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Dominionism and language

2005-06-23 16:37:58.391172+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

I'm not sure I can lay claim to any geography, but my grade school years were in the Northeast. Religion in that region is a fairly private thing, every town has at least the requisite two churches, the stone architecture of the Presbyterians and their long tradition, often directly facing the white clapboard Congregational Church on the other (with the occasional Methodist congregation or what have you thrown in for good measure). But Christianity as I experienced it as a child was a fairly private endeavour, and one adopted as much for community as religion; my grandmother played organ in both a Lutheran church (the heritage of the German of my mother's side of the family) and a Synagogue (the tradition my mother adopted), and while we practiced a reform Judaism in the house, when I was younger I think I went to the Congregational church in which my mother directed the choir and the Methodist church of my father's parents at least as often as I ever listened to a Rabbi.

So it was quite a shock when I moved to Chattanooga[Wiki], the southeast, often described as "the buckle of the Bible Belt", and saw Christianity as it was practiced there. And after enough years there that my sense of reality got recalibrated, it was Larry's expression of his faith that brought me back to a place where I could accept that being Christian didn't necessarily mean being an embodiment of evil. So when Larry speaks on matters of religion, especially about how he feels in his religion relative to the larger culture, I listen.

In Dominionism: Is The Threat Real?, he calls for those of us who fear fundamentalist evangelicals to answer the threats to our liberties to answer those who'd intertwine government and Christianity with the Bible. But I think he's wrong.

As I said in my comments to Ziffle's article about pre-code movies, offering up control of the medium, in this case the language, removes the ability to communicate the essence of the message. I lived amongst those who believe that the Bible was written in English to know that the word isn't what's important, it's the feeling, and that, for instance, people will argue over differing translations, studiously avoiding the original language, if they can find an expression or obscure translation that serves their emotional reaction (any discussion of that passage by Judaic scholars is ambiguous only when it focuses on a word transliterated as "ason", which, you'll notice, is distinctly absent from that discussion...).

If we let someone else control the language, we've let them control the medium through which the discussion takes place, and therefore we've let them control the content of the message. This is the lesson that Karl Rove is teaching us, and I now believe strongly that we must take the battle right back to those who'd take away our liberties as strongly as it's been brought to us. Yes, that might mean separating the sin from the sinner, and not tarring all Christians with the same brush, but neither should we be scared of calling out bigotry, hatred and evil when it hides behind Christianity.

[ related topics: Language Ziffle Religion Dan's Life Sociology Chattanooga Community Architecture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-06-24 00:34:18.356396+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

Dan, I don't believe that you disagree with me. What I'm calling for is a taking back of my religion from those who would corrupt it into this monster called Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism. What you are calling for is a reclaimation of the language. Both are the same thing in my mind. I know I won't be able to sway those who are already true believers in in their destiny but there are many, many people out there who would never go along with Dominionist ideas who are being incrementally moved in that direction. Those are the ones I want to reach and I need to do it before they start using the Dominionist's language. The only way I can do this is by making sure hate and bigotry is pointed out. Both run contrary to Christ's teachings.