Just Because You're Column: Paranoid, Don't Mean They're Not After You

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 23, 2011 — 311 Comments

Forgive the nod to Nirvana, whose “Nevermind” is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, but I’ve been reading an awful lot lately about accusations of paranoia regarding coverage of the Christian religious phenomenon known as Dominionism. For some reason Kurt Cobain sneering “just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you” kept entering my mind. Maybe it’s a generational thing.

In any case, ever since the presidential candidacies of Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas governor Rick Perry started making news, their connections to conservative Christian groups who espouse some form of Dominionism, a religio-political movement that seeks “influence or control over secular civil government through political action,” has been getting increased attention in the mainstream media. The three most prominent examples come from Forrest Wilder’s piece on Rick Perry in the Texas Observer, Ryan Lizza’s piece on Michele Bachmann in The New Yorker, and Michelle Goldberg’s piece on both candidates in The Daily Beast. Suddenly, “Dominionism,” a term usually relegated to small watch-dog groups and religious leaders considered to be on the fringes of mainstream society, was everywhere. All this attention seems to have rattled some cages, and a seemingly inevitable backlash against the term is in full flower.

The former spokesperson for famous Christian evangelist Billy Graham, A. Larry Ross, says that Dominionism is a “broad label that few, if any, evangelicals use or with which they identify” (though he also admits to not personally knowing either Bachmann or Perry). A similar line is taken by religion journalist Lisa Miller at the Washington Post, who chides journalists who use the term, and points out, like Ross, that most evangelical Christians don’t want to take over the government. Barry Hankins at the American Spectator also works to acquit evangelicals, while Jonathan Tobin at Commentary says the newest conspiracy theory is Christian “Manchurian Candidates,” and Reason magazine implies that such stories amount to a constitutionally unsound “religious test.” Even the Dominionists aren’t Dominionists anymore! As Right Wing Watch recently documented, influential New Apostolic Reformation figure C. Peter Wagner says his movement doesn’t want theocracy, just Christian influence over every sector of society (a message echoed by another influential NAR figure).

“The usual meaning of theocracy is that a nation is run by authorized representatives of the church or its functional religious equivalent. Everyone I know in NAR would absolutely reject this idea, thinking back to Constantine’s failed experiment or some of the oppressive Islamic governments today. The way to achieve dominion is not to become “America’s Taliban,” but rather to have kingdom-minded people in every one of the Seven Mountains: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business so that they can use their influence to create an environment in which the blessings and prosperity of the Kingdom of God can permeate all areas of society.”

So is this coverage just secular paranoia from the journalistic elite, one that bares a longstanding bias against pious Christians? The smaller media outlets that have been covering these theocratic tendencies among the Christian fringes are now responding, starting with Peter Montgomery, associate editor at Religion Dispatches.

“…this is not a movement dreamed up by people with no understanding of Christianity who simply want to stir up fear of conservative evangelicals. The increasingly widespread use of “Seven Mountains” rhetoric reflects an effort by a broad swath of conservative evangelical leadership to adopt a shared set of talking points, if you will, to unite theologically disparate elements in common political cause to defeat the Satanic/demonic enemies of faith and freedom: secularists, gays, liberals, and the Obama administration.”

Montgomery also blasts the false equivalencies being made by defenders of conservative Christianity’s honor, asking to see “the evidence for this leftist anti-Christian jihad.” Meanwhile, the folks at Talk To Action are surprised at the ignorance some journalists are displaying when trying to downplay Dominionist influence, and are quick to point out that groups like the New Apostolic Reformation are an “egregiously underreported sector of the Religious Right – not a conspiracy.”

In the book “Gravity’s Rainbow” Thomas Pynchon writes that “if they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” When you start getting peppered with questions like: “do you think all evangelicals want a theocracy,” or “do you believe Rick Perry/Michele Bachmann is a brainwashed Manchurian Candidate,” the inevitable negative answers from most corners will simply return us to a more comfortable frame of reference. Instead of getting answers to questions about why several political figures mingle, hobnob, and praise individuals who do call for something that looks very much like theocracy, or why these extremist elements seem to be getting absorbed into mainstream  conservative Christianity, we become mired in discussions over terminology and whether evangelical Christianity is being treated fairly. Still, as Adele Stan at AlterNet points out, this flurry of denials and reframing is actually something of a victory.

“Believe it or not, for progressive reporters, Miller’s high-profile denial is something of a victory, for it means the work of investigative journalists for progressive publications is making its mark on the more mainstream outlets, as when the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza echoed Sarah Posner’s reporting for Religion Dispatches in his profile of Bachmann, or when Michelle Goldberg built on the dogged research of Rachel Tabachnick (writing here for AlterNet) and others for her Daily Beast piece on dominionism’s claim on both Perry and Bachmann.”

For me, the bottom line is how a candidate will treat religious minorities once given the chief executive’s job. The arguments over terminology mask the fact that rhetoric, associations, and intentions do matter when we’re talking about national politics. As I pointed out recently at the Washington Post, even things said before an individual becomes president can be later interpreted into policy at high levels.

“Due to the unique “bully pulpit” power possessed by our Commander in Chief even comments made before a politician becomes president can later be interpreted into policy by his administration. There is a strong indication this happened during the presidency of George W. Bush, who famously remarked in 1999 that “I don’t think witchcraft is a religion, and I wish the military would take another look at this and decide against it.” In this case “it” was allowing Pagan soldiers to freely practice their religion at Fort Hood in Texas, but nearly a decade later the Washington Post reported on a case involving grave markers for fallen Pagan soldiers where Barry Lynn of Americans United said that discovery documents showed “references to Bush’s remarks … in memos and e-mails within the VA.” In Lynn’s opinion “the president’s wishes were interpreted at a pretty high level.” In short, rhetoric, especially when you go on to lead the world’s most powerful nation, does matter, as does the rhetoric of those who have played king-maker during the election.”

If a politician builds up a proven track record of hostility towards non-Christian faiths, or associates without qualm with those who do, as I believe Michele Bachmann has, then there is great risk in allowing these figures to lead a secular multi-religious nation. These debates over how much influence figures from various extremist Christian groups truly have isn’t simply an academic matter for those who don’t benefit from Christian privilege. Even if someone like Rick Perry isn’t a true believer and is cynically hitching his wagon to the horses he thinks will help win him the race, the tide of an elected president raises all boats, and we would see figures who believe that Pagans are demonically controlled suddenly granted new levels of access to power. That’s scary, because as the recently-released West Memphis 3 can tell you, Satanic panics are nothing to laugh off. Or as veteran Lakota journalist Tim Giago says: “Watching political candidates for the highest office in this land standing on podiums espousing their individual religious beliefs as gospel for all of us takes me back to those days when priests and ministers led the assault on the indigenous people using the Bible as a weapon of mass destruction.”

No doubt to some Christians this will all seem like paranoia, but I would surmise that most of them didn’t suddenly realize one day why their parents never revealed their religion to them as children. I know that most Christians could care less about what Pagans get up to (I’m grateful for that, and reciprocate their general lack of concern), but I know that the ones who do crave the ears (and souls) of influential individuals with an unrestrained passion. The trouble is that it only takes a few well-placed individuals to make things difficult for those who don’t toe some arbitrary theological/cultural line. I guess what I’m trying to say is that just because some of this sounds paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after us.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Anonymous

    Excellent post, Jason.

  • Anonymous

    I think that this mentality is harmful to Paganism.
    It makes us just as bad as Bachmann or Perry. It’s doing the same thing they are doing to us. Demonizing the “Other”. In this case, we’re doing it to Christianity. Yet not all Christians are fundamentalist wackos like these people.
    However, when they see us doing the same thing that they’re doing, we’re going to be perceived as fundamentalist wackos.

    Since its modern inception, Pagans have been acting like Christianity is some bugaboo that we need to fight. Us vs. Them. Sure, there are intolerant individuals and groups out there. But we should take the high road and not give the fundamentalists any more ammunition to use against us.

    We must go out and volunteer our time to help the sick and the homeless, the poor and downtrodden. The outcasts. Even if that doesn’t turn the hearts of the fundamentalists, it’s the morally right thing to do.

    • G Redford

      First, how is standing up against or raising awareness about these people in order to protect individual religious freedom equal to those that would destroy it? There’s more then a few intolerant Christians out there and we don’t need to give them ammunition against us, they’re more than capable of creating it themselves. As for volunteering, well surely you don’t want to be as bad as those Christians who take advantage of the vulnerable to spread their religion, do you?

      • Anonymous

        Not all Christians that volunteer or help out the sick or poor or homeless do so because they’re trying to spread their religion. Hell, I’d say most of them do not. They do it because they believe in helping these people as Jesus taught.

        I don’t believe Pagans should be proselytizers. I do believe that we should go out and help our communities. Jesus was right in that regard. We should help the poor, the sick, the homeless. We should be compassionate towards others. Even people like Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann.

        Treat them, and other evangelical Christians, with respect, not as enemies. It might not change their attitude towards us. But it’s the right thing to do.

        • I would counter with the argument that in giving respect, one should expect to be accorded the same privilege. Governor Rick Perry has stated on numerous occasions that he believes that First Amendment Rights such as the freedom of religion should only apply to Christians. The man has said it, he has stood by it and none of the many newspapers that have ever quoted him about it has ever been asked to print a retraction.

          No one is attacking Christians – this is not Pagans being overly paranoid. The track record of the far right, usually of the GOP, that they mean to blur the lines of separation between Church and State. That church, according to most within that party should be Christian. All others need not apply.

          • No Bod E

            They like to blur the lines between church and state until it comes time to investigate their finances or questionable practices (Warren Jeffs) then they are all for keeping the government away from their church.

          • Anna

            It’s actually worse than that … only “Bible Believing” Christians are “real” Christian to Dominionists. Your mainstream Methodist and liberal Episcopalian Church are not, in their view, Christian at all.

          • I’d say that makes it “better” rather than “worse” insofar as we’re concerned. It means that we have a good chance of containing this particular movement should we (or others) be able to convince yr. average Christians-in-the-street that they are a clear and present danger to them as well as to us.

        • Anonymous

          *sigh* Concern troll is still concerned.
          How exactly are we supposed to find respect for Bachmann & Perry? I feel sorry for them as stunted, deranged individuals, but nothing they do deserves respect, and no respect offered them by Pagans will ever be returned. Respecting them will not stop them from attacking people whom they see as demonic.

          • No matter how nice and respectful we are to a scorpion, how far we carry it across the river and call it our friend, it will still sting us…Because it is a scorpion. Unfortunately, for some people, respect and loving thy enemy aren’t enough to get the scorpions to stop stinging.

          • Not to mention all those that will make it your fault the scorpion stung you, for oppressing it to the point where it “had no choice but to sting.” XP

        • The argument that we need to be spending our time helping the unfortunate rather than drawing attention to the threats to our freedom is certainly interesting.

          There are a fair few of us who actually do both. There are even Pagan-run charitable organisations.

          How, exactly, is this an either / or sort of situation?

          • Anonymous

            It’s not either/or.
            I just want to see more Pagans volunteer.

            Also, I don’t think there are necessarily ‘threats to our freedom’. Unless they start seriously discussing throwing Pagans in concentration camps if elected.

          • Cigfran

            Concentration camps are your threshold for the idea of freedom?

          • Pagan Puff Pieces

            I think you need to raise your standards a little…

          • Someone else mentioned the analogy of slowly boiling a frog alive. It sounds as though you’d wait for the frog to be boiled,chopped, plated, seasoned, served on a bed of greens, and down some diner’s gullet.

          • By the time they start throwing us in concentration camps it will be too late. The time to pay attention and raise awareness of the very real threat is NOW. But since you’re so determined to give the Dominionists the benefit of the doubt, I will graciously allow you to take my place in line when they start rounding us all up. It’s the least I can do.

