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dogemperor [userpic]
Dominionism as cult/coercive religious group; an analysis (part 1 of 2)

I had originally intended this as a reply to this post but due to the length of the post I am actually going to set up a dedicated post for this (also so, hopefully, it doesn't get lost in the clutter).

Dominionism, both in and of itself and in the religious and other groups associated with dominionism, share enough characteristics with groups traditionally considered coercive groups (or "cults", in the case of coercive religious groups) that the groups associated with dominionism, and likely the entire dominionist movement itself, are better seen as a coercive religious group *in and of itself* rather than as a strictly political movement. It is my belief (as a walkaway and as an informal researcher) that it is likely impossible to fully understand dominionism (as a political movement) unless one sees the political aspects of dominionism in a larger context of a general coercive mindset existing in the "parent" groups of the dominionist movement.

In this post, I will directly compare lists of coercive tactics used by four groups active in research of coercive groups (FACTnet's summary of research by Dr Margaret Thaler Singer, info from Rick Ross Institute, info from Steven Hassan's "Freedom of Mind", and lists from the International Cultic Studies Association (a group, ironically, that had to change its original name, the American Family Foundation, due to confusion with the dominionist group American Family Association)) in comparison with coercive tactics used in the dominionist community at large and with specific aspects of the dominionist community in particular.

Comparison 1: Coercive tactics of dominionist groups as evaluated per Dr Margaret Thaler Singer's checklists )

Comparison 2: Coerciveness of dominionist groups per Robert Lifton's models of thought reform )

Comparison 3: Rick Ross's list of coerciveness as compared to dominionist groups )

Well, as the next two lists are fairly long, there'll be a part 2 to this. Part 2 will actually focus entirely on the BITE model (due to the fact the BITE model is a *very* extensive checklist).

(EDIT: Cleaned up the formatting. And hoooo boy, did the formatting need a cleaning!)

dogemperor [userpic]
An *EXCELLENT* resource for walkaways from dominionist groups

Ex-Pentecostals is a specific group catering to walkaways from the "Avengelical"/"deliverance ministry"/"spiritual warfare" flavour of dominionist group:


They do have an EZBoard web-board and one of the sub-boards, "Azusa Street Survivors", is particularly relevant as the people there post info on dominionist groups that are often inaccessible save *from* walkaways from those groups (and is a good spot for even non-walkaways to get intel on those groups).

For those of us who are walkaways from dominionist groups, there are five private forums (that one must write a moderator for access to) for general recovery, ex-dominionist Christians, family members and friends of walkaways, "freethought" walkaways (pagan/Buddhist/atheist/eclectic/etc.) and kids who are walkaways.

dogemperor [userpic]
...and hopefully the Good Guys will have more victories against dominionists

(Edited to make it a bit clearer that the dominionists *lost* for once. Never ever type before coffee :3)


Apparently, town with dominionist influence--which was actually invoking Jesus before town council meeting--gets sued by Wiccan, and the Wiccan *wins* (for once).

Town has only $15,000 insurance, and may have to end up paying over $65,000 in court costs in result (the courts are still ruling on whether court costs are to be awarded).

(Of minor interest--one of the major folks supporting the dominionists is (shock, shock) an AoG preacher at a church with a not-terribly-dissimilar name to the one I walked away from (though in a completely different state). They've claimed if the courts rule for payment of court costs by the town, the church will cover it...I dare say the next step after *that* should be revocation of the church's tax exempt status. If they can shell out $65,000 for court costs to spite someone who sued for violation of the *Constitution*, I think they can afford to pay their damned taxes.)


Backgrounder )

For what it's worth, South Carolina is also a state that has been specifically targeted by dominionists for invasion with the goal of ultimate secession.

the hive of scum and villany responsible )

Some further backgrounder:


Info on the other case that could be tried with this (should this go to the Supremes, as the dominionists are threatening to):



Here's the actual court docket, for the legal minded:


Fark.com has been reporting on this and many of the links regarding information are from the discussion thread (http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=1622014). Props where props are deserved :3


Apparently, per at least one source, the Supremes refused to review the case, hence the court ruling stands (This per the Religioustolerance.org link above).

