Rollins Stone has a terrifying article on some of the scariest mofos around. You should really read it. With a strong drink in hand.
Meet the Dominionists — biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government. As the far-right wing of the evangelical movement, Dominionists are pressing an agenda that makes Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America look like the Communist Manifesto. They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation’s courts with judges who follow Old Testament law, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions. In Florida, when the courts ordered Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube removed, it was the Dominionists who organized round-the-clock protests and issued a fiery call for Gov. Jeb Bush to defy the law and take Schiavo into state custody. Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a “faith-based” government that will endure far longer than Bush’s presidency — all the way until Jesus comes back.
The article recounts the Dominionists’ annual meeting at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale. Frighteningly enough, I’ve been to that church, with my grandparents, just a few months before I came out. I have been to lots of churches–frankly, a lot of scary churches–in my life, but I don’t remember ever being in one that was so actively frightening. Most frightening was Rev. James D. Kennedy, who has all the venom of a Father Coughlin with none of the charm:
The godfather of the Dominionists is D. James Kennedy, the most influential evangelical you’ve never heard of. A former Arthur Murray dance instructor, he launched his Florida ministry in 1959, when most evangelicals still followed Billy Graham’s gospel of nonpartisan soul-saving. Kennedy built Coral Ridge Ministries into a $37-million-a-year empire, with a TV-and-radio audience of 3 million, by preaching that it was time to save America — not soul by soul but election by election. After helping found the Moral Majority in 1979, Kennedy became a five-star general in the Christian army. Bush sought his blessing before running for president — and continues to consult top Dominionists on matters of federal policy.
“Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost,” Kennedy says. “As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”
How bad does the story get?
Activist judges, of course, are precisely what the Dominionists want. Their model is Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who installed a 5,300-pound granite memorial to the Ten Commandments, complete with an open Bible carved in its top, in the state judicial building. At Reclaiming America, Roy’s Rock sits out front, fresh off a tour of twenty-one states, perched on the flag-festooned flatbed of a diesel truck, a potent symbol of the “faith-based” justice the Dominionists are bent on imposing. Activists at the conference pose for photographs beside the rock and have circulated a petition urging President Bush to appoint Moore — who once penned an opinion calling for the state to execute “practicing homosexuals” — to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The other side knows we’ve got strongholds in the executive and legislative branches,” Cass tells the troops. “If we start winning the judiciary, their power base is going to be eroded.”
FYI to my family, this is the kind of shit that makes me want to put our house on the market and not come back from Australia when we visit in May. Any Christian who does not vocally stand up against these people, and against their influence in politics, will have blood on their hands if these people achieve their goals.
Literal blood. Mine, if they get their way.