I have just read for the fourth time, Sara Robinson's important 2012 essay entitled, "Conservative Southern Values Revived: How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Rule America"

It's not long, and one of those reads which I think every 10th grader should be forced to consume, and then be quizzed on again and again until the foundational concepts are ingrained and at least partially understood.  Until such understandings are embedded in each generation's mindshare, each will too easily fall victim to the same forces of plantation economy, aristocracy, and other rank manifestations of predatory capitalism that have soiled the one before.  Free markets have done much for civilization. But only by making them a little less free are we going to be able to constrain their raging excesses and the humanistic failures that have resulted from them.

Below are the last few paragraphs of Sara's post. They make for a tidy list of some of the greater threats posed by this centuries old culture war of inbred and nouveau-greed lording over historically disadvantaged populations of compliant serfs. It's a war threatening not just America, but the entire planetary ecosystem of our delicate species.

 

It's not an overstatement to say that we're now living in Plantation America. As Lind points out: to the horror of his Yankee father, George W. Bush proceeded to run the country exactly like Woodard's description of a Barbadian slavelord. And Barack Obama has done almost nothing to roll this victory back.

We're now living in an America where rampant inequality is accepted, and even celebrated.

Torture and extrajudicial killing have been reinstated, with no due process required.

The wealthy and powerful are free to abuse employees, break laws, destroy the commons, and crash the economy — without ever being held to account.

The rich flaunt their ostentatious wealth without even the pretense of humility, modesty, generosity, or gratitude.

The military — always a Southern-dominated institution — sucks down 60% of our federal discretionary spending, and is undergoing a rapid evangelical takeover as well.

Our police are being given paramilitary training and powers that are completely out of line with their duty to serve and protect, but much more in keeping with a mission to subdue and suppress. Even liberal cities like Seattle are now home to the kind of local justice that used to be the hallmark of small-town Alabama sheriffs.

Segregation is increasing everywhere. The rights of women and people of color are under assault. Violence against leaders who agitate for progressive change is up. Racist organizations are undergoing a renaissance nationwide.

We are withdrawing government investments in public education, libraries, infrastructure, health care, and technological innovation — in many areas, to the point where we are falling behind the standards that prevail in every other developed country.

Elites who dare to argue for increased investment in the common good, and believe that we should lay the groundwork for a better future, are regarded as not just silly and soft-headed, but also inviting underclass revolt. The Yankees thought that government's job was to better the lot of the lower classes. The Southern aristocrats know that its real purpose is to deprive them of all possible means of rising up against their betters.

The rich are different now because the elites who spent four centuries sucking the South dry and turning it into an economic and political backwater have now vanquished the more forward-thinking, democratic Northern elites. Their attitudes towards freedom, authority, community, government, and the social contract aren't just confined to the country clubs of the Gulf Coast; they can now be found on the ground from Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Wall Street. And because of that quiet coup, the entire US is now turning into the global equivalent of a Deep South state.

As long as America runs according to the rules of Southern politics, economics and culture, we're no longer free citizens exercising our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as we've always understood them. Instead, we're being treated like serfs on Massa's plantation — and increasingly, we're being granted our liberties only at Massa's pleasure. Welcome to Plantation America.

How do we even begin to unmask and redress these crises of a modernist empire spiraling out of control? Will it be fixed  by carping on the marginal excesses of it, as seen in the issues of drones, national detention controversies and bank bailouts? Or will it be by finding new leadership and policy precepts that replace the ones which are clearly failing to provide for the common good? Ones not motivated by wealth accumulation or careerist ambitions, but rather by a sincere desire to advance our species toward its collective survival and some kind of satisfying intellectual and cultural status quo that endures long enough to reward successive generations without falling victim to them.

I have my ideas for getting there. I am sure you have yours. It's time we started to share them together, and out loud, in hopes of finding a brighter future before we're denied access to one by a dark and aggressively resurgent past. 

Due to my recent cancer surgery, I have lost any natural chance of having my own biological children. But I hope I have at least a few good years left where I might be able to do something to help all the other children on this rotating sphere of cosmic debris we're all traveling on.  We all get only a very brief span of years to do whatever good it is that we're going to do with them. We should probably get started.

Read the entire post. Then tweet me your thoughts.

Meet Lou Engle: The Apostolic Elder

A religious extremist from a dangerous cult, now being invited regularly to Republican Party events.  Oilwellian and I assembled this quick and dirty video montage, just to give you a sense of this con-man and his church of hate, overflowing with incredible levels of Christian demagoguery. revivalist chicanery, and raw political ambition.  But he's merely a taste of what underlies the core beliefs of Sarah Palin and millions of others who invest in these Pentecostal snake oil salesmen.  Unfortunately, they aren't merely a curiosity anymore. They are getting too close to power for that.  They are now officially scary. 

The Purpose of This Primer

As with many of my primers, my goal is not to provide a definitive resource. Rather, I want to provide starting points for others to travel. It is always my hope that one guide leads to another, and it to another, and so on, until perhaps someone can find and reveal some truth.

Christian reformations of all kinds, especially Dominionism and its variants, are a complex subject, but the more we know about them, the easier they are to track, and prevent from gaining any more power in our political system than they already have.

Starting from Lou Engle, I want to build this primer as a road map of where you can find the best info about these dangerous movements, and what we must do to guard against their ruinous influence in our politics. It's not an easy task, and this is merely a start. I plan to enlist friends like @karoli, who has a great deal of knowledge about these Christian movements, and others who I hope will come forward to help.

