Sunday, November 21, 2004

conspiracy theology

A lot of what passes for political essays on the left look a lot like whacko conspiracy theories. I see these things all the time on blogs, but here is a site specifically dedicated to promoting the author's own whacked-out theories about the religious right.

The author pounces on an obscure doctrine called "Reconstructionism". You've never heard of it? Neither had I. This is odd because according to the author of Theorcracywatch, Reconstructionism is the most influential doctrine of the religious right.

Reconstructionism is basically the doctrine that Christians are called to take dominion of the world in this age. There are some serious problems with this view from the point of view of every evangelical church I've ever attended. If someone really wanted to know how Reconstructionism is regarded among the religious right, it only takes a few minutes on google to find out.

But that's not important. A dedicated conspiracy theorist can trace the evil threads of influence. Christians encouraging other Christians to run for office? Reconstructionism. Christians want their kids to be educated in Christian schools? Reconstructionism. Christians think their values ought to be reflected in law and public policy? Reconstructionism.

It's all this underhanded, concealed miasma of that evil Dominionist doctrine, you see. There is no other possible explanation about why people would want to see the government reflect their values. It's not like any other group feels that way, after all.

You can see the signs of conspiracy theorizing in the way that almost all of the detailed quotes to explain the purposes of the religious right are taken from opponents of the religious right. It's too hard to find those wily conspirators convicting themselves in their own words.

The exceptions are usually short and out-of-context, and invariably either 1. from an obscure author, 2. decades old, or 3. followed by an odd interpretation to help you see the villainy in an apparently innocuous passage.

One entire page is dedicated to the technique of guilt by association. George Bush just hasn't given them enough quotes to use in vilifying him, so they tell us portentously, "The Texas Republican Party Platform can be read as a blueprint for Bush administration policies..." and proceed to vilify that. The platform states that the United States is a Christian nation and Theocracywatch thinks they have found the smoking gun, a quote proving that the religious right wants to take over the country.

Apparently they are having problems with verb tense. The platform doesn't say the US will be or should be a Christian nation, or that it is a goal of the party to make the US a Christian nation. The platform just says that the US is a Christian nation. No action is required by this quote, although it implies resistance to the ongoing program of removing all vestiges of Christianity from public life. What Theocracywatch's complaint amounts to then, is a panic that the Republican party will resist parts of the leftists proactive agenda. Big surprise that.

Then of course there are the obligatory completely off-the-wall slanders like this (quoted without support from another source):
They intend to achieve this by using the freedom of religion in the US to train a generation of children in private Christian religious schools. Later, their graduates will be charged with the responsibility of creating a new Bible-based political, religious and social order. One of the first tasks of this order will be to eliminate religious freedom.
or this
One of the tenets of Reconstuctionism is that prisons will be empty because the death penalty will be applied to all capital crimes. Some of the more extreme leaders of the Reconstructionist movement include as capital crimes unrepentant homosexuality, abortion, adultery, blasphemy and even incorrigible children.
He forgot the Arabs. Doesn't he know that Christians want all the Arabs executed too?

Now in all seriousness, I do think some Christians are a bit too aggressive in pressing for a "Christian" agenda. For example although I believe it is valuable to ask God's blessing on the coming day of school, as long as a large portion of the country doesn't agree, I think that insisting on it is a bit tendentious. God does not glory in conflict for its own sake. Even if a majority want it, what Christian value does it serve to force it on the rest? Even to force on them an implicit acknowledgement in the form of an official moment of silence and meditation?

But even so, the hyperventilating response by Theocracywatch and others to such a trivial thing can hardly be explained by mere annoyance at a cultural oddity that they don't like. No, there is something far deeper going on here. The left is proactively trying to stamp out Christianity --or at any rate traditional Bible-believing Christianity-- and they are panicking at the fact that Christians seem to be successfully fighting back.

Besides that the left threw the first punch in the fight. In fact the opposition threw many punches before the religious right roused itself to fight back.

By now, the left has gone full swing into the next phase of the fight: fighting dirty. Lies and slander. And the Theocracywatch website is just one tiny eye-gouging thumb in a melee where there are so many that it seems fruitless to point one out.

No comments: