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Sarah Palin and Christian Dominionist Theocracy

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Given Sarah Palin's rather doctrinaire approach to conservative libertarian Christian evangelicalism, her political flirtation with the secessionist Alaska Independence Party (AIP) is hardly surprising, but the AIP's ties to the U.S. Constitution Party raise some creepy issues. It is not fair to suggest that Palin agrees with all of the political positions of the AIP or Constitution Party. It is fair to ask with what policies she does or does not agree. It is already clear that on the issue of the "Sanctity of Life," Palin and the theocratic Consititution Party are on the same Dominionist page.

The AIP has placed the candidate of the U.S. Constitution Party on the Presidential ballot in Alaska in the 2008 race. Let's be clear, the U.S. Constitution Party would impose a form of theocratic neofascism in the United States. And I am not a person who tosses the term fascism around lightly.

According to the Constitution Party:

"The mission of the Constitution Party is to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity through the election, at all levels of government, of Constitution Party candidates who will uphold the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations."

The phrase "original Biblical common-law foundations" has a very specific meaning to the Constitution Party, as the Preamble to its Party Platform makes quite clear:

Preamble

The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States.

This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.

The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.

If you are unclear about what this means, read the book of Leviticus in the Bible. Biblical law as interpreted by these folks means the death penalty for homosexuals, adulterers, and recalcitrant children.

The Constitution Party has adopted the ideas of a militant form of Christian Dominionism known as Dominion Theology. (Related: The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy by Chip Berlet)

The founder of the Constitution Party (as the U.S. Taxpayers Party) is Howard Phillips. In a fundraising letter for the Dominionist group Chalcedon, Phillips wrote:

"Even as the Twentieth Century, with its extraordinary record of evil, draws to a close, we see all around us signs of Christian reconstructionism--evidence of our belief that God's kingdom will be established on earth as it is in Heaven."

Here are some of the statements from the Constitution party Platform:

Sanctity of Life

The pre-born child, whose life begins at fertilization, is a human being created in God's image. The first duty of the law is to prevent the shedding of innocent blood. It is, therefore, the duty of all civil governments to secure and to safeguard the lives of the pre-born.

To that end, the Constitution of these United States was ordained and established for "ourselves and our posterity." Under no circumstances may the federal government fund or otherwise support any state or local government or any organization or entity, foreign or domestic, which advocates, encourages or participates in the practice of abortion. We also oppose the distribution and use of all abortifacients.

We affirm the God-given legal personhood of all unborn human beings, without exception. As to matters of rape and incest, it is unconscionable to take the life of an innocent child for the crimes of his father.

No government may legalize the taking of the unalienable right to life without justification, including the life of the pre-born; abortion may not be declared lawful by any institution of state or local government - legislative, judicial, or executive. The right to life should not be made dependent upon a vote of a majority of any legislative body.

Crime

We are opposed to "hate crime" legislation and to enhanced penalties for so called hate crimes. We recognize that a real result of the designation of "hate crime" is to extend federal jurisdiction to crimes which would otherwise be in the province of the states.

Education

All teaching is related to basic assumptions about God and man. Education as a whole, therefore, cannot be separated from religious faith. The law of our Creator assigns the authority and responsibility of educating children to their parents. Education should be free from all federal government subsidies, including vouchers, tax incentives, and loans, except with respect to veterans.

Because the federal government has absolutely no jurisdiction concerning the education of our children, the United States Department of Education should be abolished; all federal legislation related to education should be repealed. No federal laws subsidizing or regulating the education of children should be enacted. Under no circumstances should the federal government be involved in national teacher certification, educational curricula, textbook selection, learning standards, comprehensive sex education, psychological and psychiatric research testing programs, and personnel.

Election Reform

The Constitution Party seeks the restoration of an electoral process which is controlled at the state and local level and is beyond manipulation by federal judges and bureaucrats. The federal government has unconstitutionally and unwisely preempted control in matters of district boundaries, electoral procedures, and campaign activities.

The Voting Rights Act should be repealed. The Federal Election Campaign Act, including its 1974 amendments, and the Federal Election Commission should be abolished.

Environment

In keeping with this requirement, we wholeheartedly support realistic efforts to preserve the environment and reduce pollution - air, water, and land. We reject, however, the argument of the perceived threat of man-made global warming which has been refuted by a large number of scientists. The globalists are using the global warming threat to gain more control via worldwide sustainable development.

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution limits the federal power of eminent domain solely to the purchase of private property with just compensation for public use, such as military reservations and government office buildings - not for public ownership, such as urban renewal, environmental protection, or historic preservation. Under no circumstances may the federal government take private property, by means of rules and regulations which preclude or substantially reduce the productive use of the property, even with just compensation.

We call for a return to the states and to the people all lands which are held by the federal government without authorization by the Constitution.

We also call for repeal of federal wetlands legislation and the federal Endangered Species Act. Moreover, we oppose any attempt to designate private or public property as United Nations World Heritage sites or Biosphere reserves. We call for an end to this United States participation in UN programs such as UNESCO, Man and the Biosphere, and the UN Council on Sustainable Development. We oppose environmental treaties and conventions such as the Biodiversity Treaty, the Convention on Climate Control, and Agenda 21, which destroy our sovereignty and right to private property.

