Monday, September 21, 2009

Building Jerusalem in America

LGF linked to one "Frank Schaeffer, son of the late Calvinist preacher Francis Schaeffer, [who] has some very interesting insights into the nature of the Christian far right — the extreme fundamentalists behind much of the home-schooling movement — and their almost total withdrawal from American culture."

What particularly struck me in Schaeffer's piece was this quotation:
The stranger in ancient Israel did not serve as a judge, although he received all the benefits of living in the land. The political question is this: By what biblical standard is the pagan to be granted the right to bring political sanctions against God's people? We recognize that unbelievers are not to vote in Church elections. Why should they be allowed to vote in civil elections in a covenanted Christian nation? Which judicial standards will they impose? By what other standard than the Bible?
As the technical Latin term has it: wowzers.

That's attributed to Gary North of the "Institute for Christian Economics," who is said to be an exponent of "Christian Reconstructionism" or "Dominion Theology." I find the above quotation of North, and this discussion of Reconstructionist homeschooling, in this 1999 piece by one Mary McCarthy:
Sometimes termed 'dominion' or 'kingdom' theology, "dominionism revolves around the idea that Christians and Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns. * * *

In his excellent 1996 book, With God on Our Side, William Martin used a sampling of the views of several noted Reconstructionists to give a sense of how a Reconstructed America would be: "The federal government would play no role in regulating business, public education, or welfare…[S]ome government would be visible at the level of counties…but citizens would be answerable to church authorities on most matters subject to regulation…income taxes would not exceed ten percent - the biblical tithe - and social security would disappear…[P]ublic schools would be abolished in favor of home-schooling arrangements, and families would operate on a strict patriarchal pattern. The only people permitted to vote would be members of 'biblically correct' churches. Most notably, a theonomic order would make homosexuality, adultery, blasphemy, propagation of false doctrine, and incorrigible behavior by disobedient children subject to the death penalty, preferably administered by stoning…a reconstructed America would have little room for Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, or even non-Reconstructionist Christians. 'The Christian', one Reconstructionist author has asserted, 'must realize that pluralism is a myth…R.J. Rushdoony, also regards pluralism as a heresy, since, in the name of toleration, the believer is asked to associate on a common level of total acceptance with the atheist, the pervert, the criminal, and the adherents of other religions."
Frank Schaeffer thinks that the far-Right today is in large part driven by the products of Reconstructionist homeschooling:
In the early 1970s the evangelicals like my late father and James Dobson decided that the our society had fallen so far "away from God" and so far from "America's Christian history" that it was time to metaphorically decamp to not just another country but to another planet:. In other words virtually unnoticed by the media and mainstream political operatives, a big chunk of American society seceded from the union in all but name.

What they did is turn the white race-based in "Christian school" movement of the 1950s into a countercultural phenomena. As tens of thousands of new Christian schools opened, it was no longer just about "protecting" white kids from minorities and African-Americans. It was about protecting your children from Satan in other words the United States government's long reach through the public school system. * * *

We are now several generations into this experiment of holier-than-thou withdrawal from our American mainstream culture. If you wonder who it is that's both running and underwriting organizations such as the Family Research Council, Focus On The Family, Freedom Works and other organizers of the 9/12 March and who are most faithful followers the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh or viewers of Fox News your answer is: it's the home school/Christian school generation of men and women now hitting their thirties and even forties who might as well have been raised on a different planet. * * *

Who are Glenn Beck's foot soldiers? In effect what we have is a group of indoctrinated people who have never actually lived in America because they were brought up deliberately cloistered from it by their parents and churches.
Spooky stuff.

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