The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

The Ultimate American Gothic Horror Story (Part III)

Robin Alexander

Posted on February 5, 2018 09:09

0 user

If you’re angry, downtrodden and full of fear, with a leaning toward Jesus, step right up and be the first on your block to sample dominionism’s all-knowing, all-powerful 100 percent guaranteed solution. Just send us your paycheck.

Biblical times offered markets in town squares; you were a major player if you traveled to a nearby city several times a year. Not your industrial magnate’s capitalism. But somehow dominionists have re-interpreted scripture to mean “Jesus wants us to be rich and powerful.” And the government has to get out of the way for this to happen. No wonder corporate America loves these guys.

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges spent months infiltrating a dominionist group in Florida and newsflash: the meek are no longer inheriting the earth. The upgrade is called the “gospel of prosperity.” Seriously?

We saw in part two that for dominionists, the religious rich are chosen by God and deserve their superior station (read televangelists, church hierarchy, authors, speakers, et al.). Members of the congregation may suffer, but it’s not their fault (read scapegoating of brown immigrants). Fortunately there is a way out. Give us your tired, your poor, your desperate underprivileged white folk long forgotten by both parties and yearning for a sliver of the American pie. Come, learn, rub shoulders – it’ll pay off if you buy what we’re selling. No moral ambiguity here. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. It literally promises stuff.

Apparently, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking butt on the right. There’s big money in ultra-right-wing religious resorts, amusement parks and conferences. Don’t forget the sale of books, DVDs and speaking engagements. The flock endlessly flocks to these events, and in between they buy.

In an interview with journalist Sarah Posner, a former student at Fuller Theological Seminary (dominionist enclave) says: I was working the switchboard part-time, and the number one phone call went something like this: “Can you connect me to C. Peter Wagner’s Church Growth Institute? I’d like to buy some materials.”

There’s even multi-level marketing. Remember Amway? (Founder Richard DeVos is Betsy’s father-in-law; he grew up to become a major Republican donor and supporter of all things right wing, including religious groups). According to Posner, “apostles” in Wagner’s church receive a financial return for bringing in followers and rising in the hierarchy. This is a heavy-duty, hands-on, face-to-face Christian marketing scheme. Oy vay.

And then there’s Paula White, “gospel of prosperity” preacher par excellence. According to Newsweek, White, who is Trump’s spiritual advisor (really?) and head of his evangelical advisory committee recently suggested that “people send her money in order to transform their lives, or face divine consequences.” The amount requested was January’s income as a “first fruits” offering (yes, all of it). The idea is that if they donate, they receive blessings. “If God doesn’t divinely step in and intervene,” she said, “I don’t know what you’re going to face – he does.”

This is how dominionists work the disenfranchised with a leaning toward Jesus. The recipe is simple: Find the desperate. Play on fear, and frustration. Promise financial reward. Go to bank.

 (Part four: The poor among us and the evolution of the social contract).

Robin Alexander

Posted on February 5, 2018 09:09

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: Beliefnet

Last month, my colleagues and I were moved by a beautiful and tragic New York Times editorial by Kate Bowler, a religion...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest