You know that D. James Kennedy guy I mentioned yesterday? Well, he was part of a wider Christian movement that calls for fundamentalist Christian control of the American government, known as Dominionism. It’s the American equivalent of Islamism, and it’s a frightening force. Not only does it distort Christianity’s message of social justice in favor of moral Manicheanism, it shows a fundamental disrespect for the Western ideal of secular governance. Thankfully, with 2008 promising a new Democratic president, it had seemed that the executive branch would be free from its influence for four years, at least.
Or not. A new Mother Jones piece, via Shakes, shows that Hillary Clinton has been intimately tied to The Fellowship, a leading Dominionist group, for 15 years. An excerpt:
Clinton declined our requests for an interview about her faith, but in Living History, she describes her first encounter with Fellowship leader Doug Coe at a 1993 lunch with her prayer cell at the Cedars, the Fellowship’s majestic estate on the Potomac. Coe, she writes, “is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God.”
Coe’s friends include former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Reaganite Edwin Meese III, and ultraconservative Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). Under Coe’s guidance, Meese has hosted weekly prayer breakfasts for politicians, businesspeople, and diplomats, and Pitts rose from obscurity to head the House Values Action Team, an off-the-record network of religious right groups and members of Congress created by Tom DeLay. The corresponding Senate Values Action Team is guided by another Coe protégé, Brownback, who also claims to have recruited King Abdullah of Jordan into a regular study of Jesus’ teachings.
The Fellowship’s long-term goal is “a leadership led by God—leaders of all levels of society who direct projects as they are led by the spirit.” According to the Fellowship’s archives, the spirit has in the past led its members in Congress to increase U.S. support for the Duvalier regime in Haiti and the Park dictatorship in South Korea. The Fellowship’s God-led men have also included General Suharto of Indonesia; Honduran general and death squad organizer Gustavo Alvarez Martinez; a Deutsche Bank official disgraced by financial ties to Hitler; and dictator Siad Barre of Somalia, plus a list of other generals and dictators. Clinton, says Schenck, has become a regular visitor to Coe’s Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, a former convent where Coe provides members of Congress with sex-segregated housing and spiritual guidance.
It gets worse. Yes, worse than backing brutal dictators and hardcore religious rightwingers. This section stuck out to both me and Shakes:
In an interview with the United Methodist Reporter, [Clinton] expressed regret that her church had focused too much on social gospel concerns in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, “to the exclusion of personal faith and growth.” The spirit, believe theological conservatives, matters more than the flesh. Clinton added that she was happy to see her liberal denomination becoming more salvation centered in the ’90s.
The great liberal Christian tradition comes from a social justice-oriented understanding of the Gospels and the Sermon on the Mount specifically; it was this version of Christianity that made Barack Obama a believer. And yet Clinton rejects it, explicitly. That the Democratic party is seriously considering nominating this woman is horrifying.