“The U.S. Is Not A Christian Nation Any More Than It Is A Jewish Or A Mohameddan Nation.” – John Adams
Dominionism And Revisionist History
In 1773, theRev. Isaac Backus, the most prominent Baptist minister in New England, observed that when “church and state are separate, the effects are happy, and they do not at all interfere with each other: but where they have been confounded together, no tongue nor pen can fully describe the mischiefs that have ensued.”
What a brilliant man he was. It’s a shame some of our religious leaders today don’t hold the same beliefs.
The Religious Right loves to claim that our country is a Christian Nation… not just that the majority of citizens are Christians, (they are), but that the country itself was founded by Christians, for Christians. That is the Christian Nationalist narrative with no basis in truth. All it takes is a little research into American history to discredit their nonsense. Don’t most Americans remember enough from their middle-school history class to realize nationalistic information is nothing but pure fabrication to push an agenda by Christian Revisionists, a sect of Christian Dominionism? Are people actually that lazy, uneducated, complacent, gullible or brainwashed? Revisionists are attempting to rewrite American history, much the same way as Holocaust deniers do.
The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. George Washington was a nominal Anglican. He didn’t participate in Communion, stepping out of the sanctuary when the ritual was being performed. John Adams, as well as John Quincy Adams, were Unitarians which Trinitarians abhorred as heresy. Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine were deists who detested organized religion. Jefferson even produced his own version of the New Testament with the miracles and magic eliminated. Jefferson and James Madison, a nominal Episcopalian, were the architects of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. James Monroe was another Virginia Episcopalian. How the “Christian” hucksters today have convinced so many that we have always been a Christian nation is a astounding.
In fact, the words “Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, Creator, Divine, and God” are never mentioned in the Constitution– not even once. Nowhere in the Constitution is religion mentioned, except in exclusionary terms. When the Founders wrote the nation’s Constitution, they specified that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article 6, section 3) This provision was radical in its day–giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike. They wanted to ensure that no religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had. And here we were thinking this was common knowledge to the majority of American “patriots,” because they love our country so much more than everyone else.
Fast forward to present day…
In an excerpt from the 2003 book Legacy of Freedom, Rob Boston states:
What the Religious Right doesn’t tell people, and what, tragically, many Americans apparently don’t know, is that when it comes to determining what the laws of the United States mean, the only document that matters is the Constitution. The Constitution, a completely secular document, contains no references to God, Jesus, or Christianity. It says absolutely nothing about the United States being officially Christian. The Religious Right’s constant appeals to documents like the Declaration of Independence, which contains a deistic reference to “the Creator,” cloud the issue and make some people believe their rights spring from these other documents.
One of the most vocal and dangerous Revisionist propagandists today is David Barton. Barton, who is listed in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Extremist Files” is a pseudo-historian obsessed with altering historical facts to portray America as a Christian nation founded on Biblical principles. Of course the Dominionists idolize him, with an enthusiastic Mike Huckabee proclaiming Barton to be America’s greatest historian, who should be writing the curriculum for the schools. Huckabee even suggested that all Americans should be “forced at gunpoint” to listen to Barton. Chew on that for a while.
“When Fascism Comes To America, It Will Be Wrapped In The Flag And Carrying A Cross.” – Attributed To SInclair Lewis
Commonalities Of Dominionism And Fascism
Chris Hedges and David Neiwert contend that the beginnings of American Christofascism was during the Great Depression, when Americans espoused forms of fascism that were “explicitly ‘Christian’ in nature.” Hedges writes in American Fascists that “fundamentalist preachers such as Gerald B. Winrod and Gerald L. K. Smith fused national and Christian symbols to advocate the country’s first crude form of Christofascism.” Smith’s Christian Nationalist Crusadesaid that “Christian character is the basis of all real Americanism.”
By the late 1950s, followers of these philosophies had evolved into the John Birch Society, whose policy positions and rhetoric have greatly impacted modern Dominionists. The 1980s saw the Council for National Policy and the Moral Majority carry on the tradition, while the patriot movement and militia movementrepresented efforts to mainstream the philosophy in the 1990s. 2016 Republican presidential candidates’ speeches sound more like mega-church sermons than political positioning.
An excerpt from an article posted on TruthDig, by Chris Hedges, titled The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government states:
Fascist movements begin as champions of civic improvement, communal ideals, moral purity, strength, national greatness and family values. These movements attract, as has the radical Christian right, those who are disillusioned by the collapse of liberal democracy. And our liberal democracy has collapsed. We have abandoned our poor and working class. We have created a government monster that sucks the marrow out of our bones to enrich and empower the oligarchic and corporate elite. The protection of criminals, whether in war or on Wall Street, is part of our mirage of law and order. We have betrayed the vast and growing underclass. Most believers within the Christian right are struggling to survive in a hostile world. We have failed them. Their very real despair is being manipulated and used by Christian fascists. Give to the working poor a living wage, benefits and job security and the reach of this movement will diminish. Refuse to ameliorate the suffering of the poor and working class and you ensure the ascendancy of a Christian fascism.
So what exactly is Fascism? It’s dictionary definition is – Fas-cism (noun): *extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice; *an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.
Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, wrote an article about Fascism, which appeared in Free Inquiry magazine. Dr. Britt studied the Fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile). He found that all the regimes had 14 things in common, and he calls these the Identifying Characteristics of Fascism. Dr. Britt’s article is titledFascism Anyone? and appears in Free Inquiry‘s Spring 2003 issue.
- Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
- Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
- Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
- Supremacy of the Military
- Rampant Sexism
- Controlled Mass Media
- Obsession with National Security
- Religion and Government are Intertwined
- Corporate Power is Protected
- Labor Power is Suppressed
- Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
- Obsession with Crime and Punishment
- Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
- Fraudulent Elections
Does anything more have to be said about this?
If you are interested in reading more about the threat of Christofascism in America, click this link. More suggested reading: American Fascists: The Christian Right And The War On America. For a chilling, prophetic cautionary tale of what could happen if this agenda plays out, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
PART 1 of this series: When State Becomes Church: Theocracy Here And Now
Part 3: When State Becomes Church: Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing.
Lanie has been a life-long student of The Bible. She started with preschool Sunday School class, went on to participate in many in-depth, extensive studies at church, and now enjoys ongoing independent research in Christianity and other religious traditions.