At one time, I wrote a lot about dominionism and the teaching that Christians were called to take over seven mountains of culture: government, education, entertainment, business, religion, family, and media (category:Dominionism). Christians who believe that often also believe America was founded as a Christian nation. Empirically the belief that America is a Christian nation has been associated with likelihood to vote for and support Donald Trump.
It is important to understand that Christians who believe America’s laws should reflect a conservative reading of the Bible don’t need everybody in power to personally be a Christian. They need a critical mass of people in a “mountain” of culture to be Christian in order to influence policy. For instance in government, as long as Trump has Christians around him influencing him to make policy they like, they don’t care that much what he does or says. According to a seven mountain resource, “The definition of reality is controlled by those that control cultural output.”
With this background in mind, please read this article by Jack Jenkins at Religion News Service. Jenkins watched the live feed of an event featuring Jon Hamill of Lamplighters Ministry. His opening description is ominous:
But last Friday afternoon (Dec. 7), one of the hotel’s many glimmering ballrooms was transformed into a sanctuary, where dozens of worshippers held their hands aloft and spoke in tongues as Jon Hamill, co-founder of Washington, D.C.-based Lamplighter Ministries, led the group in prayer.
Hamill — whom supporters describe as a prophet — closed his eyes tightly and shouted above the chattering: “In Jesus’ name, we declare the Deep State will not prevail!”
Jenkins then described how participants see their church and the government as being intertwined.
Yet conference speakers repeatedly cast Trump administration officials as agents of God. And they urged the gathering of “intercessors” — believers who offer invocations on behalf of others — to aid the White House through prayer. Doing so, they argued, would help bring about a cosmic, spiritual “turnaround” for the nation.
According to the event organizers, there are Christians in the government who want to bring about their vision.
“We have governmental leaders throughout the Trump administration who love Jesus with all of their heart, and they are giving their all for this nation and for God’s dream for this nation,” Hamill said.
While loving Jesus is fine, attempting to enact anyone’s religious dream as a part of government service is a problem.
What is the Actual Deep State?
Hamill and dominionists describe their intentions to control the mountain of government. For dominionists, it is a problem when others want to do the same thing, but it isn’t a problem when they do it.
Hamill worries about a shadowy deep state working to resist Trump. I am more concerned about dominionists who put their seven mountains teaching over the Constitution. The only real deep state conspiracy that I have seen evidence for is dominionism.
40 thoughts on “Dominionism and the Actual Deep State”
Dominionists are one of several cults that currently worship and revere the president* as the modern messiah that brings them all their wishes.
I talk to God all the time. God has never mentioned the current president and a dream for this nation, to me. I guess that’s because I’m not one of the Court Evangelicals?
“Empirically the belief that America is a Christian nation has been associated with likelihood to vote for and support Donald Trump.”
The dominionist/NAR crowd were behind Cruz, not Trump in the primaries. They aren’t really big Trump fans. It’s more accurate to say they are more likely to vote AGAINST any Democratic candidate, than to say they are voting for Trump.
“…as long as Trump has (NAR) Christians around him influencing him to make policy they like, they don’t care that much what he does or says.”
With that one change (adding NAR), I would agree with the statement. They do believe the ends justify the means. Just as socialists say “If only we get the right people in charge, this time it will work”, they believe that if the “right” people are in charge, the system (in this case, the Constitution) doesn’t matter.
” I am more concerned about dominionists who put their seven mountains teaching over the Constitution.”
I worry about everyone that puts their own teachings over the Constitution. They are flying under the radar at the moment, but are probably much better organized than anyone suspects.
To misquote Churchill: the American Constitution is the worst form of government, except for all the others.
Click the link for the study that associates voting for Trump with Christian nationalist beliefs.
Warren, do you suppose that Christian nationalists tend to be extremely pro-life (or anti-abortion, if you prefer that)? Think that might have anything to with it, when Trump was the only anti-abortion candidate in the race?
Except Trump doesn’t tout his anti-abortion stance at his rallies. He talks about wanting a wall, the “evil” democrats, and a whole host of other misleading statements and lies. And those are the things the people at his rallies (christian nationalists) cheer.