Also, not only is she *still* not being heard at town hall meetings (regarding a matter of public safety, at that), but the town is making noises about possibly defying the court ruling:

dogemperor [userpic]
A few news updates and articles of interest...

Apparently both CNN and Good Morning America (on ABC) have done segments on the "De-gaying camp" controversy and with Love In Action in particular (Reviews of both shows at http://www.exgaywatch.com/blog/archives/2005/07/the_good_mornin.html)

http://www.washblade.com/2005/7-29/news/national/ex-gay.cfm has an interesting expose that shows--as frightening as it may seem--that "Love In Action" is actually *moderate* as far as de-gaying camps go (some use techniques that are akin to torture:

For example, Exodus will not work with aversion therapists who use penis rings that deliver shocks when subjects respond to inappropriate imagery. Exodus also seeks to distance itself from “holding therapists” who try to heal people of homosexuality by touching them.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200508120008 notes, among other things, the continued use of Fox News as a dominionist mouthpiece (this time for "intelligent design", aka young-earth creationism cleverly disguised and not to be confused with "guided evolution" (as formerly accepted in the Catholic Church pre-Pope Palpatine, erm, Benedict XVI) or other forms of creationism that are at least compatible with evolution). (It should be of note that Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox, *is* known to have been a member of the dominionist think-tank Coalition for National Policy.)

Interestingly, one of the ex-founders of "Love In Action" (and one of a number of "ex-ex-gays", aka those who discovered "de-gaying therapy" doesn't *work*) speaks out himself on the longterm harm: http://www.waynebesen.com/columns/2005/07/love-in-action-co-founder-my-ministry.html (This should give you some info on what poor Zach is going through)

Here's the letter in question: http://www.waynebesen.com/columns/2005/08/john-evans-im-sickened-by-attempts-to.html

As it turns out, Santorum *was* being a pander-bear (surprise, surprise): http://www.waynebesen.com/2005/08/sen-rick-santorum-is-anti-liberty.html has a link to an unfiltered radio interview with Santorum (whole show is available at http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/episodes/08042005 or Santorum's excerpts from the same page). One has to wonder what his aide (whom is gay) thinks of all this...

Interestingly (and unsurprisingly) it seems all the "ex-gay" promoters are on active payrolls of dominionist groups: http://www.waynebesen.com/2005/08/still-no-unpaid-ex-gays-in-america.html and http://www.baywindows.com/media/paper328/news/2005/08/11/News/ExGay.Movement.Plans.Boston.Confab-966568.shtml
have more info.

http://www.waynebesen.com/2005/08/ex-gay-leaders-in-sexual-no-mans-land.html mentions the specifics of the coercive mindset engendered in "de-gaying" centers; this from an expose the BBC did (http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article304446.ece) which is rather similar to the one that Salon Magazine did a month or so ago. Reportedly, BBC2 also did a report on this on 9 August (if anyone in the UK caught it, info, please?)

http://www.exgaywatch.com/blog/archives/2005/06/afa_praises_par.html has info on how the AFA is now targeting gay/les/bi/trans acceptance clubs in school, with examples (http://www.exgaywatch.com/blog/archives/2005/06/afa_praises_par.html) of how they're trying to form "de-gaying" clubs in schools.

http://www.onlinejournal.com/Theocracy_Alert/070605Seesholtz/070605seesholtz.html has a *very* interesting article on dominionism and how the mental health system is often warped by dominionists (usually under the "Christian Counseling" canard, but often with dominionist-friendly mental health professionals and even quasi-professional associations like NARTH). (I would like to note, as an aside, this has gone on for a good twenty or more years, even more so as the recognition of "Bible-based" coercive religious groups has increased; the old USSR and other totalitarian regimes (and, from what little gets out, especially in North Korea) also have tended to abuse the mental health profession in this manner.)

