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Is an Unholy American Theocracy Here

Or Has Jim Jones Gone Mainstream?

 

Posted October 9, 2005
Links Updated October 10, 2005


By Katherine Yurica

 

 

Katherine Yurica’s plenary address at the New York City Conference, Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right, April 29-April 30th, 2005 co-sponsored by the NY Open Center and CUNY Graduate Center Public Programs.

 

 

Good afternoon,


Beginning in the 1970’s religious leaders Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, who believed in unregulated capitalism, began focusing on huge segments of our American culture, labeling it “immoral.” Humanists and atheists led the excluders’ list and were declared to be “unfit to hold public office or to teach our children.” Not only were whole classes singled out for expulsion from public life, but those excluded were also Christians who disagreed with them.


Because Dr. Bill Frist, the Senate Majority Leader, resurrected a Tim LaHaye tactic of labeling anyone who opposes an administration nominee to the Federal bench as “anti-Christian,” I want to give you a brief glimpse of what was said in a fiery exchange between former Rep. Pat Schroeder and Tim LaHaye, the co-author of the Left Behind series. I recorded this interview from the Phil Donahue Show on September 6, 1985.

 

LaHaye: “I don’t think that Mrs. Schroeder and some of the liberals in our congress…would ever permit a Christian to be approved.”

 

Rep. Schroeder: “I am a Christian and I went to law school and I think I could apply through legitimate channels and you wouldn’t pass me…”

 

La Haye: “But that’s not the reason we wouldn’t pass you. We wouldn’t pass you because you’re a flaming liberal…”

 

Today, it’s important to realize that those excluded are us—everyone else in America. We are labeled “corrupt” and “anti-Christian.” Thus Christianity is being defined by one’s political identity not one’s religious beliefs.

 


During the 1980’s I began taping and transcribing Pat Robertson’s 700 Club show because of the alarming anti-Christian political philosophy he was endorsing. He began a drum beat for drastic political and cultural changes to this country. Robertson’s guests did something I’d never seen before: they reversed the scriptures and called it immoral for the citizens to help the poor through taxation, which, by the way is expressly required in the Old Testament. The accusation was and is that taxation robbed the rich to help the poor. If you are interested in how the movement reversed Judeo-Christian standards, see Bloodguilty Churches (which is also available at Amazon.com).


Robertson slowly introduced the idea of an American empire; he attacked pluralism, and pleaded that the people of the U.S. “must speak with one voice.” (7/19/85) The idea of taking over and controlling the United States government began with a series of guest appearances:


On April 4, 1985, Billy Graham appeared on the show, and in a startling announcement said, “I’m for evangelicals … getting control of the Congress, getting control of the bureaucracy, getting control of the executive branch of government. If we leave it to the other side we’re going to be lost.”


 On September 25, 1985, Tim LaHaye, appeared in a film clip with Phyllis Schlafly on the show. In that clip, he laid out the plan to take over the government of the United States. He said:

 

 

“Suppose that every Bible believing church—all 110,000—decided to…raise up one person to run for public office and win… If every church in the next ten years did that, we would have more Christians in office than there are positions…there are only 97,000 elective offices.”

 

 

 

Though the idea of right-wing religious conservatives controlling the U.S. government appeared to be a pipedream to most observers I talked with, for the churchgoers who were listening—and by 1985 Robertson’s 700 Club topped the Nielsen ratings with a projected monthly viewing audience of 28.7 million viewers—to those viewers—the idea of gaining and holding the power in this country was a tantalizing and intriguing concept—they began to accept the idea of dominating America step by step, day by day.


The plot was augmented by Pat Robertson and was laid out in chatty bits and pieces over an estimated eighteen month period. My mom and I transcribed more than 1,300 pages in eight volumes.


The plan was to begin with a three pronged thrust:

 

 

1)    The first goal was to gain control of the Republican party and then through the GOP, gain control of Congress.

 

2)    The second goal was to revamp the balance of powers between the three branches of government, so that the judiciary would be weakened permanently and the power of Congress would be strengthened—if it were controlled by the religious right.

    

3)     Similarly, the third goal involved the power of the presidency, which was to be variously weakened when an unacceptable person occupied the White House, but strengthened when a “God-anointed man” was in office.

    

4)     The fourth goal was to gain the power to control domestic morality by denouncing the “immoral” and by “breaking” individuals and organizations such as the NationalEducation Association [NEA].  In fact one of the goals of the movement is to destroy public education in America altogether.

