Dominion Theology in American Politics: The Right Wing Extremist League of the South in the 1990s (Part 6)

Submitted by RWMaster on Sat, 11/26/2016 - 07:26
 

Christian nationalism

(Note: This is Part 6 in an 8-part article series: See Part 1:Dominion Theology in American Politics: The Radical Christian Right Under Spotlight

Part 5: Dominion Theology in American Politics: Revival of Theological War Thesis of the American Civil War in the 1980s

The League of the South was formed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on June 25, 1994. Sebesta and Hague described the movement as a Christian nationalist movement in favor of secession of the Confederates States from the United States of America (including four additional states, namely, Oklahoma, Missosuri, Kentucky and Maryland). The proposed Confederate States of America is envisioned as "Christian nationalist" state based on orthodox Christian and biblical principles, with the Holy War thesis of the American Civil War being central to its interpretation of the American North-South cultural divide.

(The League of the South, as we shall see, represents the farthest right of the spectrum of positions in the Christian Right.)

The League of South describes itself as committed to "Defend the historic Christianity of the South," and considers the division in the American polity as one of conflict between orthodox Christianity and anti-Christian forces. The League of the South interprets the conflict between Christian nationalist Right and "left-liberals" as the primary and ongoing thematic issue in American history. The Confederate battle flag is held as a symbol of Christianity and of Western Civilization in general. Opposition to the Confederate States of America is, in the view of the League, tantamount to opposition to Christian orthodoxy.

The League of South held its first national convention in Charleston, South Carolina in November 1994 and by the year 2000 estimates of attendance at the group's "Declaration of Cultural Independence" rally in Montgomery, Alabama was between 2000 and 3000.

The League in its Web site lists what it terms the "treason" of the North as globalism, radical egalitarianism, feminism, sodomite rights, abortion, third-world immigration, gun control, hate crime legislation, judicial tyranny, burdensome taxation, multiculturalism and diversity (which it perceives as anti-White and anti-Christian), universal rights of men, all of which it condemns as "politically correct totalitarianism."

The League contrasts the "treason" of the North with the traditional Southern Christian nationalist virtues which it lists as honor, hierarchy, loyalty to place and kin, patriarchy and respect for rule of law. Michael Hill, founding president of the League, was quoted as saying, "…we intend God willing to advance the traditions of the Christian South against the secularizing and globalizing trends of the modern age." It considers what others interpret as its racist ideology commitment to be respect for  "heritage."

The 1990s witnessed a process of convergence of hitherto significantly divergent perspectives in conservative Christian circles, represented in the neo-Confederate movements, Christian Reconstructionists (Chalcedon Foundation) and other Christian nationalist sympathizers, including Southern Evangelicals holding to what is termed "soft" dominionist positions but who, in more recent times, are beginning to identify more and more with radical right perspectives in what has been termed the "Patriotic Christian Movement." (James Grimstead the leader of the Coalition on Revival is quoted as having said: "I don't call myself a Reconstructionist… A lot of us are (however) coming to realize that the Bible is God's standard of morality…There are a lot of us…who don't go all the way with the theonomy thing but who want to rebuild America based on the Bible…")

According to Mark Malvasi, League of the South member and professor of history, U.S. society is failing due to its abandonment of the Christian faith. His argument recalls Genovese's argument that left liberal ideology was correctly foreseen by the Southern Presbyterian theologians of the Civil War as threat to the survival of the United States as a Christian nation, and consequently that, triumph of "left-liberal" ideology would lead to a collapse of the family, rejection of authority and thus degeneration of the social order.

One may comment that Left liberals do not fully appreciate the intensity of concern in Evangelical circles that the flourishing of secular humanism, atheism-agnosticism, feminism and homosexuality in American society is a threat to America's status and greatness as "God's Chosen Nation." This is the single dominating fear commonly held in Evangelical Christian religious circles which extreme Right political activists may always exploit to their advantage. The pattern of group death neurosis in American religious Right culture expressed in an obsessed  preoccupation which sees  "end-time signs" in every occurrence of natural disaster is evidence of concern in conservative Christian circles about the imminence of divine judgment on the American nation for abandoning the Christian heritage and living contrary to God's standards of morality (like God judged Ancient Israel with Assyrian and Babylonian military invasion and exile). This notion is a laughable one to most of America's liberal left but one which the religious Right takes very seriously indeed and which may goad ordinary Evangelical Christians into supporting political revolutionary action by their religious leadership. During the Great Awakening of the 1700s Protestant evangelists had actually equated the fate of America with fantastic second-coming-of-Jesus apocalyptic scenarios.

In the League's March 2000 "Declaration of Southern Cultural Independence" published by the Chalcedon Report, the League described the national culture of the United States as violent, profane, coarse, rude, cynical, deviant and repugnant to people with authentic Christian sensibilities. Otto Scott, in an article in the Chalcedon Report, accused the North of "heretical Transcendentalism," and identified Civil Rights and anti-apartheid activism as re-enacting of mid-nineteenth century abolitionism which the League opposes.

Read Part 7: Dominion Theology in American Politics: The League of the South and the Theological War Thesis of the American Civil War

Major Reading:

1. Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction

2.Sebesta and Hague: The US Civil War as a Theological War: Confederate Christian Nationalism and the League of the South

JohnThomas Didymus is the author of  "Confessions of God: The Gospel According to St. JohnThomas Didymus"(Read a Free Three Chapters Excerpt Here)

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