The Mississippi Free Press is a fearless news outlet that takes on controversial topics and also highlights news and culture in the nation’s poorest state. At the beginning of last year, it ran a three-part series on Christian Dominionism, which has a strong foothold in the state. The Dominionists promoted the abortion law that led to the reversal of Roe v. Wade. But their fight to outlaw abortion is only one aspect of their agenda. Their goal is to change every aspect of the law and society to conform to their view of Christian rule. As part of their mission, they seek to eliminate public schools, which they consider godless. Their goal is to make the United States a Christian nation. They were thrilled by Trump’s appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The following excerpt is drawn from part one of a three-part series. I’m posting only twice today so you will take the time to read this important article in full.

Staff writer Ashton Pittman wrote:

Alliance Defending Freedom’s founders included Mississippian Don Wildmon, who also founded the Tupelo-based American Family Association. Wildmon and the others in the group of nearly three dozen conservative Christians who launched the organization in 1993 as the Alliance Defense Fund envisioned it as a counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed overt efforts to mix religion and government and was known for its support of abortion rights and the rights of sexual minorities..

Six years after launching, the ADF created The Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a Christian summer training program for up-and-coming attorneys. In the ADF’s 2000 tax filings, the organization explained that the Blackstone program “provides cutting-edge legal education” and also offers attorneys access to “up-to-date developments in the areas of religious liberties, the sanctity of human life, and traditional family values.”

“As a rigorous internship for exceptionally capable and highly motivated law students, the Blackstone Fellowship inspires a distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law, and particularly in the areas of public policy and religious liberty,” the ADF’s IRS tax filings say.

“With this ongoing program, it’s ADF’s goal to train a new generation of lawyers who will rise to positions of influence and leadership as legal scholars, litigators, judges-and perhaps even Supreme Court judges—who will work to ensure that justice is carried out in America’s courtrooms.”

The ADF’s description of itself in those tax filings is emblematic of “full-blown” Christian dominionist thought, Frederick Clarkson told the Mississippi Free Press on Dec. 3, 2021. He is a senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, a Boston-area think tank that monitors anti-democratic movements and ideologies including Christian dominionism and white nationalism.

“That’s the idea that conservative Christians should be dominating every aspect of society,” he explained. Adherents to dominionism often talk about a “biblical worldview” or talk about “building the kingdom,” he added.

Christian dominionism is a religious and political movement that began in earnest during the 20th century and includes a cross-section of various denominations. Many who subscribe to it do not self-identify as dominionists, though, Clarkson noted.

“Not everyone is going to say, ‘Hey, I’m a dominionist. I’m all about theocracy.’ Not many people are going to say that, but this body of theological thought has been percolating throughout the evangelical world for decades,” he said. “If you think that America should be a Christian nation, well, what should that look like? And that’s where the dominionist agenda comes in. It’s not just any conservative thinking.”

Dominionist goals reach far beyond abortion, he said.

“While abortion and Roe and Dobbs are what we’re looking at in the heat of the moment, this is just one battle in a larger war for the world,” Clarkson said….

Taking Control of ‘Seven Mountains’

The New Apostolic Reformation dates back to C. Peter Wagner, who began preaching in the 1950s and died in 2016. He taught that God had begun preparing the world for a “third great awakening” that would sweep the earth before the apocalyptic events foretold in the Book of Revelation take place.

As part of this awakening, Wagner taught, Christians would take dominion over the “seven mountains” or “seven spheres” of cultural influence: family, religion, education, business, government, media and the arts. (Some adherents of the belief, known as “seven mountains dominionism,” instead combine media and arts into a single category and add the military as the seventh “mountain”). Top Mississippi state officials, including Gov. Tate Reeves, attended a prayer event in May 2021 hosted by an organization that openly adheres to “seven mountains” beliefs….

While Calvinism tends toward an intellectual approach to religion and theology, Pentecostalism, which includes hundreds of denominations and independent, non-denominational churches, is much more experientially oriented. Unlike Calvinists, Pentecostals believe in the modern occurrence of spiritual “gifts” such as prophecy, speaking in tongues and supernatural healing.

Despite their differences, including the timeline for Christian dominionism, Reconstructionists and Pentecostals held a series of dialogues throughout the late 20th century to flesh out a common set of goals and principles.

