Dark Christianity
dark_christian
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May 2008
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Ohio Restoration Project: an analysis

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]sunfell)

Thanks to [info]twistedchick for this find. Here's the website: Ohio Restoration Project And here is what [info]twistedchick said about it on her blog:

"This is a Dominionist move to install religious law instead of civil law in the state of Ohio, with recruitment for support through conservative churches; I linked in my last post to a pastor's letter to the editor opposing it.

What's involved? Let's look at the website itself. When you read the following excerpt, please remember that the buzzwords like freedom and harvest and spiritual warfare may mean something different to the people for which it was written:"
[emphasis mine]

Today, there is intense spiritual warfare for the heart, soul, and direction of America.
A generational harvest of changed lives weighs in the balances.

The Stewardship of our Citizenship is crucial to this hour. The Sacred Trust of Freedom has been purchased with a purpose. From America’s beginning, the Mayflower Compact openly declares that our forefathers were birthing this nation for “the advancement of the Christian faith.” All 50 of our state constitutions acknowledge and give honor to the Lord. The declaration of Independence declares that we are "endowed by our Creator, with certain inalienable rights." With only 5% of the world's population, God has blessed the United States with nearly 40% of the world's wealth. Now more than ever, we are convinced that God has blessed this nation with resources to share the light of God's Word with a world lost in darkness. America has had a mission to share a living Savior with a dying world.

During the past 50 years, that mission has come under heavy spiritual warfare. Recently, the birth pains have increased in frequency and intensity. The forces of hell understand Biblical prophecy better than most people sitting in the pews on Sunday morning. The intensity of the warfare for the heart and soul of America is escalating:

--Teaching creation in our public schools has become a federal lawsuit.
--Biblical definitions of marriage are being tragically altered by some judges who think they are smarter than God and begin to legislate secular dogma from the bench.
--American universities have become the arteries of spiritual toxic waste.
--“Homosexual marriages” are being paraded in 50 states
--In some cities, abortions nearly outnumber births
--HIV and sexually transmitted diseases will kill more Americans than every war this country has ever fought.
--Secularists have hijacked our culture--one year at a time.
--Denominational bigotry, division within the Body of Christ, and apostasy have weakened the voice of Biblical reason.
--Around the globe, ministers of the Gospel are being threatened with “hate crimes” legislation.

With so much of world history weighing in the balances, it's not enough to simply make moral observations and diagnose the culture. “Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” has become our course of action. In the months to come, the Ohio Restoration Project seeks to ignite hundreds of thousands of “candles” of influence and light in the public arena. The Hinges of History are moving on our watch. Ohio stands at the critical crossroads to America’s future leaders.

By God's design, for such a time as this, Ohio is truly at the “heart of it all!”

Thank you for caring and making a difference.

America Has a Mission to Share a Living Savior With a Dying World


She continues (and I've put the phrases she's translating in italics):

"Today, there is intense spiritual warfare for the heart, soul, and direction of America.
A generational harvest of changed lives weighs in the balances.

The Stewardship of our Citizenship is crucial to this hour. The Sacred Trust of Freedom has been purchased with a purpose."


Let's examine this a little; it's a fine example of what I'd call Protestant Latin -- it has its own coded message, which isn't obvious in English. What exactly does the 'Stewardship of our Citizenship' mean?

One is a steward of what is given by God, as in the Parable of the Talents, where the wealthy man gave talents to his servants. What this tells me is that this group sees American citizenship not as something that a person has because of being born here (regardless of religion) or naturalized, but as a result of belief in God, and something that can be taken away again -- in the parable, the servant who did nothing with his 'talent' but store it had it taken away and given to the most profitable of the other servants. The servant whose talent was taken away from him was told to leave the property, also. What does this say about the group's ideas about those of us who don't share their views? It tells me that these people think that Americans who don't believe in the same way they do should not be considered citizens, and might have their citizenship removed. These are dangerous, dangerous words if you value your American citizenship. Nobody, by law, has the right to take your citizenship away from you for the sake of religion at this point.

"From America’s beginning, the Mayflower Compact openly declares that our forefathers were birthing this nation for “the advancement of the Christian faith.” All 50 of our state constitutions acknowledge and give honor to the Lord. The declaration of Independence declares that we are "endowed by our Creator, with certain inalienable rights.""

