Talk:Dominionism

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Archive section[edit]

The hide Archive option needs to be removed. This is a very good way to bury discussion on Fundamentalist Reconstructionist Dominionism. I will give this a few days and if there is no reply then I will remove the hide button on the Archives myself. Magnum Serpentine (talk) 15:04, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Expanded Intro[edit]

WP:BRD is supposed to end in "D"iscussion, not in me knuckling under and accepting your unexplained point of view. The ball is in your court to explain your objections and to suggest ways that we might get across the desired points in a way that would be more acceptable to you. If you don't care enough to participate in such a discussion, then you have no business reverting the edits.

Furthermore, the personal attack contained in this edit summary is inappropriate. A responsible editor would apologize for it. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 15:32, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

The discussion is a matter of Wikipedia basics. First, you don't just add WP:OR parts to sourced statements. You may think the term isn't controversial in some situations, but you don't just write that thought into Wikipedia. In addition statements like "(to use a biblical word)" are overly conversational, unencyclopedic, and come with implications that are unsourced. I may have responded too harshly, and for that I apologize but when it comes to the BRD cycle the burden of explanation lies with the person changing, not the person reverting. PeRshGo (talk) 16:43, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
The above two posts first appeared on User talk:PeRshGo.
Please review the section on Origin and usage of the term, especially the subsection on Dominion Theology. The "usage is not controversial" language is taken directly from this subsection (as WP:LEAD sections are supposed to be). It is hardly my own thought just written into Wikipedia, but part of a section that was hashed and re-hashed by a number of editors several years ago when this page was a very active place. My purpose is only to have the Intro reflect more of the discussion lower down in the page. Is that your only objection to it?
As for the statement "(to use a biblical word)", if you find it too informal, then I'm open to discuss that. Personally, I thought it helped to illuminate how the twelve-dollar words getting thrown around are related to actual concepts discussed in the article. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 01:18, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

"Term used to describe"[edit]