For that matter, http://www.onlinejournal.com/Theocracy_Alert/theocracy_alert.html is a pretty darned good resource (and one we could stand to partner with). Many many good articles.

Speaking of coercive religious groups in "therapeutic" drag, here's some articles noting how Zach's mannerisms in his last blog entry show signs of coercion: http://www.sovo.com/2005/8-5/news/national/nationalnews_zachupdate.cfm and especially http://a_musing.blogspot.com/2005/08/breaking-zach-code.html

Ex-Gay Watch is presently compiling a list of media contacts--specifically, people who have had experience in coercive "de-gaying" facilities like Love In Action (http://www.exgaywatch.com/blog/archives/2005/08/xgw_seeks_to_co.html).

dogemperor [userpic]
Amway pushiness leads to escaped convict's capture

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


Here's the story in a nutshell: A woman helps her convict husband escape from authorities in Tennessee. They head out of state, finally ditching the vehicle in a Kentucky suburb of Cincinnati. From there, they take a cab to a Columbus hotel (115 miles away), telling the cabbie that they're on their way to an Amway convention. "They didn't strike me as the Amway type because to be honest they weren't very pushy about their product and I've dealt with them before so -- that was my only real suspicion," said the cabbie, Mike Wagers, who called local police upon returning to the Cincinnati area.

Guess Amway is good for something after all. ;-)

Update: WCPO in Cincinnati has more, including video of a news conference with the cabbie. The fare, in case you were wondering, was $185.

dogemperor [userpic]
"Christ commands us to be their voice."


A NYT article about Christian pressure on North Korea:

Christian Groups Press Bush About North Korea

MIDLAND, Tex., Aug. 8 - Tens of thousands of fans of all ages gathered over the weekend for the annual three-day Rock the Desert Christian music festival screamed for hit bands like Mercy Me and Pillar and kicked Hacky Sacks by a creek renamed the Jordan River and a small pond called the Dead Sea.

Between the Prayer Tent and an abstinence-promotion booth, however, worshipful revelers also stumbled into a more sobering pavilion, the North Korea Genocide Exhibit.

Inside, Kang Chol Hwan, a North Korean defector recently summoned to meet President Bush, signed copies of his memoir of 10 years in a prison camp. Drawings by defectors depicted the torture of North Korean Christians. A video, available free on DVD, showed shaky, grainy footage of two public executions.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
And speaking of the Zach situation, here's a group that might well help out kids like him...


Specifically it is a group dedicated to helping kids in "high demand organisations" aka coercive religious groups (their definition used is at http://www.safepassagefoundation.org/Default.aspx?tabid=91)

As it is, this is probably one of the few groups that keeps info regarding what it's like for those of us who have grown up in coercive religious groups (http://www.safepassagefoundation.org/Default.aspx?tabid=64)

dogemperor [userpic]
An example of why mainstream Christians should worry about the dominionists...

...because, well, if Iraq is an example, they don't exactly consider you "Christian" to begin with:


(Article on dominionist groups in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East; they are actually targeting the Catholic and Orthodox communities there every bit as much, if not *more*, than the Islamic community)

Included are statements from the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic church (which is Iraqi's largest Christian church, and affiliated with the Orthodox/Eastern Rite community)--whom has already asked the dominionists to please leave the country and quit trying to convert his parishoners (who are in a denomination that has practiced Christianity since very nearly the time of Christ itself, is regarded (along with the Coptic Church) as being one of the two or three oldest traditions of Christianity itself, and has quite a heritage compared with dominionist groups (that have been around for far less long--the parent denominations of dominionism *only* really within the past 100-150 years (150ish for the Southern Baptists, less than 100 for the various pentecostal denominations like AoG associated with the pentecostal movement)); also, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Iraq has his own statements condemning the dominionists.