Please review these links and articles, and post to the comments anything you feel should be included. Please check back often for changes.

Back Story

The Rachel Maddow show has been one of the only mainstream programs to give more than passing mention of a growing threat to America and Democracy: The so-called "Dominionist"  movement(s), which overlap and intersect with "Apostolics"  such as Elder. While just a few years ago, this Pentecostal charlatan was one of hundreds of preachers running around screaming End Times rhetoric, he has now emerged as a leading figure with formidable ties to the Republican Party.

Engle's "Call to Conscience" revivalist-like ministry (and movement) gave rise to "The Call,"  prayer meetings led by Engle's ministry, but joined  by other Christian pastors in the US. The meetings request prayer and fasting by Christians in protest to legislation such as same-sex marriage, and healthcare reform.

While the term "Dominionism" is the subject of some controversy, it has been widely used, and serves to neatly label and group a broad range of similar Christian belief systems and groups with one umbrella term that codifies a majority of their views, politics, and activities.  I apologize to the the students of Christian theology who might object to this broad brush, but there are just too many aspects of this issue for any dozen posts of this type. Some kind of condensing is required to make these issues even marginally comprehensible to most of the citizens who are threatened by these Christian Zealots.

Backgrounders

"Gay Exorcist" Cindy Jacobs To Share Stage With Virginia GOP AG Ken Cuccinelli (Alternet)

Maddow observed, “A lot of conservative politicians admit they want to repeal health reform, but it takes a brave new Virginia style conservative politician to say they want to repeal health reform while appearing at an event with a faith healer — repeal and replace indeed.”
 

Theocracywatch.org — introduction

Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

In its generic sense, dominionism is a very broad political tendency within the Christian Right. It ranges from soft to hard versions in terms of its theocratic impulse.

Soft Dominionists are Christian nationalists. They believe that Biblically-defined immorality and sin breed chaos and anarchy. They fear that America's greatness as God's chosen land has been undermined by liberal secular humanists, feminists, and homosexuals.
Hard Dominionists believe all of this, but they want the United States to be a Christian theocracy. For them the Constitution and Bill of Rights are merely addendums to Old Testament Biblical law.

http://www.theocracywatch.org/

More

War on Secular Society (Theocracy Watch)

"We need to find ways to win the war" Karl Rove

President Bush's chief political strategist, and deputy chief of staff told a gathering of the Family Research Council in March, 2002. The Family Research Council is one of the most powerful lobbying organizations of the theocratic right today. Rove wasn't talking about the war on terrorism. He was talking about the war on secular society. 

What is Dominionism? Palin, the Christian Right, & Theocracy (Theocracy Watch)

Key Players in Dominionism and Related Movements

C. Peter Wagner (Wikipedia) — Former missionary, Founder of Global Harvest. Lives in Colorado Springs, where  his organization has made extensive inroads into the US. Airforce Academy

Lou Engle  — The Call is a series of prayer meetings led by Rev. Lou Engle's ministry Call for Conscience along with other Christian pastors in the US. The meetings request prayer and fasting by Christians in protest to legislation such as same-sex marriage, and healthcare reform.

Rick Joyner  — Rick Joyner heads MorningStar Ministries (also known as MorningStar Publications and Ministries), which he cofounded with his wife Julie Joyner in 1985. Supporters consider him to be a prophet and / or apostle. Critics consider Joyner to be unsound and dangerous.

Todd Bentley   — a Canadian Christian evangelist. He was the key figure of the Lakeland Revival.

Sen. Sam Brownback — Senior United States Senator from the U.S. state of Kansas. He has announced that he will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2010 and has filed papers to run for Governor of Kansas in the 2010 election

Becky Fischer  —)  a Pentecostal children's pastor best known for her role in the 2006 documentary Jesus Camp.

Tim LaHaye — American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker. He is best-known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins. He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction.LaHaye believes that the Illuminati is secretly engineering world affairs.

The Apostolic Organizations

Watch Dogs and Monitoring Organizations

  • Talk2action.org — Probably the most dedicated and concise of the groups tracking these people and their plans
     
  • Theocracywatch.org — raises awareness about the pervasive role of the Religious Right in the U.S. government. It disseminates information through its website,speakers bureau, powerpoint presentations, CDs. Also conducts interviews with the media.
  • Apologeticsindex.org  —- The Apologetics Index (apologeticsindex.org) 'family of web sites' provides 40,870+ pages of research resources on religious cults, sects, new religious movements, alternative religions, apologetics-, anticult-, and countercult organizations, doctrines, religious practices and world views.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center —  a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.
  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State —(AU) is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.
  • People For the American Way — Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. Our America respects diversity, nurtures creativity and combats hatred and bigotry.

Videos

 

Definitions & Key Terms

  • Dominionism — tendency among some conservative politically-active Christians, especially in the United States, to seek influence or control over secular civil government through political action—aiming either at a nation governed by Christians, or a nation governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law.
  • Christian_Reconstructionism — A religious and theological movement within Protestant Christianity that calls for Christians to put their faith into action in all areas of life.
  • Latter Rain Movement — also known as the New Order or New Order of the Latter Rain, was a post-World War II movement within Pentecostal Christianity
  • Charismatic movement — beliefs typical of those held by Pentecostal Christians by those within the historic denomination.
  • Pentecostalism — s a charismatic renewal movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit

Further Reading

   Reading Lists