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Christian Reconstructionism & the Christian Right: Common Goals, Common Beliefs

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The Christian Right Feeds off of Christian Reconstructionism:


America’s Christian Right does not explicitly accept the Christian Reconstructionist doctrine of theonomy, that American law and public institutions must be governed in a manner indistinguishable from theocracy. The Christian Right does, however, accept most Reconstructionist theories, premises, and solutions, which means that at the very least they support a “soft” form of Dominionism. It is difficult, however, to explain how one can accept the premises yet reject the theocratic conclusions.

WallBuilders and a Christian Nation:


Christian Reconstructionists believe that church and state have separate spheres of authority, but that the state must submit to biblical morality as interpreted by the church. WallBuilders is an organization which sells books and tapes attacking the separation of church and state. WallBuilders has argued that all of America’s founders were conservative evangelical Christians, that American was founded as a Christian Nation, and that only Christians should be allowed to run for public office.

Pat Robertson & Reconstructionist Ideology:


Although Pat Robertson has at least stated publicly that he disagrees with Christian Reconstructionist goals, this hasn’t stopped him from supporting Reconstructionist ideas. He has quoted Gary North approvingly on his 700 Club program. Several Reconstructionists have been hired to teach at his Regent University and Robertson has said that he believes the U.S. Constitution is imbued with Calvinist principles.

James Dobson & Reconstructionist Politics:


Now that the Christian Coalition has faded into relative irrelevancy, James Dobson and his Focus on the Family are the most powerful forces in the Christian Right. In 1996, James Dobson endorsed Howard Phillips for president. Phillips was running for the U.S. Taxpayers Party, the political arm of Christian Reconstructionism. Focus on the Family sells and endorses A New World View, a Reconstructionist book co-written by Gary DeMar.

Randall Terry, Anti-Abortion Activism, and Reconstructionism:


The most famous Christian Right activist whose work promotes Christian Reconstruction is Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Randall Terry explicitly argued for a Christian state governed according to his idea of biblical laws. At the same time, though, his practice of civil disobedience in fighting abortion was generally denounced by Christian Reconstructionists who believe that civil laws, however wrong, must be obeyed.

Christian Reconstructionism and the Separation of Church & State:


It is increasingly popular for the Christian Right to argue that there can be no government neutrality towards religion and attempts to do so only establish atheism as the official state religion. This is taken right out of Reconstructionist writings. According to Rushdoony, “Every law structure or system is an establishment of religion. There can be no separation of church and state.” Rushdoony also argued that the First Amendment was designed to protect state-established churches.

Christian Reconstructionism & Secularism:


Because Christian Reconstructionism is based upon strict Calvinism, it rejects the possibility of autonomous humans being able to do any good. As depraved sinners, humans can do no good outside of God. The only good that comes from human actions occurs as a consequence of complete submission to God’s laws. Reconstructionists reject the possibility of neutrality or neutral ground in religious matters. Therefore, a secular state is anti-Christian and anti-God.

Dominion Theology, Public Schools, and Homeschooling:


An important concern of all dominionist groups, especially Christian Reconstructionists, is the state of public schooling. Christian Reconstructionists reject the humanist idea of autonomy, or reliance on human judgment, in favor of theonomy, or submission to God. Because public schools promote autonomy, they are anti-Christian — it is sinful and blasphemous to send Christian kids to public schools. Christian Reconstructionists have thus been very influential in the homeschooling movement.

Evolution, Creationism, and Dominion Theology:


Opposition to the teaching of evolution is an important goal of Christian Reconstructionism because evolution is contrary to their political ideology of Dominionism. Evolution teaches that humans evolved from the same natural setting as all other animals and is incompatible with a literal reading of the Old Testament. Dominionism is based upon biblical literalism and teaches that Christian dominion is derived from the dominion God granted first to Adam and then later to Noah.

Christian Reconstructionism & Christian Economics:


Christian Reconstructionists believe that all aspects of human society must be under God’s dominion and that God’s laws apply to all spheres of human life, so of course they are more explicit and detailed in their economic view than other evangelical or fundamentalist movements. They defend laissez faire capitalism and free markets as the only system compatible with God’s laws. They support flat taxes and minimal government, and oppose all forms of socialism.

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