Democracy Under Assault
Theopolitics, Incivility and Violence on the Right

Michele Swenson

Christian Reconstructionism-End-Times Political Ideology—Theocracy Underground Movement

Much of the political right, from its stealth campaigns to the formulation of policy, has remained below the radar. Perhaps one of the most unreported contributions to the right-wing political machine has been the largely underground church-based politics of Christian Reconstructionism that originated in the ‘60s, which doctrine has since permeated many U.S. fundamentalist churches. Christian Reconstructionists are post-millennialists, defining America’s destiny in terms of end-times prophecy of the book of Revelation, and promoting the creation of God’s kingdom on earth before Christ can return.

The late Rousas Rushdoony deemed democracy a heresy, and modeled his movement after the John Birch Society. Christian Reconstructionists hold that only select white Christian males should vote or hold office, a tenet expressed euphemistically by Howard Phillips as return to the "traditional family value" of "one-family one-vote." Seeking to overcome such democratic manifestations as labor unions, civil rights laws and public schools, they call for churches to take over most functions of government, i.e., social services, health and education.

Christian Reconstructionist doctrine has shaped much of Republican policy-making, from economics to elimination of church-state separation. Policies like school vouchers, term limits and faith-based initiatives are said to have originated within Christian Reconstructionist circles. Since the time of the Reagan administration, groups like the Council on National Policy and the Coalition on Revival have brought together Christian Reconstructionists, Republican legislators and corporate heads in secretive meetings to formulate policy and uniform language. Key operatives of the Coalition on Revival have signed the Coalition on Revival Manifesto, proclaiming that the U.S. should "function as a Christian nation."

Reconstructionists advocate the rewrite of civil law based on the Old Testament, including death by stoning for 18 categories of behavior, including incorrigible children, adultery, homosexuals and astrologers. Some adherents like Howard Phillips, a co-founder of the "Moral Majority," eagerly anticipate economic chaos or some other crisis that will trigger Christian revolution and usher in theocracy.