I'm trying to eliminate unnecessary use of phrase "term used to describe" from Wikipedia ledes. My recent edits to the lede were undone because I accidentally infringed on some subtle nuances. I'm not interested in upsetting NPOV concerns, but the wording of the lede should be modified to refer to dominionism/dominionists as a concept/group, not a term. Suggestions? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 19:03, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Hi Aeusoes. Thank you for clarifying your purpose. I appreciate the concern that the phrase "term used to describe" is usually just unnecessary verbiage. However, in this case I think it is necessary, because of the unusual circumstance that the very existence of "dominionism/dominionists as a concept/group" is contentious.
One may very well ask why this article exists and why it is written as it is, and the answer has much to do with the development of Wikipedia and the fact that this topic is highly political. But as I remarked in two recent conversations that have already been archived, "this is an article about a partisan argument, not about a respectable scientific paradigm... If you want a discussion of religion and politics in the United States, we have other articles about that. This article is about the word itself and how people have used it."
I hope this helps clarify the situation, and I would be very interested in any suggestions you may have. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 18:02, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps the wording of Cinderella effect might be helpful here. Maybe something like "Dominionism is the alleged group of politically active conservative Christians who to influence or take control over secular civil government through political action..."
Another thought: Since "Dominionism" is less controversially applied to Dominion theology and this article is about a sort of conspiracy theory, might it be the case that we should rename the article to something else? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 18:24, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
You could try "Dominionism is an alleged movement of politically active..." You could even try something more drastic, such as you suggested. I imagine there are still people around who would revert, but who knows? --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 17:16, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I tried to rephrase the lede to represent what's actually in the article (and I think the way I worded the first paragraph was a good start in parsing that this is an alleged movement without saying "term used to describe" or any related variant). However, in this edit, you've restored the misleading implication that this article is about the term when the content in this article and at Dominion theology show otherwise, as does its inclusion in the {{Conspiracy theories}} navigation template. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 21:05, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Except this article is about the term, as I've already said. We have other articles on Dominion theology on the one side and the Christian Right on the other. The first 60% of the article focuses explicitly on the term and its history and usage. The last 40% does cover some more general topics, but even here the focus is on aspects of the history that have been brought into the debate about the term.
I thought your first effort was reasonable (if not my preference), as you kept the focus on the term while avoiding the "term used to describe" language that you dislike. But it was less than 12 hours before someone else changed it, and then you put the focus onto the alleged movement without using the word "alleged". --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 21:46, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I know you have argued that this article is about the term, but I don't see it that way when I look at the article. There are nine sections in this article, only two of which cover the term. The rest are about the movement or the social context, although there are smatterings of mentioning definitions and whatnot all over. If we measure by pure word count, the two sections that cover the term take up about a quarter of the article. I don't think that's enough to say it's about the term. Moreover, the article shouldn't be about the term, it should be about the contentious political issue that surrounds it. If anything, we can also tweak the article to make it less focused on definitions and more focused on the social context etc.
I would have opposed PeRshGo's edit, but WP:LEDE does say that we should put the term in bold as early as possible. If you want to WP:IAR on this one, I'm fine with that. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 22:22, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't know how you're counting the sections. There are three sections (not counting "See also", "Notes and references", or "External links"). The first two are "Origin and usage of the term" and "Criticism of the term". These two sections comprise the 60% of the article I mentioned in my last (I estimated that by counting screens as I scrolled down), and as their section headings should make clear, they focus explicitly on the term and its history and usage. The third section, inelegantly entitled "Influences on the Christian right", is somewhat vestigial but still is focused on aspects of the history that have been brought into the debate about the term.
I'm curious what you think is the "contentious political issue" that the article should be about. As I've mentioned, theocratic theology and conservative Christians in politics already have their own articles. The most contentious issue that I see as being covered by this article is whether the people who warn of dominionism are properly describing reality, but that brings us back to arguing about the term. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 02:48, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Not counting the see also and notes sections, the article's word count is 2700.
The first section "origin and usage of the term" is all about terminology.
  • That's 108 words.
The next section "Dominion Theology" is not about terminology, though there are two sentences that refer explicitly to terminology ("Reconstructionists themselves use the word dominionism to refer to their belief that Christians alone should control civil government, conducting it according to Biblical law" and the final sentence)
  • That's 156 words
The next section "Dominionism as a broader movement" is describing dominionism. It does not cover the term dominionism or its usage until the final paragraph
  • That's 225 words
The next section "A spectrum of dominionism" is half about terminology, though it covers several other terms and segues into a bit about Christian nationalism.
  • That's 313 words
The next section, "Criticism of the term" is all about terminology. It has 577 words, though 239 of them are in blockquotes.
  • That's 890 words
None of the rest of the article discusses terminology. So, even counting the bits about terminology in the other sections, discussion of terminology doesn’t even amount to a third (890/2700=30.6%). That’s how I see it anyway, I can see you counting more of the "Dominionism as a broader movement" section, but even then that's less than half the article.
As it stands, this article is about the characterizations of the Christian Right as wishing to hijack secular positions of government and the controversy around those claims. Part of the controversy is in labeling, but that doesn't mean that this article is about the term. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 04:21, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I still favor my evaluation of the article's focus over yours, but it doesn't seem needful to hammer on that.
From your last pgh, it seems you see the article as being about a conspiracy theory. That could work for me (assuming, as I said, that other editors don't object), but in that case the Intro should be written with a lot more qualified language than you have done, perhaps more like the suggestion you gave a few months ago above. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 15:04, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
All right, I'll also add the {{Conspiracy theories}} template at the bottom. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 15:08, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

"Alleged?"[edit]

Why is the top of this article referring to Dominionism as alleged? Perhaps there should be controversy section if some groups (who?) argue it is not strongly supported today, but if necessary we can hunt down statements of faith or statements of intent that indicate that specific churches seek to expand their denomination universally, and violently if necessary.

At very least this is a historical movement.

Alleged is a sweeping falsehood. Note the article on Christian Reconstructionism. There is recent press about Dominionism, and hyperbole or not, there are frequent calls to arms towards militant expansionism of conservative Christian values outward towards those who don't share them.

