“. . . to do battle with the powers of evil . . .” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Saddam_rumsfeld

Rumsfeld/Hussein (Dec. 20, 1983). “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.” George Santayana, Life of Reason (1905).

The Iowa caucuses prompted me to write an essay (OK, let’s not elevate the language – a blog post) about my fear of (yes, I mean that – “fear”) Ted Cruz’s candidacy, even if he does not win either the Republican nomination or the Presidency.

However, I am stuck. No matter what I write, it ends up sounding exactly like the kind of language (therefore, ideas) I want to speak against.

The sentence I wrote from which I took the title above is

During Hitler’s rise to power, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Fanatics think that their single-minded principles qualify them to do battle with the powers of evil” (Bonhoeffer, 4).

Ted Cruz’s only “single-minded principle” is, it appears to me (remembering I am often mistaken about almost anything), a lust for power, a kind of power not unlike the power he rails against. He wants power of one of two kinds which I cannot sort out:

1) Power for himself personally
2) Power for the Fundamentalist christians in this country who call themselves “Evangelicals” but are in fact “Reconstructionists” and “Dominionists.”

Is Ted Cruz doing battle with the powers of evil? Or is he simply using Americans who want to do battle with the powers of evil to access the power he lusts after?

What―exactly―does Ted Cruz believe? What is his understanding of what he is doing? Is he using the Fundamentalist, Dominionist christians to win power for himself, or does he  believe his father’s teachings that find “in Genesis a mandate that ‘men of faith’ seize control of public institutions and govern by biblical principle” (Dubose, Web).

Dominionism is the idea that conservative Christians have the right ― and the responsibility ― to take dominion over all aspects of life, including the government. The term springs from Genesis 1:26-28, a biblical pas­ sage in which God instructs Adam and Eve to “have dominion” over every living thing on Earth. This “dominion mandate” has been popular in certain fundamentalist circles for decades, but it leaped onto online debating forums in August [2010] in connection with Perry’s Christian-fundamentalists-only, prayer-and-­fasting rally at Houston’s Reliant Stadium (Conn, Web).

Ted Cruz’s political take on the Rushdoonyite theology/philosophy was all too apparent as he spoke after his caucus victory in Iowa. Rousas John Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the guiding light in Christian Reconstructionism, the precursor of Cruz’s Dominionism.

[In his first book Rushdoony] had already articulated the essence of Reconstructionist theology. The truth of biblical revelation is the only guiding presumption that will yield true conclusions, and the law of biblical revelation is the only viable framework for organizing a society: “All facts being created facts, factuality can only be understood in subordination to God. But to understand factuality, man needs a norm, and this Scripture provides.” This was Christian Reconstructionism in a nutshell (Worthen Web).

Worthen, who is perhaps the most thorough and unbiased writer on Rushdoony, warns against the somewhat irrational fear-mongering about Reconstructionism in the press a few years back (after Rick Perry’s rally at Houston’s Reliant Stadium). Her writings are balanced and informative.

However, I personally am more than mildly concerned knowing there is some possibility that Ted Cruz could become President, or is at the very least the leader of a movement who has as his rallying cry,

Let me first of all say, TO GOD BE THE GLORY. Tonight is a victory for the grassroots. Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa, and all across this great nation. Tonight the state of Iowa has spoken. Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee for the next president of the United States . . . . will be chosen by the most incredible powerful force, where all sovereignty resides in our nation by we the people . . . . courageous conservatives across the state.

. . . . tonight is a testament to the people’s commitments to their yearnings to get back to our core commitments, free market principles. The judeo-christian values that built this great nation (Lind, Web).

  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Letters and Papers from Prison. New York: Touchstone, 1997, 4. Print.
  • Conn, Joseph L. “Dominionism and Democracy.” Church & State 64.9 (2011): 10-12. Web.
  • Dubose, Lou and Hannah Harper, “Ted Cruz’s dad has a very sketchy resume: Rafael Cruz’s credentials are exaggerated, at best.” Salon. salon.com. Oct 19, 2015. Web.
  • Lind, Dara. “Iowa caucus: Ted Cruz echoes Ronald Reagan in victory speech.” Vox Policy & Politics. vox.com. February 2, 2016. Web.
  • Worthen, Molly. “The Chalcedon Problem: Rousas John Rushdoony And The Origins Of Christian Reconstructionism.” Church History 77.2 (2008): 399-437.
    cruz commandments

    “We defended the Texas Ten Commandments monument, [which] stands on the State Capitol grounds,” recalls Cruz. “Until an atheist — a homeless man — came along and sued the state, saying it offended him to gaze upon the Ten Commandments. We defended the Ten Commandments, we took the case all the way to the Supreme Court … and we won, 5-4.”

    Please visit my blog Palestine InSight. Thank you.

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