Religion and Philosophy

Secrets Of the Extreme Religious Right: Inside the Frightening World Of Christian Reconstructionism

I was associated with a Christian Reconstructionist church for a short time in the early 80s, and while this article is written from a fairly doctrinaire liberal-left perspective, I’d argue that it’s a fairly accurate representation of the movement’s philosophy and ideology. This is probably the closest thing the United States has to something like Wahhabism. I do not consider this movement to be a political threat, in terms of actually being able to turn the U.S.A. into a Christian version of Saudi Arabia. In fact, it’s decentralist inclinations and vehement hostility to the mainstream society make it into yet another stitch in the patchwork of “System resisters” that represents the entire body of alternative political philosophies, alternative economics, and oppositional subcultures.

By Paul Rosenberg

Alternet

As an unprecedented shift in public opinion brought about the legalization of gay marriage, a vigorous counter-current has been intensifying under the banner of “religious freedom”—an incredibly slippery term. Perhaps the most radical definition of such freedom comes out of the relatively obscure tradition of Christian Reconstructionism, the subject of a new book by religious studies scholar Julie Ingersoll, Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism.  As Ingersoll explains, Reconstructionists basically reject the entire framework of secular political thought in which individual rights have meaning, so “freedom” as most Americans understand the term is not the issue at all. Indeed, they argue that such “freedom” is actually slavery—slavery to sin, that is. Reconstructionists aim to establish a theocracy, though most would no doubt bristle at that description. They do not want to “take over the government” so much as they want to dismantle it. But the end result would be a social order based on biblical law—including all those Old Testament goodies like stoning gay people to death, while at the same time justifying “biblical slavery.”  These extreme views are accurate, Ingersoll explained, but at the same time quite misleading in suggesting that Reconstructionism is a fringe movement with little influence on the culture. ‘If someone wants to understand these people, I think the smart thing to do is to take those really inflammatory things, acknowledge that they are there, and set them aside,” Ingersoll advised. “And then look at the stuff that’s less inflammatory, but therefore, I think, more important. I think the Christian schooling, homeschooling, creationism, the approach to economics, I think those kinds of things are far more important.

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  1. The interesting part of this article is that Paul is a secular Reconstructionist acting in the same way, with his religion which shall be referred to as S.H.I.T. (Secular Humanist Intellectual Tradition), to the rest of the world. To borrow Marxists power analysis this is an unequal game Paul is playing. The Christian, or any other dissident religious or ideological group, should be a minimalist (i.e. public space is secular (which really means everything out side of one’s home) while a follower of S.H.I.T. can be as maximalists as he wants to be. How convenient. The problem with this way of thinking is that it is insane. To be consistent in applying positive moral value to minimalist and maximalist positions, then everybody should be a minimalist, the problem is then who controls the “public square?” Everybody cannot realistically be a minimalist and it is a tactic, a quite successful one, of creating the illusion of neutrality. We are neutral while we run the schools, media, government agencies etc while putting a gun to your head, and you need to be a nice little minimalists slave. This relationship is analogy to the proletariat to the bourgeoisie we don’t “force you to work for low wages.” We according to Paul “we don’t force you to become a follower of S.H.I.T., but really you should.” At least North Korea avoids the charade of its ideological imperialism. In short the “neutral ground” is usually decided by the person with the most power.

    “You hear them saying this person or that person have misconstrued what we do, and advocated, and what we do isn’t political, it’s not top-down, it’s from the bottom up, it’s not to be imposed, right? But they stop there. They don’t then go on to really explain how it might work, if it’s not imposed. And I write about in the book, they say this will only come about in a society that would be overwhelmingly Christian. Well, even overwhelmingly Christian is not unanimously Christian. Then it’s still going to be imposed on some people. And they don’t really talk about that very much.”

