I think I may have this figured out.
I have been thinking about why New Apostolic Reformation dominionists like Rick Perry, and Michelle Bachmann but Christian reconstruction dominionists like Ron Paul. We know why they don’t like Mitt Romney (hint – in Christian dominionism of any sort, Mormons can’t implement biblical law).
But back to NAR vs. Christian reconstructionists; the focus of control is different. The NAR folks want to rule America as a Christian nation from the seat of centralized power in Washington DC. The Christian reconstructionists want to deconstruct central government in favor of state or local control of law. Bachmann and Perry promise to govern biblically and impose their view of Christian America on the nation. Paul promises to dismantle the federal government in favor of the states.
In fact, the Christian reconstructionists are afraid of the NAR dominionists. Recontructionist Joel McDurmon wants biblical law in place but he thinks the NAR approach is a dangerous power grab:
Can you imagine John Hagee as Secretary of State?
This is exactly the threat—top-down threat, totalitarian threat, eschatological holocaust threat—that 7MD presents to us.
American Vision is not that; they are not us; we are not them.
Perhaps more should be written on these guys and the threats they pose to society. They may have a few better political ideas, but they are just as dangerous in degree as the most radical of the left.
McDurmon distinguishes his view of government from the NAR (7Mountains) approach:
The First and most concerning point is that the 7MD version does what critics of traditional dominion theology have falsely accused us of doing the whole time: planning to grab the reins of influence through whatever means necessary, usurp the seats of political power, and impose some tyrannical “theocracy” upon society from the top down with a “whether you like it or not, it’s for your own good” mentality.
We have responded, consistently, that our blueprint is about the rollback of tyranny, not the replacement of it—the removal of unjust taxation, welfare, warfare, government programs, etc. We favor privatization, local control of civil and criminal law, hard and sound money, and private charity for cases of poverty, all led by families, businesses, and churches—not large, centralized, top-down solutions. Yes, we would properly recriminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion, but in a decentralized world like we want, you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.
So at least some of the ends are the same, but the Christian reconstructionists want to rollback the central government and allow states and local governments to make and enforce law with the Bible as a guide. Those who didn’t agree could go somewhere else. The reconstructionist desire to locate power away from the central government is what, I believe, brings in endorsements from reconstructionist pastors, like Phillip Kayser.
A very explicit reconstructionist case for Ron Paul was made recently on the Theonomy resources website by Bojidar Marinov. As a reconstructionist, his support for Paul was based not on his personal views but on his overall philosophy of governance. Marinov wrote:
It is not Ron Paul that we are looking at when we vote for him; we are looking at God’s purpose for our generation; at what enemies He wants us to rout in our generation; and at what must be done in our generation to advance the Kingdom of God.
The great Battle of Our Time is the battle against the socialist welfare-warfare state. While the issues of abortion and sodomy – the two issues that Stephen criticizes Ron Paul for – are important, they are to a very great extent subservient to the issue of the socialist state. Sodomites and abortionists are protected by the centralized government in Washington, DC. The theonomic solution to the problems of sodomy and abortion can not be achieved at the Federal level because at that level liberals outnumber conservatives 20 to 1. And theonomic Christians are almost non-existent at that level. It is only when the socialist state is dismantled and power returned back to the states and the counties that we will be able to successfully deal with the other social and moral issues. As long as sin is protected at the Federal level, our political job as Christians is to dismantle the Federal bureaucracy and return all power to the local communities. Therefore, the great battle is against the socialist state.
Given that, Ron Paul is the man with the best position to work for that goal on the national level. We must join him not because of him but because we recognize the great battle, and recognize where our place is. Once we win that battle, we can move to the next one. But refusing support to an ally for the most important issue we are facing today only because we find deal-breakers in smaller issues is not wise.
The job of theonomists (those who believe the Bible should be the civil law) is to dismantle the Federal government. When issues of morality (sodomites and abortionists) are taken from the central government and put into to the localities can the real Christian reconstruction begin (see this post if you want to know what that means).
Does Paul fit the reconstructionist vision? Given the current political alternatives, I can see why reconstructionists would think so. Consider Paul’s criticism of the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned laws against sodomy.
Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights — rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.
Viewed from the lens of state’s rights, Paul’s praise of the voter recall of Iowa Supreme Court judges over gay marriage and his support for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, incomprehensible to the NAR dominionist who wants ideological purity, make sense and is actually a plus for the Christian reconstructionist. In Paul’s vision, the people in the states do what they want with various sinners, the Feds will just protect their right to do so. Your civil rights in this kind of world would depend on the state in which you live. If you live in California, then the sky is the limit; if you live in Mississippi then, as recontrustionist McDurmon advises, you better either move, or, as Paul supporter Phillip Kayser hopes, get back in whatever closet you came out of.
Update: Talking Points Memo spoke to Phillip Kayser today and he confirmed my thoughts above. Paul is appealing because reconstruction would be easier in a decentralized America. Now, what will Paul do with that information?
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