Michele Bachmann and many right leaning politicians have indicated their divine inspiration coming from the same three religious leaders: Francis Schaeffer, Loren Cunningham, and Bill Bright. In an article from the New Yorker Bachmann indicated she got involved in politics after being inspired by a video designed to bring people to a religious movement. After all - as a graduate of Oral Roberts University Law School - Bachmann is no stranger to "Christian Reconstructionism."
Their work began in the 70's and 80's when many of today's Republican candidates were in college and first getting started. Those three religious leaders came from their own projects - Campus Crusade, Youth With a Mission, and Francis Schaeffer was the author of the Christian Manifesto (the Christian version of the Communist Manifesto) and many credit with being one of the fathers of the anti-choice movement. Their mutual project was called Reclaiming the 7 Mountains of Culture, in which their aim was to take over every element of our society with their right wing ideology.
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According to the video above, what these religious zealots believe is in a kind of war between good and evil that must be fought by them as part of a righteous army to save the souls of all people. Their souls, of course, can only be saved if this religious army takes over the seven elements of our culture to "shape and influence its destiny."
- Government: which they say can either restrain evil or endorse it.
- Education: "Where truths or lies about God and His creation are taught."
- Media: where they believe information can be interpreted through the lens of good or evil and then inevitably distributed to the sad lost souls they feel the need to save.
- Arts and Entertainment: the only place that values and "virtue" are either celebrated or distorted. Please note, values and virtue have no place in your home life or faith life - evidently they must be taught through arts and entertainment only….
- Religion: "Where people worship God in spirit and truth or settle for a religious ritual."
- Family: which can pass on either blessings or curses from generation to generation.
- Business: "Where people build for the glory of God or the glory of man."
The most surprising of these seven mountains is the final one which the video says is the most important and that each and all of these mountains depend on. Not faith, not religion, not family …. but business. Business is the mountain that holds up all other mountains. It's business that holds up religion and faith, it's business that holds up the family, and ultimately it's business that holds up our government.
Sounds a lot like a recent Supreme Court ruling doesn't it? When our founders wrote the Preamble, these religious people would have us believe they actually meant "We the businesses, in order to form a more corporate union, establish Justice on the backs of the people we once insured domestic tranquility, as we provide for a profitable defense industrial complex, promote the Wall Street Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to only those who can afford it."
They believe the church retreated when they once held control (I'm not clear when this era was), they feel there has been a kind of void or darkness over our world since. "When we lose our influence, we lose our culture. And when we lose our culture we fail to advance the kingdom of God." Essentially, this Holy War is the justification for the culture war that candidates like Michelle Bachmann and now apparently Rick Perry are attempting to tap into.
They believe that an entire generation stands in "desperate need" but doesn't clarify what that need is. The religious movement, like many movements, seems to be nested in vague concepts in efforts to cover the absurdity of the specifics. But if you want to see the specifics of a nation under leaders who follow this religious movement, you need only look at the Bachmanns of the world. These leaders hope to rewrite our Constitution with one that is derived of their own interpretation of the Old Testament.
And these people aren't merely running for office - the gold-loving, Federal Reserve-hating Glenn Becks of the world - the home school/charter school-loving Janet Barresis of the world, and pastors that litter the airwaves like a disembodied head shouting they're the Great and Powerful Oz every Sunday morning.
Some call it a kind of Christian Reconstructionism, which I alluded to in my Bachmann reference since she graduated from Oral Roberts.
"Christian Reconstructionists, and their acolytes of the Constitution Party, believe America should be governed by biblical law. In her 1995 book, "Roads to Dominion: Right Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States," Sara Diamond describes the most significant impact of Reconstructionism on dominionism:
"the diffuse influence of the ideas that America was ordained a Christian nation and that Christians, exclusively, were to rule and reign." While most Christian right activists were "not well-versed in the arcane teachings" of Christian Reconstructionism, she wrote, "there was a wider following for softer forms of dominionism."
For the Christian right, it's more a political strategy than a secret "plot" to "overthrow" the government, even as some evangelists describe it in terms of "overthrowing" the powers of darkness (i.e., Satan), and even some more radical, militia-minded groups do suggest such a revolution."
While in the past we would have seen leaders try to mask their quest against an imagined evil, today it's so overt you find stumps speeches dripping with the barely coded terminology of the "self-righteous." Even now, in conservative states, you find Democratic candidates willing to adopt some of this rhetoric or some of these ideologies in efforts to appeal to more conservative voters.
Regardless of the absurdity surrounding their quest, there's a sad isolation for those who believe in a world filled with evil in need of making it good. Their entire movement is filled with people who ultimately see the glass as half empty. Or worse - maybe they see it as half full because they like to pretend they are thinking positively, but its half full with the juice of evil. No wonder they never have anything to lose.