          • “I just want to see more Pagans volunteer.” Good…so do I. My suggestion is to stop talking organize a reading circle. Might ai suggest something about Japanese internment camps, some of academic work concerning faith based persecution of Pagans, and the literature of the Dominionist themselves.

          • Chuck

            That’s already been discussed here in South Carolina. And let’s not forget that a sitting president declared that he didn’t think Atheists were American citizens because this is ‘one nation under God.’

        • /Why/ is it the right thing to do? I’m all for treating evangelicals with respect by default, as individuals, unless they disrespect us. But that doesn’t seem to be what you’re advocating.

          • Chuck

            Love the sinner, hate the sin…in other words, I’ll treat them with respect until they do something to lose my respect. Acts of Christian terrorism qualify as losing my respect.

          • Basically. They can swing their arms about to their hearts’ content, but if their fists get too close, I’ll voice my concern. If they try to punch me in the face…Well, at that point, I won’t turn the other cheek.

          • I ain’t loving anybody. They do me wrong, that’s it. At least I’m going to be honest about how I feel, not talk about “forget and forgive.”

          • Oh, I agree, Norse. I’m only tolerant of their beliefs if they’re willing to be tolerant of mine. Tolerating intolerance leads to things like the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Burning Times, Nazi Germany, etc.

    • Grimmorrigan

      This mentality is harmful to everyone and I agree that Pagans should get out in the community more and be an active, present, and permanent part of the local landscape….however the stack of case files, research notes, and oral interviews on my desk shows the power of the Bugaboo you’re a speaking off. It exists and has the tendency to attack the high profile members, as a few papers littered with footnotes will attest.

      Yes a percentage of the Pagan population react in ways I do not approve of when dealing with Chrsitians. The Bruning Times are their End of Days. Poor history written with a relgious agenda by unprofessional scholars damns us as much as we damn Barton’s drek. Fear runs rampant, and a lack of facts cripples our community just as much as it does the Christian Tea Partiers we so love to parody. Why? I don’t know. Some blame linger Christian mindsets, other blame the general mental laziness they claim is inheirent in American culture.

    • Anonymous

      Concern troll is concerned.
      Xtian fundies make shit up about us. If every Pagan went and volunteered at the local Xtian charity, the story would be that we’re infiltrating it for our Satanic master’s evil plans. Taking “the high road” will not deprive them of ammunition.
      Nobody is claiming that all Xtians are alike. It’s this particular brand of Xtian that is dangerous, and directing a measure of it’s hateful venom at us. Calling them out for it is not the same as what they’re doing.
      Why are Pagans acting like Xtianity is a bugaboo we need to fight? Because some elements of Xtianity are constantly attacking us. Did you miss the memo?

      • Anonymous

        Sure, the wackos will continue to say wacko things regardless of what we do. But we should still volunteer. It’s not a PR thing. We should do it because it’s the right thing to do morally.

        I think the victim mentality is harmful here. We’re not constantly being attacked. Crazy people occasionally make comments about us, but let’s gain some perspective here. Paganism is more popular now than it has been for about 1500 years. Pagans have it better now than we have had for 1500 years.

        We are able to practice our religion (for the most part) safely and openly.

        I’m so tired of Christian-bashing among Pagans. Yes, there are wacko fundamentalists but we’re overreacting. Until one of them is actually elected to The White House and starts Anti-Pagan legislation, then there will be cause for concern.

        • I guess what everyone is trying to point out to you is what you have said yourself here, “Until one of them is actually elected to The White House and starts Anti-Pagan legislation, then there will be cause for concern.” There are wackos trying to get elected to the White House to do just that. Right now. Not some time in the distant future. Not in a sci-fi novel. In real life. Today. This is happening. That cue that you give yourself for concern is here.

          I, for one, would like to do everything I can to make sure that it does not progress to a point of actual religious persecution, and, more to the point, I don’t think we should wait until all of our civil rights and freedoms have been suppressed and we find ourselves in actual persecution to stand up and say, ‘Hey, we should organize and do something about this.’ Let’s bring awareness about it to the mainstream, as has already started to happen, and nip it in the bud.

          • Ananta Androscoggin

            And don’t forget the influence of state governors and legislatures, many of which became Republican controlled by members loyal to this extremist viewpoint.

        • Anonymous

          If they make it to the White House, it will be too late. The problem is that there are two demented dominionists headed that way right now. The time for concern is right now. The fact that they get to spew their toxic bullshit in the media without getting taken to task for it means that we’re UNDERreacting.
          I don’t disagree that volunteering is a good thing. I volunteer for a group that donates thousands of dollars to local food banks and Peaceworks.

        • Um, I’ll take issue with the notion that “we are able to practice our religion (for the most part) safely and openly.”

          I would expect that Carole Smith would also. As would Julie Carpenter, Rachel Bevilacqua, Thomas E. Jones Jr, Tammie U. Bristol, Jen Lepp, the Nebraska “Jane Doe” complainant… I’m sure Jason could provide a much longer list, if you really want one.

          I know a number of people who are in the “broom closet” for fear of losing their job, marriage, children or other severe repercussions. To say nothing of the plight of Pagans in less developed countries.

        • By then, it might be too late.

        • Sunweaver

          I’m definitely against Christian-bashing. Most Christians I know are great people. It’s the few wackos that are in public office that concern me and the fact that there is a de facto religious test to attain public office. There are so many small things that continue to marginalize non-Christians and it’s not always something as obvious as making us sew pentacles on all our shirts or rounding us up in camps. This blog has covered a number of issues, including religious accommodation in prisons, custody issues, work discrimination issues, and so on down the line. Those are the ducks that are nibbling us to death. You are absolutely right, the victim mentality isn’t helpful. This does not mean, however, we can bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it’s all peachy and that the law will always protect us. We must maintain awareness to protect not only our coreligionists, but any minority group subject to similar discrimination.

          In short, I’ll relax when you can say “We are able to practice our religion safely and openly” without the parenthetical qualifier.

      • Norse Alchemist

        Wait! We’re not trying to take over? -grumbles and hides axe- “So much for the pillaging…”

    • Could you point out where I demonized Christians in this post?

      • Anonymous

        You’re not demonizing all Christians. My apologies if that’s the way it came out. You’re demonizing Perry and Bachmann.

        They are acting this way because they afraid of us. They don’t know us or understand us. (And, most likely, have no interest in doing either.) But treating them as enemies (even if they initiated it, even if they treat us like enemies) is not going to change things.

        We must take the moral high road and extend kindness and compassion to these individuals and other evangelicals like them. Indeed, we should do that for everyone.

        • The Bony Man

          I am all for taking the high road whenever possible, and not attacking people unless it is necessary, but at some point the “turn the other cheek” philosophy just becomes masochism. These people have declared themselves enemies of religious freedom. We didn’t do it, they did. To treat them as such is quite reasonable, IMO.

          • How this is not more obvious is beyond me.

          • Norse Alchemist

            Indeed. Time to end the cheek turning. It was never the ways of our people anyways.

        • Stating “Perry and Bachman hope to round up Pagans and put them in concentration camps” would be demonizing them. Saying “Perry and Bachman, along with influential supporters of both campaigns, have made several disturbing statements which suggest a disregard for the rights of minority religions” is a simple statement of fact.

          • Anonymous

            It sure seems like that’s what a lot of people here are saying about Perry and Bachmann. The concentration camps thing.

            Much as I disliked George W. Bush and some of the things he did, he was a fundamentalist Christian and didn’t go around persecuting Pagans as President.

          • Yes, and the organized left lost a lot of credibility with silly rhetoric about “FEMA concentration camps” etc. Just as the organized right lost a lot of credibility with rhetoric about Kenyan socialists with fake birth certificates. And in both cases this kind of ranting served to distract attention from very real problems within each administration.

          • Ananta Androscoggin

            However, Bush/Cheney’s spending included having the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers give $368 million to Halliburton for the job of constructing 60 facilities all across the country, the description of which amounts to “concentration camps.”

            When questioned what they were for, Bush White-House mouthpieces would only state they were for “Future Events.” That’s the only answer given to both members of the press, and members of congress.

            During this same stretch of time, the Bush FEMA trainers were instructing groups of clergy across the country that during emergencies, the clergy was to be the snitch to FEMA about anybody who was receiving assistance who appeared they might be unwilling to obey federal officials without question.

            And don’t forget, right after Katrina, a lot of emergency aid heading towards New Orleans was stopped by officials in some areas who claimed that Martial Law had been declared and that they could only let aid through which had been previously approved by the feds. Remember that truckload of ice which ended up in Maine?

        • Paganism doesn’t go in for that “love thy enemy” or “turn the other cheek” foolishness. That’s for people who think this life is meaningless and silently suffering oppression earns them grace points for some big guy in the sky who will reward them someday.

          I think most pagans are willing to give anyone a second shot at better relations. There are people who react to us out of ignorance, but who are basically decent and open minded people. We saw that with Roy Exum recently.

          We have no obligation whatsoever to indulge the vicious speech and actions of those who have spent a lifetime making us their enemy. To do so is fatal foolishness. It is no different than buying a scorpion as your kids pet and treating it like a guinea pig in hopes that it becomes cuddly and docile.

          In my understanding of what it means to be a pagan, the “moral high road” is to honor my obligations to myself, my family and clan and my gods. By fair dealings and generosity and hospitality wherever possible. By a fight to the death if necessary. Nowhere in there am I obligated to abase myself before some thugs to extend them undeserved compassion in the delusional hope that they will one day love me back. To even attempt such a thing would be a grotesque insult to my gods and my values.

          • Anonymous

            ‘Paganism doesn’t go in for that “love thy enemy” or “turn the other cheek” foolishness.’

            Perhaps yours doesn’t. Mine does.

          • Hear, hear!

          • Anonymous

            Very well said.

          • Chuck

            I agree, Kenneth. Apparently Kenaz doesn’t think that torturing gay people to death, or shooting up Unitarian churches, or blowing up the Olympics, or bombing women’s health clinics qualifies as terrorism. Which begs the question, what DOES qualify as terrorism where Kenaz is concerned?
            I wonder if Kenaz would be okay with Christians beating one of his family members to death?

          • Chuck: if you’re so damn worried about Pagan persecution, why not stay in the broom closet? Christians feel a need to share their religion with the world and see persecution as something to be sought after? If you’re going to keep playing the Christian game, why not follow their religion. It would improve relations with your neighbors and might even save your relatives from a beating.

          • Chuck

            Kenaz…if someone blew up your house, or murdered your family, would it be terrorism?
            If you avoid the question again, I’ll know why.

          • As I have said on several occasions, and as appears to be abundantly clear to everyone save the blithering idiot who is Chuck: I do not advocate torturing gay people, blowing up the Olympics, or bombing women’s health clinics. But neither do I advocate making unjustified accusations of “terrorism” against people based on their religion, be it Christian, Muslim, Pagan, etc .

            Chuck: care to share with us the name of that “family member” who was killed by “Christian terrorists?” I’d hate to think you were making up dead relatives just to score points in an online discussion. But it frankly wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

          • Chuck

            Kenaz: ““When you resort to attacking the messenger and not the message, you have lost the debate.” — Addison Whithecomb

            By resorting to childish namecalling, you’ve made your intentions clear.

            If a person commits a terrorist act due to their interpretation of their religious beliefs, then that makes them a Christian terrorist (or a Muslim terrorist…or a Pagan terrorist for that matter, depending on the belief).

            It’s pretty obvious, Kenaz, that you support terrorism as long as it’s committed by Christians.

        • Cigfran

          > They are acting this way because they afraid of us.

          No. They are exploiting the prejudice of the belligerently narrow-minded.

        • No Bod E

          “they are acting this way because they are afraid of us”. Isn’t that what you get told by your parents after the local bully has beaten you up?

