Dark Christianity
.::: .::..:.::.:.
Back July 8th, 2005 Forward
dogemperor [userpic]
...and for once, justice is done (even among the horrid news out of the UK)

Buried in the headlines (for obvious reasons, and my deepest sympathies and well wishes go out to those in the UK)...


Three people who are apparently part of a dominionist church (targeting African-British nationals) have been convicted of child abuse for the torture of an eight year old child in attempted exorcisms. (Among other things, they claimed she was a witch.)

Info on the specific background (which IS dominionist, in fact can be tied to dominionist churches in the US who have targeted Africa to "claim dominion over the demons in darkest Africa") is at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4596127.stm

The UK is looking into a specific taskforce in regards to religiously-motivated child abuse, including "death by exorcism", due to the increasing number of complaints of child abuse involving dominionist churches in the UK practicing "deliverance ministry" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4607773.stm)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4602543.stm also has more info on the kid's ordeal.

(As some backgrounder/aside:

I have posted this in part to show that dominionism/"deliverance ministry" is *not* a problem that is restricted to the US alone, but to many countries worldwide. Among other things, Australia has a specific dominionist political party that is, for all intents and purposes, a political wing of the AoG ("Family First", http://www.familyfirst.org.au/) which is increasingly the subject of controversy in Oz.

Much of the blame for the rise in African-British abuse cases is *directly* attributable to dominionist groups here in the US--the AoG, and other pentecostal denominations that support dominionism, have been targeting countries outside the US heavily, and have had the most success in Africa, South Korea and Australia (which have the least regulations, incidentially, on monitoring of churches for abuse; often in African cases, they also claim to build schools and whatnot, but teach an explicitly dominionist platform).

"Deliverance ministry" (as practiced in the US) *already* has a belief that everything outside of the church is demonic and that everything outside the church has active possession by devils; in the case of Korea and Africa, this has sort of meshed with preexisting belief in witchcraft (or, more properly, is compatible enough with existing beliefs in witchcraft).

I will note that, again in the specific case of African and Korean dominionists, they are cross-pollinating with the US "deliverance ministry" folks (cref Paul Cho, who may have been the ultimate source of the whole "Toronto"/"Brownsville"/"Third Wave" madness--and who started it in an AoG church in the fifties in Seoul, South Korea). Not that the preexisting "deliverance ministry" stuff isn't scary enough, mind...

Anyways, now dominionist thought (in regards to "deliverance ministry"--trust me, the two are related; "deliverance ministry" *is by definition* dominionism, as part of the basic theology of "deliverance ministry" claims one must "take dominion of things away from Satan") is being imported to the UK, and the UK is starting to see the same problems as the US, Canada and Oz have seen for a while regarding child abuse and dominionism.

In other words--EVEN IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN THE US, DO NOT THINK DOMINIONISM IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM. More than likely, it *is*, but it's not as developed in the US. (Oz and several countries in Africa are probably closest to having a US-scale dominionist problem, by the way. In fact, in the case of at least one African country (Uganda)...they have a homegrown dominionist group called the Army of the Lord that steals kids to use them as child soldiers. :()

As another direct aside, relating to the problem of dominionism and "deliverance ministry" in the US--much of the reason that the Convention on the Rights of the Child has never been ratified by the US is *because* of pressure by dominionist parents who wish to use "all methods biblically mandated" to "discipline" their child or otherwise raise claims of "being able to raise my child as I see fit according to my own religion". This doesn't just include legally being able to beat the kid with the "chastising rods" sold in dominionist parenting mags...but also sending kids to places like Love In Action, and being legally allowed to perform involuntary exorcisms on kids.

This is something that hits personally at home to me--I was unable to escape my situation as a kid because legal authorities in the US, by and large, do not yet recognise religiously-motivated abuse or religious abuse as a form of child abuse (partly from pressure by dominionist groups). I lived in fear for most of my life as a walkaway (and in fact still do to an extent, which is why my folks generally do NOT know I am a walkaway or transsexual, nor of my own religious beliefs) of involuntary exorcisms of this sort. I'm glad to see the British are being more sensible.)

I will post a separate post on the Australian dominionist party "Family First" (really, it behooves us all to know this is NOT a US-only problem).

dogemperor [userpic]
Showing that (Sadly) dominionism is not a problem restricted to the US

Australia also has a growing problem with dominionists, and in fact, from dominionist groups that may sound very familiar to US readers.

Family First (http://www.familyfirst.org.au) is a political party in Australia that, like dominionist groups (such as Focus on the Family) here in the States, practices "stealth dominionism" in claiming publically that it is merely a party focusing on "family concerns".

