Mark DeMoss

If Dominionism Is A Liberal Conspiracy, Why Does It Have Conservative Critics?

Over the last week Kyle has been rebutting claims by some journalists and Religious Right activists that Dominionism, which contends that fundamentalist Christians must take ‘dominion’ over society and government, is nothing more than a liberal conspiracy. Dominionism has been gaining attention as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry’s close ties with outspoken propagators of the radical dominionist ideology come to light.

In a post today, Rachel Tabachnik takes on the Washington Post’s Lisa Miller’s much-discussed article dismissing dominionism. Tabachnik notes that Miller’s article quoted Mark DeMoss downplaying the prevalence of dominionism in the Religious Right - without noting that the DeMoss Group has ties to Bill Bright, the founder of the dominionist Seven Mountains ideology, and Gary DeMar, who is a chief proponent of the Christian Reconstructionism, a hardline dominionist ideology.

As Kyle noted last week, Pat Robertson denied knowing anything about Dominionism, even though he delivered a speech where he urged his audience to “get ready to take dominion!” and Matt Barber of Liberty University School of Law called it a “scary Christian monster that lives under liberals’ beds,” despite the fact the Liberty University School of Law sponsored DeMar’s conference last year, called "2010 Sovereignty and Dominion conference — Biblical Blueprints for Victory!" In fact, the Communications Director of Truth In Action Ministries, which until recently was called Coral Ridge Ministries, claimed that “dominionism is a sham charge-one reserved for Christians on the right,” even though prominent dominionist Janet Porter was once the head of a Coral Ridge Ministries affiliate. So if domininionism doesn’t exist and is merely a construct of the left, then why was Porter fired by two conservative Christian radio stations for promoting…“dominionism”?

Last year, Voice of Christian Youth America (VCY America) fired Porter because of what they called the “drift of [Porter’s] program toward ‘dominion theology.’” VCY America says it is dedicated to “featuring solid Bible teaching programs” and features conservative programming like ‘The Phyllis Schlafly Report’ and ‘Freedom’s Call,’ Liberty Counsel’s radio bulletin.

Listen to VCY’s decision on Porter’s firing, which states that “VCY America does not believe in Dominion theology or waging spiritual war for the establishment of an earthly kingdom of power, that is dominion theology and it is being promoted by many who are guided by their own dreams and visions and not necessarily the Word of God”:

VCY America also hosted Sarah Leslie of the Discernment Research Group and the Herescope blog, who has worked to expose dominionism. Leslie is the former head of Iowa Right to Life, hardly a liberal activist, who talked to VCY America about the rise of Seven Mountains Dominionism:

VCY America wasn’t the only Christian radio station to fire Porter for promoting dominionism. Worldview Radio also dropped Porter for promoting “Dominion theology” and working “with the Dominion theory theology people” during her May Day prayer rally.

Surely, Barber can ask Porter herself why she was fired, since she was a featured speaker at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening 2011 and Liberty Counsel sponsored Porter’s How To Take Back America conference. Or ask Dominionism’s many conservative critics.

If you want a taste of what dominionism sounds like, watch Janet Porter preach with Cindy Jacobs about taking control of the mountain of government:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Today is the day that Antonin Scalia delivered his lecture to those attending Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party class.
  • George Allen apparently thinks every has forgotten about his infamous "macaca" moment.
  • After years of pressure from the Religious Right, Marriott will stop offering pornography in its hotels.
  • What a surprise: members of the Bush administration regularly violated the Hatch Act.
  • Mark DeMoss continues his lonely crusade to try and sell Mitt Romney to the Religious Right.
  • Rick Santorum stands by his claim that it is "remarkable for a black man" like President Obama to support reproductive choice while right-wing "black genocide" likewise defend him.
  • Finally, quote of the day from presidential hopeful Herman Cain: "Previous political experience got us into this mess. People are looking for a leader, not a politician."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Today is the day that Antonin Scalia delivered his lecture to those attending Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party class.
  • George Allen apparently thinks every has forgotten about his infamous "macaca" moment.
  • After years of pressure from the Religious Right, Marriott will stop offering pornography in its hotels.
  • What a surprise: members of the Bush administration regularly violated the Hatch Act.
  • Mark DeMoss continues his lonely crusade to try and sell Mitt Romney to the Religious Right.
  • Rick Santorum stands by his claim that it is "remarkable for a black man" like President Obama to support reproductive choice while right-wing "black genocide" likewise defend him.
  • Finally, quote of the day from presidential hopeful Herman Cain: "Previous political experience got us into this mess. People are looking for a leader, not a politician."

