Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Santorum, Dominionist Code Words & The Green Dragon

In the latest ridiculous hubbub involving Rick Santorum he calls into question Obama’s worldview:
“This is what the president’s agenda,” before cutting himself off. He continued,”It’s not about you. It’s not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your job. It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology.”
Whether you believe that he stuttered and was calling into question President Obama’s faith or that he was simply criticizing Obama’s—and by extension the Left’s—worldview and ideals, let me tell you: it isn’t that simple.
The simple criticism and the one that national, mainstream (see: corporate) media pick up on because they are lazy and don’t do their job, is to bang on the “religion” drum. They will focus on the questioning of Obama’s religion that has been going on for the past several years. This isn’t wrong so much as it is too easy and incomplete. Again...it’s lazy. Yes, Santorum is scoring cheap points with Republicans, Tea Partiers, Fundamentalist Christians and others on the right with this line of attack. That is clear. All he would have to do is hint at that, like so many others have done, and get the cheap popularity points. However, looking deeper into Santorum’s comment and his worldview you see something else.

In early February Santorum told a crowd in Colorado that...

“We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit not for the Earth’s benefit,...”
This is unmistakable Dominionist talk. Even though Santorum is Catholic, and the vast majority of Dominion Theology is fundamentalist Protestant, these lines have begun to blur within the Religious Right. Just a few years ago, and still prevalent, most Fundamentalist Christians would refer to the Catholic Church as “The Whore of Babylon” and Catholics as evil. Conversely, far-right (and moderate?) Catholics still view Protestantism as heresy. Recently, however, with the grip of conservative religion slipping in the Western world these two disparate and normally unfriendly sects of Christians are beginning to warm to each other. It is a continued advancement by the religious Right to be seen and heard as one group and go by one name: Christianity. Not Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Evangelical, Baptist, etc. This is not a theological reunification. It is a political unification. Behind closed doors they may disagree on a lot. In the public eye they embrace and hold hands (not in a gay way though). A few weeks ago someone (I wish I could remember who it was to link it) on Twitter posted the following:
GOP ominously warned in 1960 that as president, Catholic JFK would take orders from the Vatican.

Now GOP is doing exactly that.
This is accurate. Politics are not as usual anymore for the American Religious Right. For political expediency they have jumped into bed with the Vatican. May Zod help them.
Back to Frothy!
Santorum continued his dominion/anti-environmentalism tirade by criticizing the science (/eyeroll) behind Global Climate Change as...
“An absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life,...”
This feeds into the right-wing, fundie, Dominionist meme that the secularist government is out to get the Good Christian folk and take away their religion! Satan is in control and attacking America! It’s the same silly argument that is happening with the contraceptives debate. If you can even stomach calling it a “debate.”
More recently Santorum made the odd statement that “Unlike the Earth, we’re intelligent, and we can actually manage things.”

These statements allude to a belief that people on the political left of the spectrum—and this can include anyone who is pro-environment such as scientists, environmental specialists, conservationists, and even Progressive Christians—actually worship nature instead of being “good Christians.” That is one reason why you hear the word “pagan” thrown around so often whether correctly or not. They think we worship the Earth. They really do.

Back in June of 2011 I found a weird video clip from a group called The Cornwall Alliance. This video is a highlight reel of right-wing religious leaders, pseudo-scientists, pseudo-historians, loud-mouthed radio bigots, etc. talking about the dangers of environmentalism. I thought it was ridiculous and made fun of it in a post entitled Religious Right fears "The Green Dragon". Ever the smartass and before I went into my “holy shit Dominionsim is crazy!" phase, I simply mocked it and moved on. I didn’t quite get the significance of it. Luckily Martin Pribble actually looked into the background of this thing and is it pretty scary. Martin wrote “Resisting the Green Dragon”  a post explaining the background of the video (he also posted the entire video for full-on crazy!) and his own analysis.