 

 

There was never any doubt of the ultimate goal. It was going to be “dominion.” And “What is dominion?” Pat Robertson asked his television audience, “Well, dominion is lordship, to reign and rule.” (5/1/86 700 Club show) It was also a chilling catechism fitting another term, the fascism of a religious cult.

 

Today we are living in a nation run by an unholy cult that has combined an anti-Christian political agenda with religion. Today, the Dominionists’ dream is within their grasp:


In material given to people attending a dominionist “Reclaim America” Conference in Florida in February, 2005, Dr. James Kennedy, pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church revealed not only how the idea of controlling America has spread, but how seriously the Dominionists take their new role: Kennedy says:

 

“Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost,” Kennedy says. “As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”[1]

 

At this juncture we are faced with the following: the religious right control the GOP, the White House and both houses of congress. They are putting on a massive effort to place dominionist judges into the Federal Court system. So far, [as of April 26th, 2005] Mr. Bush has appointed and the Senate has approved 204 judges, (more judges than any other president appointed since Jimmy Carter), which brings the number of Republican appointed judges to 666 versus about 285 judges appointed by Democrats using 1997 figures.


What we are talking about here is the emergence of a powerful political/religious cult that incorporates neo-conservative philosophy, Machiavellian teachings and the triumph of political corporatism. It’s the story of the emergence of coercive politics, the promotion of scapegoatism, fear, paranoia, political propaganda, and the acceptance and praise of intellectual dishonesty.

 

Dominionism is cloaked in the mantle of Christianity. Significantly, it is the fastest growing political force in America today. However, it is neither Fundamentalist Christianity nor is it conservative politics.


I recommend my essay The Despoiling of America, which will give you a picture of the antecedents and influences that have poured into the boiling caldron of the religious scene in America and which is published in Toward a New Political Humanism, edited by Barry Seidman. I also recommend Shadia Drury’s book, Leo Strauss and the American Right.


From the beginning the leaders used words with skill: Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson smoothed the fears of Americans. Falwell explained that he and his organizations didn’t want to Christianize the nation. Like everyone else, they just wanted to have input and have their say.

 

 

But those reassurances directed to the secular world at large have been contradicted repeatedly by statements from the Religious Right Dominionist leaders to their own followers. Take for example this statement, transcribed from the April 24, 1986 700 Club broadcast that repeats the Tim LaHaye take-over plot from the year before. Just keep in mind that repetition is the heart of advertising:

 

 

Pat Robertson gave a hearty “Amen” to this statement by Jerry Falwell: 

 

 

“There are 110,000 Bible believing churches in America. There are 400,000 churches, but 110,000 believe in the inerrancy of scriptures and believe in world evangelization and preaching of the Gospel. Now these 110,000 [are] 40 to 50 million Americans [who] possess the ability of changing the spiritual, the social and the political scene in this country forever, and of affecting a world changing thing, in my opinion, just before the Lord Jesus comes to take us out.”

 

 

In short: Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, Tim LaHaye, and Jerry Falwell laid out a plan to take control of America.


To make their plan work, they had to take Jim Jones mainstream!  I’m going to take a few minutes to show you how this was done. But first, be aware the leaders of this movement necessarily studied not only Machiavelli and Jim Jones, but important books like The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Wm. L. Shirer. They had to have read Hitler’s Mein Kampf. I say this with confidence because anyone who has learned to quack like a duck has necessarily studied ducks!

 

 

Listen to The Techniques of a Master:

 

 

 “To be a leader,” Hitler said, “means to be able to move the masses.” He was writing the textbook on the modern subjugation of a country. Aldous Huxley pointed out in Brave New World Revisited that “Hitler’s aim was first to move the masses and then, having pried them loose from their traditional loyalties and moralities, to impose upon them … a new authoritarian order of his own devising.”  Huxley perfectly understood the psychological doubleness of the false prophet, for while he becomes the darling of the people, he only feigns his love for them. To a Hitler, the “masses are utterly contemptible.”


Nevertheless in order to manipulate them, Hitler knew that one must find the key that would sidestep the critical guardian to their subconscious minds. It was his genius to perceive that of all the tremendous revolutions in history, none were propelled and driven by scientific teachings. Truth seemed incapable of gaining power over the masses. (This observation has made its way into Eric Huebeck’s essay that has become the playbook for “how the conservative” movement can triumph over liberals, which was originally presented by Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress web site and now is posted on mine and Joan Boekaer’s web sites.)

