If you read or hear that America is a Christian country, then you’ve come up against Dominionism. White fundamentalists believe that their denominations and Jesus — their idea of him — rule supreme in the United States. The rest of us are to be tolerated, but we don’t count. The law of the land should be according to their version of the Bible.
‘Dominion’ is rooted in a mistranslation of a verse in Genesis. Adam is given dominion over creation, over all animals, birds, and fish and everything that creepeth on the land.
Here’s how the Bible reads in the Authorized Version of the Bible, the King James Version:
And G-d said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ (Genesis 1:26)
… and G-d said unto them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’ (Genesis 1:28)
I emphasized the words ‘creepeth’ and ‘moveth’ because it’s the same verb in the original Hebrew. But, somehow the second ‘creepeth’ was rendered as ‘moveth’ in the Christian translation into English.
The difference is that according to the mistranslation, Adam was to have dominion over Eve — she moves after all — and over all his descendants.
Then Jesus lived years later — about 2,000 years ago — and he absolved his believers through his gruesome death. Jesus’s congregation — down to today — are the new Adam who is to have dominion over everything that “moveth.”
So according to dominionists, the United States is supposed to be ruled by white fundamentalist Christians — the true Adam — according to the laws of their version of the Bible. And this is all because the United States is a Christian country.
What happened to all the other Christians in America? Their Christianity is not genuine. It doesn’t accord the Bible — their version of the Bible — it’s due. These other Christians have modern translations. They take liberty with the authorized text, the text that English-speaking Christians have used for four hundred years. These other people, who you and I would call Christians and call themselves such, follow deviations from Biblical law as dominionists see it.
For liberal Christians, abortions on demand are sanctioned. They recognize gay marriage. They’re comfortable with feminism where women strive for equality. But according to fundamentalists, wives are supposed to obey their husbands — dominion. Liberal schools teach evolution of species not intelligent design.
Dominionists believe that there’s a war in America against Christianity. Legislators have made laws that don’t favor their brand of fundamentalist Christianity. The courts don’t rule in their favor. There’s even a war against Christmas, the dominionists say.
They subscribe to a new take on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, what is commonly called “freedom of religion.” Dominionists take the amendment to mean freedom for their version of religion. According to their view, American law should not contradict Biblical law — their version of the Bible, of course.
Donald Trump has been a dream come true for dominionists. An evangelical advisory council that included dominionists had the ear of the ex-president. They were the only religionists who were welcome in the White House. Trump appointed three sympathetic justices to the Supreme Court. The Republican Senate remade the face of the federal judiciary by appointing sympathetic judges.
Key positions in Trump’s cabinet were filled with dominionists although they were Catholics. The attorney general and the secretary of state were known to be Catholic dominionists for instance.
As far as the Founders of the United States are concerned, dominionists have a different take on their lives than mainstream Americans do. It’s true that most of the founders were pious Christians — at least as far as their public lives were concerned. Nevertheless, they were determined that no denomination of Christianity was favored. There has never been a constitutionally accepted religious test for citizenship as there had been in Europe. At the same time, the federal government was not to interfere in religious practice or to mandate church attendance either.
American manifest destiny goes along with dominionism. Christians traveled to America, some think, to transform the continent into a Christian nation regardless of who was already living here. America’s destiny was to cut itself off from the English old order. The United States is a beacon of light for a new world order. A prominent and influential dominionist used the phrase “new world order” long before the establishment of the United Nations, long before the idea that there could be a European Union.
How to establish a Christian new world order? By burning down liberal democracy. By burning away American decadence — secular humanism — and raking away the ashes for rebirth of a Christian nation as it was supposed to be. From there, exporting Americanism around the world. This is the double meaning of “America First”: first of all in the United States, then everywhere else next.
I’ve studied Dominionism for awhile. I’m the closest you will find to an expert. I’m not against Christianity. I’m against political Christianity. Let them take their values and vote accordingly, which they did. But, they must realize that a majority of Americans disagree. After all, a majority of voters recently rejected the Republican Party, the home of dominionists.
By all means let dominionists take their values into the marketplace of ideas. Let them get used to the fact that there are few buyers. Let them get over it.