Richard Moore

From: Jim Macgregor
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 15:33:08 EDT
To: •••@••.•••

From: "Allen Roland" 
To: "ALLEN'S REFLECTIONS" <•••@••.•••>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 14:39:53 -0700

The Crusaders

Christian evangelicals are plotting to remake America in their own image 


04/08/05 Rolling Stone

It's February, and 900 of America's staunchest Christian
fundamentalists have gathered in Fort Lauderdale to look back
on what they accomplished in last year's election -- and to
plan what's next. As they assemble in the vast sanctuary of
Coral Ridge Presbyterian, with all fifty state flags dangling
from the rafters, three stadium-size video screens flash the
name of the conference: reclaiming america for christ. These
are the evangelical activists behind the nation's most
effective political machine -- one that brought more than 4
million new Christian voters to the polls last November,
sending George W. Bush back to the White House and thirty-two
new pro-lifers to Congress. But despite their unprecedented
power, fundamentalists still see themselves as a persecuted
minority, waging a holy war against the godless forces of
secularism. To rouse themselves, they kick off the festivities
with "Soldiers of the Cross, Arise," the bloodthirstiest tune
in all of Christendom: "Seize your armor, gird it on/Now the
battle will be won/Soon, your enemies all slain/Crowns of
glory you shall gain." 

Meet the Dominionists -- biblical literalists who believe God
has called them to take over the U.S. government. As the
far-right wing of the evangelical movement, Dominionists are
pressing an agenda that makes Newt Gingrich's Contract With
America look like the Communist Manifesto. They want to
rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American
history, pack the nation's courts with judges who follow Old
Testament law, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse
and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have
abortions. In Florida, when the courts ordered Terri Schiavo's
feeding tube removed, it was the Dominionists who organized
round-the-clock protests and issued a fiery call for Gov. Jeb
Bush to defy the law and take Schiavo into state custody.
Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a "faith-based"
government that will endure far longer than Bush's presidency
-- all the way until Jesus comes back.

"Most people hear them talk about a 'Christian nation' and
think, 'Well, that sounds like a good, moral thing,' says the
Rev. Mel White, who ghostwrote Jerry Falwell's autobiography
before breaking with the evangelical movement. "What they
don't know -- what even most conservative Christians who voted
for Bush don't know -- is that 'Christian nation' means
something else entirely to these Dominionist leaders. This
movement is no more about following the example of Christ than
Bush's Clean Water Act is about clean water."

The godfather of the Dominionists is D. James Kennedy, the
most influential evangelical you've never heard of. A former
Arthur Murray dance instructor, he launched his Florida
ministry in 1959, when most evangelicals still followed Billy
Graham's gospel of nonpartisan soul-saving. Kennedy built
Coral Ridge Ministries into a $37-million-a-year empire, with
a TV-and-radio audience of 3 million, by preaching that it was
time to save America -- not soul by soul but election by
election. After helping found the Moral Majority in 1979,
Kennedy became a five-star general in the Christian army. Bush
sought his blessing before running for president -- and
continues to consult top Dominionists on matters of federal

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost,"
Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise
godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our
schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports
arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our
scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and
institution of human society."

At Reclaiming America, most of the conference is taken up by
grassroots training sessions that supply ministers, retirees
and devout churchgoers with "The Facts of Stem-Cell Research"
or "Practical Steps to Impact Your Community with America's
Historical Judeo-Christian Heritage." "We're going to turn you
into an army of one," Gary Cass, executive director of
Reclaiming America, promises activists at one workshop held in
Evangalism Explosion Hall. The Dominionists also attend
speeches by supporters like Rep. Katherine Harris of Florida,
who urges them to "win back America for God." In their spare
time, conference-goers buy books about a God-devised health
program called the Maker's Diet or meet with a financial
adviser who offers a "biblically sound investment plan."

To implement their sweeping agenda, the Dominionists are
working to remake the federal courts in God's image. In their
view, the Founding Fathers never intended to erect a barrier
between politics and religion. "The First Amendment does not
say there should be a separation of church and state,"
declares Alan Sears, president and CEO of the Alliance Defense
Fund, a team of 750 attorneys trained by the Dominionists to
fight abortion and gay marriage. Sears argues that the
constitutional guarantee against state-sponsored religion is
actually designed to "shield" the church from federal
interference -- allowing Christians to take their rightful
place at the head of the government. "We have a right, indeed
an obligation, to govern," says David Limbaugh, brother of
Rush and author of Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War
Against Christianity. Nothing gets the Dominionists to their
feet faster than ringing condemnations of judicial tyranny.
"Activist judges have systematically deconstructed the
Constitution," roars Rick Scarborough, author of Mixing Church
and State. "A God-free society is their goal!"