        • Perry is Governor of Texas. He spends a good deal of time in Austin, which is a fairly progressive city all things considered. College town and all that. There are plenty of Pagans here. He should be used to us enough to not be afraid of us. I really don’t think he’s “afraid” at all. I think it’s a sense of superiority and entitlement we’re dealing with, not fear.

        • Perry is Governor of Texas. He spends a good deal of time in Austin, which is a fairly progressive city all things considered. College town and all that. There are plenty of Pagans here. He should be used to us enough to not be afraid of us. I really don’t think he’s “afraid” at all. I think it’s a sense of superiority and entitlement we’re dealing with, not fear.

        • Oberon Osiris

          <> “They are acting this way because they afraid of us. They don’t know us or understand us. (And, most likely, have no interest in doing either.) But treating them as enemies (even if they initiated it, even if they treat us like enemies) is not going to change things.”

          Ridiculous! It is you who are not really understanding them, I believe. Afraid of us, yes, we somehow threaten them, obviously. Maybe they bought the Satanic abuse thing from the ’80s, hook line and sinker.
          They very much CHOOSE to not understand or know us. Why is it that any of these folks *never* are seen in any connection to Interfaith communities, events, activities, etc. Its not just Pagans they are against, but we make the best case for their whipping up their own flocks against us.
          And I would counter that we don’t necessarily treat them as enemies, but we are foolish if we don’t see them as the very potentially large threat they are to us, as well as anyone else who is not of their “one true faith”.
          Their writ is loud and clear – only they are good Christians and they must save the world from everyone and everything else.
          I have personally experienced attacks and threats from similar folks – from 20 years ago. Write me off this list and I will tell you my experiences, if you wish, but you don’t get off telling all of us that we should wait until they actually fulfill Plan P, or whatever they would call it.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Word! Dominionists are an implicit threat to everyone who is not them, and an explicit threat to us. We are the canaries in the mineshaft, and we should be cheeping our hearts out.

          • Anna

            This is not a pagan problem. This is an American problem. Everybody who is not them stands to lose and that includes a lot of Christians!

        • Anonymous

          You have no idea what your talking about. They know us.. They understand their own beliefs and we go against everything they hold dear. That is all they need to know to do everything they can to put an end to what they see as our disobedience to God. Again I will say this for those of you who haven’t heard it. If you didn’t grow up in these churches and don’t understand the mindset of these people then you have no idea what they will do if given the chance. They will not give you a pass no matter what you do as long as you are an unrepentant sinner in their eyes. They view Pagans, Gays and a whole sundry list of others as wayward children that must be either brought back to obedience or cast out. No ands ifs or buts

          • They are scorpions, and it is in their nature to sting us, so they will sting us. To think they will do anything else just because we’re really really nice to them is foolishness.

          • Norse Alchemist

            Okay, i get the analogy, but will you please stop with the scorpion thing? Some of us aren’t that bad, and you’re doing us a disservice by comparing us to these Christians. XD

          • NorseAlchemist: Scorpios are just fine in my book, don’t worry, 😉 I’m the son of a Scorpio. xD

        • Robert Mathiesen

          sacredblasphemies wrote:

          “They [= Perry and Bachmann] are acting this way because they afraid of us. They don’t know us or understand us. (And, most likely, have no interest in doing either.) But treating them as enemies (even if they initiated it, even if they treat us like enemies) is not going to change things.

          We must take the moral high road and extend kindness and compassion to these individuals and other evangelicals like them. Indeed, we should do that for everyone.”

          Actually, no. Paradoxically, one of the most evil things in the whole world is to argue that one should *always* take the “moral high road” and occupy the moral high ground. Nor is compassion always an act of kindness. Sometimes it can be the greatest cruelty.

          In many cases, the “moral high road” leads only to one’s own death and the downfall and destruction of all that one held dear.

          I hate to fight. It is messy and brutal, and it turns both fighters into something ignoble and subhuman. Even so, if I ever do have to fight someone for real, *when the stakes are as high as that*, I will fight as dirty as I know how.

          Like codes of law, moral and ethical codes have their valuable uses, but they have no absolute value as good things in and of themselves.

          • Yes. Framing this as a black-and-white issue creates a false dichotomy that doesn’t exist in the real world.
            And fighting doesn’t always have to turn both fighters ‘into something ignoble and subhuman.”
            For example, Gandhi fought against British oppression. I would hardly call his fight ‘ignoble and subhuman.’

          • Robert Mathiesen

            Of course. I was referring to physical fighting, where it is body against body and the intent is to deny the opponent any further agency at all. I should have been more clear. (I myself don’t usually think of what Gandhi did as “fighting.” But that may be a generational or cultural thing, a shift in what the word means.)

          • And as for anybody pointing out that Gandhi fought the British nonviolently, as I’m sure somebody in the Turn-The-Other-Cheek camp might point out, I’d like to point out that it probably wouldn’t work against other enemies.

          • “And as for anybody pointing out that Gandhi fought the British nonviolently, as I’m sure somebody in the Turn-The-Other-Cheek camp might point out, I’d like to point out that it probably wouldn’t work against other enemies. ”

            Ever read Starhawk’s ‘The Fifth Sacred Thing’?

          • With regard to the Fifth Sacred Thing, I have not read it, actually.

    • Cigfran

      We have enough trouble with people like Scalia and Thomas – particularly with the latter’s ideological adherence to ‘Natural Law’. All we need is for one of these fruitcakes to actually get elected and get someone sympathetic to their twisted worldview on the Court.

      In the meantime, they provide both heat and light for some of the sickest, most egregiously bigoted sectors of our society.

      • Norse Alchemist

        Natural Law? Please explain

    • Anna

      Dominionism is a political movement with religious trappings. Speaking out against it is no more anti-Christian than speaking out against Al-Quaeda is per se anti-Muslim.

      • Ursyl

        Yes!! Exactly!!

    • Ursyl

      What have you been reading?

      I’ve not seen Jason’s nor anyone else’s coverage of the Dominionist issue making blanket statements that all Christians are Dominionist or even sympathetic to their goals. The coverage I’ve been reading here and elsewhere has been very specific about which Christians are in that camp and limiting the criticisms to those.

      And please show me where exactly any Pagans are making claims that we should be in charge of all aspects of the government and life just because we’re Pagan. THAT would be the equivalent of what the Dominionists are saying. Seeking to be knowledgeable so as to protect our freedoms and rights is absolutely not the same as seeking to infringe on theirs.

      How exactly does ignorance deny them “ammunition?”

  • Agreed, Jason. Every faith has its cranks and its zealots, and it doesn’t do to get worked up about them. However, when two of the contenders for the Presidency came from – – and embrace – – and work with the leading lights of a movement which has no place for us, that’s a qualitatively different thing and must be addressed as such.

  • Chuck

    There’s a very active movement in South Carolina to create a theocracy: http://www.christianexodus.org/

  • “The potential for religious hysteria had always been present in the American culture, and this I knew, as my father had rubbed my nose in it from an early age. Father had pointed out to me that the only thing that preserved religious freedom in the United States was not the First Amendment and was not tolerance . . . but was solely a Mexican standoff between rival religious sects, each sect intolerant, each sect the sole custodian of the ‘One True Faith’ – but each sect a minority that gave lip service to freedom of religion to keep its own ‘One True Faith’ from being persecuted by all the other ‘True Faiths.’

    “(Of course it was always open season on Jews and sometimes on Catholics and almost always on Mormons and Muslims and Buddhists and other heathens. The First Amendment was never intended to protect such outright blasphemy. Oh, no!)

    “Elections are won not by converting the opposition but by getting out your own vote, and Scudder’s organization did just that…the election of 2012 turned out 63 percent of the registered voters (which in turn was less than half of those eligible to register); the True American party (Nehemiah Scudder) polled 27 percent of the popular vote . . . which won 81 percent of the Electoral College votes.

    “In 2016 there was no election.”
    – Robert A. Heinlein, _To Sail Beyond the Sunset_

  • 1 in 4 Christians in the US believe that “The government should take special steps to make the US a Christian country.” This goes up to 1 in 3 for “Charismatics”, and a whopping 52% for Pentecostalists.

    That is from the Pew Foundation 2006 report “Spirit and Power” (p. 64). The same report estimates that about 80% of the US population is classified as “Christian”, 18% “Charismatic”, and 5% “Pentecostalist”.

    Also, while a majority of Christians support the constitutionally guaranteed separation of church and state, that majority is not so overwhelming at a mere 60%.

    A little quick math results in the following:

    20% of the total (not just Christian) US population supports outright theocracy.

    32% of the total (not just Christian) US population does not support the principle of separation of church and state.


  • Anonymous

    I’ve been studying the Dominionist movement for nearly a decade, and yes, it is a very real substrate of evangelicism. Not all Evangelicals are Dominionists, and care must be taken in examining their mission statements and connections. It’s like the Pagan vs. Wiccan disambiguation- All Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans.

    Personally, I like that this movement is being revealed and examined- even if some people do dismiss it. Writers Jeff Sharlet and Frederick Clarkson and others have also been examining this movement for years- and Sharlet’s book “The Family” reveals how deep the rabbit-hole goes in our government and military. As a veteran, I can personally tell you that the military was already being ‘seeded’ with such people while I served. And the incidents at the Air Force Academy are just the top of the pyramid.

    I am not paranoid. Nor am I anti-Christian. But I do see patterns forming, and this one has been developing for a long time- go look up “The Wedge Strategy” just to see one facet of this movement.

    All I ask is that people read up and get familiar with the dog-whistle terms, the grass-roots seeding and their mindset. Especially important is examining all local level candidates for office- particularly school boards and city, county, and local councils and state government offices. That is where they are truly gaining traction. And once they do, dislodging them is very difficult, especially once they hoist the Jolly Roger.

    • Ananta Androscoggin

      Speaking as a veteran of 10 years’ service, I have to state that I am having doubts about the loyalty to the Constitution of this nation by the U.S. Air Force. It’s like our own military leadership is creating a fifth-column loyal to this extremist ideology — and there’s only one purpose for a fifth-column.

      • Anonymous

        Mikey Weinstein, an ex USAF JAG officer, has been battling the USAFA for years over religious discrimination. His Military Religious Freedom Foundation is documenting the rise of militant fundementalism in the US Armed Forces- and it is very scary.


        • Ananta Androscoggin

          I get the MRFF’s e-newsletters.

      • The USAF is changing. It’s my understanding that the Wiccan service at their basic training camp is the most popular religious service, and that they are actively trying to make sure their recruits have the religious support they need, regardless of religion.

        • Sunfell

          It is gratifying to learn that there is a Wiccan service at Lackland. My colleagues and I risked a lot- including our careers- to get Wicca officially recognized back in the ’80s.

          • Yup. A friend of mine’s son just graduated basic and she said they were welcoming and concerned on how to meet their needs. They seem to have decided to make it a point of pride to give their recruits what they need to be the best they can be.

      • Norse Alchemist

        I’ll see your above fifth column and raise you it being taken over by Muslim Extremists, who are getting government backing for religious classes from clerics that even most Muslims think belong to cult 😛

    • The grass-roots seeding can work both ways. If Dominionist candidates can run for public office without disclosing their agenda, what stops Pagan candidates from doing the same thing? You don’t have to come out of the Broom Closet to encourage tolerance and advocate for desired social reforms. And, as the Tea Partiers etc. have found out, it’s relatively easy to get elected to local school boards, county commissions and similar offices.

      As Joe Hill (?) said, “Don’t mourn. Organize.”

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        If you’re not deterred by the ethics of trying to keep something like that a secret from your constituents, think of the risks of being outed once in office.


        Mother Jones.

        • The risk depends on how public you are about your religion, and what kind of waves you make while in office. As far as ethics goes: if I am qualified to do the job in question and am willing to deal with all constituents fairly regardless of their race, creed, etc. I’m not sure my religion SHOULD be an issue.

