Christian Reconstructionism - The Foundation of Modern Conse
"He presses the crown rights of the Lord Jesus Christ in every sphere, expecting eventual triumph."
Christian Reconstrutionism is a little heard of religious philosophy that teaches that every aspect of society must come under biblical law. In their view, secular governments are in opposition to the word of God, and therefore they seek to eliminate all legal barriers between church and state. Founded in 1973 by R.J. Rushdoony, it has had wide influence in the modern Republican party. The overriding goal of Reconstrutionism is the absolute control of the reigns of government so that the world may be properly prepared for Jesus's return, and that achieving this goal will demonstrate the fulfillment of God's will. (Link)
There are five principles of Christian Reconstrutionism, summarized here:
First, Reconstructionists believe that God should be at the center of every activity, not just spiritual ones. Faith should be applied to art, education, and politics "no less than to church, prayer, evangelism, and Bible study."
Second, Reconstructionists are theonomists (theonomy: "God's Law"), meaining that laws are only righteous and just when they follow what the Bible -- primarily the Old Testament -- says. Law should serve three purposes: 1) To make other people Christian, 2) To provide a standard set of rules for all Christians, and 3) to maintain civil order. This has several frightening implications. Reconstructionists believe that non-Christian religions will be suppressed, that women will have their
political rights stripped away, and that a return to slavery would be fulfilling God's will.
Third, Reconstructionists do not try and rationally come to a conclusion about whether the Bible is true or not. They believe in its infallibility regardless of evidence or reason. The Bible, being (they believe) the word of God, is above questioning. Similar to fundamentalist Muslims who believe the only book of any import is the Koran, Reconstructionists believe the Bible is the ultimate arbiter in all disputes, minor or major.
Fourth, Reconstructionists believe in the imminent return of Christ and a kingdom in his name will be established. The Left Behind series of books by Daniel LaHaye are a good summation of this belief. This ties into their literal interpretation and absolute belief in the Bible: some interpretations of the book of Revelation in the Bible purport to predict such a future. Due to their belief that the world must first be prepared for Jesus's return, they zealously pursue their political
Finally, Reconstructionists are Dominionists. In the context of modern America, this means "[t]hat every area dominated by sin must be 'reconstructed' in terms of the Bible. This includes, first, the individual; second, the family; third, the church; and fourth, the wider society, including the state. The Christian Reconstructionist therefore believes fervently in Christian civilization" (Link).This belief has its origins in Genesis 1:6: "Let [humankind] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." The overriding goal of dominionism is the
absolute control of the government and environment, and that achieving this goal is the fulfillment of God's will.
Political Conflicts Explained
Much of the modern conservative agenda ties in closely with Reconstructionist beliefs, and are frequently in lock-step with them. Some examples:
Welfare - Reconstructionists believe that the state has undermined the church by many of its duties, specifically aid to the poor, indigent, and those unable to provide for themselves. Tom Albrecht, an avowed Reconstructionist, summarized this belief in a Usenet posting as follows:
The purpose of the state, on the other hand, is to be a minister of justice (Rom 13:1ff). It alone is given the sword of power to inflict vengeance on those who would violate the law of God as expressed in the laws of the state.
In our society the state has, to a large extent, usurped the "gracious" role of the church by involving itself in areas that are the exclusive domain of the church or family; ministries to the poor and needy, education of children, etc. This is a form of paganism in which the state becomes god to many people under its ever expanding sphere of influence.
Environmentalism - Obviously if you believe that a divine entity has given the Earth to you for you to use as you will, you will be angered at those who seek to stand in your way. Further, environmentalists have a view of the future that conflicts deeply with the apocalyptic visions of Reconstructionists, leaving (they believe) no room for Jesus, the kingdom, and so forth. Taken together, it is easy to see why Reconstructionists hold a special animosity towards environmentalists.
Civil Liberties - Liberty and freedom are not terms that appear very frequently in Reconstructionist writings, since so much of Reconstructionism is in direct opposition to the principles of freedom.
Death Penalty - Since the Hebrew scriptures have many offenses whose punishment is death, Reconstructionists are staunch supporters of the death penalty. They feel the death should also be given to adulterers, blasphemers, heretics, homosexuals, prostitutes, witches, abortionists, idolators, etc., as proscribed by the Old Testament.
Slavery - There is debate among Reconstructionists about whether or not slavery should be reinstituted, but the fact that the debate even exists is telling in and of itself. Women in particular would have their status reduced to that of a slave.
Evolution - Since evolution flatly contradicts a strict interpretation of the creationist story told in Genesis, they are in deep opposition to it.