Activist judges, of course, are precisely what the
Dominionists want. Their model is Roy Moore, the former
Alabama chief justice who installed a 5,300-pound granite
memorial to the Ten Commandments, complete with an open Bible
carved in its top, in the state judicial building. At
Reclaiming America, Roy's Rock sits out front, fresh off a
tour of twenty-one states, perched on the flag-festooned
flatbed of a diesel truck, a potent symbol of the
"faith-based" justice the Dominionists are bent on imposing.
Activists at the conference pose for photographs beside the
rock and have circulated a petition urging President Bush to
appoint Moore -- who once penned an opinion calling for the
state to execute "practicing homosexuals" -- to the U.S.
Supreme Court.

"The other side knows we've got strongholds in the executive
and legislative branches," Cass tells the troops. "If we start
winning the judiciary, their power base is going to be

To pack the courts with fundamentalists like Moore,
Dominionist leaders are planning a massive media blitz.
They're also pressuring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist --
an ally who's courting support for his presidential bid -- to
halt the long-standing use of filibusters to hold up judicial
nominations. An anti-filibuster petition circulating at the
conference blasts Democrats for their "outrageous stonewalling
of appointments" -- even though Congress has approved more
nominees of Bush than of any president since Jimmy Carter.

It helps that Dominionists have a direct line to the White
House: The Rev. Richard Land, top lobbyist for the
16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, enjoys a weekly
conference call with top Bush advisers including Karl Rove.
"We've got the Holy Spirit's wind at our backs!" Land declares
in an arm-waving, red-faced speech. He takes particular aim at
the threat posed by John Lennon, denouncing "Imagine" as a
"secular anthem" that envisions a future of "clone
plantations, child sacrifice, legalized polygamy and hard-core

The Dominionists are also stepping up efforts to turn public
schools into forums for evangelism. In a landmark case, the
Alliance Defense Fund is suing a California school district
that threatened to dismiss a born-again teacher who was
evangelizing fifth-graders. In the conference's opening
ceremony, the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of
hearing in every classroom: "I pledge allegiance to the
Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands.
One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and
liberty for all who believe."

Cass urges conference-goers to stack school boards with
Dominionists. "The most humble Christian is more qualified for
office than the best-educated pagan," says Cass, an
anti-abortion activist who led a takeover of his school
district's board in San Diego. "We built quite a little
grass-roots machine out there. Now it's my burden to multiply
that success all across America."

Cass points to the Rev. Gary Beeler, a Baptist minister from
Tennessee who got permission for thousands of students to skip
class and attend weeklong events that he calls "old-time
revivals, with preaching and singing and soul-saving and the
whole nine yards." Now, with support from Kennedy, Beeler is
selling his house and buying a mobile home to spread his
crusade nationwide. "It's not exactly what I planned to do
with my retirement," he says. "But it's what God told me to

Cass also presents another small-town activist, Kevin McCoy,
with a Salt and Light Award for leading a successful campaign
to shut down an anti-bullying program in West Virginia
schools. McCoy, a soft-spoken, prematurely gray postal worker,
fought to end the program because it taught tolerance for gay
people -- and thus, in his view, constituted a "thinly
disguised effort to promote the homosexual agenda." "What
America needs," Cass tells the faithful, "is more Kevin

While the dominionists rely on grass-roots activists to fight
their battles, they are backed by some of America's richest
entrepreneurs. Amway founder Rich DeVos, a Kennedy ally who's
the leading Republican contender for governor of Michigan, has
tossed more than $5 million into the collection plate. Jean
Case, wife of former AOL chief Steve Case -- whose fortune was
made largely on sex-chat rooms -- has donated $8 million. And
Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza, is a major source of
cash for Focus on the Family, a megaministry working with
Kennedy to eliminate all public schools.

The one-two punch of militant activists and big money has
helped make the Dominionists a force in Washington, where a
growing number of congressmen owe their elections to the
machine. Kennedy has also created the Center for Christian
Statesmanship, which trains elected officials to "more
effectively share their faith in the public arena." Speaking
to the group, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay -- a winner of
Kennedy's Distinguished Christian Statesman Award -- called
Bush's faith-based initiatives "a great opportunity to bring
God back into the public institutions of our country."

The most vivid proof of the Christianizing of Capitol Hill
comes at the final session of Reclaiming America. Rep. Walter
Jones, a lanky congressman from North Carolina, gives a
fire-and-brimstone speech that would have gotten him laughed
out of Washington thirty years ago. In today's climate,
however, he's got a chance of passing his pet project, the
Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, which would
permit ministers to endorse political candidates from their
pulpits, effectively converting their tax-exempt churches into
Republican campaign headquarters.

"America is under assault!" Jones thunders as his aides dash
around the sanctuary snapping PR photos. "Everyone in America
has the right to speak freely, except for those standing in
the pulpits of our churches!" The amen chorus reaches a fever
pitch. Hands fly heavenward. It's one thing to hear such words
from Dominionist leaders -- but to this crowd, there's nothing
more thrilling than getting the gospel from a U.S.
congressman. "You cannot have a strong nation that does not
follow God," Jones preaches, working up to a climactic,
passionate plea for a biblical republic. "God, please -- God,
please -- God, please -- save America!"
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