          My point is that this line of attack has been used by various Christian organizations in small towns around the country and has been successful. We can either rail about the horrible unfairness of it all, or we can use their own game against them.

          • That’s a False Dichotomy Fallacy. It’s not an ‘either-or’ situation. We can talk about the horrible unfairness of christian terrorism AND ‘use their own game against them’ at the same time.

          • We’re very impressed that you discovered a “logical fallacies” page on Google. Now that you’ve done that, care to share some information about that relative of yours who was “killed by Christian terrorists?”

          • Sorry Kenaz, I don’t respond to people who support terrorism.

  • The “just because you’re paranoid quote” comes from the Joseph Heller novel Catch-22. I remember some punk band in the ’80s updating it to say “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they don’t have you in their computers,” which today given the post 9-11 surveillance state and the ubiquity of internet/smart phones etc. in our lives seems very prescient.

    As for the topic at hand, yeah, religious intolerance rears its ugly head. So add modern pagans to the sh** list of those who are deemed unacceptable to right-wing Christians, same as it ever was.

    Join the club, which includes Jews, homosexuals, minorities and other “deviants” who’ve been dealing with prejudice from these same people for centuries.

  • No Bod E

    Christianity itself wasn’t a major religion until it got a political endorsement from Constantine. Small (or seemingly small) movements can become big with the right political backing.

    • No Bod E

      I don’t worry about being paranoid. Paranoid people are seldom caught off guard.

    • At least the Romans and others could have the excuse that they hadn’t encountered anything like Christianity before. We don’t have that excuse.

  • Chuck

    I don’t consider it ‘Christian bashing’ to defend yourself against bashing by Christians. Make no mistake, the American Christian fundamentalist movement is the American Taliban. Their goal is utter domination.
    We have 2000 years of Christian history to remind us what they’re capable of. In my lifetime alone, I’ve witnessed several acts of Christian terrorism. I lived in Pensacola when they bombed women’s health centers and murdered doctors. I was in Atlanta when they bombed the Olympic games. A friend of mine was the pastor of a Unitarian church in Tennessee where a Christian fundamentalist walked in and opened fire. A gay relative of mine was murdered for the crime of being born gay.
    Don’t think that Christian terrorism is in the past. It is still very much alive.

    • No Bod E

      I haven’t come out of the broom closet because my own family would turn on me. I live in the “heartland” where to be anything but a christian can be dangerous. I was raised in a christian household and do not speak or ” bash” christianity from a position of ignorance. Just because the net has (thankfully) allowed more of us to find alternatives such as Paganism doesn’t mean that we can’t find ourselves in the Dark Ages once again.

      • Ananta Androscoggin

        Given all of the superstitious crappola, and Abrahamic mythology the far-political/religious-right want our schools to teach in the place of actual History, Science, and how our country works, it’s almost as if they are deliberately trying to turn America into a fifth-rate nation filled with people capable only of being serfs under control of the MegaBuck$ corporate backers of these religious extremists.

        That’s one possible take on this, however far-fetched it might be.

        • Norse Alchemist

          from what I hear, all sides are doing that. The Left changes the books to fit their views, The Right tries to do the same. Honestly, I’m not sure we have the accurate histories anymore…

          • And there’s a very good reason to collect old books. 😉

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    There is no doubt in my mind that the conservative push-back against exposes of Perry’s and Bachmann’s Dominionist connections mean that the original critiques are gaining traction. Perhaps this will never become a stump-speech issue, but people who inform themselves by reading will become aware of it.

  • To be fair, using language like “American Taliban” and “Christian Jihadis” sheds a lot more heat than light. When Dominionists start blowing themselves up on subways or throwing acid in the faces of immodestly dressed women, get back to me. Until then, let’s refrain from language which could easily be dismissed as yet more “Nine Million Witches Dead in the Burning Times” whining from privileged Pagans looking for chips on their Oppression Bingo card.

    Don’t get me wrong: I think these wannabe Theocrats are genuinely dangerous. Perry, Bachman, etc. need to be held accountable for their Dominionist dalliances and their loony-tunes cosmology needs to be exposed and appropriately laughed at. But their public documents provide us with plenty of ammo to show the movement and its followers for what they are. I would recommend using the abundant factual evidence rather than overheated clichés. (And I should add that so far Jason has done an excellent job of that).

    Plenty of people, Pagan and non-Pagan alike, have noted the Neopagan tendency for “Xian-bashing.” I think it’s imperative that any response to this very real threat avoids getting lumped in with attention-seeking behavior from the usual gang of Witchy Idiots.

    • No Bod E

      What about when they blow up clinics where women are exercising their rights. It would seem that they feel they are the only ones allowed to decide the difference between “murder” , “justifiable homicide” and safe medical procedures freely chosen.

      • If you want to compare the Army of God to the Taliban, I wouldn’t put up too much of an argument. (I might note that the AoG has far less influence in American society than the Taliban and similar organizations in Afghanistan and Pakistan). But let’s reserve that label for specific groups who are promoting and committing acts of terrorism right now, not just people whose politics we find reprehensible.

      • If you want to compare the Army of God to the Taliban, I wouldn’t put up too much of an argument. (I might note that the AoG has far less influence in American society than the Taliban and similar organizations in Afghanistan and Pakistan). But let’s reserve that label for specific groups who are promoting and committing acts of terrorism right now, not just people whose politics we find reprehensible.

        • Ananta Androscoggin

          Don’t forget the “Hutteree” (“because it sounds biblical”) militia that murdered a cop because they wanted to turn a police funeral into a massacre.

        • Chuck

          If you’ll notice above, I specifically said FUNDAMENTALIST Christians. So unless you have another Strawman argument, my original intent remains.

          • Norse Alchemist

            Strawman may have a point though. It’s not unheard of.

          • By definition, a strawman is off the point. 😉

          • Norse Alchemist

            Except that oftentimes, when making strawmen, things creep in that make them make more sense than those fighting them.


    • Chuck

      Kenaz…have you ever had friends and/or relatives murdered by Christian terrorists? I have. I know firsthand what they’re capable of. Of course, if you support the murder of gays, doctors, etc. then perhaps you’re part of the problem.

      • Ah, the voice of reason. Anyone who recommends civility and moderation must of course be on the side of the Bad Guys: anyone who advocates judicious use of “terrorism” and “murder” does so because they support terrorism and murder.

        Chuck, people like you are a large part of the reason why Pagans – and specifically Pagans who claim religious persecution – have a hard time getting people to take them seriously.

        • Anna

          Er … but you see … terrorism IS terrorism. The Southern Poverty Law Center is not involved because people are simply *talking*.

          • Norse Alchemist

            No, the Southern Poverty Law Center is not involved because they have no political points to gain. They’re one of the more corrupt organizations out there from what I hear.

        • Kenaz, when you’ve lived through a threat of being murdered and your house burned down as I have, get back to me about not calling these people terrorists. This particular group (Dominionists) ARE terrorists. They want to shove Jesus down our throats and they advocate violence to accomplish it. ANY GROUP that advocates violence is a terrorist, get it?
          I live in TN and some of these folks would gladly murder any non-Christian. They are called Christian Supremacists because that is what they openly advocate. But then you probably think Nazis weren’t terrorists. I’ve followed this movement a long time, very closely and I don’t think you understand what is happening.

          • Chuck

            Not only would they like to murder non-Christians, they have done so, right here in the U.S.

          • So why are you a public Pagan in the face of this kind of oppression? Do you see martyrdom as something to be sought, or do you think that your Gods command you to spread Their message to the world? I’m genuinely curious here. I’ve heard lots of Pagans talk about how they were persecuted for their faith and how they have suffered for their beliefs. Yet I do not see anything in pre-Christian religious thought which suggests that martyrdom or evangelism were privileged in those cultures.

          • Chuck

            Kenaz…do you condone terrorism? It’s a simple question. Yes or no? Is terrorism okay with you?

        • Chuck

          When they kill your family members, we can talk. Until then…troll away, troll…

        • Chuck

          So you don’t consider blowing up buildings and murdering gay people to qualify as terrorist acts?
          So I guess 9/11 was just bad piloting…

          • As soon as Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann blow up buildings or murder gay people, I will happily call them terrorists. Until then I’ll reserve the label for people who actually commit violent acts.

            Ready to share the identity of that relative who was “killed by Christian terrorists” yet?

          • Kindly post where I said Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann have blown up any buildings. Yet another strawman on your part. You’re really not very good at this, Kenaz.

    • Anna


      Consider this from the Southern Poverty Law Center and NOTE: conservative figures blocking the investigation of far right violence by the Department of Homeland Security. They are preventing our law enforcement from pursuing this. (Also note: the DHS officer speaking to SPLC is a Republican and a Mormon … all religious conservatives are not created equal!)

      Some of the instances mentioned made the news (the Holocaust museum shooting) but the Dominionist connection was underreported.

  • No Bod E

    I think it might be time to drag out an analogy often used by christians when they want to warn that we are a hidden danger.

    (Sorry if this is gross) If you put a frog in a pot of water and slowly heat that water to boiling, the frog will just sit there. If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will jump right out because it will be aware of the danger. ( told you it was gross).
    I think we are in a pot of water that is heating up and need to be aware of the danger before we are boiled alive.

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    Don’t like “Dominionist” as a label for their movement?

    How about another term which is quite clear: “Protestant Supremacy.”

    • Anna

      Protestant Supremacy is inaccurate. It implies that 1) If you are Protestant you are okay with them and 2) there is no racial element to their movement, it is purely religious.

      • Item 1 is a good point, but Item 2….”Supremacist” just means “advocate or adherent of group supremacy”. This doesn’t need to be specifically racial supremacy, though that’s the kind we hear most about these days. Since “Specific-Sect-of-Christianity-That-Is-The-One-And-Only-Truth Supremacist” is rather clunky, “Christian Supremacist” may be better.

        • Anna

          Sorry I wasn’t clear. But actual Dominionists often have a racist element all mixed up in their theology. They have no problem with black and brown people who keep in their place. But even black and brown evangelicals should not be sanguine about them.

          • True. Bob Jones University here in Greenville…a hotbed of Dominionist thought…forbade interracial dating until just a few years ago. I’ve often heard it said here in the Bible Belt (by fundamentalist Christians) that black people were ‘under the curse of Cain’ or ‘under the curse of Noah.’

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    Don’t like “Dominionist” as a label for their movement?

    How about another term which is quite clear: “Protestant Supremacy.”

  • Cigfran

    Bear in mind that Bachmann and Perry are, aside from Palin, the candidates most regularly referred to as Tea Party-friendly.

    One wonders what the principled libertarians (who I suspect are a minority in the movement) make of all this.

    • Norse Alchemist

      What they make of it is putting Ron Paul a mere two hundred points behind in the Straw Pole, a virtual tie that in any election would have led to a recount. In other words, You wanna send a message, get out and vote for RP, and help push a reasonable person to the front of the Republicans, rather than whine about how they get taken over by right wing Christians.

      • The problem there is that Ron Paul wants to turn America into a Christian theocracy.

        • Norse Alchemist

          No he doesn’t. I think you’re getting him confused with the other Paul. The Paul running for president wants to get rid of most of the government, not turn it into a theocracy.

          • The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. — Ron Paul

            Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view. The justification is always that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended or feel uncomfortable living in the midst of a largely Christian society, so all must yield to the fragile sensibilities of the few. The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity. — Ron Paul

            The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. –Ron Paul

          • Norse Alchemist

            Great, now I have no one left to vote for. XP

      • Ananta Androscoggin

        Heard on the news a few days back, that Bachmann’s campaign spent nearly $200,000 to purchase 6,000 of the tickets which allowed a person to vote in that Straw Poll. They didn’t get much of a return on that expense, but I don’t recall by how much lower.