Also, understandably, the Moslem leaders (including one of the major Shi'a clerics) are expressing grave concern.

Iraq isn't the only country this is occuring in, by the way; the article also mentions attempts in Jordan and Syria (among other countries) and I do know Israel itself has expressed concern regarding dominionists (between dominionists who are attempting to foment a religious war between Jewish and Moslem populations in the area, dominionists on their own (or working with Jewish-dominionist groups) in plans to "reestablish the Temple", and dominionists promoting "messianic Judaism" who are attempting to convert Jews in Israel to "kosher dominionists"). In fact, in Israel it's gotten so bad there have been efforts in the Knesset to pass laws to crack down on dominionist "messianic Jew" conversionists (http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/j4jlibrary/missiontoisrael.html has info on the one end on how bad the "messianic Jew" evangelism idiocy has gotten with dominionists in Israel, and http://www.religioustolerance.org/news_99nov.htm has info on previous efforts in Israel re antimissionary bills proposed (largely due to dominionists attempting to convert Jews to "messianic Jews")) and many (if not most) countries in the former USSR have passed laws to crack down on missionaries *specifically* because of abuses by dominionists (including, in particular, targeting Eastern Orthodox for conversion); http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=8632&sec=36&cont=7 has a few examples.

In other words...if you're not a dominionist, even if you are in a Christian denomination or are Jewish, they *do not* consider you Christian at all. (In the group I walked away from, Methodists et al were seen as "lukewarm Christians", even Southern Baptists were seen as "lukewarm" because they didn't rant in tongues or "dance in the spirit" in church, and Catholic/Orthodox were seen as "saint-worshippers" and "idol-worshippers") They *will* target people who are already Christian for conversion. If they get in power, they will likely only consider *dominionists* truly Christian.

It's not just a problem for pagans. It's a problem for *everyone*.

dogemperor [userpic]
Some links I've found of interest this week (re dominionism/child abuse)


This is a site that actually gives info on the issue of "behaviour modification" facilities in general, many of which are run by dominionist groups. (Several dominionist groups I've not seen mentioned previously, including "Victory Christian Academy" and "New Horizons Children's Ministries" are specifically mentioned by the group.)

http://www.emancipationproject.org/ (More info on similar groups.)

(Somewhat surprisingly, the Love In Action "Zach story" has not yet hit either of these sites even though ISAC is listing Refuge/Love In Action as a coercive facility.)

http://www.nospank.net/floggers.htm (Specifically dealing with child abuse in the framework of dominionist groups advocating not only mere spanking but causing of physical harm and committment in "de-gaying centers". Contains specific sections on Dobson (Focus on the Family) including an incident involving animal abuse (the beating of his pet Dachshund) and sections on Ezzo/Babywise (more below on this) as well as other dominionist groups (including several facilities associated with WWASP). Also specifically covers the use of "disciplining rods" by dominionist groups)

http://www.nospank.net/rod.htm (an actual advertisement, as copied by nospank.net, for "chastening rods" sold to the dominionist community--occasionally these are advertised by Focus on the Family and Babywise and/or dominionist "Christian Childrearing" groups in dominionist-run churches; a specific note on promotion by the latter is at http://www.nospank.net/pantley.htm)

http://www.nospank.net/beware.htm (Another watchlist for when a "behaviour modification" facility may be coercive)

http://www.ezzo.info/ (A site in regards to Ezzo/Babywise. Babywise is a program often promoted in the dominionist community that from *birth* submits children to strict scheduling, spanking, and physical/mental/emotional abuse to "break their wills". The program is promoted as "Christ-centered childrearing" but is so radical and damaging that even some conservative Christians have expressed concern about it.)

dogemperor [userpic]
Spare the rod, spoil the child, eh?

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


Waah! Scary stuff!
You really should read this carefully and now.


"... 250 foreign children are locked up. Almost all are American, but though kept prisoner, they were not sent here by a court of law. Their parents paid to have them kidnapped and flown here against their will, to be incarcerated for up to three years, sometimes even longer. They will not be released until they are judged to be respectful, polite and obedient enough to rejoin their families. ...