After one series of Reconstructionist-Pentecostal dialogues in Dallas in 1987, Clarkson notes, Christian Reconstructionist pastor Joseph Morecraft declared that “God is blending Presbyterian theology with Charismatic zeal into a force that cannot be stopped.” (“Pentecostal” and “Charismatic” are often used interchangeably or to describe largely overlapping Christian sects that believe in spiritual gifts).

Those dialogues, Clarkson told the Mississippi Free Press, shaped the modern dominionist movement and much of 21st-century American politics.

“That opened the door to political action that brought about the Christian Right that we see today,” Clarkson said.

“So as elements of Pentecostalism adopted these ideas, then we began to see what we now call the New Apostolic Reformation, and they were able to package it in a way where you didn’t have to have a P.h.D. In theology to understand. So they talked about simply dividing up all of society.

“They said, well, there’s seven main sections of society, and you need to figure out which ‘mountain’ you need to be a part of trying to conquer in order to build the kingdom of God. Really smart marketing. That’s what we’re talking about here.”

In his 2008 book, “Dominion! How Kingdom Action Can Change the World,” Wagner, the NAR and Seven Mountains theology pioneer, put it simply: “We have an assignment from God to take dominion and transform society.”

‘The Battle To Take The Land’

Like Engle, Alliance Defending Freedom’s CEO and general counsel Michael Farris has long sought to use the levers of society to establish Christ’s kingdom on earth. He founded the Home School Legal Defense Association, an ADF affiliate that has spent years lobbying state governments to make it easier for Christian parents to homeschool their children. (Rushdoony emphasized the necessity of Christian homeschooling to equip future generations for Christian dominion).

In the first chapter of his 2005 book, “The Joshua Generation: Restoring the Heritage of Christian Leadership,” Farris made a bold claim: “I have met countless future senators, governors, presidents, and Supreme Court justices.” He was describing his meetings with parents of homeschooled children, where he says “dreams of generational greatness burn brightly.”

“These moms and dads truly believe that their children are called to be the leaders of the future. … They believe that their own children, in many cases, have unusually high prospects for being particular people who will rise to the top levels of government, law, journalism, media, religion, art, business, and science,” he wrote, referring to the seven mountains Wagner taught. “I think they are absolutely right.”

In the book, Farris explained that the point of advocating for homeschooling rights in state legislatures was never simply about homeschooling itself.

“While those battles are important and will always continue to some degree, homeschool freedom is not the end goal. It is a means to a far greater end,” Farris wrote. The Christian homeschool movement can judge its long-term success, he said, by evaluating their results against a passage in the Book of Hebrews that describes godly heroes “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames … and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”

The end goal of the Christian homeschooling movement, he said, was to raise a generation of children who would do those very things in the “Christian assignment of redeeming the culture.”

“How should we judge our success? … Do we see our children administering justice, gaining what was promised, shutting the mouths of lions, and quenching the fury of the flames? … Have they become powerful in battle?”

Public Schools ‘Essentially Satanic’

Farris and others like him, Clarkson said, fear that sending children to public schools is the same as “turning them over to institutions that are essentially Satanic and teaching children things that are not only non-Christian, but anti-Christian.”

“The idea of Christianizing schools or taking these children out of the public schools and into private Christian academies or homeschool has been in the works for a long time,” he said. “They managed to get right-to-homeschool as part of the Republican platform under Reagan in the 1980s. This has been a long-term process.”

Farris is now CEO and general counsel of ADF.

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett gave lectures at ADF’s Blackstone training program for future lawyers.

In its 2000 tax filings, the ADF explained that once fellows complete the Blackstone program, they will have “caught a vision for how God can use them as judges, law professors, and practicing attorneys to help keep the door open for the spread of the gospel in America.”

The ADF also said in the filings that it had “effectively equipped attorneys to battle the homosexual agenda, defend parental rights, and protect religious freedom” with a separate training program known as the National Litigation Academy.

The founders of this nation wrote a Constitution to govern the new nation. They did not say it would be a “Christian nation.” They specifically barred any religious tests for holding office. There are many religions in this nation, as well as atheists. The Dominionists threaten the freedoms of all those who do not share their views.

I urge you to send a contribution to the Mississippi Free Press to help them continue the important work they do. I sent them $100, my second contribution to help sustain their wonderful voice in Mississippi.