 

 

Hitler also believed something else was historically at the bottom of great human upheavals. And Hitler described it as some kind of “devotion which inspires them, and often a kind of hysteria which has urged them into action.” The issue then became, how best to utilize it? Hitler saw that the passions—the zeal as well as the hatreds, frustrations and paranoia of the masses must be manipulated by flattery and passion. Partisan loyalty must be encouraged. Enemies must be identified and attacked. Where have I heard that before? Jerry Falwell for one. And Eric Huebeck for another!

 

There are key observations that Hitler made that can be applied to the Bush administration’s success. For instance, the masses, according to Hitler, are always convinced that “right is on the side of the active aggressor.” This active aggressor role refers to both wars launched by nations and to verbal attacks launched by ones’ operatives. Hitler said, in the ranks of  “supporters the victory achieved seems a triumph of the justice of their own cause, the defeated adversary in most cases despairs of the success of any further resistance.”


Hitler, himself, wrote his formula for gaining political power in Mein Kampf. He had quickly learned the value of what he called “spiritual terror.” He said it consisted of unleashing “...a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down...This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weaknesses,” he declared “and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty...”


Somebody must have told the Swift Boat Vets about this tactic!  And Eric Huebeck wrote: “We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left.”  I intend to discuss how to fight back to defeat these tactics a little later, But first:

 

 


Notice How Hitler’s Propaganda Machine Worked:

 

 

 “All effective propaganda,” Hitler wrote, “must be confined to a few bare necessities and then must be expressed in a few stereotyped formulas.”


One of the most useful tools of a skilled propagandist was a careful redefining of certain words. “Domination over our enemies,” for example, could become a much better slogan if it were changed to: ‘We seek only the liberty to be ourselves!’ Suddenly negative connotations disappeared. And even the critics could not oppose “liberty.”

 

 

This refrain is echoed today in every speech and every step of the Bush administration. Mr. Bush used the words “free,” “freedom” and “liberty49 times in his second inaugural address. And each time his idea of “freedom” meant not only the Christianization of nations but the U.S. domination over those nations he said we would “free,” and it meant the Christianization and subjugation of America and Americans! We know this because Mr. Bush’s 2nd inaugural address shows he does not believe America is a “free” nation—until it is Christianized.


One might ask how Mr. Bush learned to convert his words into phrases that create a positive image. The answer is this: his speech writers take the advice of an expert propagandist!


Frank Luntz is the man I have called “the propagandist of the century.” He helped Newt Gingrich with his “Contract With America” campaign. And he has worked consistently with Republican candidates ever since then. Luntz shows Republicans how to win important campaigns by using words that trigger the right emotions. He redefines words! He says, “Words with emotion can change destiny.” On a TV show recently, the word “logging” was thrown at him as a pop quiz: He responded immediately: “Healthy Forests!”  If you want to see the Luntz propaganda techniques, see the Playbook for the Bush administration’s game plan to win the 2006 elections, which is posted on our web site.

 

 

Albert Speer, Hitler’s Minister for Armaments, said at his trial at Nuremberg:



“Through technical devices like the radio and the loudspeaker, eighty million people were deprived of independent thought. It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man.” As a result, Speer concluded, there arose in Germany a “new type” of individual, “the uncritical recipient of orders.”

 

 

Hitler did not appear to the people of Germany as a devil with horns and cloven hooves. On the contrary, he was “a man of the people,” and he successfully packaged himself that way. He thoroughly understood the perennial distrust the masses have for intellectuals. Therefore, the deeper his roots in the broad masses, the more he sounded like “one of them,” the less he represented a threat to them, the more followers he would gain. And the more blind people remained to his true nature.

 

 

 

The Power and the Art of Manipulation: The Jim Jones Story

 

 

A neighbor recalls observing the Rev. Jim Jones as a boy: I’m quoting the neighbor here: “He could preach a good sermon. I remember working about two hundred feet from the Jones’ place. He would have about ten youngsters in there, and he would put them through their paces...line them up and make them march. He’d hit them with a stick and they’d scream and cry.


 “I used to say, ‘What’s wrong with those kids, putting up with it?’ But they’d come back to play with him the next day. He had some kind of magnetism.


 “I told my family, ‘You know, he’s either going to do a lot of good, or he’s going to end up like Hitler.’”


The obsession with power never left Jones. As a pastor he exercised control over the families of his church to such an extent that he ordered marriages ended and arranged new ones.


November 18, 1978, is the day of the Jim Jones Guyana tragedy where over 900 men, women and children perished, most by drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide.

