Oct 14, 2013

Christian Reconstructionism and the right today

A pretty unhinged and unhelpful analysis of America's rightwing right now:
It's no coincidence that in my new book And God Said, “Billy!”  that I have my character 'Billy' masturbating while he listens to his godly wife read out loud from a book by the guru of all evangelical Dominionist/Reconstructionists -- Rousas Rushdoony. The evangelical world has been metaphorically jacking off to the Rushdoony/Ted Cruz/Koch brothers' political God-hates-everybody-but-us-chosen-few porn for over forty years. Now with the government shutdown they have finally achieved political orgasm.
It's one thing to balance rage and frustration with analysis. It's another to trade the former for the latter. Frank Schaeffer, son of Francis Schaeffer, knows something about the religious right and Christian Reconstructionism, but his slap-dash, connect-the-dots allegations aren't designed for or helpful for anyone trying to understand things. Putting slashes between the name of RJ Rushdoony and the junior senator from Texas and the wealthy libertarians who have funded many rightwing organizations isn't the same as showing that they have anything to do with each other.

How and where and in what way Rushdoony and other Reconstructionists have influenced American politics is a question I'm quite interested in. There is an influence to be studied. But it's simply not the case that
the Reconstructionist movement is a distilled essence of the more mainstream Evangelical version of an exclusionary theology that divides American into the 'Real America' (as the Far Right claims only it is) and the rest of us 'Sinners.' It is also the base of the Koch brothers financed war on our democracy.
That's just crazy talk. As are the fact-free allegations connecting Ted Cruz's father and "legions" of his financial supporters to Christian Reconstructionism.

Actual Reconstructionists' position on the government shutdown are not difficult to find, and are not as neatly political or neatly Republican as one might imagine. They're critical of those who put their faith in politicians, Republicans especially. They're critical, even more, about those who put too much focus on politics at all. That is a large part of what it means to be a Reconstructionist.

A helpful and, by contrast, very grounded argument about America's rightwing right now:
what I find startling, and even surprising, is how absolutely consistent and unchanged the ideology of the extreme American right has been over the past fifty years, from father to son and now, presumably, on to son from father again. The real analogue to today’s unhinged right wing in America is yesterday’s unhinged right wing in America. This really is your grandfather’s right, if not, to be sure, your grandfather’s Republican Party. Half a century ago, the type was much more evenly distributed between the die-hard, neo-Confederate wing of the Democratic Party and the Goldwater wing of the Republicans, an equitable division of loonies that would begin to end after J.F.K.’s death.
As interesting as I find the religious right in all its permutations, any account of the present situation that seriously proposes a Calvinist think tank in Vallecito, California is more relevant than the John Birth Society and the broad, loud anti-Communist movement of the '50s and '60s doesn't know what they're talking about. Or they're lying.

It's like the old saying about two wrongs. Raving about ravings doesn't make you reasonable.