  • Tara

    Texas has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation, because the high schools here teach abstinence as the only form of birth control in sex ed. Rick Perry says “Abstinence works!”…well, obviously not. The Christian beliefs of policymakers such as Perry influence our lives all the time, in many subtle ways.

  • Obsidia

    Here’s a great article on Alternet about how the US is spending MILLIONS OF DOLLARS on Christian proselytizing newly deployed soldiers:


    The story is on Alternet.org

    Talk To Action / By Chris Rodda

    Why Is the Military Spending Millions on Christian Contractors Bent on Evangelizing US Soldiers?

    Why do Christian contractors play such a prominent role in our military?

  • Anna

    Most evangelicals are not Dominionists. That is true. ABSOLUTELY true.

    What isn’t true is that Dominionists are not real or that evangelicals don’t support them.

    Many evangelicals end up voting for them because they say they are Christian and because they share some goals like low taxes or anti-abortion restrictions. They are often either unaware of the anti-democratic goals of Dominionists or assume that they are overstated.

    But evangelicals and Dominionists are distinct groups and it is important not to conflate them.

    • Pagan Puff Pieces

      I think there needs to be a sign:
      Just because they say they’re Christian doesn’t mean they’re your friend or ally, and just because they’re more fundamental than you doesn’t mean they’re Better Christians than you.

      I think a lot of people don’t get this idea. I don’t know if non-Catholics have as strong a guilt complex, but I can understand how one can get guilted into this kind of association.

  • Dave

    All of this brings back memories of last year driving through South Carolina and seeing billboards warning to be prepared for the “Muslim Uprisings” and other anti-“non-christian” bilboards all over. My wife and I immediately put our necklaces under our shirts even though we were driving along at 70MPH in our truck with just the two of us. I know there are nice people in SC and that the billboards are not a reflection of everyone there, but that is propaganda that is out there demonizing non-christians that certain candidates and people already in office think is perfectly fine. It harkens back to the pre-civil rights days when it was ok to speak negatively about blacks and other minorities. Should the pagan community do more to gain a more positive image in the community – sure. Should we sit back and ignore the hate speech against us – not if we want to be taken seriously as a community. There are those that are happy practicing and believing in private and may not see a reason to care what is said about us, but I believe that private practice should be done as a choice and not out of fear. It should not be Perry’s, or Bachman’s or anyone else’s choice what we believe or how we practice it. It is not paranoia when they are standing there saying what they want to do with our country and religion. I am not saying lets rise up and revolt, but listen. This is coming from someone who lives in Florida where the governor has the lowest approval rating in the country for one reason – he is actually doing what he said he would do when he ran and everyone (his supporters included) is surprised by it. So pay attention to them.

    • Chuck

      Dave…yes, I live in South Carolina, and I know full well what Christian terrorists are capable of. That’s why I am not shy about criticizing fundamentalist Christian terrorism when I see it.

  • Anna

    By the way, George W. Bush was NOT a Dominionist. He was an evangelical. He had at least one Dominionist adviser, which was troubling enough.

    Bachmann and Perry are (or claim to be) Dominionists.

    There is a very significant difference.

    • This is EXACTLY what we need to do. Far too many Pagans treat “Fundie” and “Christian” as synonymous. When we’re dealing with a clear and present danger like this, we cannot allow “Dominionist” to become a synonym for “every Protestant who votes Republican.”

      • Anna

        I’d settle for people taking them seriously, instead of saying that if you are concerned about Dominionists, you must be Christian bashing.

        I grew up in the rural South. I’ve know evangelicals all my life. THESE PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT.

        • Chuck

          I agree, Anna. These people are a step away from Nazis.

          • Anna

            How do we explain these people to Yankees, though?

            I find that people from the South or (who have otherwise personal experience with them) get it … and people from other regions simply don’t.

            Not that I blame them AT ALL. If I were watching a science fiction movie about the Dominionists I’d find it waaaay to cliche and improbable.

          • Chuck

            I posted a link earlier about the SC Christian Exodus Project, where Dominionists want to move to SC, secede again from the U.S., and create a ‘Christian Confederacy.’
            If the Yankees won’t believe that, then there’s no reasoning with them.

          • Anonymous

            You’re right, as a Mainer, I have not encountered many Evangelical Christians, let alone Dominionists.

            My sister moved to Texas a few years ago; she immediately noticed the difference in the religious atmosphere.

        • I might phrase it a different way: the Pagan community needs to lay off the silly “Xian-bashing” beloved of so many because of the very real threat posed by the Dominionists. We need to lay off the “the lady at the bookstore gave me a dirty look because of my pentagram – she’s a FUNDAMENTALIST!!!! BURNING TIMES!!! BURNING TIMES!!!” crap because if we don’t nobody is going to listen when the real wolf shows up in the field.

          • Anna

            Oh. Yeah. This is true.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Kenaz, once again you are indulging hyperbole. I’ve seen no one here conflate nonverbal disrespect for a medallion with buring at the stake. I think I see the point you’re trying to make but you get in your own way with your own verbal excesses.

          • Anna

            Baruch, I took Kenaz’s argument to mean: Caesar’s wife must be above reproach. (I may be wrong.)

            If we want to be taken seriously, we have to be careful how we talk about this stuff, especially when communicating with non-pagans.

          • I’m describing an embarrassing tendency within the community to fixate on Ye Burninge Times when witches were kindlinge and spellinge was creative. Most of the commenters on here have avoided the worst of that (except one idiot from South Carolina and one apparent representative of WitchSchool, which is pretty much par for the course).

            The point is that if we (rhetorical we) insist on shrieking about non-existent persecution we can hardly be surprised if people don’t listen to our cries when real persecution shows up on the doorstep.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Anna, that horse has long left the barn. People in this kind of venue vent in all sorts of ways, and anyone can lurk us. Our actual weapons of resistance, imho, are the conventional, mundane ones of political mindfulness and, when appropriate, targeted litigation — the latter best left to specialist organizations.

          • Ananta Androscoggin

            It would also help if more Pagans would get out an vote in all their local elections, as well as state and national ones.

            These attitudes some show about how they “ain’t a-gonna vote, it don’t mean nuttin’.” are thereby making sure that somebody else is going to determine how things are going to go.

            I don’t care which side of an issue you stand on. Pagans should be active at showing up on election days.

          • Chuck

            That I would agree with. But when they murder gays, blow up buildings, etc., I think that simply condemning those actions doesn’t qualify as ‘Christian bashing.’

          • If you want to condemn people who kill gays or blow up buildings in the name of Jesus, be my guest: I’ll be right beside you criticizing them loud and long. But if you start claiming “all Christians support murdering gays and and blowing up buildings,” then I’m going to treat you with the same contempt I reserve for the folks who say all Muslims are secret terrorists who want to bring Sharia law, stoning and mandatory burqas to our fair shores.

            That is the distinction I’ve been making all along. My apologies if my original posts to that effect weren’t clear enough.

          • Chuck

            Kenaz…cut and paste ANY PLACE where I’ve said ALL Christians do that.
            If you’re going to continue with strawman arguments, you’re not really worthy of my time.

  • If anything, the “Seven Mountains” platform is even worse than government takeover. Education? Entertainment? Business? Should we not be worried about this?

    I personally know a Dominionist young man currently entering his senior year at the Air Force Academy. He is about to embark upon a promising career. In the U.S. military.

    They are pushing. We must push back. Thank you, Jason, for keeping all of us up-to-date on this issue.

    • No Bod E

      That would be a promising career as an Officer in the military. That is what is really scary.

    • No Bod E

      Does anyone realize how far a politician can go with “Officer in the Military” on his resume? Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the military. I have a LOT ( and I do mean a lot) of family members who have served in the military and are good people. I am not bashing the military but rather the way politicians garner support.

      • Charles Cosimano

        Yes, it got John McCain elected President, didn’t it?

        • No Bod E

          It didn’t seem to hurt Ike or JFK.

          • Norse Alchemist

            I Like Ike!

          • No Bod E


          • Anna

            Kinda didn’t help John Kerry though either. Times and demographics have changed.

    • BlackCat

      The Seven Mountains rhetoric deeply scares me. I was reading one of their official websites about it today. If I understood them correctly, they want to ultimately do things like strongly discourage or restrict the ability to divorce and only allow fertile male/female couples to get married, because to them marriage exists only to create and raise the next generation of children. They also said companies should have their own private chaplains and paying for their employee’s children to go to Christian summer camp was a good idea.

      And yet we (and other minority religions) are the ones with an agenda that need to be stopped?

      • Merofled Ing

        And yet – haven’t they dropped their masks on this one: companies having their own private chaplains ??? The company paying the chaplain ??? So the power is with the company then, not the chaplain. Hmm, does that mean we can relax, it’s not really Christian fundamentalism, after all? I wonder, Why am I still scared.

  • It’s not paranoia and it’s not bashing– It’s self-preservation.

  • As a Pagan, a Woman & an Alaskan, I never thought I would say this, but I am beginning to miss Sarah Palin.

    Thank you Jason. You could not have made the point more clearly. I believe the basic issue needs to be presented without distracting extras — we cannot allow our country’s leadership to be compromised.

    (…and kudos for the Thomas Pynchon quote.)

  • Merofled Ing

    The point is not that most Christians are decent people or that Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry may be “Christian Wackos”. The point is that they may one day be governing or influencing the government of the most powerful nation in the world. We can probably all easily tolerate such people as long as we can rely on the fact that they, like us, are firmly under the rule of law, meaning a law that prescribes a strict separation of church and state, among other things, like equality and freedom of speech. Having these people in a position to change the laws or their interpretation or implementation is an entirely different matter.

    I don’t think you’re paranoid. Look at developments in Hungaria, where a conservative government has decided to inspire the new constitution by the “spirit of Saint Stephan” (Hungarian monarch, 997-1038, son of the first Christian Hungarian Great Count/King, Géza) for a blue print of how democracies can be demolished along the lines of religious, here combined with ethnic + cultural supremacy. You may not be scared enough. A religious movement in combination with secular and government power is dangerous. To everybody.

    • Chuck

      Yes….people who think ‘It can’t happen here’ only need to find a collection of Tea Party quotes and put them side-by-side with a list of Nazi Party quotes. Dominionism = the ‘SS’ of the Tea Party movement.

      • Merofled Ing

        There’s nothing wrong with calling a terrorist a terrorist, or a fascist a fascist, but I do believe it would help to keep the rhetoric down. It leads to debating the wrong kind of questions, and alienates people we need (or want, even). We all agree that Bachmann and Perry and others are dangerous, so does it matter if they and their friends score 7, 8, 9, or 10 on a 0-10 scale of “people who really shouldn’t be in government”?

        As for the SS, concentration camps or sewing pentagrams on clothes, oh – knock it off, everybody. The marginalization and depriving of civil rights in a complex society are far more subtle. They don’t need camps. They wouldn’t want to spend money on those. All it takes is gradually restricting access to education, to business, to infrastructure, to the media, to public visibility by channelling funds and by carefully worded laws or regulations or small print affixed to those, which make sure that only they and theirs will run these areas. Laws which will turn everybody else into an economically deprived fringe group of no relevance and no valid chances at shaping a secure and meaningful future. Like many on this blog have pointed out – these are the areas that need watching and protecting.

        I’m also worried that harsh rhetoric, irrespective of whether it’s justified or not, will push some people into closing ranks. I don’t know if you’ve ever found yourself in a situation when you suddenly heard yourself making excuses or defending something, that in a calm moment, you wouldn’t dream of defending, and that you have, in fact, criticized yourself often enough – simply because you felt that your group was being unfairly attacked, possibly by very smug or arrogant people. I have, in my salad days. (No, nobody here comes across as either smug or arrogant to me, but then of course I’ll happily close ranks with all of you.) Pagan culture has so much to offer here, it is so much richer than any monolithic ideology. And while, obviously, not each and every single individual Pagan is better than each and every single individual Christian, most of us have probably put a lot more critical thinking into what and who we are than many Christians who have never had their views challenged and who never had to carve them out for themselves. It’s time to use that.