It's a reasonable thing for the Puritans to thank God in the Mayflower Compact -- because they believed they were leaving England because of religious persecution. That was their story. That isn't necessarily the story of everyone else who's come over the water. Note the quotation from the Declaration of Independence, rather than from the Constitution. Dominionists look to the Declaration as THE founding document, and consider the Constitution to be a 'dead document', meaning only what it meant in 1783 when it was written, as Justice Antonin Scalia keeps saying (in contradiction to 230 years of constitutional law and case law.)

"With only 5% of the world's population, God has blessed the United States with nearly 40% of the world's wealth. Now more than ever, we are convinced that God has blessed this nation with resources to share the light of God's Word with a world lost in darkness."

Next comes an appeal to what's called the Prosperity Gospel -- the social Darwinist idea that if you're wealthy, God has blessed you, and if you're not wealthy, God has cursed you. Very simple, very Old Testament, and very opposed to Jesus' words about the poor being blessed and dear to God, as stated in the Sermon on the Mount. These 'resources' are to be used, this group says, 'to share the light of God's Word', in other words, active evangelism. Not for sheltering the poor, not for feeding the hungry, not for healing the sick, but for evangelizing the state.

"America has had a mission to share a living Savior with a dying world."

Then come the words 'America has a mission to share a living Savior with a dying world.' That's an interesting phrase. First, it designates America as specially ordered to do this. By whom? Who is speaking on behalf of God in this? How is the sharing going to be done? I'm going to skip over the reference to a living Savior, as that's a standard bit of wording in nearly every denomination, and go to the end of the sentence: "a dying world". This is a Dominionist phrase, and it assumes that the world will end and be destroyed *soon* so that God will create an entirely new world to replace it. This is apocalyptic speech, seeking out the End Times. Let me point out again that even the Bible says that only God knows the day and the hour of the end of anything and everything -- not a church, not a preacher, not anyone else. Nobody knows. And there are a lot of nasty words against false prophets who try to make money off of people's beliefs in there, too.

"During the past 50 years, that mission has come under heavy spiritual warfare. Recently, the birth pains have increased in frequency and intensity. The forces of hell understand Biblical prophecy better than most people sitting in the pews on Sunday morning. The intensity of the warfare for the heart and soul of America is escalating:"

The next paragraph starts with the idea that this mission to evangelize America (or America's not-quite-equally respected citizens) is longterm but has run into difficulty in the past 50 years or so. This tells me that whoever wrote this is not familiar with American history or economic history, or even its religious history, and is not concerned with or interested in the Bill of Rights or the Constitutional freedoms that citizens are supposed to be guaranteed. The group is interpreting changes in civil law as demonic attacks against religious goals. This, again, is apocalyptic and Dominionist language -- the translation might be, "In the past 50 years, those other people are doing things that get in the way of what we think should be happening, so they're all being influenced by the Devil and demons." What's this demonic action that's been going on? Among other things, civil rights and civil liberties, freedom of choice, the right to privacy and the ability to bargain collectively -- in other words, modern life.

Check the list, and look at the way it's slanted:

--Teaching creation in our public schools has become a federal lawsuit.

--"Teaching creation" becoming a "federal lawsuit". This can be considered as an attack on separation of church and state.

--Biblical definitions of marriage are being tragically altered by some judges who think they are smarter than God and begin to legislate secular dogma from the bench.

-- "Biblical definitions of marriage" being altered by "secular dogma". This is a demand to hold the law of the Bible as higher than the Constitution or American law. Which Biblical law? Whichever ones they say should be there. Usually that's the long list of requirements in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, except for the specific ones that Jesus opposed. (Though I haven't noticed any Evangelicals being stoned lately for wearing a cotton-polyester shirt or eating shrimp cocktail.) Also, note the "Biblical" in the phrase. It doesn't say one man-one woman. It could mean one man and a harem and concubines; that's certainly in the Bible also; although St. Paul said that each bishop should have only one wife, it says nothing about the congregation's marital situation. Does anyone else here see a hint of 'The Handmaid's Tale' in this?

--American universities have become the arteries of spiritual toxic waste.

-- "spiritual toxic waste" -- this is an attack on intellectual freedom within universities. It's anti-intellectual as well; it's saying that Christians who attend universities that are not specifically affiliated with a church of the proper denomination will lose their faith and be poisoned and damned by their education. This is a statement of fear that they will lose their influence over people with univeristy educations, who have presumably been trained in logic and will see the holes in their arguments.

--“Homosexual marriages” are being paraded in 50 states.

