Dispatches from the Creation Wars

This is an interesting case. In Okemos, a town I lived in for 2 years as a child and then coached debate in for 3 years during college, there has been an ongoing battle over the Okemos Christian Center. They wanted to expand their facilities to add a 35,000 square foot school and the township said no. A Federal judge has just ruled in favor of the church on the basis of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which says that local land use regulations cannot impose a substantial burden on religious entities without a compelling government interest (a law I support). I think the judgement is correct, despite finding this group abhorrent. The Okemos Christian Center is explicitly reconstructionist church that regularly hosts wingnuts like Gary DeMar for speaking engagements. But regardless of my objection to their totalitarian philosophy, I think they have every right to build a school on property that they own.

Comments

  1. #1 craig dumont
    September 1, 2005

    I see our legal situation/victory is gaining much attention. It’s interesting that you state we’re “totalitarian.” It’s obvious that you are not familiar with our philosophy or theology. Indeed, if anything, we are what could be described as “Christian libertarians.” While it is true we believe in government and law under God (and not the church), God’s law is easy and light, not heavy and choking. We believe that God provides maximum freedom for people under His law, and that most areas are better left for Him to judge than for man (for example, gluttony may be a sin, but it’s not the government’s responsibility or right to regulate obesity or sue food companies; most taxation [inheritance taxes, for instance] is unbiblical and government shouldn’t have that power.) The West was built upon Biblical law and established freedom and prosperity that was unprecedented. If maximum individual freedom and prosperity under God’s law is “totalitarianism,” then the Orwellian use of language is more advanced than I thought!

  2. #2 Raging Bee
    September 1, 2005

    Actually, your statement of belief was pretty vague, so it’s hard to tell whether you’re “libertarian” or “totalitarian.” You quote the Nicene Creed, which includes the bit about the “one holy apostolic church.” Are you “Catholic?”

    And what exactly do you mean by “Orthodox Christianity” and “Classic Christianity?” And “Timeless Worship” is even more vague. I’ve heard modern-day Druids describe their rituals as “timeless.”

  3. #3 Craig Dumont
    September 1, 2005

    I don’t know how much more we can post. The Nicene Creed is a great summary of The Faith that virtually all Christians affirm as true. There’s also a long section of Who We Are that explains how we believe and act. We freely confess to being reconstructionist, but you’ll find a full explaination of why and more importantly HOW we believe Christian civilization will come to pass.

    We are catholic in the context of the Nicene Creed (part of the Church past, present and future as well as universal), although we’re not Roman Catholic (we’re actually a member of a charismatic denomination, the Church of God, Cleveland, TN). We’re orthodox in the actual definition of Christian orthodoxy: 1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion. 2. Adhering to the Christian faith as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds. The term “classic Christianity” came about because too many people thought of us as affiliated with the Orthodox Church (such as Eastern, Greek, Russian, etc.) when they saw the “orthodox in confession.”

    I’m not sure about the Druids, but timeless worship centers on Jesus Christ, Who is and Who was and Who is to come (Revelation 1:8).

  4. #4 spyder
    September 1, 2005

    “The Nicene Creed is a great summary of The Faith that virtually all Christians affirm as true”

    I am guessing here about what this statement means. The creed is not a summary; it is a credo of faith, a forthright statement written with agonizing debate for the purpose of establishing the core doctrine to which the early Church members affirmed their true belief. It was and is not something that “virtually all Christians” hold true; it created numerous controversies and led to schisms, some of which have never been rectified. One cannot be “catholic” in a context other than being a Roman Catholic. Perhaps your last paragraph/sentence is the most revealing. You hold a certain evangelical set of principles, among them that the particular text to which you attribute a citation(Revelation) is absolutely true and therefore must be so for everyone else. Contrary to your core assumptions i am still free as a citizen in the US to hold my own core principles and assumptions. I do not believe that your statement is true; i don’t believe that it is false either, it is simply unbelievable and does not exist in that sense.

    However, your statement that “the West was built upon Biblical Law” can be challenged since it is not a statement of faith, but presented as a factual reporting of history. The primary resource documentation upon which you base this statement do not support it without seriously misconstruing the interpretation in order to fit what you believe. That is part and parcel of the fallacy under which you hold others to your belief, and as such can be viewed as a totalitarian philosophic principle, in that you refuse to accept factual reality as valid.