The truth is that Family First was founded by multiple heads of the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God and is increasingly regarded as a de facto political wing of the AoG in Australia (a bit of backgrounder; generally the AoG is the biggest non-Catholic/non-Anglican church in Australia, certainly the largest pentecostal one by far).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_First_Party has info (pro and con) on this particular dominionist group.

http://www.abc.net.au/central/stories/s1218591.htm has a commentary from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, including statements by a member related to "deliverance ministry" as practiced within the group/denomination (specifically telling people to tear down liquor stores/beer stores and Moslem mosques to "pull down Satan's strongholds").

http://www.crikey.com.au/articles/2004/09/21-0001.html has information ergarding the links between Family First and AoG (and further firming up the fact that it is in fact de facto a political wing of the denomination).

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/10/15/1097784045621.html also has another report on the group, including a telling statement where the public face slips and the "private face" shows:

Fielding is not the only one to be gagged: all hopefuls were disendorsed as party candidates after the election to prevent them speaking on behalf of Family First. Harris admits the decision was partly due to the conduct of some representatives during the poll campaign.

A volunteer was disciplined for answering "yes" when asked whether Family First backed lesbians being burned to death.

(In my experience, at least in the group I walked away from...yes, they would have supported lesbians being burned to death, and a lot more people besides :P More info on the particular quote in question: http://atheism.about.com/b/a/117359.htm)

The AoG has a history of dominionist activity in the US that is quite well documented (known AoG associated dominionists in the US government include ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft, the main advisor on religious issues to George W Bush, and Admiral Boykin; as far as dominionist orgs themselves, many local branches of dominionist groups like AFA are in effect run by persons in AoG churches) and the church itself is a heavy practitioner of "deliverance ministry"--a form of dominionism that states that everything outside the church group is infested with demons (and all ills are the result of demonic influence) and that people must "take dominion over Satan" and "tear down Satan's strongholds" in all areas including takeover of the government--dominionism and the prevailing "demon haunted world", especially in AoG churches practicing "Third Wave"/"Brownsville/Pensacola" type theology, are very much two sides of the same helix). John Ashcroft, interestingly, was an example of how this is often done in practice (both in his political views and his "eccentricities" such as annointing areas with Wesson oil and covering up Lady Justice's boobies). The AoG also has a known history of "stealth evangelism" and in fact considers it completely acceptable and desirable. (For the record, I am a walkaway from an AoG church, so I do know of what I speak.)

The AoG has also, almost since its inception, heavily targeted other countries--especially in South Korea and in Australia. Australia in particular has given press regarding scandals among AoG churches, many involving involuntary exorcisms and diversion of funds. In fact, many exit counselors in Australia are beginning to consider the AoG in and of itself a coercive group (which would fit the experiences of myself and other walkaways from that denomination). (http://www.geocities.com/hotsprings/3658/ has a good page on this in general) This is something that the US has exported to Oz, and they are having to deal with it as a result...

Interestingly, there are indications of at least sympathies betwen the Australian dominionists and the American ones (aside from the AoG being heavily involved in both): http://au.messages.yahoo.com/news/top-stories/17610/ Howard, the present PM of Australia, is also heavily influenced by dominionists including Family First (see article below); furthermore, Family First has stated publically that American dominionists are whom they take example from (http://neovox.cortland.edu/vox/vox_100/vox_100.html) and at least one documentary has commented on the "heavily American flavour" of Family First (http://reviews.media-culture.org.au/article.php?sid=1175)

There's also evidence they're (much like the dominionist groups that are heavily AoG and Southern Baptist influenced here in the US) using explicitly sectarian tests for things like refugee status: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/apr2005/refu-a04_prn.shtml (And people WONDER why I say Oz is *NOT* an option for people who may need to make refugee plans in the event the dominionists *do* take over completely.)

Anyways, this is posted to show that the same people who are causing the problem in the US are now trying to cause similar problems for other countries, and that it is NOT a problem of the US alone. Countries *IN GENERAL* and people *in general* are going to need to take much more of a proactive stance to make sure people like this never get *in* office, and also to make sure regulations are passed and *enforced* to make sure the crossing of religious and political lines doesn't happen. We do *not* need a "Christian Taliban" in Oz or the US.

It's also interesting how the same usual suspects seem to be responsible :P (Now *tell* me again that I'm exaggerating?)

dogemperor [userpic]
Point, counterpoint


If you sometimes get the feeling that the members of the Extreme Right dwell in a parallel universe, you might be right. Here are a pair of op-ed columns from the Ft. Wayne paper. The first is from a right wing theocrat, and the second one is the rebutal to the first. Both are fascinating reading.

Remember Puritan roots of liberty

The Independence Day we celebrate this weekend offers the occasion to get in touch with the mystic chords of American memory.

It is tempting to look only to Philadelphia and conclude it was the start of something big. The taproot is not there. Instead, the American Revolution that shaped our great country begins with the Puritans, those remarkable individuals who put forward ideals that still can motivate. The Pilgrims showed us the power of combining individualism and public spirit, giving us a religious republic comfortable with a wall and no established church.Read more... )

Back July 8th, 2005 Forward