Uriel-238 (talk) 19:08, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

This issue is discussed in the second paragraph of the Intro, and elsewhere in the article. See also discussions above on this Talk page. Yes, Christian Reconstructionism and Dominion Theology are real, and they really do formally advocate a takeover of society by Christian law, but they are also exceedingly small. Confusingly, "Dominionism" is sometimes used as a shorthand to refer to these small groups. However, the issue described in this article is the claim that the mainstream Christian right is a form of Dominionism. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 16:50, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
The existence of this article exacerbates the confusion. The parts about the Christian Right should be moved there, and the parts about Dominion Theology should be moved there. Just because some people use the term "dominionism" to talk about the Christian Right doesn't mean they need a separate encyclopedic article to describe their views. --JFH (talk) 19:07, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
One is always welcome to nominate the page for deletion. In such a 2007 procedure, the consensus was this article should be kept. Sometimes consensus has been shown to change. BusterD (talk) 22:10, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
OK, I did some research, and I'm not convinced that RSes are using "Dominion Theology" and "dominionism" to mean different things, and definitely not in the way we're doing here. I'm thinking the articles should be merged here and reworked. Any thoughts? --JFH (talk) 19:49, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

When I first found this article six years ago, it assumed as fact the claim that the mainstream religious right was simply a front for radical Dominion Theology. The whole point of this article was to conflate the two and to obscure the distinctions between them. Much of the impetus came from an organization called TheocracyWatch, which had a notorious list of dominionists on its own WP page at the time. That kind of explicit partisanship had powerful support in Wikipedia back at that time.

Much of the current article is vestigial from that time, though I and others have worked to frame it in a more factual way. You can trace the saga in the talk page archives here and elsewhere. At the time, it was the best that could be done in a contentious environment. Perhaps things are different now. I have little energy for large-scale rearranging, but if you do, I ask only that you consider the following:

  1. Please avoid the term "dominionism" when you are referring to anything real or specific. There is almost always another term that says what you mean with less ambiguity. For example, discussion of Dominion Theology should remain at that page, not here. Even though people sometimes say "dominionism" when they mean DT, they also sometimes say "dominionism" when they mean other things. But everyone knows what you mean when you say "Dominion Theology".
  2. When all is said and done, there should be at least a paragraph or two on the historical attempt to define "dominionism" as a broader conspiracy, giving both sides of the debate as cited in the current article.