Income Taxes - For Reconstructionists, income taxes are antithetical to Old Testament teachings, and are therefore to be eliminated. Further, lowering the income received by the government will hasten a crisis which, they believe, will allow them an opportunity to replace much of the existant federal government with a more theocratic state.
Moderate Republicans - More traditional Republicans have a view of the state much different from their Reconstructionist counterparts, and are therefore sidelined by much of the Republican elite.
Israel - The nation of Israel ties heavily into Reconstructionist thinking, being the place they believe Jesus will first physically appear after his return. Further, since they believe that the Jews are ultimately doomed, they give little thought to the humanitarian violations visited upon the Palestinians by the Israeli government. Their only concern insofar as Israel is concerned is to make sure it continues to exist as a state until the Rapture comes.
Iraq - Iraq (Babylon) also plays a large role in their eschtalogy, supposedly destined to become a neutral player in world affairs, and a focal point of the events that occur during the end-times (Link). They are therefore staunch supporters of the war in Iraq, and are hypothesized to have been influential on Pres. Bush in his decision to go to war.
Reconstructionists would be of less concern if it were not so widely influential in American political circles. Rep. Tom DeLay, Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, Rep. Ron Young, Sen. Sam Brownback, and others are all supporters of the Reconstructionist agenda. Pres. Bush's policies are more often than not in total synchrony with Reconstructionist desires, and he has been energetically embraced by them. Most of the current administration's policies can be tied together under a common thread when looked at as an execution of Reconstructionist thought, and this is truly frightening for Americans of all religious traditions.
Reconstructionism is an abhorent religious philosphy to those who value liberty, justice untainted by religious fervor, and a secular democratic form of government. Reconstructionism is based upon a twisted interpretation of the Bible, and gives little thought to putting the words of Jesus into action. It varies very little in its goals and pratices from the brand of Islamic fundmentalism forced upon the people of Afghanistan by the Taliban -- a totalitarian religious
order, doling out justice according to their twisted interpretations of a religious text, and forcing the people to believe as they do or suffer violent consequences. They give no thought to the lessons learned by humanity throughout its bloody history, believing that all lessons were codified thousands of years ago when the Old Testament was penned, and that nothing new has been learned since. Further, it preaches that the highest morality is to spread the word of God, and that whatever means are used to get to that end are fully justified.
Christian Reconstructionism - A general description and history
Fanatics of the far right
Christian Reconstruction - Copy of a post made to soc.religion.christian
Christian Reconstructionism, Dominion Theology, And Theonomy
Operation Potomac - How Reconstructionists are taking advantage of the current trend towards "faith based" charities
The Spider and the Fly
I already know the truth. the important thing is convincing others the righteousness of my views. Sometimes this will involve using techniques such as emphasizing certain things and deemphasizing others, I already know the truth. Contradictory information will be filtered accordingly.
Those who stand in opposition to me are deluded. I already know the truth. Spreading the word will involve dedication, determination, careful explanation. I must be flexible in tactics, otherwise the enemy will overrun me with their lies and deceptions. Endsmeans.
It is hardly worth mentioning that truth is frequently a malleable thing, determined to some degree by the structure of the argument and the amount of emphasis certain things deserve. If you can control the structure or emphasis you can control the outcome. The question asked limits the possible answers. All arguments must be framed in a favorable light, for we must triumph. The enemy does no different.
The audience is the important thing. Never, ever forget the audience. Every word uttered must be done in remembrence of their presence. Conversion is the goal. Conversion of the middle. Ridicule of the enemy. Strengthening of our side. Building our position. Incorrect facts cannot and must not be allowed to distract. They will be contradicted, and shown to be wrong.
Sanctimony is an extremely useful tool in achieving the goal of spreading the truth. If the opposition does something that is morally wrong they must be loudly shamed. It will be difficult for our cries of indignation to be too loud, too consisent, or too energetic. We already know the truth. The moral failings of our allies are to be forgiven out of simple necesssity and dedication, for we must stand together for our common cause. But our enemy's failings must be advertised so that people everywhere are aware of them and the obvious hollowness of their cause.
Hypocricy. If the enemy can be shown to be hypocritical, the battle is won. Hypocricy shows the lies of the enemy, lessens the worth of their words, distracts attention away from their lies. Hypocricy is far and away the most useful of tools, and should be kept in mind second only to the audience itself. It not only allows for sanctimony, but also shows the hypocrite to be unbelievable; a truly helpful combination. I already know the truth: the enemy is wrong, wicked, and self-destructive. Further, hypocricy causes the focus to shift away from our own (necessarily) clever use of rhetoric, and onto the enemy's own sinful behaviors.