The cost of sending a child here ranges from $25,000 to $40,000 a year. ...

Along with multiple guards known as 'chaperones', the "family mothers" and "-fathers" (note: these are job titles) control and scrutinise their children 24 hours a day. The only moment a student is alone is in a toilet cubicle; but a chaperone is standing right outside the door, and knows what he or she went in to do, because when students raise their hand for permission to go, they must hold up one finger for 'a number one', and two for 'a number two'.

Corporal punishment is not practised, but staff administer 'restraint'. Officially it is deployed as the name suggests, to subdue a student who is out of control. However, former students say it is issued more often as a punishment. One explains: 'It's a completely degrading, painful experience. You could get it for raising your voice or pointing your finger. ... They pin you down in a five-point formation and that's when they start twisting and pulling your limbs, grinding your ankles.' ...

The first most teenagers hear of Tranquility is therefore when they are woken from their beds at home at 4am by guards, who place them in a van, handcuffed if necessary, drive them to an airport and fly them to Jamaica. The child will not be allowed to speak to his or her parents for up to six months, or see them for up to a year. ...

Students are judged ready to leave only when they have demonstrated a sincere belief that they deserved to be sent here, and that the programme has, in fact, saved their life. They must renounce their old self, espouse the programme's belief system, display gratitude for their salvation, and police fellow students who resist."

(Part 2)

"... his father feels only awestruck gratitude for the treatment his son has received.

'Every time I come here I'm just so struck by the love of these people. You can't fake this kind of love'."


These are IMHO very standard brainwashing techniques.


The last resort (part one)
The Observer - Sunday June 29, 2003


(Part 2)



[info]laraken posted this


-- says it was mentioned on [info]antitheism but I don't know when/where


Xposted -- sorry if you've seen this before


dogemperor [userpic]
"Pushing A Deadly Addiction"


Here's another article that compares the Religious Right to addiction.

An excerpt:

For my purposes, the distinction between fundamentalist Christianity and Dominionism is incidental because what is most important to understand is that any religion, philosophy, or belief system can be addictive, fear-based, and terrorizing, and if it is used to justify changing the Constitution of the United States and creating a society in which the laws of that system are also fear-based and terrorizing, then regardless of the label, fundamentalist or Dominionist, that system is both terrorist and tyrannical. Whether one wishes to debate the differences between fundamentalist Christianity and Dominionism or not, both systems are about domination, power, control, right/wrong; win/lose. Moreover, as in my last article, I am reiterating that terrorism and tyranny, like the word addiction, have much broader definitions than crashing planes into buildings, establishing a superior race, or forcing women to cover their faces.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Why strict churches are strong

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

Since recently we've been discussing the sociology and psychology of fundamentalists, I thought this article which discusses the appeal of fundamentalist organizations would provide some good fodder.

Would you believe until I went to post this I forgot I wasn't a member here but was only monitoring. :P

dogemperor [userpic]
Rockridge Institute Forum on Spiritual Progressives


There is an ongoing forum about Spiritual Progressives that has a great many interesting topics under the 'religion' category. One of them asks if we should treat Right Wing Religion as an addiction. It's a fascinating discussion.

An excerpt:

"Treat Right Wing Religion as an Addiction"
Religion Professor Says

(Kansas City, MO) In his latest national monthly column, Dr. Robert N. Minor, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, charges that much of the religious right wing is addicted to their religion. "Dealing with the right-wing's religious/political lifestyle and its evangelistic agenda," says Minor, "is like dealing with an alcoholic or hard drug user."

"Like all addictions, when right-wing religion dominates one's life obsessively, it tells people how to feel rather than getting in touch with their real problems," says Minor. "It also prevents the addicts from understanding the harm they are doing to those around them."