 

 

Not only did Jim Jones demonstrate that the religious would follow their leader to their deaths, there is one other major contribution that Jim Jones made to the religious/political world of our times: He showed how the power of the churches could be used politically! Jones techniques have been literally incorporated into the religious right’s playbook:


Consider this:

 

1)            Jones started his congregation on letter-writing blizzards to politicians and to the press. Later Pat Robertson began encouraging his viewers to blitz congress with phone calls and letters.

 

2)            Jones started “Operation Breadbasket, a charity” Robertson started “Operation Blessing, a charity.”

 

3)            Jones developed a technique to manipulate the press that included flattering reporters who wrote favorably about him, and excluding reporters who wrote negatively. A technique Mr. Bush uses.

 

4)             Jones began publishing a 6-to-8 page newspaper called the Peoples Forum with a press run of 60,000. The paper combined political causes with church news!  Later, Pat Robertson inserted a news bureau into his religious show.

 

5)            Jones bought thirty minutes of broadcast time every Saturday from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. on station KFAX in San Francisco where he talked about the arms race, the causes of crime and discussed South Africa.

 

6)             Jones began sending his followers on political missions—the kind where instant crowds were needed. Reporters wrote, “One Democratic party worker found herself caught short while preparing a Rosalynn Carter appearance in September 1976. A big crowd was needed in a hurry, so the organizer put a call in to Jones. The rally was due to start at 8:00 p.m. By 6:30 the Temple buses had dropped off 750 people at the Market Street rally site.

 

7)             During the close race for mayor in December 1975, some eight hundred Peoples Temple members worked to get out the vote in precincts where winning candidate George Moscone received up to a 12 to 1 margin.

 

 

Indeed, Jim Jones’ surreal power over his congregants leaps out from the grave even today. In short, those who read about Jim Jones, and studied his successes have repeated and brought his accomplishments into the political life of this nation: Jim Jones has gone mainstream!


And how could a leader get away with a religious fraud that barely hides its destructive and false intent?


 Jim Jones’s history holds the answer. He not only proved the obvious fact that people are blinded by their religious beliefs and will only impute goodness, mercy, and religious motivations to their leader, but Jim Jones proved the efficacy of the basic teaching of Machiavelli: a leader must only appear to have the qualities of goodness—he need not actually possess those attributes.


 

Who Wins? Them or Us?


 

Let’s look at a Hitlerian technique:

 

 

Eric Huebeck said,

 

 

“We will take advantage of every available opportunity to spread the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the existing state of affairs. For example, we could have every member of the movement put a bumper sticker on his car that says something like “Public Education is Rotten; Home-school Your Kids.”

 

 

Notice how Huebeck builds his attack: he spreads the idea that there is something wrong with our system of government or education, whether or not that is true. Truth is irrelevant to the propagandist. He then offers an alternative that if carried out would destroy public education—he opts for destruction, rather than offering to make a constructive change in the system. This is a picture of the entire Dominionist movement in a nutshell!


 

I have an awareness that one chooses to seek either truth or power. Not both. Our opponents have chosen power. We have chosen truth. What's the end result of that? Historically, does truth beat power? Hitler says NO! (But I hate leaving him to decide anything!)  


 

I have a deep seated grasp of some facts that lead me to say: "Our side will prevail." I say it and believe it in the face of the tidal wave, which I also see and hear.  But I hear other voices too: William James, the great American psychologist wrote in one of his essays found in a volume titled The Will to Believe:


 

“It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true.”

 

 

In other words, believe that we will prevail in this cultural war and your belief will help create that fact! But let’s not base our hopes on false beliefs or delusions!


 

So how do I know we will win? There are at least five factors operating in our favor:

 

 

1)   History

2)   Psychological Factors

3)   An Edifice of Lies

4)   The American Spirit

5)   Humility

 

 

1)  History: Despotic rulers fall from the weight of their own arrogance--their sense that they are invincible brings with it the very opposite: weakness, and an uncontrolled death wish. Jim Jones' story is extremely relevant here. In the end, he destroys himself and his kingdom voluntarily.


 

2) Psychological Factors: We are dealing with psychological aberrations if not outright evil. In Scott Peck’s book, The People of the Lie, Peck calls evil a mental disease, and labels it as “walking schizophrenia.” According to Peck, the evil appear to look and act like most everyone else, but they suffer on a daily basis. There greatest fear is that their true nature will be revealed openly. It's a torment that Peck can only hint at.