The Civility Project Is No More

In 2007, conservative activist Mark DeMoss launched something called The Civility Project, seeking to get governors and members of Congress to sign on to a short pledge vowing to conduct themselves civilly:

  • I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.
  • I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.
  • I will stand against incivility when I see it.

Four years and thousands of dollars later, DeMoss is shutting down the project after securing such pledges from only three members of Congress while enduring countless insults from his fellow conservatives:

A conservative Republican who helped introduce former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to leading evangelicals when the Romney, a Mormon, ran for president in 2008, DeMoss singled out political conservatives for criticism in his letter.

“Perhaps one of the most surprising results of this project has been the tone and language used by many of those posting comments on our website and following articles on various media websites about the project,” his letter said.

“Many of them could not be printed or spoken in public media due to vulgar language and vicious personal attacks,” the letter continued. “Sadly, a majority of these came from fellow conservatives.”

New Friends Bring New Troubles for McCain

Now that a large group of Religious Right activists have come forward in support of John McCain, the candidate might be tempted to sit back and relax. But as McCain learned from his experience with televangelists John Hagee and Rod Parsley, it’s not easy to be both a beloved “maverick” and a right-wing champion.

McCain was happy to campaign with Hagee and Parsley, until the media started to pick up their extreme views—thus risking McCain’s “moderate” image among many independent voters.

So what happens if and when people start hearing about McCain’s new friends? If Hagee and Parsley are too much for McCain, voters may begin to wonder, what about these right-wing activists, some of whom are even further out there?

Does McCain endorse David Barton’s partisan pseudo-history of America as a “Christian nation”? Does McCain share Phil Burress’s view that Ohio’s anti-gay marriage amendment should have invalidated the state’s domestic violence law? What are McCain’s thoughts on Tim LaHaye’s warning that “Brilliant Jewish minds have all too frequently been devoted to philosophies that have proved harmful to mankind”? Does McCain believe, like Phyllis Schlafly, that women cannot be raped by their husbands, that the U.S. government is secretly plotting to merge with Mexico and Canada, or that Mexican immigrants are “invading” the U.S. and spreading disease? (For that matter, does this mean Schlafly has successfully “worked over” McCain?)

McCain will be tempted to ditch them, as he did Parsley and Hagee, but that only managed to anger the Religious Right. Mat Staver, who organized the recent pro-McCain meeting, complained of McCain’s abandonment of the televangelists he’d courted, “He threw them under the bus.” Right-wing strategist Mark DeMoss called it a “slap in the face to evangelicals who are already somewhat suspect of Senator McCain.” But keeping his Religious Right friends along may be a slap in the face to his poll numbers.

