Article: Stop Calling Ted Cruz a Dominionist

Robert Gagnon and Edith Humphrey at Christianity Today wrote an interesting article entitled “Stop Calling Ted Cruz a Dominionist.” In essence, it takes critics of Ted Cruz to task for using a label that clearly doesn’t make sense.

They summarize some of those accusing Cruz of being a “dominionist,” including John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah College, and Warren Throckmorton, professor of psychology at Grove City College (think Chris Rodda with credibility).

They then explain where the term and accusations are coming from:

The term has become elastic, encompassing Christians who believe the United States was once a predominantly Christian nation as well as those who hold “right-wing” views. But as many writers have noted, this elastic sense has become a bogeyman.

Jewish journalist Stanley Kurtz called it “conspiratorial nonsense,” while Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson declared: “Thin charges of dominionism are just another attempt to discredit opponents rather than answer them.”

Even the liberal journalist Lisa Miller called the loose accusation of dominionism “the paranoid mot du jour.”

The two authors then give examples from Ted Cruz’s life that seem to demonstrate the complete opposite of a “dominionist,” including his demonstrated zeal for the US Constitution, his disagreement with Ben Carson’s expressed opposition to a Muslim becoming President, and his support for the religious rights “of everyone.”

In short, if he’s a “dominionist,” he’s doing a really bad job of advocating for a theocracy. (To be fair, some would simply say Cruz’s behavior is all part of the Master PlanTM. To that point, see the quote above about “conspiratorial nonsense.”)

The fact that all of this is said about Ted Cruz is actually irrelevant. The academic explanations about dominionism by Gagnon and Humphrey are relevant.

For many years, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has tried to claim that “dominionists” are trying to take over the world, that they will do so to institute a second Holocaust, and that they are actually executing that plan right now — by first taking over the US military. In fact, Weinstein used to use the “long, complicated” term of “premillenial, dispensational, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical, fundamentalist Christians” as those with whom he was “at war.” Weinstein was aided in his attempts to “out” these military “dominionists” by Chris Rodda, his research assistant and self-appointed expert on dominionism.

In the past couple of years, though, Weinstein has largely dropped the 6-adjective phrase and he has even throttled back on accusations of “dominionism” (though it still pops up every now and then). His problems were two-fold: First, in this soundbite world, the public-relations savvy Weinstein finally realized his wild accusations just wouldn’t stick, no matter how hard he tried.

Second, with his claims that Christians were seeking violent world domination — apparently led by Dick Cheney and Col Sanders — he was frequently accused of being a conspiracy nut — accusations that were beginning to stick (and which might also be affecting his bottom line).

Ultimately, Gagnon and Humphrey’s summation of the dominionist moniker remains equally correct for Weinstein and his ilk who use it today to malign Christians in the US military:

  • It is an “elastic” term used however Weinstein wants it to be, regardless of the beliefs of those he is attacking. To that point, while Weinstein has accused people of being “dominionists,” he has never provided evidence of the person’s beliefs or conduct to support his accusation.
  • It is Weinstein’s ultimate bogeyman. In 10 years, Weinstein has never produced a single example of a military Christian who wants to create “oceans and oceans of blood…start[ing] with Jewish blood“, despite his strident accusations of just such a plan being executed right now.
  • It is Weinstein’s attempt to discredit an opponent rather than either rebut their claim or defend his own. In fact, Weinstein has never defended his position. Instead, when challenged, Weinstein rises to the fine art of name-calling in a manner that any 13-year old would be proud of.
  • If accusations of “dominionism” are “in,” Weinstein may be able to take some credit for making them fashionable. But that makes them no less paranoid.

It’s refreshing, in a sense, to see a mainstream publication take on the asinine use of “dominionism” as a label or pejorative. That it applies just as equally to Weinstein and his ilk is all the more welcome.

It’s been a little while since Mikey Weinstein confidently said — in all seriousness — American Christians are currently instituting “Plan B,” which would bring on “the Holocaust, the pogroms, the Inquisition…”  Yet, in the ensuing years Weinstein’s crusade hasn’t altered its course.

In his continuing belief that “dominionist” Christians are somehow out to get him, you sometimes have to wonder if Mikey Weinstein isn’t three fries short of a Happy Meal.