        • I’ll be glad to tone down the ‘harsh rhetoric’ as soon as people like Perry and Bachmann do so.

      • Norse Alchemist

        Right, and the same could be done with Obama and the Progressives with the old Soviet propaganda/quotes. Just because you have issues with people, Chuck, doesn’t mean you get to go around screaming that they’re Nazis. Take it down a notch, you’re starting to become a strawman yourself.

        • ““When you resort to attacking the messenger and not the message, you have lost the debate.” — Addison Whithecomb

          • Does that also apply to threatening to sue the messenger for “slanderous and libelous” content, Mr. Hall?

  • Mojavi

    The argument that some of these Abrahamic elitists have in defense of or in separating themselves from actual Dominionists, reminds me of a Mad TV skit

    Two “opponents” making the same argument but worded differently. Same shit, different day.

  • Sunweaver

    Jason, thank you for your thorough coverage and for voicing some of my own fears so eloquently. I’m headed out tonight to the once-a-month interfaith women’s meeting we have in these parts. It is a blessing that we have this here and it wouldn’t have come about if it hadn’t been for the hardships of the Murfreesboro Islamic community. I was also invited to participate in an interfaith fast breaking dinner in our area next week toward the end of the month of Ramadan – something I’d never have done if it hadn’t been for a few angry and vocal individuals who told my friends they were not welcome here.

    My sister and I were having a ridiculous conversation about mutant powers, the mutant registration act, and mutant rights a la the X-men, but it reflects the very real things that can happen when any group is singled out as not entitled to basic civil rights. This kind of attitude amongst our world leaders and lawmakers is dangerous and potentially deadly. We’ve seen this so many times before and when a lawmaker says that the right to freely worship only pertains to a particular group, it scares me.

    My deepest hope is that historical momentum is on our side and that we won’t have to go through a trial by fire as the Christians themselves did in the days of Roman persecution. With any luck, we can reach a more pluralistic society in a peaceful and reasonable way, but to do that we must maintain awareness of that which threatens us.

    I don’t want to have a spiritual war! I’d much rather have a spiritual potluck. That would be much more fun.

    • Norse Alchemist

      Yeah, just remember you don’t want to offend (located in the in here) so: no ham (Muslims and Jews), no mixing meat and dairy (Jews), no flashing your pentagrams and your hammers (Christians and Muslims), no booze (Muslims), no women exposing their skin (Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Most Conservative Christians), no women going around with their hair uncovered (mainly Muslims, some Jews and Christians), no invoking the Gods or Goddesses (all three), no Teutonic/Germanic/Scandinavian symbols (Jews), no foods that are not Kosher (Jews), and no foods that are not Halal (Muslims).

      So yes, you are welcome to the interfaith potluck, just remember that you’re a Sinner according to the Christians, not one of the Chosen People according to the Jews, and that you are not even a human, but the descendant of apes and pigs according to the Muslims. Oh, and you’re probably going to the special hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the theater. But by all means, sit at the table, we would want you to have to defend yourself.

    • Ananta Androscoggin

      That ‘singling out’ is already happening in the California prisons system, with their “First Tier Religions” vs. “Second Tier Religions” bigotry that only allows people who are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American, to become state employees as prison chaplains.

  • Looking through the comments, trying to find solutions. Several great suggestions. To encapsulate:
    1.) Attend and promote Interfaith events
    2.) Raise awareness of the political agenda of Dominionists without bashing other varieties of Christian
    amongst ourselves
    3.) Raise awareness amongst non-Dominionist Christians and other faiths
    4.) Present concrete examples of Dominionism w/out hyperbole
    5.) Suggest possible problems, also without exaggeration, such as “Pagans may not be hired for government jobs, military personnel may not be promoted if they’re non-Christians”.
    6.) Try to vote for candidates that offer the political conditions we desire, to oppose Dominionist candidates
    7.) Promote a positive view of Pagans through action
    8.) Repost information, including websites. Including this one.

    • Anna

      I would add: reach out to allies, be they Muslim, atheist, Jewish, nonaffliated, mainline Protestant, Catholic, evangelical or Mormon. Make it clear that when it comes to Dominionism, everyone who supports the first amendment of the US constitution is on the same side, even if we disagree about other matters.

    • Who are these “other varieties of Christianity”? In particular, which “varieties” have abandoned “The Great Commission” to eradicate all other religions from the face of the earth? And when did they make that fundamental change?

      They may have toned down their rhetoric for PR reasons, but just because they are less honest about their ultimate goal, and what they are willing to do to get there, that hardly makes them our friends. If anything it makes the non-openly-dominionist Christians more dangerous.

      Interfaith dialogue is to Christianity as greenwashing is to Big Oil.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Unitarian Universalist Christians. Yes, there are Christians in UUism, just as there are Pagans. They have their own organization and newsletter and everything. They are much more focused on the Sermon on the Mount than on the Great Commission.

        • Anna

          Actually lots of mainline Protestants are just fine with pagans, especially outside of the South. While officially the Catholic church is not a fan, American Catholics as people are not nearly so intolerant.

          And even a lot of conservative Christians believe in the principle of religious freedom.

          • There are many Catholics who are “just fine” with abortion rights, women clergy, gay rights, etc, but that doesn’t change Catholicism as an institution.

            Individuals should be treated as individuals. I know practicing Mormons, Catholics, Baptists, etc, whom I respect. That doesn’t change the nature of the Churches they belong to. No one should be put on an enemies list because of the church they belong to. But the Church itself is another issue, as are it’s leaders.

            I doubt that there is even a single mainline Protestant Church that actually has a position of accepting the religious validity of Paganism.

          • As far as “accepting the religious validity” of Paganism or any other religion, that’s not necessarily a pre-condition to interfaith work. I don’t have to believe that the Book of Mormon is divinely inspired to pick up trash in a park with a local LDS group: I don’t have to believe in the Immaculate Conception to dish out food at a Catholic soup kitchen. What’s important is that we are willing to accept each other’s right to freedom of association and belief.

            Good call re: the Orthodox churches. I was thinking of the Orthodox clergy and laity I had encountered in America – mainly ethnic Greeks and Eastern Europeans who saw their church as a social club rather than a tool for social transformation. In Greece and Russia they have certainly been far more involved in politics and far less tolerant. (And of course there are plenty of Roman Catholic Croatian and Serbian Orthodox clergy with blood on their hands after that last little round of unpleasantness).

            As I understand it, you are a devotee of the Roman gods? If so, I’d note that Christianity spread largely to fill the social and political void left by the fall of Rome. The Holy Roman Empire and Byzantine States were an attempt to keep those traditions alive: I wonder how many of the flaws within Christian thinking can be traced back not to the theology of the Church Fathers but to the failings of various political figures trying to prop up what remained of the Roman Empire.

          • And if we are going to let individual Catholics, Calvinists, Methodists, etc, off the hook (even though they belong to Christian sects that have unambiguously intolerant and even “dominionist” theologies), then how is it justifiable to go after the New Apostolic Reformation crowd? Aren’t each of them individuals, too? Can’t they disagree with the official positions of Dominionism and embrace genuine religious tolerance?

          • Merofled Ing

            Yes. It’s the combination of faith, supremacy and political power. If the Catholic church seems more palatable or tolerant in the USA, then that’s due to the fact they’ve rather been in a minority position. Look at History, at Austria, or Germany, or Italy or Spain, or – I’m beginning to repeat myself – Hungaria today, to see that. Christians were very hot on tolerance and a separation of church and state while they were a minority. As soon as they were given power, that stopped. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and holding unchallenged power both in government and in religious practice is absolute power. Same about the Orthodox churches, look at Russia.
            Unlike Apuleius Platonicus I do see a difference in our times between groups like Opus Dei, or NAR, and more mainstream groups, but this can’t be broken down into Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox – it’s really just a matter of power on the one hand and individual decency on the other.

          • What’s more, there are a lot of Christian denominations which are not all that interested in proselytizing or missionary work. (The various Orthodox churches come to mind immediately, not to mention the practices of most mainstream Christian denominations within their community). They might not recognize the validity of our religion – but they don’t really care one way or the other if we recognize the vaildity of theirs and don’t seek to cause us real problems, so I don’t lose a lot of sleep over that.

          • Kenaz: the Orthodox churches? Really? In places like Greece and Russia the Orthodox churches are more openly Dominionist than the so-called New Apostolic Reformation.

          • Sunweaver

            Even here in the South, you find mainline Xtians that have no interest in converting the Pagans– some of these I count amongst my friends. United Methodists, for example, are remarkably relaxed and groovy in my experience.

      • Ursyl

        Which pope was it said that the witches who were healers and actually helped people were more dangerous than the bad ones?

      • Ausharrenwille

        Quaker groups count amongst their number non-Christians of a variety of flavor, including Thelemites, and neo-pagans.

  • Charles Cosimano

    Well, the political reality is that given the choice of another four years of Obama and rounding up the Pagans, the smart money is on the ones who want to round up the Pagans.

    So, what do you do about it? Inflamed rhetoric isn’t going to work. The voters don’t care and will only laugh at it. Why has no one mentioned magick as a political tool?

  • Lori F – MN

    Dominionism “doesn’t want theocracy, just Christian influence over every sector of society.” All they want are “kingdom-minded people in every one of the Seven Mountains: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business so that they can use their influence to create an environment in which the blessings and prosperity of the Kingdom of God can permeate all areas of society.”

    I dont’ know. That sounds scary to me. They want to have a strong influence of these “Seven Mountains”? McCarthyism with a different flavor. Instead of Anti-American, we would be labeled enemys of the Kingdom of God. What about those of us who don’t share their beliefs? Where will that leave us?

  • RivaWitch

    Great post Jason. Thanks for the Nirvana thing and making me feel old 🙁

  • Anonymous

    I’m reminded of a movie quote, a little shy of 20years old…

    “It’s not whether you’re paranoid or not.. It’s whether you’re paranoid enough…”

    In a government run by the few for the few, it only takes a few to take control. We might not be at THE terminal junction, but inaction at this point will definitely get us there quicker. If you value liberty even in slightest we must stand up and prevent zealots of any kind from taking over. It’s either that or keep your head down & wait for a rebellion after they’ve taken over.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter that “most Evangelical Christians don’t want to take over the government.” They still advocate forcing their morals on us, and they still vote for people who DO want to take the government over.

    Point is completely void.

  • A Lost Reader

    This is yet another “paranoid U.S. living-in-fear, pagan-vs-christian” story too far. Much respect for your other news but whether anyone admits it or not something’s changed since patheos.com came along. Too much “balancing views of religion” for me. I’m out.

    • anon

      agree. it seems most of the news lately are saturated with this theme…”paranoid U.S. living-in-fear, pagan-vs-christian” story.
      it’s normal. this usually happens around election/political times, then nothing happens that confirm the fears and the rhetoric usually dies down..

      • Anna

        I assume you guys live in areas of the country where you never encounter these people. Please keep an open mind.

        • True, Anna. For example, Kenaz lives in New Jersey and has no idea what goes on here in the Bible Belt. I wonder how a transvestite would be received here in South Carolina? 😉

          • I can be in South Carolina in an hour, and I doubt there’s a “Berlin Wall” between our states. There is a thriving gay and Pagan culture here in the South. I’m a little tired of my region being portrayed as backward.

          • Yes, there’s a thriving Pagan culture here in the South. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t opposition to that culture. Would you really like me to list some of that opposition? I’ve already done so elsewhere on this thread.
            Closing your eyes and pretending it doesn’t exist, doesn’t make it go away.

          • True…The Correllian Lustration will be hosted Labor Day weekend, at a Temple of the Sacred Sea in Powder Springs, Georgia. In fact, south eastern America has a thriving culture for us at least.