He actually published a list of SCOTUS picks, and said women who get illegal abortions should be prosecuted (to my dismay, I might add). I think he hit that issue pretty darned hard.
Really, how many times has Trump talked about abortion issues at his rallies vs. the number of times he has spoken about the wall or “crooked hillary” or “mexican criminals” or “fake news” etc?
Honestly I have no idea, but I do not think those issues are the basis for most evangelical support. They loved Reagan, George HW and George W, all of whom were rather soft on illegal border crossers. When Dems were still yelling about illegals on behalf of union workers, evangelicals were indifferent. I really do not think one needs to look any further than the abortion issue.
Why? because if you look further you might see the racist, misogynistic attitudes of many (esp. christian nationalists) who support Trump?
Those are related constructs.
I am pretty sure the Whitehead research also examined votes in the Republican primary where all the candidates were pro-life.
Of the questions they asked, precisely ONE of them actually points to Christian nationalism of the kind that characterizes Dominionists or other problematic movements (“The federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation”). The following questions do not point to any such thing:
“The federal government should advocate Christian values”
Which Christian values would be objectionable as public policy? Honesty? Charity? You would have to nail people down on some very specific issues before this was anything other than a Hallmark movie level sentiment.
“The federal government should enforce strict separation of church and state” (reverse coded)
Many people would associate this question immediately with hostility from the state for Christian values, given the conditions in the culture war over the past few decades. What are the particular issues? In what sense? In what way?
“The federal government should allow the display of religious symbols in public spaces”
Most people like a Christmas tree in the public library. OMG! If they are really hardcore, maybe they like the nativity at the police station. OMG! They do not want every war memorial with a cross on it removed. You would have to push this issue a LOT further to arrive at “white Christian nationalism”.
“The success of the United States is part of God’s plan”
Many Christians (and non-Christians) believe that almost everything is part of God’s plan, because God is sovereign. Their theology on these matters may be incoherent or unbiblical on multiple fronts, but even nominal Christians often believe this kind of platitude.
“The federal government should allow prayer in public schools”
Again, perhaps if pressed many people would recognize the complications of having prayer in a public school, but they are not thinking along political lines. They simply have a notion that when we had prayer in school (as we did when I was a kid… we said grace in kindergarten for our milk and cookie each day… OMG!), kids were not getting shot like sitting ducks, Planned Parenthood was not pushing for oral sex training in middle school, and kids were not as beset with issues like suicide, etc. It has nothing to do with aggressive Christian nationalism, and more to do with Norman Rockwell paintings.
I admire you and have learned a lot from you, Dr. T. I know for a fact that you are not an idiot, but man, are you eager to make yourself useful these days. I don’t understand your desire to paint conservative Christians with such broad brushes. You told me on Twitter once that you “don’t believe evangelicals, because evangelicals lie.” Gotcha. Have any insights on them dirty Jews or good-fer-nuthin’ Polacks?
What you say about any one of the questions could be accurate for someone who doesn’t accept Christian nationalism but the more of those you endorse, the more likely Christian nationalism is your outlook. As I recall, Whitehead put those responses into a regression analysis to look at the trend. You have taken the non-Christian nationalist slant on all of them but if you endorse all of those items, then the chances that you are a Christian nationalist are pretty high.
I won’t insult you with name calling but I think I could say the same about you and your defense of these positions. I don’t think you are a Christian nationalist but if you really believe and defend these things, you might as well be.
Warren, I am not defending the positions themselves, but I can definitely sympathize with people who do not think in extremist ideological terms and consequently do not necessarily consider how such things might play out in an increasingly diverse society. Frankly, this is the second issue (this and the Unite the Right rally) where you have basically said, “I know what’s right, I know what people think, I know where the lines are drawn, and if you think differently or want to equivocate on what I have said, then you are obviously a problematic person.”
Branding someone a “Christian nationalist” with such crude tools means absolutely nothing, unless you are trying to stop thinking with nuance and start discriminating with blunt bigotry.
I respect you, and that’s why I push back. Because the tendency towards ideological brittleness and inflexibility in your writing is new, and frankly you do not seem capable of recognizing it.