  5. #5 Raging Bee
    September 1, 2005

    “Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith?” WHICH ONE? In case you haven’t noticed, there’s MORE THAN ONE “traditional and established faith,” and people have been arguing – and sometimes killing each other – for centuries over whose is the “one true faith.” (I notice you didn’t like being confused with the “traditional and established” Eastern Orthodox faith.)

    The problem for the unconverted, though, is not a lack of evidence, but a lack of submission. The Christian presuppositionalist begins and ends with the Bible. He does not defend “natural theology,” and other inventions designed to find some agreement with covenant-breaking, apostate mankind.

    So that’s why some people call you “totalitarian.” Libertarians believe in reason, concensus-building among equals, and voluntary action, which you seem to have given up on. You seem to be saying, in effect, “We don’t have to reason with you, you already know we’re right, we’ll just force you to submit to our interpretation of the ‘one true faith,’ and since you’re ‘covenant-breaking apostates,’ we don’t have to respect your rights.”

    Oh well, thanks for clearing things up, and may the Spear of Lugh protect you in the traditional and established fashion.

  6. #6 Ed Brayton
    September 1, 2005

    There are genuine Christian libertarians in the world. My friend Jim Babka is one of them. But Christian Reconstructionists are anything but libertarian, and all the absurd rhetoric declaring that living under Biblical law is real liberty doesn’t change that. That’s just pure sophistry. I am glad you won your lawsuit, Mr. Dumont. The ruling was correct. But hell will freeze over before you convince me that reconstructionism is anything but tyranny.

  7. #7 raj
    September 2, 2005

    I haven’t followed the facts of this case, but, from the short description here, I find it difficult to reconcile with the Supreme Court decision in CITY OF BOERNE v. FLORES, ARCHBISHOP
    OF SAN ANTONIO, et al. case, opinions of which are available at http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/display.html?terms=religion%20and%20free%20or%20establishment&url=/supct/html/95-2074.ZS.html

    I pretty much agree with the majority in that case. Also in the Peyote case out of Oregon.

  8. #8 Raging Bee
    September 2, 2005

    One more thing: the assertion that “The problem for the unconverted…is not a lack of evidence” is quite simply false. Many people renounce Christianity, or fail to embrace it, because the teachings of Jesus were poorly represented, or willfully misrepresented, to them; or because the evidence they saw was of dishonesty, ignorance, hypocricy, bigotry, or con-games in the name of Jesus. Also, many people, both in and out of the “Christian” community, have never known real contact with the divine, and thus pursue it blind if at all.

    The duty of a church, priest, minister, or ministry, is to present evidence for its faith, in the form of facts, witness, experience, and leading by example. When these Dominionists claim that everyone already knows who’s right, they seem to be explicitly shirking their duty as ministers, by pretending that they don’t have to prove anything to anyone in any way.

  9. #9 seurat
    September 19, 2005

    raj,

    Significant parts of the subject statute have been ruled unconstititional. The provisions at issue in the Meridean case may be vulnerable to constitutional challenges. None were pursued. Why? You would need to ask counsel for Meridean Township.

    As for the “pastor” Dumont and his Church. Here is the background in a nutshell. Rich kid, Terry Applegate, inherits an insulation company, Applegate Insulation, from his daddy. Principle office being in Webbervile MI. While Terry is in the long-term process of running the company into the ground, he sets up a “Christian” Church, that is, the church involved in the Meridean case. The core doctrine of this church being: ‘if you rich, its ’cause God wants you rich. If you po,’ God wants you po.’ It is as unsophisticated as that.

    They call it “Christian wealth building.” So, Terry hires “Pastor” Dumont to preach this ahistorical/atheological tripe to him, and the couple dozen other members of the congregation, as he sits with his rich derrier in the front pew smiling. “Pastor” Dumont, then, is what you would properly call a whore.

    It is pathetic. But all the “totalitarian” v “libertarian” talk, it all misses the mark.

    Here is the Applegate website. Today they are celebtrating Hurrican Katrina, because through it, God has provided a “wealth building” opportunity for the good-Christian, Terry Appligate. I kid you not.

    http://applegateinsulation.com/news.aspx?id=19

    It would be risible, if it were not so appaling.

  10. #10 raj
    September 20, 2005

    seurat at September 19, 2005 09:51 PM

    The core doctrine of this church being: ‘if you rich, its ’cause God wants you rich. If you po,’ God wants you po.’ It is as unsophisticated as that.

    I’ve read that that attitude is not uncommon among conservative christians in the South. Even the po’ ones. From what I have read, it is basically a conservative Calvinist attitude.

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