Palin un-American?: Why Dominionists must be Kept from Power

 

By Eric Mader, November 8, 2008

 

Just before the election I was asked the following question by a Republican-voting correspondant: "You are a Christian yourself, so why is it you are so virulently against Sarah Palin?"

 

Well, I've never been a fan of the "Drill, baby, drill!" gang.  I'm a committed environmentalist and member of the NRDC.  Nor did I like the Alaska Governor's anti-intellectualism and "small-town values" spiel.  But these were not the main issues driving my virulence.  In fact the thing that really troubled me about Palin, and that made me such a dogged opponent of the McCain ticket, was her obvious connection to what in theology is called domininism.

 

Put simply, dominionism is a radically nationalistic Christian fringe movement that rejects our Constitution.  Based on her religious connections, it is very likely Sarah Palin thinks of the U.S. Constitution as a corrupted secular document, one that will soon be nullified by a Christian takeover of America.  This is not a nutty conspiracy theory I'm spouting here, but something that is very well documented in studies of the Assemblies of God churches, of which Palin was an active member up until 2002.

 

Through her church, Palin is connected to what is called the New Apostolic Reformation movement (or sometimes the Third Wave movement) in Pentecostalism.  Third Wave faithful believe that soon their members will be called upon to literally take over the United States.  Many Third Wavers even believe violence will be necessary to accomplish this takeover and enforce their God-ordained theological rule.  To prepare for their holy coup, the movement has a pseudo-military branch called Joel's Army, presently indoctrinating and grooming young men (and often teenagers) as shock troops for the day when push comes to shove. 

 

Third Wave believers insist that the biblical book of Revelation is a kind of blueprint for geopolitical action.  This means that any Third Waver who might gain political power--the presidency, say--would almost certainly formulate policy based on a frightening scenario of End Times war and destruction in which the forces of Good defeat the forces of Evil, most of the world's people are killed off, and the Elect--i.e. the Third Wavers themselves--end up in Heaven.  For Third Wavers, the earth and most of the people on it are literally expendable: trash on a cosmic battlefield which is itself destined to return to nothingness.

 

This explains a lot of the Christian far-right's thinking about the environment.  Why work to protect the natural environment when it is all going to be folded up and burned away at the End?  Isn't it better to begin preparing for the imminent battle with the anti-Christ, who, we are told, is likely to appear in Iran?

 

All of this, of course, is extremist, inhuman, historically daft and hardly Christian.  It is all so thoroughly nutty and farfetched that most people would be inclined not to worry much about it: no more than they'd worry about a UFO cult.  But there are three reasons Americans should be worried.

 

First, as I've said, these people believe it is literally their destiny to take over America and remake it according to what they call "biblical law."  Second, their numbers are growing.  Third, one of them was almost elected as our vice-president.

 

During the last couple months of the campaign I kept wondering about the possibility of a McCain win.  I told friends that if he did win, he'd have my prayers.  I'd pray regularly for his health, pray that his heart was strong, that he didn't choke on a rib or slip on the stairs.  (Yes, I'm a Christian myself, though one who doesn't get on with the kind of believers Palin pals with.)  My friends understood the joke.  It was simply unacceptable to imagine a President Palin.

 

Now the woman's followers are all chanting about 2012.  Hopefully her kind of "culture warrior" will die out as a major force in our politics before we get there.  Patriotic Americans, those who really put "Country First," need to keep an eye on her.  To the extent that her connection to the New Apostolic Reformation is part of her thinking and identity, she is herself un-American.  A true American respects the Constitution and does not look forward to the day when her church takes over the country and makes its founding document null and void.

 

The best online introduction to the Joel's Army movement is here:

 

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=964

 

Various researchers have documented Palin's connection to the movement.  One of them has been regularly posting information at the DailyKos website here:

 

http://dogemperor.dailykos.com/

 

At ReligiousTolerance.org, one can read of the general movement of which the Third Wave is part:

 

http://www.religioustolerance.org/reconstr.htm

 

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