Family

No government may legitimately authorize or define marriage or family relations, as affirmed by the 10th amendment, delegating to the people as our founders understood the family as necessary to the general welfare. We affirm the importance of Biblical scripture in the founders' intent as eloquently stated by Noah Webster: "The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitution and laws... All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts in the Bible."

The law of our Creator defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The marriage covenant is the foundation of the family, and the family is fundamental in the maintenance of a stable, healthy and prosperous social order. No government may legitimately authorize or define marriage or family relations contrary to what God has instituted. We are opposed to amending the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of defining marriage.

We reject the notion that sexual offenders are deserving of legal favor or special protection, and affirm the rights of states and localities to proscribe offensive sexual behavior. We oppose all efforts to impose a new sexual legal order through the federal court system. We stand against so-called "sexual orientation" and "hate crime" statutes that attempt to legitimize inappropriate sexual behavior and to stifle public resistance to its expression. We oppose government funding of "partner" benefits for unmarried individuals. Finally, we oppose any legal recognition of homosexual unions.

We recognize that parents have the fundamental right and responsibility to nurture, educate, and discipline their children. We oppose the assumption of any of these responsibilities by any governmental agency without the express delegation of the parents or legal due process. We affirm the value of the father and the mother in the home, and we oppose efforts to legalize adoption of children by homosexual singles or couples.

Immigration

Each year approximately one million legal immigrants and almost as many illegal aliens enter these United States. These immigrants - including illegal aliens - have been made eligible for various kinds of public assistance, including housing, education, Social Security, and legal services. This unconstitutional drain on the federal Treasury is having a severe and adverse impact on our economy, increasing the cost of government at federal, state, and local levels, adding to the tax burden, and stressing the fabric of society. The mass importation of people with low standards of living threatens the wage structure of the American worker and the labor balance in our country.

...

We favor a moratorium on immigration to these United States, except in extreme hardship cases or in other individual special circumstances, until the availability of all federal subsidies and assistance be discontinued, and proper security procedures have been instituted to protect against terrorist infiltration.
...

The Constitution Party demands that the federal government restore immigration policies based on the practice that potential immigrants will be disqualified from admission to the U.S. if, on the grounds of health, criminality, morals, or financial dependence, they would impose an improper burden on these United States, any state, or any citizen of these United States.

We oppose the provision of welfare subsidies and other taxpayer-supported benefits to illegal aliens, and reject the practice of bestowing U.S. citizenship on children born to illegal alien parents while in this country.

We oppose any extension of amnesty to illegal aliens. We call for the use of U.S. troops to protect the states against invasion.

We oppose bilingual ballots. We insist that those who wish to take part in the electoral process and governance of this nation be required to read and comprehend basic English as a precondition of citizenship. We support English as the official language for all governmental business by these United States.

Pornography

Pornography, at best, is a distortion of the true nature of sex created by God for the procreative union between one man and one woman in the holy bonds of matrimony, and at worst, is a destructive element of society resulting in significant and real emotional, physical, spiritual and financial costs to individuals, families and communities. We call on our local, state and federal governments to uphold our cherished First Amendment right to free speech by vigorously enforcing our laws against obscenity to maintain a degree of separation between that which is truly speech and that which only seeks to distort and destroy.

Social Security

The Constitution grants no authority to the federal government to administrate a Social Security system. The Constitution Party advocates phasing out the entire Social Security program, while continuing to meet the obligations already incurred under the system. ...

Taxes

Since 1913, our Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property have been abridged and diminished by the imposition on each of us of Federal income, payroll, and estate taxes. This is an unconstitutional Federal assumption of direct taxing authority.

The Internal Revenue Service is the enforcement arm of the Federal government's present unjust tax system. Citizens, both in groups and as individuals, have repeatedly sought responses from the IRS bureaucracy as to the basis for the agency's tax policies and procedures. No answers have been forthcoming although a responsible government must be answerable to the people and has a duty to those it is supposed to serve.

We propose legislation to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, and will veto any authorization, appropriation, or continuing resolution which contains any funding whatsoever for that illicit and unconstitutional agency. We are opposed to the flat-rate tax, national sales tax, and value added tax proposals that are being promoted as an improvement to the current tax system. The Sixteenth Amendment does not provide authority for an un-apportioned direct tax.
Welfare

God, who endows us with life, liberty, property, and the right to pursue happiness, also exhorts individuals to care for the needy, the sick, the homeless, the aged, and those who are otherwise unable to care for themselves.

America's welfare crisis is a government-induced crisis. Government social and cultural policies have undermined the work ethic, even as the government's economic and regulatory policies have undermined the ability of our citizens to obtain work.

Charity, and provision of welfare to those in need, is not a Constitutional responsibility of the federal government. Under no circumstances should the taxpayers of these United States be obligated, under penalty of law through forced taxation, to assume the cost of providing welfare for other citizens. Neither should taxpayers be indentured to subsidize welfare for persons who enter these United States illegally.

The message of Christian charity is fundamentally at odds with the concept of welfare maintenance as a right. In many cases, welfare provisions by the Federal government are not only misdirected, but morally destructive. It is the intended purpose of civil government to safeguard life, liberty and property - not to redistribute wealth. Such redistribution is contrary to the Biblical command against theft.
We encourage individuals, families, churches, civic groups and other private organizations, to fulfill their personal responsibility to help those in need.

Election cycle disclaimer: These are my personal essays written on my own time.

Chip Berlet is a Senior Analyst with Political Research Associates (The Public Eye: Website of Political Research Associates;
More on the Christian Right).