All of us have a stake in preserving the religious freedom that is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Whatever our religion or lack thereof, we are all protected by the State keeping its distance from religion. The Founding Fathers knew their history, and they knew that Europe had been torn apart by endless wars between religious sects. They sought to create a nation where people of differing religious beliefs could live in harmony, none dominating the others. For that reason, the First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law establishing a state religion. Religious minorities have flourished (for the most part) because of the protection afforded by separation of church and state.

But now this principle is threatened by a new and powerful ideology of dominionism. This is the tie that binds the evangelicals. 

Although this article focuses on Texas, it has clear national implications. Read it and think “DeVos,” “Trump.” Even devout Christians should fear these influential leaders’ refusal to separate church and state.

“Though it’s seldom mentioned by name, it’s one of the major forces in Texas politics today: dominion theology, or dominionism. What began as a fringe evangelical sect in the 1970s has seen its influence mushroom — so much so that sociologist Sara Diamond has called dominionism “the central unifying ideology for the Christian Right.” (Italics hers.) That’s especially true here in Texas, where dominionist beliefs have, over the last decade, become part and parcel of right-wing politics at the highest levels of government.

“So, what is it? Dominionism fundamentally opposes America’s venerable tradition of church-state separation — in fact, dominionists deny the Founders ever intended that separation in the first place. According to Frederick Clarkson, senior fellow for religious liberty at the non-profit social justice think tank Political Research Associates, dominionists believe that Christians “have a biblical mandate to control all earthly institutions — including government — until the second coming of Jesus.” And that should worry all Texans — Christians and non-Christians alike.

“Dominionism comes in “soft” and “hard” varieties. “Hard” dominionism (sometimes called Christian Reconstructionism), as Clarkson describes it, explicitly seeks to replace secular government, and the U.S. Constitution, with a system based on Old Testament law.

“The father of hard dominionism, the late Presbyterian theologian R.J. Rushdoony, called for his followers to “take back government … and put it in the hands of Christians.”

“Rushdoony’s legacy has been carried on by his son-in-law, Tyler-based economist Gary North, an unapologetic theocrat who in 1982 called for Christians to “get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”

Dominionists are so eager to win control that they are willing to use the deeply immoral Trump as their instrument.