-- Homophobia here as well as lies. "Homosexual marriages" aren't being 'paraded' in all 50 states; do all states even have Pride Day parades? It's slamming the existence of gay people in stable unions, as if this were a threat to them. The threat is not spiritual, though, it's influence and money; the underlying idea here is that the existence of same-sex marriages and unions shows that another way of life *can* exist that is different that what this group says a marriage should be. It's trying to say that everyone has to be the same in order for things to be right, and that's a lie. The existence of something different that works threatens the group's influence; the idea that people who are in same-sex unions might receive the same benefits as hetero marriages makes them worry that their money is going to 'unholy practices.'

--In some cities, abortions nearly outnumber births.

-- Another lie. There are fewer abortions -- and fewer out of wedlock children being born -- than a decade ago; the number is steadily dropping. In some states it's nearly impossible for a woman to exercise free choice. This is just made up out of whole cloth without any statistical basis.

--HIV and sexually transmitted diseases will kill more Americans than every war this country has ever fought.

-- There are several false assumptions in this: that HIV and STDs are incurable and fatal, when the truth is that the majority of STDs can be either cured or controlled with drugs and when HIV research is helping people live longer; that the number of people who are affected fatally outnumbers the death toll in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the border wars, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Grenada, the Kuwait war and the current Iraq war, not to mention the other skirmishes here and there. Another non-statistic without proof. There's also the unspoken inference that all these diseases happen to other people, not the people from this particular group, so that research and health care for those afflicted is wasted money. But over it all is the mindset that equates sexuality with sin and sin with being "cursed" with illness. This is also the mindset that equates women with sexuality and sinfulness, by the way. There's no acknowledgment at all that HIV can be spread within marriage, that it can be contracted in nonsexual ways, that children can be born with it. Actually, there's enough ignorance on enough issues here that I could easily continue to discuss this, but I'll continue.

--Secularists have hijacked our culture--one year at a time.

--'Secularists' hijacking culture one year at a time -- this is yet another slam against anyone "not Us". This is also a slam against other ethnicities, against anyone not considered "middle American", against immigrants and against people of nonChristian religions -- Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists -- who work and think and act without regard to this group's view of Christian society. In other words, the society they live in isn't entirely circumscribed by their particular church. It's also a slam against philosophy, literature, music, art and culture that doesn't follow their narrow views.

--Denominational bigotry, division within the Body of Christ, and apostasy have weakened the voice of Biblical reason.

-- This criticism of denominational differences is as old as the hills; this time the point to be made comes from four words: bigotry, apostasy and Biblical reason. They're saying that other denominations have strayed from the Pure Straight One Way that They Alone Follow, that these other denominations are bigots because they are hostile to this group's views, that because of this they are apostate -- no longer to be considered Christians. I can interpret 'Biblical reason' in a lot of ways, but will summarize it as being whatever this group considers reasonable, whether it is or not. (Usually anyone who quotes Biblical reason doesn't have a lot to back up what he says other than taking a long string of Bible verses out of context.)

--Around the globe, ministers of the Gospel are being threatened with “hate crimes” legislation.

-- This last one is interesting -- "around the globe" ministers are threated with "hate crime" legislation. "Hate crime" legislation is an American term. What this means is that Muslim countries don't want proselytizing Evangelicals telling them how to do things, and have passed laws against them -- but that America is being blamed for this, somehow. There's no respect here for other people's religions, even for other religions that stem from the Book, or whose revered ancestors include Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, e.g. Judaism and Islam. There's also not a lot of understanding that some countries have established religions, such as the Lutheran Church in Germany or the Catholic Church in Austria or Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, and that these countries don't want Protestant Evangelicals coming in to preach.
Again, it's a case of "they don't want to let us do what we want, so they're bad and evil."

Add it up. When's the last time in US history when things went in some of the way this group wants? The Gilded Era, when what was gilded was the mirrors and trim on the homes of the robber barons, and your ancestors and mine were working 14-hour days in factories and mills, 7 days a week, no benefits, no health care, no OSHA checking to make sure work could be done safely.

With so much of world history weighing in the balances, it's not enough to simply make moral observations and diagnose the culture. “Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” has become our course of action. In the months to come, the Ohio Restoration Project seeks to ignite hundreds of thousands of “candles” of influence and light in the public arena. The Hinges of History are moving on our watch. Ohio stands at the critical crossroads to America’s future leaders.

