominionists endorse theocratic visions, insofar as they believe that the Ten Commandments, or “biblical law,” should be the foundation of American law, and that the U.S. Constitution should be seen as a vehicle for implementing Biblical principles.

A government run by cult members will look substantially different than what we currently have – it won’t be for the better. One dominionist author (Grant 1989) wrote,

“Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ—to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness. … But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice. … Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land—of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ.”

In the past religious conservatives engaged in good-faith policy debates over managing the divide between believers and non-believers. Now, the right has a new approach. Christian dominionists were emboldened by the election of Donald Trump and they now see a way forward in repurposing the institutions of the U.S. federal government to impose their worldview upon the country.

The USA’s religious political base has become more conservative, and more isolated from the rest of society, due to Trump. The Trump administration claimed that its policies on religious freedom simply allow the religious to go about practicing their faith in peace, instead it created a double standard that separates religious conservatives from those who are not, when they are in hospitals, schools, and other public institutions. Evangelical Christians and many hardline Catholics now enjoy legal preferences not shared by their Jewish, Muslim, or atheist neighbors, who find themselves increasingly encroached upon by the creep of a Christian faith in which they don’t believe.

The USA was founded as a land not ruled or controlled by church interests where people could practice their religions in peace. This was largely the government’s philosophy on religious freedom under both Democratic and Republican administrations, and it was the basis for the bipartisan 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFFA).

In principle, the RFRA makes clear that religious freedom does not allow religious organizations or individuals to coerce others to follow their religious beliefs. For example, an Evangelical retailer cannot limit its offerings to only other Evangelicals. A Catholic doctor cannot demand a patient convert to Catholicism as a prerequisite for treatment. Religious individuals who are employers cannot demand their employees live according to their own religious beliefs.

Researcher Rachel Tabachnick has been studying the hardcore anti-democratic theology known as dominionism and has found at least three aspects of the cult: (1) the vigilante element of the Texas anti-abortion law SB 8. (2), the pattern of disrupting or undermining governance, including the “constitutional sheriffs” movement, the installation of overtly partisan election officials and the red-state revolt against national COVID public health policies. (3) the seemingly baffling fact that an anti-democratic minority feels entitled to accuse its opponents — including democratically elected officials — of “tyranny.”

Some dominionist ideas — such as imposing the biblical penalty of death by stoning — are so extreme they can easily be dismissed as fringe. Other concepts have been foundational to the modern religious right, and some have become increasingly influential.

Mainstream Christianity believes that the attacks on abortion, attacks on voting, attacks on immigrants, attacks on prison reform, attacks on equal pay, etc. are all attacks on humans flourishing. The God of mainstream Christians wants all people to flourish.

Dominionism is different. The language of dominionism is strikingly distinct. C. Peter Wagner is considered the founding father of the New Apostolic Reformation, one of the branches of dominionism.  To quote Mr. Wagner,

“Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing. And it relates to society — in other words what is talked about, what the values are in heaven [that] need to be made manifest here on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings. It says in Revelation chapter 1:6 that “he has made us kings and priests,” and check the rest of that verse, it says “for dominion.” So we are kings for dominion.”

The following passage from Frederick Clarkson’s book, “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy” (1997) also highlights the differences in philosophy between mainstream Christianity and Dominionism.


“Dominionism is the theocratic idea that regardless of theological view, means, or timetable, Christians are called by God to exercise dominion over every aspect of society by taking control of political and cultural institutions.”

The second branch of Dominion is the Christian reconstructionists. They excel at strategic organization and providing plans to move their agenda forward. Two key figures are Rousas John Rushdoony, the movement’s theologian, and his son-in-law Gary North, a strategist, propagandist and networker who was once a staffer for the libertarian Rep. Ron Paul.

Christian reconstructionism is about bringing all government under biblical law, a continuation of the Mosaic law in the Old Testament, with some exceptions (such as the public execution of women who have abortions and those who advise them to have an abortion).

In a recent private presentation, Frederick Clarkson asked a rhetorical question:

“People have long said that there should be Christian government, but if you had one, what would it look like? What would it do? Rushdoony was the first to create a systematic theology of what Christian governance should be like, based on the Ten Commandments, and all of the judicial applications he could find in the Old Testament — including about 35 capital offenses.”

Rachel Tabachnick  said, “Christian reconstructionism is the merger of a distinct brand of Calvinism with Austrian School economics. In other words, it’s an interpretation of the Bible grounded in property rights.” The results have been far-reaching.

For more than 40 years, its prolific writers have provided the foundations and strategic blueprints for the attacks on mainstream Christianity which do not share the Reconstructionists’ belief in unfettered capitalism as ordained by God and its fierce anti-statism (a complete rejection of all involuntary hierarchical rulership).

The religious right’s attack on public education, the social safety net and most government functions are largely grounded in the writings, strategies and tactics formulated by reconstructionist writers. Reconstructionism is not the only (and certainly not the first) source of interposition and nullification in this country. However, much of what is currently being taught today about using interposition to undermine the legitimacy of government is sourced in Reconstructionism.

The idea of “interposition” comes through the concept of the “lesser magistrate.” The significance of this idea in the post-2020 Republican Party, has recently become apparent. More on this in part 2.


Sources of information and more

Grant G. 1987. The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action:

Rosenberg, P. 2021. How extremist Christian theology is driving the right-wing assault on democracy. Salon Oct. 31.