          • Chuck, in the 70’s and 80’s we had to install bullet-proof glass on Wiccan centers in Atlanta. Now we’re invited to Muslim-hosted interfaith gatherings. Acting like the South is the Warsaw Ghetto is really ridiculous. Bob Barr is the worst we’ve got, and that’s hardly something to bemoan existence over.

          • Anna

            Okay, we are not Southern bashing any more than we are Christian bashing … but it is true that there are a lot more Dominionists in the South than in the upper Midwest, the West coast, and New England.

            I don’t know why exactly.

            This is not to say Every Southerner is a Bigot. (or that every Northerner is NOT a bigot btw, because HAH!) Just that this particular movement has more penetration there.

          • Star…I find it interesting that you de-friended me on Facebook for pointing out that while you complain about Jason’s ‘polemical’ approach, Patheos has several evangelical Christians whose rhetoric is much worse than anything Jason’s ever stated.
            Apparently your ‘tolerance’ of other viewpoints doesn’t extend to people who point out the double standard Patheos has.

          • So you’d rather make transphobic and bigoted statements than tell us the name of that relative of yours who was “killed by Christian terrorists.” About what I expected.

          • Kenaz…I’m a Family Therapist and I work largely with the LGBT population. So once again your need for attention has overwhelmed you capacity for judgment.
            If you deny that there is a rabid anti-gay and anti-LGBT presence in the deep South, then you’re a bit too out of touch with reality to bother with.

          • I’ve never complained about Jason’s tone, nor do I consider him polemical. I said I spoke to him about a concern, and agreed with him his tone was fine.

            People who attack me and my place of business are not my “friends,” and I’m not rude enough to say what I think your skills as a counselor considering how rude, smug and illogical you have been behaving today, Charlton Hall.

          • Funny, you were calling him ‘polemical’ just a few minutes ago on Facebook.
            And if you consider disagreeing with you to be ‘rude,’ then your ego’s a bit too large.

          • And regarding my ‘attack’ on your place of business…all I did was point out a double standard. If you’re not tolerant enough to take a bit of friendly criticism, then you’re going to look rather hypocritical for claiming that others should be more tolerant.

          • I’d also like to note that nobody “told” me to do anything regarding my content here. Nor has Star done anything to insult me in any way, she’s been nothing but supportive of my work. I consider her a dear friend.

            People are flying off for no good reason. There is no spoon. I’m not being oppressed.

          • I’d also like to note that nobody “told” me to do anything regarding my content here. Nor has Star done anything to insult me in any way, she’s been nothing but supportive of my work. I consider her a dear friend.

            People are flying off for no good reason. There is no spoon. I’m not being oppressed.

          • Chuck

            If this post and any future posts containing slanderous or libelous content are not immediately removed, legal action will be taken.
            A formal complaint has been filed with Patheos concerning the behavior of its ‘Managing Editors.’

          • Mishka H.

            Being from Alabama, I find it amazing how so many people from the North seem to think the South is thoroughly bigoted. It is self-segregating, this is true, but aside from the rare random angry drunken redneck, most around here have a live and let live mentality. They don’t have to like it to accept it.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Sadly, Mishka, a lot of the North is also self-segregated too.

    • Actually, to my knowledge the only conversation Patheos has had with Jason regarding tone and content was to let him know that we’re trying to limit one religion bashing another, and Jason and I came to the understanding that Patheos has no say over his tone or content.

      Frankly, as much as I agree with Jason, I do find this series of posts troubling. Not because they are untrue, but because it makes me a little uncomfortable. Of course, Jason doesn’t write what he thinks will make Patheos, myself or anyone else comfortable. He writes what he believes to be important and newsworthy, which is as it should be.

      • Anna

        It is an uncomfortable subject.

      • It SHOULD make you uncomfortable. Whenever an anti-American group like the Dominionists tries to take over the country, it’s the comfortable people who will be the first to go.

        • LOL Star…yet Christian evangelicals preaching intolerance on Patheos doesn’t bother you at all?

        • Norse Alchemist

          I’m not sure they’re anti-American. They’re just really, really pro-Christian theocracy

          • Anonymous

            There is nothing more Anti-American and Anti-Constitution than Theocracy.

          • True. There’s a reason it’s the FIRST amendment. Anybody who denies separation of church and state is about as anti-American as you can get.

    • Sorry to see you go. Though I don’t agree with your analysis.

    • I’d also like to point out what I’ve posted about in the past 7 days:

      1. Story on COG’s MerryMeet
      2. Freeing of the West Memphis 3
      3. Pagan holidays being recognized at a Southern college.
      4. A link roundup.
      5. A roundup of arts related stuff.
      6. Hate crime against Santeria.


      7. This post on Dominionism.

      So I don’t think my balance of stories has shifted dramatically. I’m still here doing what I’ve always done. What may have shifted are your perceptions.

    • Love it when they make a wild claim then under an assumed name then split. We’ll see them again…the trolls never leave the feeding round.


    Praise Jesus! Praise Perry! Praise Bachman! For these great leaders will soon bring forth the dawning of a new golden age in this country. The black veil of secular law will be lifted from this country and replaced with GOD’s LAW. Trumpets will sound from on high and the righteous will join hands and sing praise to the LORD on high. The true belivers will be free to live in a world designed the way God intended, free from the influence of the secular humanist that have turned our once great nation into SATAN’S PLAYGROUND. Our childen will play in saftey, and their minds will be free from the heresies that are shoved down their throat in today’s schools and the pornography of the media. Instead of hiding in the shadows in fear of ridicule, the followers of Jesus can proclaim their faith from the rooftops without shame. Praise the Lord for his hand has touched Bachman and Perry so they may usher in this new Golden Age.
    As the righteous rejoice, the unholy will cower in fear. God’s justice will be enforced with an iron fist. The homos, fornicators, sexual deviants, and perverts will be locked in cages like the animals that they are. They will no be freed until they repent of their wicked ways. Punishments must be harsh,as it is God’s will that their lives must be destroyed to save their souls.
    Our schools and libraries will be purged of lies and hersies. The skies will be brightened by huge bonfires of books of deception and immorality. Our children will only be taught the God’s truth: the earth was created by GOD in SIX DAYS, the earth is SIX THOUSAND years old, humans and dinosaurs walked SIDE BY SIDE, diseases are caused by DEMONS or GOD’s RIGHTEOUS RETRIBUTION. Any teachers who deviate from the truth will have the hand of GOD’S JUSTICE brought down on their head.
    The most prominent and outspoken of the heretics will be made into examples for all the others who stray from the flock in a televised display of holy judgement. They will face enhanced interogations until they publicly admit they are either liars or admit they have seen the errors of their ways. The followers of their wicked ideas will drop to their knees in repentance or face dire consequences.
    The drug fiends will be hunted down and rounded up like rats. Liquor stores will be raided and the bottles within will be smashed in the street as hymns and prayers are uttered on high. So call “Medical Marijuana” users will be brought to justice; since we will know
    where they live since they are registered now, God’s army will enter their homes and take them “Like a thief in the night”. They will be forced into sobriety camps until they can walk in the light of the LORD.
    The age of the Lord’s dominion is upon us. If those with unholy lifestyles and the secular humanist are nevrous now, after the 2012 election, they will be cowering in fear. Hopefully, they will use that fear as a catalyst to change their ways, or the consequence will be harsh.
    Halleluja, Praise the Lord, AMEN!

    • Anonymous

      hi troll!

      the door’s that way, mmkay?

      • Merofled Ing

        Yes. Poor, and failed attempt at satire, whichever side this is supposed to be.

        • aaaaaawww I missed the Troll trolling…..=(

          • Nick Ritter

            It wasn’t really that interesting. Basically, it was about how secularism will fall, all the anti-Christian books will be burned as everyone sings hymns, we’ll all be locked up like animals, yadda yadda yadda.

    • I get the feeling this a Pagan troll, rather than a genuine Evangelical.

    • No Bod E

      Just serves as a reminder to me as to why I left christianity.

    • JESUS SAVES!! The rest take damage

      • Sunweaver

        Of course. The son of God is wise enough to take dodge and we should follow his example.

        • Norse Alchemist

          I use my Blessing of Thor to return the attack with 3d10 damage at 1st level, with 1d10 ongoing, save ends.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, watch and watch carefully.

    But remember, the Dominionist mind set REQUIRES an Adversary.

    • Cigfran

      -Raises hand-

    • But remember, the Dominionist mind set REQUIRES an Adversary.

      The same, unfortunately, could be said of many American Neopagan mindsets.

      • Have yet to find a American Neopagan mindset which requires an adversary as part of its formal doctrines. Unless you can provide source material I’m left to assume you are simply making unfounded claims in lieu of anything thing significant to say. Reversal of argument is shoddy form

        • See the obsession among many American Neopagans with “Burning Times,” “evil Fundamentalists,” etc. That need to play the Christian/Manichean game with the Forces of Light taking the black pieces has been noted by many besides myself. Willfully ignoring the obvious is equally shoddy form.

          If we’re talking about the theology of Dominionism v. the theology of most strains of American Neopaganism, I’d be inclined to agree with you. If we’re discussing the worldview which states that persecution is proof of virtue and advocates “spiritual warfare” against the Forces of Oppression – be they “secular humanism” or “fundamentalist Christianity” — then I submit that many Neopagans do indeed play that Dominionist game.

          • Norse Alchemist

            Okay, burning times i’ll give you, but the Fundamentalist thing with the Christians and Muslims is not so much an “Advocacy complex” as it is some people are literally out to either suppress or kill us because of our beliefs. We’ve been fighting a war for 10 years because some Muslims think we need to be killed or converted, simply because we’re not Muslims. That’s not really a complex so much as a reality.

          • I’m talking about theology and thank you for clarifying your point as well.

            I will submit that many Americans hang onto a world view which necessitates an adversary. It is part of the Neo-Conservative strong government authority practices, which is hidden behind their cries for small government. American has always had an adversary and the Neo-Con strengthened that trope from about the 1970’s on.

          • >> See the obsession among many American Neopagans with “Burning Times,” “evil Fundamentalists,” etc. <<

            Yeah, we're so obsessed with our history and with clear and present threats to our survival. It's weird.

          • Seeing as how your last name isn’t “Echols,” I’d be interested in hearing exactly how you’ve been forced to fight for your “survival” because you are an out Pagan.

  • Henceforth I think I’ll just point out which particular logical fallacy Kenaz is using at any given moment. That would be more productive than trying to reason with someone who’s incapable of reason. 😉

    • In between doing that, perhaps you could share with us the name of your relative who was “killed by Christian terrorists?”

      • Anna

        You know what Kenaz, it is effing rude that you keep asking this. What if I asked you the name of a relative you say was lynched or raped? This is still the Internet and its still public and Chuck has the right not to share this information.

        • Chuck spouts off at length about persecution from Christians, and has accused me of being a terrorist sympathizer and closet Christian. He can hardly be surprised that people are asking him for some facts to go with his claims. If you have a problem with that you are free to ignore the posts, as is he. But for the time being I’m inclined to believe he made the whole thing up to get attention and score points as a poor persecuted Pagan – especially since he seems equally unwilling to address counterexamples from people who live in his area and who claim it isn’t nearly so bad as he’d like us to believe.

          • Anna

            Okay, see, I find this interesting: You don’t believe him.

            He says he has had these experiences and you require some kind of proof that they are a) real or b) bad enough or adequately representative enough to be taken seriously.

            Please don’t take this the wrong way, but your response to Chuck sounds a lot like the way people talk to rape victims. He says he has had experience with religious violence and you’re trying to minimize it.

            See again: Southern Poverty Law Center is investigating right wing hate violence. They’re not doing it for kicks.

            The Department of Homeland Security is talking about it and is being prevented from investigating because conservatives are protesting.