With respect, I would like to say that I can’t agree with this. I remember the previous discussions surrounding your Unite the Right objections and I could not agree with your assessment either. It was clear you felt strongly about it but in the end I believe we simply disagreed. I don’t remember Warren’s responses to be much different, but there was definite disagreement. I’m not sure why that would make you feel singled out at the “problematic” person.
Warren generally takes a long time to reach a point of frustration, even with commenters I think well and truly deserve it. Are these perhaps just hot-button issues with you? We all have them.
Well, because in both instances, when Warren was being questioned on the particulars of his statements, his response was to lump me or others in with those he identifies as wrong/bad (in soft fashion in my case, but chalk that up to his politeness).
I equivocated on his take concerning Christians and Christian nationalism, so according to him for all practical purposes I am a Christian nationalist. He states that everyone at the Unite the Right was allied with white nationalists/supremacists, I present him with proof that he is factually incorrect, and his response is that anyone present at that rally was placing themselves under the banner of white nationalism. In other words, they interfere with his broadbrush and convenient narrative, so with a wave of a hand we throw them over into the racist pile (including black and gay members of that free speech group).
His take on what Trump said in the wake of the rally (“both sides”) was also easily countered with facts.
This issue of the validity of the six questions used to identify “Christian nationalism” (was that term even defined?) is more a matter of opinion, I grant you. But on the Unite the Right topic? His assertion was demonstrably incorrect, and I presented the factual evidence, but rather than allow any nuance to impact his ideological tunnel vision, he villified the persons in the video. Based on absolutely nothing. I take that back. He asserted that because the event was organized by racists, that everyone who was present was racist (and, I guess, deserving of physical attack by antifa-types?). I shared with him a CNN article talking about the fact that no one knows who the heck will show up in droves at these events, regardless of who organizes them.
I do not like it when people use indefensible broad brush statements about others, and it makes me want to defend them. We all do it, but if we are intellectually honest we may further clarify or recant when we are called on it. Few of us double down, and when Dr. T does it I am severely disappointed. In a way, I feel as if I am defending my respect for him by countering it.
I don’t remember the exchanges quite the same way and I can’t find them because of the loss of comments after the site move. However, as I said, we disagreed then and I understand that we disagree now. You’ve just made the charge a couple of times and I thought I would simply say that I do not see it that way (the posts or Warren’s response to you). I don’t particularly feel like rehashing those discussions at this point, for lack of time if nothing else.
“I don’t understand your desire to paint conservative Christians with such broad brushes”
Because Warren isn’t doing that. Warren is talking about a specific sub-set of conservative christians: christian nationalists. if you believe that Warren is trying to say that “christian nationalist” is the same as “conservative christian” then you aren’t careful attention.
Actual “Christian nationalists”, as in people who actually believe that we need to institute some kind of Americanized theocracy and then act/donate/support/vote in deliberate fashion on such beliefs, represent an utterly tiny sliver of evangelical Christians. Here’s an explicit conflation in Warren’s post, meant to connect a marginalized faction of kooks to garden variety evangelicals:
“Christians who believe that often also believe America was founded as a Christian nation. Empirically the belief that America is a Christian nation has been associated with likelihood to vote for and support Donald Trump.”
I already addressed what I thought of the “Empirically” part elsewhere.
The idea that “America was founded as a Christian nation” is a misleading line of demarcation to draw, because the very first thing one has to do is differentiate between those who believe that America enjoyed a Judeo-Christian cultural pedigree, or who just believe that the majority of the population was Christian, or who focus on the Mayflower Compact as opposed to the Constitution when considering the nations origins, or who believe that the Founders shared a fundamentally Christian ethic even if they were not explicitly Christian, etc. etc. Acting as if every person who says that they agree with the statement that “America was founded as a Christian nation” thinks that public Christianity should be enforced by law on any level common to Dominionists is flatly absurd.
“represent an utterly tiny sliver of evangelical Christians.”
What percentage do they represent? and were can I see the data supporting that percentage?
