The fervently religious are delighted with the possibility of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as president as shown by his recent win at the Values Voter Summit, eclipsed by the GOP government shutdown. His inheritance of the Tea Party’s “no compromise” crusade from his father makes him well qualified to represent the most extreme of the religious right : Rafael Cruz, a pastor of the Texas ministry Purifying Fire International, follows the theological vision of Christian Dominionism.
This religious group believes that socialism erases religion because it demands loyalty only to the government. Cruz also follows revisionist historian David Barton that the clergy were the backbone of the American Revolutionary War. Ted Cruz said at the August 29th gathering of Heritage Action:
“It was pastors who were the backbone of the Revolution. Did you know where Paul Revere was going when he was saying the British are coming? He was going to the home of a pastor by the name of Jonas Clark… [who] was one of many that were called the black robe regiment. These were pastors that wore long black robes. Many of them had the continental army uniform under the black robe. They would preach in church on Sunday and then go out and fight with half their congregation for our independence. I want to encourage our pastors today not to hide behind their pulpits but take the spirit of the black robe regiment.”
Dominionists also believe that 2012 is the first year of divine government as Christian Zionist pastor Larry Huch explained when he introduced Rafael Cruz as a guest speaker in his Irving (TX) megachurch. Huch claimed that Cruz’s son was elected senator in 2012 to lead his people into wealth. “It’s said this way: that God is looking at the church and everyone in it and deciding in the next three and a half years who will be his bankers.”
Giving one of the sermon series “Getting to the Top and Staying There,” Cruz misinterpreted a bibliocal text to claim that Christians are actually kings appointed by God to go to war and bring the spoils back to the church. According to Rafael Cruz, those without the anointing of kings are “second class citizens. And so you begin to lead frustrated lives… God has given you an anointing to go to the battlefield. And what’s the battlefield? The marketplace. To go to the marketplace and occupy the land. To go to the marketplace and take dominion.”
A Cuban-American refugee, Rafael Cruz has said that the “evil agenda” of the “liberal media” is like the “ministry of misinformation” in communist countries like Cuba, intent on “destroying what this country is all about.” What Rafael Cruz wants—and by extension what Ted Cruz wants—is a government that is reduced to defense, internal security, and the protection of property rights. Through a distortion of their Bible, they—and the Tea Party—want small government and large military.
According to Chris Hedges, the Christian right follows a cult of masculinity.They “[use] religion to sanctify military and heroic “virtues,” glorify blind obedience and order over reason and conscience, and pander to the euphoria of collective emotions. Feminism and homosexuality, believers are told, have rendered the American male physically and spiritually impotent. Jesus, for the Christian right, is a man of action, casting out demons, battling the Antichrist, attacking hypocrites and ultimately slaying nonbelievers.”
The cult of masculinity gains power by taking control of women’s bodies, making them subservient to men by refusing them birth control and their right to vote. In a macho culture, men need someone to blame and find this within their church. Masculinity, accompanied by violence, appeals to those who feel powerless, mostly white and poor. Their Christian leaders tell them they have the right to strike out at those who seek to destroy them, led by an angry, violent Messiah into a perpetual global war with the “secular humanist” state.
Reason fails with far-right Christians, including Dominionists, because they live in a world of black and white where they are the victims in a war against Satan. Only they know that they are the agents of God, and only they know what is God’s will. Out of their rage, they rant inanities about Barack Obama, his corporate-sponsored health care reform bill, his alleged mandated suicide counseling or “death panels” for seniors, his supposed secret alliance with radical Muslims, and “creeping socialism.”
The far-right religious take-over of the government has been carefully orchestrated for almost a half century, led by Paul Weyrich. Dismayed by Barry Goldwater’s defeat in 1964, he founded the Heritage Foundation in 1973 and the Free Congress Foundation in 1977. He worked with Jerry Falwell in 1979 to create the political movement “Moral Majority” that elected Ronald Reagan president. Weyrich is also an important part of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the organization of corporations that writes conservative, restrictive bills for legislators to present as their own. Weyrich explained his strategy of getting far-right religious extremists elected:
“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
At the same time, Christian Reconstructionists have worked to take over the Southern Baptist church in its struggle to exchange the federal government for a Christian nation ruled by biblical laws. Gary North, founder of the Institute for Christian Economics in Tyler (TX) and Ron Paul’s friend and former, has led this movement for almost 40 years; North describes “guerilla tactics” and “bottom-up theocracy” to achieve Christian Reconstructionism’s goals of destroying the GOP, the public schools, and the Baptists.
In his 1991 book, Christian Reconstructionism: What It Is, What It Isn’t, North wrote that the Bible, not the political majority “is the final law in society” with Jesus the “Lord of political leaders.” Once in politics, the purpose of public officials “is to reduce the power of the State.” That’s a large piece of the recent government shutdown.
Reconstructionism is opposed to organized labor, public employees, welfare, and inflation while supporting the gold standard. Like the Taliban, the group’s theology also supports execution through stoning of LGBT people, blasphemers, heretics, apostate Christians, people who cursed or struck their parents, females guilty of “unchastity before marriage,” “incorrigible” juvenile delinquents, and adulterers.North supports stoning for execution because it is “cheap, plentiful, and convenient.”
One of Weyrich’s most powerful organizations, Council for National Policy founded in 1981, is also the most secretive. The combination of this group and Heritage is the Conservative Action Project (CAP), developed after President Obama’s first election and revealed earlier this month as having orchestrated the current shutdown through grassroots organizing, paid advertisements, and a series of events designed to boost the message of senators like Ted Cruz. Their efforts also go toward blocking the president’s judicial nominees. One of CAP’s highest-paid employees now sits on the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
The CAP goal: “We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions. We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment’s rest. We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime.”
The government shutdown is temporarily over, but the religious right continues its campaign against humanity. Yesterday Tony Perkins, head of Family Research Council, said that Christians should not view government as an aid to the poor:
“The government has a responsibility to care for the poor? That’s not what Scripture says.” Then, in a fit of irony, he complained that progressive Christians “treat the government as if it had divine instructions from God to be a form of theocracy.”
Tea Party Unity founder Rick Scarborough and Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, had a discussion last Thursday about filing a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality just like the one filed by attorneys general against tobacco companies.” Scarborough thinks that the Centers for Disease Control reported that homosexuality more likely leads to AIDS than smoking leads to cancer. He’s way off target. In fact, the CDC reported in 2008 that “more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.”
Speakers at the Values Voters Summit a week ago also spread their extremist myths. Following the cult of controlling women, Cruz again claimed that taking hormonal birth control is like having mini-abortions. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that birth control is “poison”—ignoring the fact that her uncle supported birth control.
Twenty years ago, Barry Goldwater expressed anger with the actions of Weyrich and the other extremists to journalist Bill Rentschler:
“Our problem is with … the religious extremists whose interpretation is very narrow, and who want to destroy everybody who doesn’t agree with them. I see them as betrayers of the fundamental principles of conservatism. A lot of so-called conservatives today don’t know what the word means.”