By God's design, for such a time as this, Ohio is truly at the “heart of it all!”


After the list, we return to the sense of apocalyptic doom, "world history weighing in the balances" being an unsubtle reference to the Last Judgment and the return of Christ as judge. In the next sentence, lighting candles refers to the saying of not putting one's candle under a bushel but putting it on a high place to light the whole house -- but the following sentence widens the meaning by saying that the candles "of influence and light in the public arena" aren't confined to households. This is a call for Evangelical Protestant activism in goverment. The "Hinges of History" phrase recalls Jesus' words in the Apocalypse of John: 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock...", with the idea that history will open up and let Jesus in to run things -- and it's all supposed to start happening in Ohio.

This makes Ohio in essence the Promised Land, "at the heart of it all." What this tells me is that the Ohio Restoration Project isn't aimed just at Ohio. Ohio is the first step, the foothold in the heartland. If this group gets a grip in Ohio, it will spread to other states.

We are all at risk from these people, every one of us.

The Ohio Restoration Project plans to create, fund and operate a public information program [translation: propaganda indoctrination program] in Ohio on the following issues: marriage, 'right to life', 'educational choice', taxes, employment and other 'value voter issues.' Cities being targeted include Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Canton/Akron, Dayton/Springfield, Steubenville/Youngstown, Toledo/Findlay and Martin's Ferry, and the group is targeting 2,000 pastors to do what they want done.

Let's look again at that list of issues. 'Marriage' means anti-gay, 'right-to-life' means anti-choice and anti-female, as well as anti-privacy. Educational choice means student vouchers so that the government funding for public schools is diverted to private religious schools, a violation of separation of church and state. Taxes means getting rid of taxes for things they don't want to support, like social services, health care, retirement and the federal government. The most likely 'employment' issue is anti-unionism, because the concept of workers freely choosing to associate as a group and demand fair pay, safe working conditions and fair treatment simply terrifies the neoCons who think they might lose money if they did the right thing and paid a fair wage.

This is a recipe for ideological Evangelical fascism. This is a strategy for an Evangelical fascist coup, taking over the government. It has nothing to do with Jesus. It has everything to do with influence and the greed for power, as well as the insistence that everything Must Be Done Their Way Or Else.

And you know what? That's not just my conclusion.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told the Times that Johnson's efforts could potentially be more harmful to the body politic than the efforts of televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

"This represents a new wave in organizing on the part of conservative evangelicals," Lynn said. "From my standpoint, as someone who doesn't agree with their conclusions, this is a more dangerous model."


That's from Americans United for Separation of Church and State's article, which views this as an attempt to replace the Ohio Republican Party as being 'not Christian enough'. The Ohio Restoration Project is getting support from James Dobson's Family Research Council, also.

The Democratic site Bring Ohio Home sees Democrats as being in the Ohio Restoration Project's crosshairs. More from Daily Kos, quoting Gigi Graham, Billy Graham's daughter and on the very specific agenda of the National Day of Prayer in Ohio on May 5. Also discussion from Democracy Underground's forum and Internet Infidels.

In the meantime, Ford Motor Company is being targeted by the American Family Association because it donated money to gay-rights organizations. There's a contact number if you want to tell Ford you admire what it's doing.

What can you do about it? If you're inside Ohio, do your best to find out what's happening and support the rights you cherish at the state and local level. Don't let yourselves be shouted down or undercut by this group. Get active, find out the issues and write some letters to let your legislators at all levels know that you're there, that you don't agree with these people's views, and that you support legislation that agrees with *your* views. Go to a town meeting and make a brief speech. Do what you can to stave off this concerted effort to take away your Constitutional rights, to remove American law and to install a theocracy.

If you're outside Ohio, watch very carefully within your own state and listen to what your neighbors say about what happens in church. Is some group trying to enlist the conservative pastors in your area in their own right-wing political action? What's the reaction to that?

And if you are running across any of this in action, feel free to comment here about it. We all have much to lose if a fascist religious party takes control of any one state and installs its ideology there. This has the potential to spread through the Midwest and the deep South and (to some degree) the Southwest, and if it does take hold during the 2006 elections we may expect to have to deal with a theocratic party running the Republicans out in the open. And then it would take a genuine coup to hold on to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and our American way of life.

More on her blog.

Folks, it isn't too late to stop this juggernaut in its tracks. If this doesn't drive home the reality of this attempted coup of government, nothing will.

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