Thursday, February 15, 2018

#1965: Joel McDurmon

More theocrats. Joel McDurmon is the current Director of Research for Gary DeMar’s Reconstructionist, dominionist organization American Vision (more here), taking over the steering wheel after DeMar stepped down in 2015.

Now, even McDurmon is a bit alarmed by the increasing influence of the even more extreme New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Of course, the difference between NAR and his own group is primarily one of strategy, not goals (and don’t be fooled: both groups present genuine danger). As McDurmon puts it, although Reconstructionists like himself aim to “properly recriminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion,” they seek to implement such policies through evangelism, not by seizing control – the Seven Mountains advocates of the NAR, by contrast, seek to seize control in order to institute a theocracy.

And make no mistake: McDurmon is a theocrat. McDurmon wishes, for instance, to criminalize blasphemy, and in a strikingly broad manner that would include any utterance or behavior that are not pleasing in the eyes of McDurmon. “Unless men first revere God and honor an ultimate allegiance to the divine origin of mankind, and protect these beliefs by legal consequence, they shall denigrate everything glorious that man can be, and then protect their perversions and obscenity by recourse to legal force (as we have begun to see now),” says McDurmon; in other words, he God should have such legal protections to stem the tide of those who disagree with him on e.g. gay rights secular atheism, the proponents of which wish to ban Christianity. After all, criticizing and calling out bigotry is the same as banning Christianity, so either Christianity must be banned, or its critics must be. To understand McDurmon, it is helpful to remember that distinctions are not his strong suit: his version of Christianity should not be banned; therefore it must be made legally mandatory for everyone.

Of course, a ban on blasphemy is part and parcel of dominionism, and American Vision subscribes to the central tenets of dominionism, such as the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics, exclusion of non-Christians from voting and citizenship, and application of Biblical law, including – as mentioned –  a ban on homosexual acts, adultery, witchcraft, propagation of idolatry and blasphemy. McDurmon himself has said that “God revealed that the homosexual act is a civil crime, and it just so happens that He revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty.” He has also said that a proposal in Uganda to impose the death penalty for homosexuality didn’t go far enough because it should also impose “Old Testament law” and make adultery a capital crime as well. He later backpedaled and emphasized that he doesn’t officially demand that the state should necessarily require the death penalty for homosexuality in general, but merely for “the ‘act’ of sodomy.” For claiming that the state doesn’t necessarily have to impose the death penalty on such offenses, McDurmon has in turn been criticized by other theocrats, such as J.D. Hall, who have argued that abandoning Mosaic penologies such as the death penalty means that McDurmon and others who hold similar positions cannot be said to hold to Christian dominionism (or theonomy) in any meaningful way. So it goes.

American Vision, however, is an influential group, and several important political candidates (including presidential candidates) have lent them their ears, for instance at their Freedom 2015 National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which was put on by Kevin Swanson. Apart from conferences (such as their annual “Worldview Conference”), the group publishes books “primarily for use in Christian schools and for home schoolers” (obviously), newsletters and podcast, and is deeply involved in the creation “science” movement.

Apparently Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt is a fan of McDurmon’s attempts to rewrite the history of the US.

Diagnosis: Deranged madman, and as evil as he is delusional – just like the pair in the previous entry. It’s a widespread condition, and we should be seriously worried.

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