Minor advises readers in his "Minor Details" column that "no matter how hard this might be to accept, strategies that try to embrace, excuse, or move toward the religious right-wing are the actions of enablers." Enabling is a common response by family members to addicts that reinforces their addiction.

"While addicts are expected to be in denial about their addiction, creating a mythological view of the world to maintain it and 'protecting their stash,'" Minor said in an interview about his column, "enablers are the ones making excuses, arguing with the addict, covering up for their addiction, and refusing to do the unpopular, confrontational work of intervention."

This could serve as a means to deal with them- especially the more virulent ones. Thoughts? Can one be 'addicted' to religion?

dogemperor [userpic]
Interesting blog


Rigorous Intuition talks about "Heavenly Deception" in this interesting post:

There was a thoughtful and rather uncomfortable piece by Bill Moyers that appeared a couple of weeks ago, one I'm sure he never expected to write, entitled "There is No Tomorrow":

One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.
I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy.... The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144 -- just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of God will return, the righteous will enter Heaven and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Some info for our Walkaways


I found a bunch of interesting websites when I googled "Religious Walkaways", but was unable for some reason to post links to them. One in particular was worth a second try, since it concentrated on Dominionist oriented cults.

Blessed Quietness has a lot of interesting links to articles about cults. And ReGain has a great article about post-cult recovery. [EDIT: Yes, the Blessed Quietness site is run a couple of looney tunes, but they do have some interesting links.]

Here's a quote from ReGain, which is very true: "...the most helpful tool for recovering ex-cult members is learning what mind control is and how it was used by their specific cult. Understanding that there are residual effects from a mind control environment and that these effects are often transitory in nature helps diffuse the anxiety."

David Sutphen's classic The Battle For Your Mind is a very interesting dissection of techniques used in certain churches and cults to 'entrain' people into pretty much doing what the leaders want them to do. These techniques are very powerful, and in the wrong hands, quite devastating. It's worth a read. The 'voice roll', for instance is a tool that many preachers use, to get people into a particlarly receptive state of mind.

And this article entitled "How To Detect Mind Control" is also interesting and useful.

Pursuasive techniques are used on people all the time- from churches to ads to the way things are arranged on your grocery store shelves. The key is to recognize these things, and to conquer them through knowledge and self-understanding. That is the path to genuine healing.

dogemperor [userpic]
More examination of Dominionist tactics



By Peter Fredson

One approach of aggressive Christians, who love to spread their beliefs, is through misdirection, deceit, instigation, stealth, and downright imposition. Whenever there is a sudden spurt of demands to install Christian artifacts, icons and symbols in public places, you can bet that instigation is at work. How does it work?

A preacher at a Sunday School gently asks his students “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could tell your public school friends about how you love Jesus?” “Isn’t it a shame that nobody has posted our lovely 10 Commandments in your school?” “I wish we could put up these posters someplace where people can see them.” “I’ll bet that if you asked if you could form a prayer club in your school that everybody could get saved quicker.” “When you graduate maybe you can pray for us.” “Just before the football game starts, you might ask God for help in winning the game.” “Be sure to wear this cross at all times.” “People should be told that Christ died for them.”

A modern technique is to create your own lawyers who cleverly evolve strategy to make things appear different from what they are. Aggressively promote your strategy through politicians in exchange for monetary support, votes and volunteer workers. God Advertising pays big dividends for politicians. Modern church data bases, web sites, and links can muster up millions of responses overnight. Displaying one bit of a nipple produced 300,000 complaints, most worded identically, to politicians complaining of the great breakdown in morality.

