Monday, February 08, 2016

Ted Cruz’s Christian Dominionist Vision for America

At times it is difficult to decide which of the Republican presidential candidates poses the most frightening threat to America and religious freedom for all in particular.  But, as a piece in the Washington Post lays out, the prize may go to Ted Cruz who is not only borderline repulsive to look at, but also harbors very anti-democratic Christian Dominionist views.   Dominionist like Cruz want nothing more that an overthrow of the United States Constitution and its replacement by a Christian theocracy with, of course, the Dominionists making all of the rules. It is no accident that in Iowa Cruz garnered the endorsement of every extreme right wing Christian organization, a number of which are registered hate groups.  Here in Virginia he will likely get the backing of The Family Foundation, another Dominionist organization that has strong white supremacist undercurrents.  Think of the religious extremism of the Puritans on steroids and that gives a hint of what Cruz and company want to impose on America.  Here are column highlights:

Now that Ted Cruz has an Iowa victory under his belt, it is time to take a deeper look at his Christian approach to politics. What is his real vision for America? Cruz likes to talk about “taking back” or “reclaiming” the United States. What does he mean by this?

Cruz’s shoe leather campaign in Iowa targeted the state’s large number of evangelical Christians. But not all evangelicals are the same.

Donald Trump appeals mostly to those connected with the Christian prosperity movement, a form of evangelicalism that celebrates the accumulation of wealth as a sign of God’s blessing.

Marco Rubio appeals to suburban, educated, middle- and upper-middle-class evangelicals. These evangelicals normally avoid the Pentecostal prayer meetings of the prosperity crowd and change the channel when televangelists show up on their big screens.

Cruz resonates with the evangelical culture warriors. He mixes what New York Times columnist David Brooks describes as political “brutalism” with a belief that he is engaged in a fight with the devil for the soul of the nation. It is only a matter of time before Cruz assumes the role of the Old Testament prophet Elijah and tries to cast down fire from heaven to destroy the “prophets of Baal” who oppose his campaign.

When Cruz says he wants to “reclaim” or “restore” America, he does not only have the Obama administration in mind. This agenda takes him much deeper into the American past. Cruz wants to “restore” the United States to what he believes is its original identity: a Christian nation. . . . .
That is why he has David Barton on his side.

For several decades Barton has been a GOP activist with a political mission to make the United States a Christian nation again. He runs “Keep the Promise,” a multimillion-dollar Cruz super-PAC. He’s one of Cruz’s most trusted advisers.

He writes books and hosts radio and television shows designed to convince evangelicals and anyone else who will listen that America was once a Christian nation and needs to be one again. But his work on the history of the American founding has been discredited by historians, many of whom are his fellow evangelicals. This does not seem to stop him.  

Barton’s work is an important part of Cruz’s larger theological and political campaign to take back America. If Barton can prove that the United States was once a Christian republic, then Cruz will have the historical argument he needs to sustain his narrative of American decline.

Anyone who has watched Cruz on the stump knows that he often references the important role that his father, traveling evangelist Rafael Cruz, has played in his life. During a 2012 sermon at New Beginnings Church in Bedford, Texas, Rafael Cruz described his son’s political campaign as a direct fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

The elder Cruz told the congregation that God would anoint Christian “kings” to preside over an “end-time transfer of wealth” from the wicked to the righteous.
According to his father and Huch, Ted Cruz is anointed by God to help Christians in their effort to “go to the marketplace and occupy the land ... and take dominion” over it. This “end-time transfer of wealth” will relieve Christians of all financial woes, allowing true believers to ascend to a position of political and cultural power in which they can build a Christian civilization. When this Christian nation is in place (or back in place), Jesus will return.

Rafael Cruz and Larry Huch preach a brand of evangelical theology called Seven Mountains Dominionism. They believe Christians must take dominion over seven aspects of culture: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.
Seven Mountains Dominionism is the spiritual fuel that motors Cruz’s campaign for president.
Cruz wants to defund Planned Parenthood because it threatens the traditional Christian understanding of the family, one of the seven “mountains.”

When Cruz talks about the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, he almost always discusses it in the context of persecution against Christians, such as Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis.

He is not interested in crafting new models of American pluralism to respond to the country’s ever-growing religious diversity. Rather, religious liberty is a code word for defending the right of Christians to continue to hold cultural authority and privilege.

Cruz’s approach to politics is inseparable from this theology. His goal is to lead a Christian occupation of the culture and then wait for the Second Coming of Christ.
These people - and Cruz - are very, very scary.

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