Romney Supporters Resent Huckabee's Focus on Faith

You know something strange is happening within the Republican Party when the supporters of one GOP presidential hopeful start complaining that another is using religion to polarize the electorate. A few weeks ago, we noted how the National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez, a vocal Mitt Romney backer, was accusing Mike Huckabee of using the issue of faith in order "to change the subject away from policy and record issues" - as if that has not been the Religious Right's primary tactic for the last two decades. Now it looks as if this talking point has been picked up by others inside the Romney campaign as well:
Mark DeMoss – a fellow Southern Baptist leader and outspoken supporter of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney – argues that the most important qualification when electing someone to public office is proven ability to manage the country rather than the religion litmus test. “I believe faith plus character plus experience plus competence is a recipe for the ideal presidential candidate,” wrote DeMoss in an opinion piece posted on the Web site Beliefnet.com. “But faith alone should neither disqualify one from getting my vote, nor guarantee that they will.” The Christian public relations guru added that a candidate’s “character cannot be overstated” but that his or her “faith can be” and in “this election probably has been.”
Likewise, James Bopp, who is also a Romney supporter, took to the pages of the National Review yesterday to make much the same point:
By emphasizing his qualification for office as a “Christian leader,” the Huckabee campaign, however, has implicitly, and some of his supporters have explicitly, promoted a religious test for office. This threatens to tear this religious coalition apart. And if evangelical Christians legitimize a religious test for public office, they will pay the heaviest price. The liberal elites have long sought to drive people of faith from the public square. They view Mormons as a curiosity, like Christians on steroids, but they loath and fear evangelicals. If a religious test is legitimate for public office, then the Democrats will drive evangelicals out of our democracy.
In other words, Bopp and DeMoss realize that the issue of faith is important and helpful politically only so long as the Republican Party can lay exclusive claim to it and use it as a cudgel against Democrats. But now that Huckabee is doing to Romney what Bopp, DeMoss, and the rest of the Religious Right have been doing to their opponents for the last twenty years, there is a lot of hand-wringing about the inappropriateness of having this type of "religious test" for political candidates and fears that he's ruining the Religious Right's favorite tactic. If the Romney campaign really is opposed to this practice of not-so-subtly denigrating a political opponent's faith and values, does that mean that he will eschew it should he become the GOP's candidate? If so, he might want to disband his "Faith and Values Steering Committee" - which is filled with people like Mark DeMoss and James Bopp.

Dangling Participle Confuses Romney's Steps to Counter Huckabee's Evangelical Appeal

"As a Christian minister, understanding fully as an evangelical Christian, this man has those values and belief systems that will absolutely give this nation the direction that it needs," said Traditional Values Coalition founder Lou Sheldon---but "this man" is Romney, not minister Huckabee. More effective: Jay Sekulow, ACU's David Keene, and Mark DeMoss conference-calling 20,000 households.

Huckabee Supporters Demand a Recount

“Religious Right Divides Its Vote at Summit” was the headline of the New York Times article on the Values Voter Summit, and indeed, Mitt Romney only edged out Mike Huckabee by a few votes in the straw poll, 1595 to 1565, with other candidates trailing significantly. But that headline had to be a real disappointment for Huckabee boosters, dreaming of pushing him up from the second-tier, who believe that official tally is illegitimate because it allowed FRC members to vote online. Among actual conference-goers, Huckabee, the crowd favorite, walked away with a majority vote, besting Romney 488-99.

Janet Folger, who endorsed Huckabee soon after he won the straw poll at her Values Voter Debate, accused Romney of “ballot-box stuffing”:

Efforts to try and skew the results of the Internet poll, such as the e-mail sent by Mark DeMoss (now on the Romney campaign), complete with a link and instructions to stack it, gained Romney a .5 percent edge for his prominently announced "win." By the way, when that announcement was made following fanfare, including a drum roll, the audience (who were 5-to-1 Huckabee supporters) sat stunned. Had they announced the results of the real grass-roots activists who actually attended the event, we would have heard explosive applause instead of the sound of crickets and the clapping of a few Romney shills.

A harsh allegation, to be sure, but hardly out of character: Romney managed to win the CPAC straw poll last spring solely on the basis of students he sponsored, and he similarly paid for votes at the straw poll in South Carolina. After announcing that he was scaling back his efforts at the Ames, Iowa straw poll, Romney’s campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the best tent and the most buses to ferry Republicans to the event, presumably with their tickets paid in exchange for a vote commitment (as is common at Ames). Considering that membership to FRC Action and the code to vote in that straw poll could be purchased for a $1 donation, this latest effort was a steal. Then there’s money Romney pays to prominent right-wing figures, such as $25,000 to a company owned by Jay Sekulow, who endorsed Romney.

Alabama activist Randy Brinson, head of the state’s reconstituted Christian Coalition chapter as well as a voter mobilization effort and an ally of Huckabee, thinks it’s that kind of cash that keeps people like Tony Perkins pooh-poohing Huckabee’s prospects. From U.S. News:

[Brinson] says he believes that "gatekeepers" like Bauer, Perkins, and Dobson are more interested in Romney or Thompson because their campaigns have money to pay for consultants from the big conservative evangelical organizations, ensuring them access to the White House if either of them wins.