At meetings of top level evangelists with their lawyers they have evolved a plan to get Christianity “acknowledged,” despite the fact that courts ruled against them. They took a semantic approach that looked or sounded different, but had precisely the same application. For instance, if mentioning God during law trials is deemed inappropriate, try The Creator, Intelligence, Tradition, Customary Usage, Spiritual. If saying Christian prayers is deemed inappropriate then try Silent Contemplation, Reflection, Meditation, Moment of Silence, or Voluntary Individual Prayer, Non-curricular Clubs, Private Student Speech, or Spiritual Development. Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
The Demon-haunted World


Astronomer and well-known atheist Carl Sagan once wrote a book called The Demon-Haunted World about science being a light in the midst of darkness. In it, he challenges people to look at the pseudoscience that is part and parcel of our world, and use the ultimate weapon to conquer it: learning to think for yourself. Knowledge- real knowldege- is power, and that power can conquer all sorts of 'demons'.

In many Dominionist churches, the opposite is taught- that knowledge and common sense are actually evil, and one must entirely trust God, Scripture, and the preacher to tell you the difference between fact and fallacy. To think for oneself is considered 'demonic' in itself, because it permits 'worldly' thoughts to interfere with the crust of scriptural pseudoscience that keeps the fear and hate and spiritual helplessness constantly churning.

[info]dogemperor wrote:

"One of the biggies with dominionists is "deliverance ministry" in which *everything not associated with the church* is literally infested with demons and even one's own mind is an enemy (because if you have doubts about the church this is a sign, in their theology, of "demonic oppression" aka a prelude to possession--and furthermore if these thoughts, or in fact *anything* outside the church, are entertained these lead to "doorways for demons to enter your life"). If you are diabetic, etc. it is literally seen *not* as an unfortunate disease but as a "demonic generational curse"; if you are poor you're letting yourself be oppressed by demons and need to give more "Faith seed offerings" and get closer to the church/further isolate yourself, etc.

Interestingly, it seems the whole "body thetan" stuff is seen as one of the single most damaging bits (psychologically) regarding Scientology--as in documented cases of people literally going insane or worse. I can't see how the dominionist version (which has been around even *longer* than the Scientologist version and is actually believed in by more people) is any less damaging. (One doesn't hear that much press about the dominionist versions, though.)

The active breeding of fear/anxiety/hate is specifically designed to keep you uncomfortable outside the church, to see the coercive group as the one *solitary* source of comfort. Again, it's not so far removed from traditional brainwashing."

That is pretty scary- the constant threat of demonic or 'thetan' possession to keep someone from straying. It keeps the individual believer in a constant state of 'fight or flight' and worry, fear, and spiritual uncertainty that often flames into panic. Dogstar continues:

"The scary thing is I also have known dominionists *specifically* to attempt to essentially hex people in the name of Christ to be miserable to the point of suicidality to "drive them to God". (Yes, this includes hauling out Wesson oil as "annointing oil", ranting in tongues, and literally *cursing* them in the name of Jesus to be miserable unless one was spending nearly all one's time in the particular dominionist group they were in. Yes, I was actually a target of this by my own mother.)"

I had that 'hexing' happen to me. It nearly worked- I was pounded with horrible panic attacks. But I survived it- with that weapon of being able to think for myself, reason it through, and find help to vanquish it. I directly faced what I feared, and did the unthinkable: walked straight into it,looked it in the eye, and used my own inner light of understanding upon it. That act destroyed it, and it can no longer harm me. Understanding the mechanics of cursing holds within it the ability to neutralize them.

The Dune "Litany Against Fear" is a great tool which uses the art of thinking for oneself as a means to conquer fear:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Could this be used to help heal 'walk-aways' from demon-ridden faiths? Possibly. It couldn't hurt to try it.

dogemperor [userpic]
Dark Christianity- from two Christians points of view


Sometimes, the best and most compelling testemony about the excesses of Dominionist Christianity comes from those who have been on the 'inside.

[info]blueboy2000 had an interesting experience with one of the major players in the Dominionist Christian movement. His story is a harrowing one.

And [info]bradhicks 5-part "Christians in the Hand of An Angry God" essay should not be missed, either. (thanks to [info]jmthane for the pointer.)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Knowledge and understanding are the keys here. Not all Christian sects are as horrible as Blueboy's experience, but the ones who are use every underhanded technique to recruit, and especially retain, their members.


dogemperor [userpic]
Long, but worth your time


In this Daily Kos article, a fellow infiltrates some of the more radical Christian sects, and gets a close-up look at how they operate.