I don’t know how one would arrive at that number, but I suspect a good place to start would be to look at the largest conservative Christian denominations in the United States and see if you can find even a hint of actual Christian nationalism. Not a tacky conflation of patriotism and faithfulness, not churches that hand out voter “guides”, and not churches who don’t think taxpayers should pay for abortion. I mean actual Christian nationalists who believe and pursue the extremist ideologies of factions like Dominionists. I have a good guess at how many you’ll find: zero. If you get into the more fragmented and hardcore fundy denominations like Independent Fundamental Baptist churches, I’m betting you will find more people who believe the government is evil and is actively working to produce the Antichrist and make them get a UPC code on their foreheads so they will be able to buy groceries than you will find people trying to establish a theocracy. It just aint there.
So once again you make claims based on your “beliefs” rather than actual facts. Warren has had several posts about christians attempting to use the government to enforce their religious beliefs (whether they are dominionists, christian nationalists, etc). While no one here has claimed they make up a majority of christians (or even of christian conservatives), they are not insignificant as you are trying to claim (again with no evidence).
“Warren has had several posts about christians attempting to use the government to enforce their religious beliefs.”
I’m sorry, but that is not a specific enough statement to cast in a malevolent light. There are non-religious gay pro-life groups (www.plagal.org is one) who want to change the country’s abortion laws. As an evangelical, I want to change the country’s abortion laws. My pro-life beliefs rest on religious faith. Is the key issue whether or not the advocate for particular legislative action is religious or not?
I believe shoplifting is wrong, and I believe that for religious as well as utilitarian reasons. I want the government to enforce that belief under penalty of law. I believe that unborn babies at six months of development are equal in human value to a six month old baby. I’d have a harder time making a utilitarian argument for that. I believe it for religious and humanistic reasons. I want that belief enforced by the government and that’s how I engage politically, and I don’t apologize for it. I believe that baptism should only be performed on people old enough to request it. I do not want the government to enforce that belief, because I believe in separation of church and state.
What I am primarily objecting to is that Warren’s post is a train wreck of broad insinuation with nothing substantive at the center.
“I’m sorry, but that is not a specific enough statement”
That is because you cut the part where I gave SPECIFIC examples of whom I (and Warren) was referring to.
“a train wreck of broad insinuation”
Only in your mind. If you are continuously the only one who doesn’t understand what Warren is saying, then perhaps the problem isn’t with what Warren is saying.
I have no doubt that being a Christian is associated with casting a vote for Trump, but that doesn’t reveal the reason the vote was cast.
Rubio, Cruz, or Kasich would have shown the same association. It’s likely any GOP president would have been just as cooperative as Trump (Cruz more so).
It’s a mistake to portray dominionism in politics as a Trump phenomenon. NAR was around long before Trump came on the scene, and will be around long after he is gone.
Focusing on Trump in this instance is taking your eye off the ball. Trump is being used by the NAR types, but he isn’t running the movement.
It is not just being a Christian. Having Christian nationalist beliefs was the biggest predictor (that and anti-Muslim beliefs). No one is portraying NAR as a Trump phenomenon. I don’t know how you are getting that out of the article. No one suggested he is running the movement. Ruining it maybe.
What percentage of Christian-nationalists would have even considered voting for Hillary Clinton? Probably 0%.
People with ant-muslim beliefs? Probably none also.
This could say something about the GOP, it could also say something about the Democratic party (booed God at 2012 convention; President Obama wouldn’t use the phrase “Islamic terrorism”).
Of all the people (which wasn’t even the majority of the US citizens voting) who voted for Trump, who do you believe still supports him ?
You’re not doing yourself any favors by repeating an outright lie. The people on the convention floor were not booing God, they were booing the convention chair who declared an amendment passed 2-1 on a voice vote even though it was impossible to tell what the result was.
It was the chairman’s abuse of protocol to steamroll an amendment through that had them booing, nothing more.
When the legend becomes fact, print the legend–TMWSLV
The point isn’t that it’s true. The point is Christian-nationalists believe it is true, and act on that belief.
I actually think there is a “deep state,” but not a Deep State. Government workers are like any other employees of large, established organizations: They think and believe all sorts of things, none of them monolithically. The closest thing to commonality of belief would be the shared conviction that what government does is important, and bigger than any individual. But their politics are all over the map, just like in real life!