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Mark DeMoss Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 08/29/2011, 12:30pm
Over the last week Kyle has been rebutting claims by some journalists and Religious Right activists that Dominionism, which contends that fundamentalist Christians must take ‘dominion’ over society and government, is nothing more than a liberal conspiracy. Dominionism has been gaining attention as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry’s close ties with outspoken propagators of the radical dominionist ideology come to light. In a post today, Rachel Tabachnik takes on the Washington Post’s Lisa Miller’s much-discussed article dismissing dominionism. Tabachnik notes that... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/24/2011, 6:26pm
Today is the day that Antonin Scalia delivered his lecture to those attending Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party class. George Allen apparently thinks every has forgotten about his infamous "macaca" moment. After years of pressure from the Religious Right, Marriott will stop offering pornography in its hotels. What a surprise: members of the Bush administration regularly violated the Hatch Act. Mark DeMoss continues his lonely crusade to try and sell Mitt Romney to the Religious Right. Rick Santorum stands by his claim that it is "remarkable... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/24/2011, 6:26pm
Today is the day that Antonin Scalia delivered his lecture to those attending Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party class. George Allen apparently thinks every has forgotten about his infamous "macaca" moment. After years of pressure from the Religious Right, Marriott will stop offering pornography in its hotels. What a surprise: members of the Bush administration regularly violated the Hatch Act. Mark DeMoss continues his lonely crusade to try and sell Mitt Romney to the Religious Right. Rick Santorum stands by his claim that it is "remarkable... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 01/12/2011, 11:23am
In 2007, conservative activist Mark DeMoss launched something called The Civility Project, seeking to get governors and members of Congress to sign on to a short pledge vowing to conduct themselves civilly: I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior. I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them. I will stand against incivility when I see it. Four years and thousands of dollars later, DeMoss is shutting down the project after securing such pledges from only three members of Congress while enduring countless insults from his fellow conservatives: A... MORE >
, Wednesday 07/09/2008, 6:41pm
Now that a large group of Religious Right activists have come forward in support of John McCain, the candidate might be tempted to sit back and relax. But as McCain learned from his experience with televangelists John Hagee and Rod Parsley, it’s not easy to be both a beloved “maverick” and a right-wing champion. McCain was happy to campaign with Hagee and Parsley, until the media started to pick up their extreme views—thus risking McCain’s “moderate” image among many independent voters. So what happens if and when people start... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/03/2008, 6:21pm
You know something strange is happening within the Republican Party when the supporters of one GOP presidential hopeful start complaining that another is using religion to polarize the electorate. A few weeks ago, we noted how the National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez, a vocal Mitt Romney backer, was accusing Mike Huckabee of using the issue of faith in order "to change the subject away from policy and record issues" - as if that has not been the Religious Right's primary tactic for the last two decades. Now it looks as if this talking point has been picked up by others inside the Romney... MORE >
, Thursday 01/03/2008, 4:35pm
"As a Christian minister, understanding fully as an evangelical Christian, this man has those values and belief systems that will absolutely give this nation the direction that it needs," said Traditional Values Coalition founder Lou Sheldon---but "this man" is Romney, not minister Huckabee. More effective: Jay Sekulow, ACU's David Keene, and Mark DeMoss conference-calling 20,000 households. MORE >
, Tuesday 10/23/2007, 6:35pm
“Religious Right Divides Its Vote at Summit” was the headline of the New York Times article on the Values Voter Summit, and indeed, Mitt Romney only edged out Mike Huckabee by a few votes in the straw poll, 1595 to 1565, with other candidates trailing significantly. But that headline had to be a real disappointment for Huckabee boosters, dreaming of pushing him up from the second-tier, who believe that official tally is illegitimate because it allowed FRC members to vote online. Among actual conference-goers, Huckabee, the crowd favorite, walked away with a majority... MORE >