    Really and what about the imposition of S.H.I.T. on the rest of us? Given that at least half the nation does not want S.H.I.T. then we have a case of a real reconstructionist imposing their values on the rest of America obsessing over a imagined reconstructionist fear. Given that the secular world was initated with genocide in the Vendee, the the Holomador in the Ukraine to China’s LoGai cames of today we have far more to fear from Secular Reconstructionist than Calvinist Reconstructionist. So according to S.H.I.T. it is OK for Secularists to impose their will on others by murder, theft and fraud, but bad for everyone else. Just so we are clear. The only difference between Paul and Rushdooney is that the former is dishonest while the latter is. There is no neutral space. The shocking aspect of Reconstructionism is its lack of inhibitions in openly acknowledging that fact, whereas the duplicitous liberals like Paul know this to be true, but for self-serving reasons pretend otherwise.

    Also it actually helps to read about Christianity before you discuss it. Why is every illiterate moron qualified to discuss what Christian’s do or don’t believe or have or haven’t believed? Could he at least have consulted a priest or pastor?

    “One of the earliest versions is called premillennialism, and it says that Jesus will return before there’s the establishment of the kingdom of God on Earth. The dominant view that you see among conservative Protestants is version the premillennialist, but it dates only to the 19th century.”

    Nope actually premillennialism goes back to the 1st and 2nd century churches; for example Justin the Martyr, Irenaeus and Tertullian.

    “That people aren’t equal. That people are different, and the law, that God ordained some of that difference. That’s Calvinism; that’s predestination.”

    So Calvinists support a style of Hindu Caste systems? This would be laughed out of any seminary of religious studies class. Sorry Predestination is not about people’s places in a hierarchical society. Equivocal use of ‘equal’, throughout Christian history the various churches have consistently affirmed the equality of man in the sight of God, but not until recently that men are equal in capacity or outcomes.

    We are also treated with the obligitoury bug-bear of creationism vs evolution. Here is a very progressive solution to the problem that will never be taken, in fact it’s the same solution as proposed by William Jennings Bryan, democratic control of the schools, but we all know why that won’t happen. Democracy is good until the people vote for the wrong idea. Sound familiar? This is essentially the mentality of Bush and Obama in the Middle East.

    Lastly while Christian Reconstructionism is odious this is all a tempest in a tea-pot. Anyone who reads and studies Reconstructionist material will know that it is riven by petty power disputes. How many answers to any given question will you get from 10 Reconstructionists? 10. This movement is completely irrelevant to the large debate. This notion that there is one kind of Reconstructionism is ludicrous it is a faction riven and largely incoherent movement. Its more comical than frightening. To imply that modern creationism, or evangelicalism or conservative Christianity is subverted by Recosntrictionism is ridiculous. You would never tell that from reading reconstructionists like Gary DeMare, Gary North or Joel McDurmon.

    Given that S.H.I.T. over the last 250 years has been responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths and is the guiding ideology of the US Empire what realistic threat does Rushdoony pose in comparison and why distract us from the real problem? Let’s put it this way did anyone do exposés on the illiberal nature of say Tamil Tigers, North Korea or Klebod and Harris with in a context of secularism. Of course not. When proponents of S.H.I.T. say they are going to kill you, as we have seen in France, Russia and China they probably will. As of yet I don’t know anyone killed by a reconstructionist.

    In conclusion all we have here is a secular Reconstructionist having nightmares about a Calvinist Reconstructionist.

  2. “Anyone who reads and studies Reconstructionist material will know that it is riven by petty power disputes. How many answers to any given question will you get from 10 Reconstructionists? 10.”

    Lol, yeah. I’ve come across self-proclaimed “Christian Reconstructionists” that wanted the death penalty for Sabbath-breaking, and others who wanted to legalize all drugs.

    Christian Reconstructionism is the fringe of the fringe of the fringe of the fringe within American Christianity, even the conservative/evangelical variety. Liberals and the Left seize on this and blow it way out of proportion the same way they do with the neo–Nazis and white nationalists.

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