            It doesn’t matter if all pagans don’t experience religious based violence. All women aren’t raped either. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

          • Yes, Anna. Kenaz lives in New Jersey, yet claims to be an expert on what goes on in South Carolina. That should tell you all you need to know about Kenaz.
            And the only person from the South who is trying to minimize my claims is Star Foster, from Atlanta…where a Christian terrorist bombed the Olympic games.
            Incidentally, Star just de-friended me on Facebook for pointing out that Christian evangelicals on Patheos are free to criticize Pagans to their heart’s content, yet Jason was told to ‘tone it down’ when he used language that wasn’t nearly as offensive.

          • No Bod E

            I was under the impression that this was a discussion on topics that concern us. I didn’t know anyone was trying to ” score points”. It seems to me that rather than accept what Chuck has said, you have decided to turn it into a forum with a winner and a loser and you are trying to declare yourself as the “winner”. Just my opinion.

          • According to Chuck, I support Christian terrorism. You’re surprised that I don’t accept what he says?

            I’ve seen many a socially maladjusted Pagan create enemies for hirself: it’s a great way to feel powerful and important. And so long as you’re not doing damage to anyone but your own reputation, it’s nothing more than a minor embarrassment. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we have the luxury of play-acting anymore. At this point mouth-breathing hysterics like Chuck are playing right into the hands of the people they claim to be fighting.

        • Yup Anna. Kenaz just keeps asking because it’s a way of avoiding the fact that he supports Christian terrorism.
          His name was Gary Hall, by the way, and he was beaten to death by a gang of evangelical Christians who kept yelling, ‘Die fag!’ etc. at him.

          • Cigfran

            Dammit, Chuck, Kenaz doesn’t ‘support Christian terrorism’ and you know it, and your repetition of this hyperbolic assertion only feeds his Smug. Lay off and get back on point.

          • Yes, let’s all turn things down a notch, shall we? I think things have gotten a few shades past constructive.

          • Ahh, so it’s okay for Kenaz to call people ‘idiots’ and to mock my gay cousin who was murdered, but when Kenaz refuses to acknowledge that such acts are the acts of a terrorist, I’m supposed to ‘turn it down a notch.’
            Interesting…perhaps the Dominionists are right about some Pagans…

          • Cigfran

            You missed the point, Chuck. I, for one, am generally in favor of your position with regard to Kenaz, but your rhetorical overreach has undermined you.

            Kenaz’s posturing and self-serving needling about your cousin’s death is hir own fault to bear.

          • Cigfran…and your waffling has watered down your position.
            Now kindly mind your own business.

          • Cigfran

            For a ‘Family Therapist [who works] largely with the LGBT population’, you’ve got a hell of a manner.

            ‘Waffling’? Really?

            You’ve mad it everyone’s business, bub, by pissing all over the comments and giving Kenaz a target for return fire.

          • Cigfran…if you want me to be nice to you, the fee is $100 an hour.
            Now be quiet, son. The grownups are talking.

          • Cigfran

            No, dad. I really don’t think they are.

            BTW, both Kenaz and I are the T in that LGBT you allegedly work with. Your ‘transvestite’ crack was out of line, and I’m not ‘son.’

            Your ‘mindfulness’ is evidently not a daily practice.

          • Cigfran-
            I dont’ respond to personal attacks. Get back on topic.

          • Cigfran…sorry, I don’t respond to personal attacks. Get back on the topic.

          • AnonGuest

            Chuck, I’m sorry for your loss

          • Thank you. You’d think that a transvestite would be more supportive.

          • Cigfran

            And you’d think that someone who proclaims himself an LGBT ally would know better than to repeatedly refer to a gender-variant person he knows nothing about as a ‘transvestite.’

            I have agreed with nothing Kenaz has said in your argument, and have found hir manner irritating… but you have really taken the cake.

            Kenaz screwed up badly by making an issue out of your cousin’s death, but that does not give you license to engage in sneering comments about hir gender.

          • Chuck

            Cigfran…sorry, I don’t respond to personal attacks. Return to the topic at hand.

          • Cigfran

            Liar. Like anyone else who has gone off the rails, you reply just enough to grasp a posture of moral high ground.

            For all hir failings in this comment thread, Kenaz is right about one thing: hypocritical hysterics are little better than the ‘American Taliban’ they are supposedly better than.

        • AnonGuest

          Anna, I agree with you. Kenaz,
          Not answering a personal question fdoes not mean someone is lying.

          There’s been a bit of too much personal attack both ways. Attack their arguments, instead, maybe

          • As soon as Kenaz makes a coherent argument. 😉

          • AnonGuest

            I haven’t a dog in this race.

          • Nostragoth

            If you don’t have a dog in this race, keep your ass off the racetrack.

          • AnonGuest

            So what’s now your problem?

    • AnonGuest

      I forget the name of the homeschool program where the first thing emblazoned on it’s webpage and in it’s promotions was how “Knowledge puffs up”.

  • Anonymous

    Today’s “Fresh Air” on NPR is all about the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement and their ‘spiritual warfare’. It will be worth your time to listen to.


    Like I said earlier, I am glad that this movement is being brought to light.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    The discussion about whether it’s worth your life to be a Pagan in the South is both very interesting and frustrating, because I live in the Great Lakes Watershet and have no direct information. I do know that life is different in different parts of the South.

    Jason, this whole topic might merit a post of its own one of these days.

    • Cigfran

      Oh, probably not. As we see time and again, there is no generalization that cannot be anecdotally refuted.

  • Another excellent article.

  • Obsidia

    Anthony Bourdain has a quote: “I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.” I take this as a guideline.

    When we confront the Dominionists, I believe we need to do it on behalf of the WHOLE UNITED STATES, not just the Pagans or Alternative Path people.

    As my teacher, Marion Weinstein, taught me: work for the good of all, according to FREE will.

    • Anna

      Oh yes! This. Because it isn’t just a problem for pagans!

      • True…it’s also a problem for any Christian who doesn’t meet their narrow interpretation of what a Christian is.
        The Founding Fathers weren’t fleeing persecution from Pagans…they were fleeing persecution from OTHER CHRISTIANS.

        • Anna

          Or any atheists, secularists, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, gay people of any faith, or people who just want to be left the hell alone.

        • “The Founding Fathers weren’t fleeing persecution from Pagans…they were fleeing persecution from OTHER CHRISTIANS.”

          I do believe we have a winner.

  • Anonymous

    FTR: Christian Terrorism does exist. Yes, in this country, we don’t see it as much of an “issue” as say, the people getting forced to convert to Christianity by AK-47 wielding Evangelicals in Northeastern India…but that doesn’t mean that Christian Terrorism isn’t a problem. And frankly, it will become more of a problem as Christianity continues to lose its majority status in the USA. There’s nothing better to motivate a fringe movement than a perceived loss of privilege. (Just look at any modern racist propaganda to see what I mean…It’s all about “saving the white race,” and fears of the country becoming majority Hispanic, and other nonsense…)

    Furthermore, these Dominionists are indeed growing in power, thank to those “good” folks in the Tea Party that so many Pagans here defended for so long. I told you this would happen, and you guys kept saying, “It’s not about Christianity! It’s about small government!” Well, look where that’s gotten us, eh? Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry…darlings of the Tea Party… Even the “normal” Republicans and Independents are frightened by their rhetoric, which is why they are polling so poorly when matched against Obama.

    And don’t give me any crap about how Jason is being “sensational” or what-not. I was talking about Dominionism years ago, when it was much more in the “background,” and I heard the same thing from Pagans who supported Sarah Palin and other Christian Supremacist candidates. These Dominionists have obviously GAINED in power since then, haven’t they? Will you still be saying it’s “sensational” if one of these Dominionists ends up in the White House? Would you REALLY put someone like that in power…just because you don’t like Obama? Really? What has Obama ever done that is even the tiniest bit comparable to the kinds of things that these Dominionists want to do to America? You’d have David Barton and Bradlee Dean as esteemed guests in the White House?

    Get real. Stop making excuses for the Dominionists. The only difference between them and the Islamists…is that the Dominionists don’t HAVE to blow people up right now. They have too much power to waste time on such trivialities…but their ideologies are almost identical, and only separated by the name they have for the same Abrahamic deity.

    • Anonymous

      I think the crappy US economy is also contributing to the increase in this type of extreme fundamentalism, as folks feel more and more loss of control over their life circumstances. Unfortunately, I think our economy is in permanent contraction, so things won’t be getting any better anytime soon.

      • anon

        wow, i’ve never met a minority pagan and i wish there were more. glad to see one (you)….

        • Anonymous

          Hi, oh we’re out here. My blog http://www.blackpagan.com has links to other blogs written by pagans of color. And there’s also the excellent Daughters of Eve blog here at Pantheon. 🙂

  • And after I spend so much time arguing that we should use restraint when accusing Dominionists of seeking “Jihad,” I discover this piece about one of Michele Bachmann’s advisors.

    No dispute here: advocating for “kill the gays” legislation in Uganda while smuggling assault rifles into the country pre-Election Day = terrorism.

    • Anna

      The problem with talking about this movement is that by its nature it seems so crazy and extreme and out of a bad movie.

  • Dominionists aren’t as extreme as you’d like to believe. The vast majority of Protestant America is of the ‘sola scriptura’ variety. For those of you who don’t know that that means, it means that they believe that doctrine should be derived ‘solely from scripture.’ In most cases in Protestant America, that includes a literalist interpretation of the Bible.
    The Old Testament includes several commandments to ‘kill all the unbelievers.’ While many Christians don’t ‘kill all the unbelievers,’ that commandment is in their ‘holy’ book. So the sola scriptura Christians who don’t kill all the unbelievers are doing so in spite of their religion, not because of it.
    Pagans defending Dominionists remind me a bit of an abused wife saying, “He only hits me because he loves me.”

  • Anonymous

    Again, I must reiterate that, while Dominionism should be kept a eye on,
    through divination I learned that this is not real problem, to the effect that
    while the underlying theme of Amherikhan culture is protestant based,
    people in Washington and other places are capitalist to the core.
    The problem with any extremist viewpoint is that it costs people money.
    Any real financial backing these groups might receieve has been made
    moot by their obviously biased viewpoints.
    Basically, the big companies are not going to support any extremist view
    because it would be costly for them later on.

    Let the Dominionists shout that their god is going to kill the gays and the pagans
    etc…etc..and continue to live by Old Testament rules; no one is going to seriously fund or elect them.

    • Anonymous

      Malaz wrote:
      no one is going to seriously fund or elect them.

      Is that why Perry was able to raise “$100 million for his gubernatorial races in the last ten years.”?


      And, oh yeah, was governor of Texas since 2002?

    • Merofled Ing

      This may be too optimistic regarding big business. Greed tends to eat brain, not just decency. I fear many big companies do fund Perry / Bachmann. Partly because they like the politics (turning the lights off at the EPA, which Bachmann said she’d do), partly because they’re stupid enough to believe that this kind of movement with all the emotional energy behind it can be used, harnessed, and dumped.
      While I said go easy on comparisons (as in tone down the rhetoric):
      Hitler was funded by big companies, even internationally, at least in the late 20s, because they didn’t really look at what he said – he stomped on communists, socialists, social democrats, trade unions … that was good enough for them. The rest seemed a cheap price to pay.
      Autocratic leaders in the Arabian world fostered the fundamentalist movements that later became a threat to them because they believed it would help them crush liberalism, or democracy.
      For a long time at least, they were right in that. They were not right in believing they could control these movements. (And we can only hope the best for the young revolutions currently happening.)

  • No issue at all with pointing out a possible threat. BIG problem with the hysteria, fear, prophecies of doom and the in-fighting. Rather than calling names and insulting one another, may we please return to constructive solutions? Earlier I counted at least twelve…

  • Since we’ve gotten to the point where there are threats of legal action, I’m freezing the comments on this post.