The Deep State is just one of many ludicrous conspiracy theories that appeared, full born, with the Coming of Trump. Older wingnuts, eager to latch on to the newest madness, have imported anti-semitism and Illuminati-type mindsets into Trumpmania, though with little apparent success (except for the anti-semitism, which, like a box lunch, just goes with everything). Dominionism is simply another opportunistic cult looking to exploit the weakness inherent in government by the insane.
It takes a stubborn wilfulness to proclaim Dominionism is somehow in accord with the principles of the Constitution. And sheer delusion to find Donald Trump consonant therewith. From the Jenkins article:
“They really think God installed Donald Trump to then install other
people in the government to have what they call ‘kingdom values,’”
Christerson said, speaking generally of the movement. “We call it
‘trickle down Christianity.’”
One would think that that for Christianity to “trickle down,” there must be some Christianity up above, whence to trickle. Alas, not from Trump, who is about as un-Christian as one could imagine. I mean, not only is it now okay to be an accomplice after the fact to the murder of a journalist, we apparently are now going to use hostages to extract trade deals with China. So much winning…
“For dominionists, it is a problem when others want to do the same thing, but it isn’t a problem when they do it.”
That’s because they are absolutely certain that they are right, and that anyone who opposes them and their (holy) crusade is really opposing God. This is the scary thing – they see themselves as working to bring about God’s own agenda and so they genuinely believe that the ends justify the means. (It’s all very old testament…)
Yep, and it’s just a coincidence that this agenda is a very self-serving one in terms of their political beliefs and their finances….
– absolutely certain that they are right
– anyone who opposes them and their (holy) crusade is really opposing God*
– see themselves as working to bring about God*’s own agenda
– genuinely believe that the ends justify the means
There you have it. Today’s modern leftist university campus.
*God = leftists with advanced humanities degrees
No strawmen here…
This is hilarious. It reminds me of books about the Illuminati and other conspiracy theories that hit a fever pitch when George H.W. Bush, no doubt completely unfamiliar with the babbling of kooks, spoke of a “New World Order”. This stuff is so irrelevant and out on the margins that most Americans have never even heard of it (unlike the Illuminati, the New Age, tarot cards, etc.) This blog post will be the most attention they get all week.
Empirically the wearing of shoes from Walmart has also been associated with likelihood to vote for and support Donald Trump. SMH.
Really? I don’t recall New Age or Illuminati acolytes systematically grooming an army of lawyers for placement in the US Justice Department, yet that’s exactly what Falwell and Robertson did, and successfully, with the help of the Bush Administration. Nor is there any evidence of them forming secretive organizations at the center of government with the goal of influencing and directing lawmakers and policy, yet that’s what conservative evangelicals have done. And nor has there been any attempt to hijack the National Day of Prayer to subvert the day for their own sectarian purposes, like the Dobson’s have done, with considerable success.
So , once again, you attempt to foist a false equivalence upon us. You can certainly argue how effective all these this will be in the long run, but to dismiss them as conspiracy theories is flat out wrong.
Your ivy league universities were established as Christian institutions. Dr. Throckmorton’s own college is churning out graduates of faith to go out into the world to succeed and influence. If you are going to conflate every aspiration of Christians to influence government policy and our national character with Dominionism, you’ll be perpetually frightened.
I have heard things that give me pause from both Fundamentalist Christians and from Charismatic Christians, certainly. But no more than from any other group (including cranky atheists), and in all of my years associated with conservative Christianity and reading every Christian book I can pack in and listening to Christian YouTube content of all stripes almost daily, I have never heard a hint of anything formalized or organized along the lines of what Warren describes.
It’s a scary story for paranoid thinkers. If Nation of Islam adherents are more likely to vote for whatever candidate happens to win, does that mean the Nation of Islam is ascendant? Or that every effort of Muslims to govern and use their rightful influence as citizens should be conflated with the anti-semitic kooks of their faith?
Cite your source on WalMart.
i think that Thomas Jefferson would be turning over in his grave.
With the Republicans adhering to this junk, and the Democrats seeming to go more globalist/socialist, I am leaning more towards the libertarian side.
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