Do not mock our allies. Ridicule must not be allowed to undermine our position. Do nothing that will lessen how righteous we are viewed, and are. Only ridicule the opposition.
I already know the truth, and that truth is that my position and belief is completely and utterly correct in every significant way. I am open minded, but determined in my belief. I welcome other opinions, but am experienced in the world. I cherish debate, but never forget the King of Lies. The opposition is full of baseless hate and determined to destroy me and my kind. I will not allow this to happen. I will counter their propaganda with the truth, and the tactics used are used defensively, to survive.
I am good, those who are like me are good. Those who differ from me in certain ways are bad, animal, reprehensible. Those who are like me are similarly aware of the truth, and the tactics we must use to win battles, and ultimately the war.
I already know the truth. I must spread the word for their own good. Follow me for yours.
A Review of "Return of the King"
The critical reviews are 99% positive, it is breaking box office records, and the word-of-mouth is good.
So is it?
In a word: yes. I think the last of the trilogy is also far and away the best. And not only of the trilogy, but the best of any movie I can think of that I have seen in the past decade. There are moments of deep terror, glory, sadness, joy and bittersweet nostalgia, and each are done without camp or overabundant earnestness. Although time constraints forced Jackson to eliminate or de-emphasize some episodes in the books, you can nevertheless feel the worshipful dedication to accuracy that the filmmakers succeeded in achieving.
I have been a Tolkien student for going on twenty years now (gads!), so I have gone into each of these movies with the critical eye of a fan. After seeing all three movies I not only harbor no ill will towards Jackson's interpretation of the books, I can honestly say that the enjoyment I received from this final movie made me wish I had paid more than a paltry $7.50 for my ticket. The battle scenes are simply glorious, the sense of scale stupefying. When uncounted legions of misshapen orcs, huge trolls, oliphaunts, and other evil forces assault the city/fortress of Minas Tirith you are filled with a sense of awe and terror. Mordor is knocking, and its arrival is something to be feared.
But the incredible scenes of war and battle are not the only area where this movie succeeds. The human element is what eventully makes this movie (like any movie) work, and Jackson does not fail on this point. The relationships between each of Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are displayed with a subtle brilliance, especially the unnerving competition between Sam and Gollum, hidden from Frodo's eyes. Other interpersonal relationships are handled with equal skill, driving the characters towards doom or triumph, Each action taken is understandable on different levels, and none of the characters are shallow sterotypes.
And this is what eventaully separates the Lord of the Rings trilogy from other successful trilogies, especially Star Wars. After seeing "Return of the King" I was reminded of a conclusion I came to several years ago: Lucas is a wanna-be sci-fi Tolkien, but he (Lucas) fails because he has never been able to successfully capture the humanity of his characters. Compare the scene in Star Wars where Ben Kenobi is killed with the scene in Fellowship where Gandalf falls. In Star Wars, Luke is sad for about 3 seconds, and the other characters hardly seem to notice or care. In Fellowship, Gandalf's fall reverberates throughout the entire company, and beyond. Tolkien was able to portray emotions beyond bravery, although he did that well, too. Lucas is able to create a rich tapestry (the Jedi, the Republic and Imperium, the different planets and ships, etc.) but he has never been able to make his characters interesting in any meaningful way.
I think that "Return of the King" will rank as one of the great movies of our time, and will be remembered and loved for many years to come. It will be a surprise if this movie does not win the Best Picture Oscar, at least as an appreciation of the series as a whole. The trilogy is unarguably a more skillfully done work than the Star Wars trilogy (hexology?) and is at the end far, far more satisfying.
Does anyone else get the impression that if the current Administration had their way, and if everybody would just see things reasonably, then we'd just all understand that they are not to be questioned? That they absolutely know what is best for the United States, and to question this in any serious way is treasonous?
Well, that is a load of shit Mr. President. You wanna know one of the reasons why this country is at the top of the heap? Because we have spirited debate and disagreements about issues. Because we search for the right answers, knowing that no single individual has them all. That we are *collectively* stronger, not because we have some dipshit aristocrat from Texas in the White House, but because we have said dipshit, plus 385 other dipshits in Congress, 9 dipshits in the Court, and countless other dipshits writing op-eds, doing talk radio, doing research, or just talking over beers at a pool hall.
BUT we talk. We disagree. We do not want a King, telling us what to do from on high. The AM radio circuit might be willing to follow blindly, but I most certainly am NOT.