Just for a moment, take a look at the real Mr. Bush. He constantly shows signs of weakness--not strength. No leader has ever resorted to the use of so many protective strategies. For instance he took over 250 Secret Service agents to London for his visit with the Queen. (In contrast, Prince Charles walked into a reception with just one body guard.) Mr. Bush actually demanded to take down part of Buckingham Palace and replace it with bullet proof windows, cement, and so on. He wanted U.S. air force planes and helicopters to control the air space over England. He takes his own cook with him everywhere. And on his recent trip to Europe, he wore gloves when shaking hands at a Russian reception. He insists that demonstrators be kept a mile a way from him. He only speaks before pre-screened audiences!  Fear! Fear rules him. He is actually demonstrating cowardice.


 

3) An Edifice of Lies: a house built upon the sand cannot last. A house of cards will fall. It’s inevitable. The government that is being built by dominionism's ethics and energy-- is a government that owes its success to lies. Lies by their nature are temporary! Lies do not last! Falsity is not eternal! Truth is!


It doesn't matter that a large portion of people presently believe the lies. The truth will break through. Our efforts—yours and mine will be heard! And will be felt. We are in the process of creating a tsunami ourselves. A different kind of wave: one tied to reality. Call it what you will--it is the most powerful force on earth and we're part of it because we cannot escape our sense of responsibility to yield our wills to something higher than ourselves: we bow down to Truth-to Reality—the very heart and soul of psychological health.

 

 

4) The American Spirit: whatever we feel as we look in dismay at our nation’s citizens and their apparent failure to rise up against this movement, we're all part of a “Yankee” culture that cannot be so easily subjugated. The American “Can Do!” spirit will erupt! It is bound to. It cannot help itself. Yanks don't like to be lied to. Once they find out the extent of this administration's lies--watch out for an anger that will tear the movement apart!

 

 

5) Humility: In the end, humility is stronger than power. The humble are mistakenly perceived as “weak” by the evil. But the humble have learned the power of no power. It is a strange phenomenon. When Alexander Solzhenitsyn was imprisoned, he recognized that as long as he was trying to maintain some power—whether it was for food, clothing, or health—as long as he desperately wanted these things—he was at the mercy of his captors. When he gave them up and accepted and even embraced his own powerlessness, then he became completely free; the power of his captors over him stopped. And in the paradox of power—he became the powerful, they the powerless. Once our side recognizes this and practices it: all the power will shift to our side!

 

 


How to Fight Back: How to Defeat the Hitlerian Tactics

 

 

 

I realize the power of the movement we are facing. We cannot use Hit-ler-ian tactics ourselves. If we do, we become like our opponents. The fact of the matter is--there is only one technique that can effectively fight Hitler’s “spiritual terrorism.”  The traditional weapon of choice is the “Sword of Truth.” We have to learn how to become spiritual swordsmen! We need to realize that we must slice away at every significant false statement made in the public forum for the purpose of swaying public opinion. For if we show that a statement is false, we expose the true morality of the statement maker and the strength of their whole system is diminished.


Our public forum has become debased with lies—and no democracy can exist in such an environment. The Dominionists have brought our nation to the brink of ruin—we must snatch it back!


Where is Edward R. Morrow when we need him? If our country’s newspapers and news media fail our nation we need to stand in the gap. We must stand up to the onslaught of lies that took our nation into war; we must expose the slander and libel attacks by operatives of this Dominionist administration and congress. We need to become part of a bi-partisan effort to save our democracy. Call it what you like, we need Public Forum Guardians in every community of America, who will release information to the public and to the press and media from the web, from bloggers, from the network of honest amateur reporters who have sprung up all over this country, from those who are standing in the gap to make up the hedge—lest our nation fall.

 

 

As the Dominionists continually resurrect the words, advice and techniques used by Hitler in WWII, let us resurrect the words, advice and spirit of those who fought Hitler and defeated him. Let us hear again the spirit from the past that helped create the indomitable will that won that war:


 

We will fight them with Truth, we will fight them with words; we will fight them with ideas, we will fight them with songs, we will take our verbal fight to our neighborhoods and to our churches. We will fight over the air waves, and we will fight on the hills and valleys of the web. As Mr. Churchill told us then, and it still rings with thunder down the pathway of time, “We will never, never, never, never give up!”



Ladies and gentlemen, we will prevail!  We will prevail because we seek to preserve our constitution, our freedom, our liberties and our democratic way of life!

 

 

Thank you very much.

 



[1] A Mission To 'Reclaim America' FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. March 16, 2005, From CBS and the Christian Science Monitor This story was written by Jane Lampman

http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/MissionToReclaimAmerica.html

 


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