Martin wrote:

“Using the dual threats of ‘global control over everything we do’ and the “destruction of the Christian way in America,’ this video shows how radical religious movements are using misinformation to try and scare the American and world populi into believing that environmental concerns are not only anti Christian, but ultimately harmful to everyone worldwide.”
Dead on.

Even IF these people “believed” in Global Climate Change, environmentalism, etc. they would likely never admit it. Why? They do not care! A few years ago a Republican (of course) Congressman by the name of John Shimkus made the statement that “The earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”  He said this while speaking before the House Energy Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Fellow Americans…our leadership at work!   /weeps

The Congressman is only an example of the religious wackos. Think Progress and Right Wing Watch have lots of information on the myriad funding connections that these anti-environmentalist religious groups have with Big Oil, the Koch Brothers, and more that I won’t get into here. Before I researched and wrote about Dominionism so much, I thought the religionists were influenced and being used by the corporate elite. Now...I’m not so sure. At best it’s a two way street. To really understand my take on that read my Seven Mountains Dominionism post.

To close, I am going to quote Martin Pribble again (“moar hitz!”):

"It is a three pronged attack on reason, using fear of losing freedom, fear of losing the Christian way of life, and fear of conspiracy, and it aims to bring about a notion that environmental concerns are nothing but Big-Brother hiding facts in order to procure world domination. These people are devoted to the idea that Creationism, above all else, is the only truth, and this is very dangerous..."
While I agree with most of Martin’s statement, this isn't simply about Creationism. Maybe I'm cynical about these people but I think their motives are cynical. This doesn’t boil down to Creationism. It is about power. They have a most decidedly irrational fear of ceding anything to science, the Left, progressive believers and non-believers. “We”, or more accurately “the others”, cannot be right about anything or they would be wrong about everything. For them to admit Creationism is wrong, Global Climate Change is real, and contraceptives and women’s health is none of their damn business is to erode their reality. To give into anything that their “enemies” work for is to let Satan in. It's part of their dualist worldview. God vs. Satan. Us vs. them. Good vs. evil. Black vs. white. Christianity is always persecuted. Fundamentalist religious believers, in a weird way, have a lack of imagination.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

For Creationists, Creationism must be true --- it must be a logical necessity. So, they can't let contradictory evidence into their view of the world.

To insure logical necessity, they reason backwards to develop ways in which any contradictory observations can be modified to support the logical necessity of their view. Thus the Flood stirred up the bones into layers. The Flood also cut the Grand Canyon. When all else fails, deus ex machina is invoked to remove the water after the flood (or to cause a sequence of tidal waves that flooded the earth piece-by-piece).

Once earthly Creation and Evolution have been decided in their direction, astronomy and geology will come next, then quantum physics (remember "God does not play dice"?), then most of medicine, biology, relativistic physics, some of chemistry, and some of engineering.

These things will not just be neglected, they will be forgotten. People who teach (and perhaps even those who believe in) these things will be hounded and perhaps imprisoned or even executed. There ae too many variations of Theonomy to make broad generalizations but all of them treat heresy seriously.

These guys aren't kidding. Start supporting your local school board and work up from there.i

Anonymous said...

This movement also supports the idea of a male dominate society that takes women back to the 18th century if not further. We as women have no right to our bodies or our own decisions because we belong to God.
If the male "sins" he can be forgiven because he is by nature less pure and can be forgiven his lapses. Power corrupts absolutely when coupled with fear.

Anonymous said...

Reading the definition of Dominionism made me realize why I was uncomfortable about what lay behind the mask of Santorum's face. Especially after I heard his statement about, "... We were given dominion ...". I don't think there is any doubt that his use of this quote from Genesis is a codeword for Dominionists to understand that he is one of them and doesn't care if the rest of us know it, too. However, I am of the opinion that a bid for president by Dominionists is a laughable bridge too far. They may have some money and influence, but that pales in comparison to the power of corporations. So, unless some corporate big hitters are actually behind a 'mask' of Dominionism, it will never bear fruit in this country.