American ISIS: Christian Reconstructionists And ‘Biblical Law’ In America

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American ISIS: Christian Reconstructionists And ‘Biblical Law’ In America

by Rob Boston

Christian Reconstructionists’ believe that the legal code outlined in Old Testament books like Leviticus, Exodus and others should be binding on modern-day Americans.

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Every now and then, while scanning the day’s news, I come across a headline that’s hard to believe.

Like this one: “California lawyer proposes ballot measure to execute gays.”

Someone’s idea of a joke, perhaps? Well, it’s not funny.

As it turns out, this is real. An Orange County attorney named Matthew McLaughlin has submitted what he called the “Sodomite Suppression Act” ballot initiative to the California attorney general’s office. (You can read the whole thing here. Be warned, it is disturbing.)

Now, it’s worth noting that in California, anyone with $200 can submit a ballot question like this. The next step is to collect enough signatures to put it on the ballot – 360,000 in this case. That’s not going to happen, and even if it did, the attorney general would undoubtedly rule the question out of order because, well, it is insane.

But this incident is a reminder that we have among us a cohort I call the “American ISIS.” Like the followers of that fanatical movement, these people believe in imposing a hash version of law based on their interpretation of an ancient holy book on all of society.

In the United States, these people are known as “Christian Reconstructionists” or “dominionists.” In a nutshell, they believe that the legal code outlined in Old Testament books like Leviticus, Exodus and others should be binding on modern-day Americans.

The godfather of this movement, the since-deceased Rousas John Rushdoony, wrote a book called The Institutes of Biblical Law. In that tome, Rushdoony lists 18 offenses that would merit the death penalty in a “reconstructed” society. Among them are: blasphemy, homosexuality, adultery, “witchcraft,” incorrigible delinquency, unchastity and “propagation of false [religious] doctrines.” (A flavor for Rushdoony’s thinking can be picked up through this gem: “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 as though no differences existed.”)

Way back in 1988, I wrote a long article about this movement for Church & State. (Sorry, material that old is not online.) As part of the research, I drove to the outer D.C. suburbs of northern Virginia and interviewed a man named Robert Thoburn, a follower of this movement. Thoburn, a stout man with white hair and big glasses, smiled benignly during the interview. He looked like your grandfather. I had to wonder if he’d be smiling like that as he flipped the switch that executed a gay person, a witch or a propagator of false religions. (My bad – there wouldn’t be a switch. Most Reconstructionists argue that stoning is the preferred method of execution.)

In this country, Reconstructionists were never much more than theorists. They were prone to write long books and host conferences during which they would explore burning issue like what’s to be done with oxen that gore people.

But their influence was felt. Leaders of the Religious Right may not care to acknowledge it, but the Reconstructionists provided a basis for political engagement that helped spur the rise of that theocratic movement. A highly prolific bunch, the Reconstructionists penned books that became influential and provided the basis for the Religious Right’s attempt to remake American society in its own image.

When you read the platform of the Reconstructionists, you can’t help but notice its similarities to the goals of ISIS, the Taliban and like-minded bands of extremists. In both cases, there is great hostility to ideas like women’s rights, LGBT rights, pluralism, democracy and religious freedom. The irony, of course, is that both factions would consider the other “heathens” or “apostates” worthy of death.

While the Reconstructionists undoubtedly enjoy some sympathy among a small number of U.S. political leaders, they have nothing like their own party and (thankfully) no military arm. But, as recent events in California prove, their ideas are still out there and do pop up in unlikely places.

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NYT Investigates Right Wing Christian Fascists and Uganda’s Anti-Human Religious Theocracts

New York Times Investigates Relationship Between American Dominionists and Uganda
Posted by Brian Tashman

Earlier this week, The New York Times posted an excerpt from a new Roger Ross Williams documentary on how the Religious Right in the U.S. is shaping anti-gay activism in African countries like Uganda. The documentary includes interviews with International House of Prayer (IHOP) leaders Lou Engle and Mike Bickle, whom we have followed closely here at Right Wing Watch, along with footage of IHOP missionaries at work in Uganda.

Engle organizes the anti-choice and anti-gay The Call rallies, which regularly feature Republican and Religious Right leaders. In 2010, he brought The Call to Uganda to help promote the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would have made homosexuality a capital offense. (He later backpedaled after facing scrutiny.)

IHOP, including many The Call figures, helped to organize Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2011 The Response prayer rally, which Bickle emceed.

In the film, Episcopal priest Kapya Kaoma makes a reference to Seven Mountains Dominionism, the belief that fundamentalist Christians have a mandate to take control of the seven major spheres of society: government, business, education, media, arts and entertainment, the family and the church. As Engle explains, there are “seven mountains of influence” that right-wing Christians must “reclaim” in order to win over society.

Engle and Bickle are also key players in the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement of self-appointed prophets and apostles who believe they are spokesmen for God on Earth. Bickle has claimed that gay people are the targets of “flaming missiles” from Satan and has warned that the “gay marriage agenda” is a sign of the End Times as it is “rooted in the depths of Hell.” At one IHOP service, Bickle also claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist:

In 2008, Engle held massive rallies to encourage Californians to pass Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality, arguing that legalizing same-sex marriage “will unleash a spirit more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy, and sexual insanity will be unleashed unto the earth.” His rallies have focused on creating a “movement” of ex-gays to stop a Satanichomosexual tornado” that will “destroy America.” (He specifically targeted Ellen DeGeneres for “conversion.”) In addition, he has warned that the separation of the separation of church and state and gay rights are putting the U.S. on the path to Nazism:

While Engle and Bickle have extended their influence to nations like Uganda in order to export their anti-gay politics, they have continued to increase their clout in America’s Religious Right.


Hitler Was God’s Chosen Hunter: Hunting Jews! Claims Crazy For God John Hagee!

The Religious Right habitually camouflages it’s nefarious Christian Nationalist Worldview behind a phoney “pro-Israel” facade.

Religious fanatic John Hagee believes god sent Hitler to exterminate Jews and thus, as act and prophetic directive of his god, obviously a righteous and just genocide.

Like Catholic Hitler, John Hagee believes that unless Jews are converted to his Christ, they will be eradicated in the fires of hell that is, their final annihilation.

One has to wonder how even certain Right Wing Jews can be so utterly blind and continue support a religious buffoon who considers the destruction of Jews an inexorable, righteous and prophetic dictate — of his
psychopathic god?!

Jerry Taliban Boykin: Churches To Occupy

Boykin: The Church Is Called To Occupy
      Submitted by Brian Tashman

Jerry Boykin last week sat down with Paul Crouch Jr. of the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s show First To Know to discuss a new movie based on his autobiography “Never Surrender.” Boykin, who earlier this month demanded that mosques be banned in America, told Crouch that the Church needs to become more politically active because of threats to religious freedom from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and MoveOn. He called on viewers to work “so that the Church emerges as the dominant influence in America,” adding, “I refuse to believe that we can’t, because God told us to occupy.”


Boykin: The Church had the dominant influence in America. Today we have ceded that to other organizations like the ACLU and and Code Pink and ACORN. It is time for the Church, for Bible-believing Christians regardless of denomination, to unify and understand that we truly serve the same God, Jesus Christ, and we need to come before Him and ask for His forgiveness for where this nation has gone and how we’ve turned our backs on God, and ask God to lead us to do our part, individually, to do our part to make a difference in America so that the Church emerges as the dominant influence in America in what we were called to be, again, the salt and light for this nation.

Crouch: And that in your opinion, that is possible? We can take this nation back, in your opinion?

Boykin: We absolutely can take this nation back and I refuse to believe that we can’t, because God told us to occupy.