It's long, but worth your time. Here's a bit to whet your appetite:

Quietly choosing to study my cousin`s church... and its neighbors... and its national machinations, although there is a lot to worry about, I believe the keys to turning back the tide are there to take. My cousin was a real ultra-serious wingnut the first time I came out to visit the family in Nevada. The first time he got into financial trouble and couldn't just dole out time and money to his evangelical church, they turned on him. They shunned his kids and humiliated his wife (about her being overweight when they had 'no' money for their obligations) in front of all of their friends. Just to be clear, they didn't talk to me knowing that I was going to do this. They are taking their social beating and going back for more. But the pain has loosened their tongues. A lot.

Infiltrating the TNPG (Tuesday Night Prayer Group):

Prayer groups and bible study groups are important all across the evangelical spectrum, the flock will tell you, because prayer and knowing your bible is the most important thing in a believer`s life. If you are in an evangelical institution you are going to get asked why weren't you in church, why you didn't come to last Tuesday's prayer group, why weren't you in bible study this week by the people that you come to know. But here is the thing: as you get closely involved in the prayer meetings... you soon discover that actual prayer and bible study is less than a quarter of what is actually going on week to week. The rest is politics, planning for political action, and pushing/selling products that have to be purchased to `understand` Christ's will.

This was how Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was 'cocoanut telegraphed' into its success. Preachers didn't call from the pulpit to see the Passion nearly as much as we thought they did, that is a misunderstanding of how the evangelicals operate based on remembering TV evangelists ranting on a screen. Its much more sophisticated and tailored than that, but rather they showed videotaped movie previews of the film in the more intimate setting of their prayer groups. It's a spiritual Tupperware party. Even in these churches have grown so large, and unwieldy in some cases, that standing up in front of two thousand people and saying `go see this' is the show, but the scale of these crowds can lessen its punch. They do use the pulpit, sure. But by having cells of believers subdivided into manageable groups for individual selling sessions, you get the control of a salesman making a presentation to a small group of consumers to really drive it home. Like a Tupperware lady gathering up 12 of her friends to push Tupperware sets as opposed one man or woman alone on a stage. It works in large and small churches. It is done in large and small churches. And almost all of the "stuff "at their disposal is carefully prepared by conservative Republican groups, think tanks, and evangelical `franchise' organizations that are run like McDonalds. (You pay a fee, or pay as you go, and your particular church is folded into the network as a 'partner' church or an affiliated church and you are now an outlet -part of that nationwide 'fast religion' information franchise- for their materials and you get packages of carefully consumer tested materials to aid you in your goals. )

The whole article, although a bit unpolished, is worth the look and very insightful.


dogemperor [userpic]
Religious coercion in Michigan

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

Religious coercion in Michigan case shows government should be wary of faith-based programs

Interesting editorial (for "interesting," read "infuriating") focused on a case involving a nonviolent drug offender who was given the chance to receive drug rehabilitation.

As part of a progressive court program, Hanas had a chance to receive drug rehabilitation rather than go to jail. There was, unfortunately, one major problem — Joe Hanas is a practicing Catholic, and the program was operated by Pentecostals. Though the judge’s intent may not have been for Hanas to convert to the Pentecostal faith, his test for Hanas’ successful completion of the “drug court” program hinged on just that.

The coercion was extreme, and it was an elected judge who allowed it. Hanas’ rosary, his Bible and his priest were all kept from him. Staff members, none of them certified or trained drug counselors or therapists, told him that Catholicism is a form of “witchcraft.” He was not only forbidden to follow his Catholic faith, but he was also tested on his learning of Pentecostal principles.

And, he was told, his rehabilitation would not be complete until he knelt at the altar and proclaimed himself “saved.”

For more, please see the editorial.

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