A series of conferences and seminars focusing on the issue of “dominionism” are being held in New York City by the Graduate Center, CUNY and the New York Open Center
Dominionism is a term popularized by sociologist Sara Diamond. Those, like me, who study the Christian Right use the term to explain a political tendency that has mobilized tens of millions of conservative Christians into public political participation.
The two conferences held to date were extremely successful. Speakers included Karen Armstong, Joan Bokaer, Charles Stroizer, Jeff Sharlet, Frederick Clarkson, Esther Kaplan, Craig Unger, and myself. The wide range of expertise provided attendees with a broad range of issues related to dominionism: fear and rage in fundamentalist movements; dominionist influence on U.S. policies; the Bush administration’s promotion of theocracy; the relationship between elite fundamentalism and pragmatic dominionism; how to confront the religious right while respecting religious faith; and millennialist and apocalyptic influences on dominionism.
As you can imagine an incredible amount of information came out of these panels and discussions. So much so that I figured it would be worth compiling a mini-crash course on dominionism. Although oversimplified, the following is a summary of the basic definitions and explanations offered in the conference presentations.
Christian Conservatives – They play by the rules of a democratic republic, and so our response should be to develop better ideas and carry out better grassroots organizing campaigns.
Christian Nationalists – They erode pluralism, and we must defend separation of church and state, but also engage in a discussion of the legitimate boundaries when religious beliefs intersect with participation in a secular civil society.
Christian Theocrats – They want to replace democracy with an authoritarian theocratic society run by a handful of Christian men. They seek to supersede the Constitution and Bill of Rights with Old Testament Biblical law. We must oppose them and not give an inch in our defense of democracy against theocracy.
There are more events planned, stay tuned to the Open Center’s website and of course the DefCon blog for more info.
An edited DVD of Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right is now for sale through the NY Open Center. Call 212-219-2527 X 170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally posted on Campaign to Defend the Constitution DefConAmerica
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