Thanks, --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 15:32, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Would you explain what you think the difference between dominionism and dominion theology is, and provide a source? Based on the sources I've read, I don't think RSes ever make a distinction. --JFH (talk) 17:33, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
I would refer you to sections 1.2 and 1.3 of the article as it currently stands. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 20:23, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Those sections are predicated on the claim that DT is a distinct subset of dominionism. The sources for that section seem to be saying that dominionist ideas have become influential in the Christian Right. That's a contentious issue, but I don't see anyone labeling the theonomists Dominion Theology and the idea of Christians taking power dominionism. The part of this article that explicitly makes the claim that there is this subset of theonomists reads: "Dominion Theology is a grouping of theological systems with the common belief that the law of God, as codified in the Bible, should exclusively govern society, to the exclusion of secular law, a view also known as theonomy." If that were true, I would perhaps move to merge Dominion Theology with Theonomy. However, there is no source provided for the statement except Heaven on earth? without a page number, and oddly placed after the statement "Dominion Theology is a grouping of theological systems", so presumably it's only supporting that claim rather than the one I am contesting. I looked through Dominion Theology and didn't find anything else promising. So my argument is that DT is not usually (or, to the best of my knowledge, ever) used to exclusively refer to theonomic/theocratic movements. --JFH (talk) 01:27, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
It does get confusing because different people use the same words with different meanings. You are correct that Theonomy is the best general word for (the Christian flavor of) the idea that society should be governed by strict religious laws. Dominion Theology is usually used (including by its adherents) to refer to Christian Reconstructionism, a particular brand of Theonomy. The current page on Dominion Theology appears to be based on drawing a connection between CR and "Kingdom Now Theology", though I don't see much support for that connection, nor does it appear that KNT is particularly notable among various brands of Theonomy. Thus, the current article on Dominion Theology should probably be primarily merged into Christian Reconstructionism, with the section on "Kingdom Now Theology" merged into Theonomy.
You say that sections 1.2 and 1.3 of the article as it currently stands "are predicated on the claim that DT is a distinct subset of dominionism." No, not exactly. They describe that claim as made by certain authors. Please remember that, as it currently stands, this is an article about a debate, not an article about something that everyone agrees is real. As used by this article, DT more or less means CR, and the claim being discussed is that the mainstream Christian right is little more than a front for radical CR. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 14:35, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I've started a merge discussion. As for dominionism being real, it seems me that most writers mean by dominionism the idea that Christians should take control of government and promote an explicitly Christian agenda. It doesn't seem controversial that that view exists, and it is a different view from theonomy/theocracy. The controversy is over the prevalence and influence of those who hold this view. The article could easily be about the idea rather than just the controversy. --JFH (talk) 16:35, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
There is Theonomy (which teaches as a matter of theology that God calls Christians to rule over non-Christians) and there is the Christian right (which simply wants more practical political success in enacting a conservative agenda). Are you saying that dominionism should be defined as something in between? What is your source for that? I see that the Christian right article already has a section on the dominionism label, which should be updated, but otherwise it might be fine to merge this page into that. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 18:54, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Theonomy is rule by biblical (Mosaic) law, stoning adulterers and such. Read the page. Dominionism is just thinking Christians are the most fit to govern and that they should do so in an explicitly Christian way, just look at Diamond's definition we quote. There's lots of room in between. And then you have your intra-theonomist debates over whether stoning is necessary or if other methods of execution are allowed. --JFH (talk) 19:26, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Who, other than CR, teaches that "Christians are the most fit to govern and that they should do so in an explicitly Christian way"? You may have noticed that Diamond was the starting point for a whole lot of controversy, not a basis for consensus.
I've updated the "dominionism" section of the Christian right article, and assuming the editors of that article don't mind the changes, I'd be ready to merge this article into Christian right. Sound reasonable? --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 19:40, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I'll do some further research later, but D. James Kennedy is an example I'm familiar with. He's said Christians should vote for Christians, and America should be Christian again, but he's not a theonomist (doesn't think the details of Mosaic law should be enacted). --JFH (talk) 20:55, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Kennedy is a great example of the Christian right. The word "dominionism" has only been applied to him via partisan name-calling. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 20:58, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Are you denying he's said what I claimed, and fits Diamond's definition? It doesn't matter if the usefulness of the term is contested, it's used widely in RSes. --JFH (talk) 21:22, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

Don't conservatives and liberals say that sort of thing in roughly equal measure? "Liberals should vote for liberals, and America should become more liberal." I don't see how that's a big deal.

The "dominion" concept derives from the Biblical passage in which God ordains Adam and Eve to rule/steward the world (there is great variety of opinion regarding the breadth of this mandate), so applying it to a modern figure only makes sense if that figure teaches theologically that God has in some way ordained that Christians should rule over non-Christians. This is very different from garden-variety political partisanship. Christian Reconstructionists fit this description.

If something is widely used in RSs, then sure, it should be mentioned (with proper context) in a WP article. But if it is highly contested, then WP should not utilize it as if it were consensus. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 21:52, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

