|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
When you hear words like “We want to take back America for God!” the 21st-century expression of such theocratic ideas can be traced back to some of my old friends: the Reconstructionists.
Most Americans have never heard of the Reconstructionists. But they have felt their impact through the Reconstructionists’ profound (if indirect) influence over the wider (and vast) evangelical community.
Take Michele Bachmann. She is a Reconstructionist schooled – literally – by some of that obscure movement’s leading thinkers, including my father.
The evangelicals have shaped the politics of a secular culture that barely understood the religious right, let alone the forces within that movement that gave it its edge. The Americans inhabiting the wider (and more secular) culture just saw the results of Reconstructionism without understanding where those results had come from—for instance, how the hell George W. Bush got elected and then reelected or why Michele Bachmann was into home schooling long before she was into trying to become president in order to turn America into a homophobic theocracy.
The Reconstructionists have been like a drop of radicalizing flavoring added to a bottle of water: They’ve subtly changed the water’s flavor. And even though most evangelicals, let alone the general public, don’t know the names of the leading Reconstructionist thinkers, the world we live in—where a radicalized, angry government-hating religious right has changed the face of American politics and spun off into movements such as the Tea Party—is a direct result of that “flavoring.”
Anyone who wants to understand American politics, not to mention North American religion, had better get acquainted with the Reconstructionists. For instance these folks just held America hostage in the debt crisis, an attempt to – literally – destroy the government’s ability to function at all a manufactured “crisis” in which Bachmann was a leading proponent of scorched-earth, destroy the system “politics.”