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Politics of Christian Domination[Printer Friendly]

Much has been said about the “religious right” in America, and the influence of apocalyptic beliefs on current policies and pressures. But unfortunately, the depth and complexity of the topic is rarely addressed. It is rhetorically difficult to make a memorable and impressive point against a movement while admitting its complexity, on either side of an issue. So in the interest of addressing complexity I am not going to retrace the arguments for or against specific political positions, and I am not going to get into any detail regarding the role of religion in public life.

The main focus of this article is a deeper glimpse into the visions of conservative Christians, and of more extreme Christian movements in politics, how they approach issues of power and political domination, and the world-view different groups use to understand situations and justify their positions and plan of action. In the process, relevant interpretations of prophecy, the role of religion in politics, beliefs regarding the apocalypse, and sometimes manipulative group dynamics which shape and motivate certain movements, will come into play.

The popular “Left Behind” type of scenario of the end-times will be surveyed, but other interpretations of the Book of Revelations and ideas concerning the destined/prophesied role of the church are also very influential in more extreme circles. These views have subtle influence among those who uphold other positions on the end-times, and are part of the climate of the “religious right” at the highest as well as the lowest levels. The resulting combination of influences and movements may potentially have dire political ramifications and raises questions as to what sort of extremists are hoping to manipulate/use the more conservative “religious right.” Also, we will look at certain types of church discipline and manipulation which crop up within some pentecostal and charismatic churches, and issues regarding the Latter Rain, as well as the the cell church network and discipling movement, which both have influenced the larger Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian community.

As a whole, this overview is intended to paint a complex picture of what is called the Religious Right and its relationships with extreme Christian politics in America, leading to a more in-depth understanding of how people with different aims, different visions, and different levels of desire for leadership and power, interact within the broader conservative Christian political scene and religious culture. Secretive and authoritarian networks have woven themselves throughout this culture, to varying degrees, carrying with them concepts commonly held by Christian extremists, and sometimes with explicit links to groups on the extreme right.

To continue with this article, please follow the links below.

Correcting Distorted and Oversimplified Images
Background: End Times Terminology, Theological Currents (Augustine, Calvin, Darby)
Developments: “Left Behind”, Survivalists and Militants, Theonomy/Dominion Theology and Christian Reconstruction
Other Currents and Mixed Developments: Cell Churches, Discipling, The Latter Rain, Kingdom Now, British/US Israelism, Christian Identity
Concluding Insights