I'll concede that there are shades of meaning between the definition I gave and the idea that Christians are mandated to take positions of power, and that both have been advanced as definitions of dominionism. But neither position is theonomist. I won't argue whether there are non-Reconstructionists who hold either of these views, but there's not a debate over whether such views exist. The article should be about that idea that Christians should/are mandated to hold political power, and include the debate over the prevalence of such views. --JFH (talk) 01:59, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
If indeed your definition of Theonomy is correct (and I don't have the wherewithal to investigate that), then I agree that there is a place for Dominion Theology as a distinct teaching that God has in some way ordained that Christians should rule over society, but without mandating the Mosaic Law as the basis for that rule.
But you have not demonstrated the existence of Dominionism as something distinct. You say of "Christians should vote for Christians and America should be Christian again" and "Christians are mandated to take positions of power" that "neither is theonomist". Fine, if theonomy requires strict application of Mosaic Law. However, the second is clearly Dominion Theology while the first is simple partisanship, as could be engaged in by a liberal as much as by a conservative. It should be filed under Christian right. You say you "won't argue whether there are non-Reconstructionists who hold either of these views", but that's exactly the point. I am suggesting that the second view is not affirmed by mainstream leadership (contra the accusation implicit in the term "dominionism" as discussed in this article) but is the province of Reconstructionists and like-minded radicals, and I have yet to be gainsaid. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 14:09, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Let's say we edited the article to use the second definition of dominionism as an idea rather than an alleged movement. Couldn't we then present the controversy over how prevalent the idea is in the Christian Right? --JFH (talk) 14:53, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Would that be faithful to the sources currently cited in this article? Or are you thinking to shift the focus to different sources? --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 16:53, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure it's frustrating that I keep changing my position, but I'm sort of learning as I go here. I think we can go without a settled definition, because there's a range, but instead of setting the scope of the article as an "alleged movement" we can define it as the idea that Christians should "[work] toward either a nation governed by Christians or one governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law." The second part of that might be going a little too far into theonomy, but I think it's plausible that a fair number of RSes are defining it that way. My main point is that the vast majority of RSes agree that this idea certainly exists, but we can't pretend that it's "alleged". The only uncertain thing is prevalence (restricted to the radicals or the "central unifying ideology for the Christian Right"). Even if, as you say, it's restricted to Christian Reconstructionists, we can have an article on the idea. --JFH (talk) 00:43, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Although it's currently in the article Intro, I don't know where we got the text "either a nation governed by..." Sticking with sources, Diamond defined dominionism as the belief "that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns," though you may notice that she subsequently backtracked from her "central unifying ideology" comment.
Apart from nakedly partisan sources, I don't think you'll find much support for the idea that such a belief is at all prevalent outside radicals like Reconstructionism. And if it's restricted to Reconstructionists, then we already have an article on the idea, namely Dominion Theology. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 21:14, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
I think I showed over at Talk:Dominion Theology that that's simply not true. Very reliable sources are using "dominion theology" for something broader than Reconstructionism that includes folks like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. But even if it were restricted to Rconstructionists, that's more of a defined movement than an idea. Reconstructionists are Calvinist postmillennialist presuppositionalist theonomists. So if dominionism is any of the things we've discussed, it's still distinct from Reconstructionism. --JFH (talk) 00:41, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
I will reply at Talk:Dominion Theology regarding the sources. In short, while you have at least one source worth mentioning in an article, I don't think we should configure our articles as if what you're suggesting were the consensus.
Yes, there are radicals who are not Reconstructionists. I have occasionally been guilty in this conversation of saying "Reconstructionists" when I mean to say "Reconstructionists and similar radicals". That's why you've convinced me that we need an article on Dominion Theology, to tie them together under one umbrella. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 13:43, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Defining the concept as I've done makes no judgment as to whether the idea is confined to radicals. That can be discussed as a controversy. --JFH (talk) 14:46, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

The Rapture has impacted the two main groups of Dominionists[edit]

Each group expects The Rapture to occur in a different way; only one of those groups claims direct back-up from Jesus for the way The Rapture will occur. Apparently, Jesus talks to members of that group way more than to members of any other Christian group. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.14.243.123 (talk) 11:02, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Dominionists and a Christian Nation Amendment [CNA] to the US Constitution[edit]

The smaller group of Dominionists do not have time to worry about a CNA due to the impending Rapture.

The larger group of Dominionists self-select into that "larger group" on the basis of positive support simply for the idea of a Christian Nation Amendment to the US Constitution. Obviously, they do not believe the Rapture will occur as quickly as does the mentioned smaller group. The larger group prefers to speak softly about the CNA until they become recognized as a significant force in American life. All in the larger group agree that The Devil, due to his own agenda, tries everyday to prevent this from happening. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.14.243.123 (talk) 16:11, 4 September 2013 (UTC)