Doug Giles to Reconstruct USA

A contact kindly forwards me a new interview with Doug Giles, posted at the Chalcedon Foundation. Giles relates his early years as a junkie (although the youthful arrests for burglary are no longer part of his shtick) and how a charismatic church caused him to “clean up” his act (no mention of His People either). However, these charismatics were “defeatist”, so he turned to Rousas Rushdoony, now deceased but whose sinister visage frowns out from the Chalcedon page. Says Doug:

“Restless guy that I am, I started reading the old Puritan writers, and they led me to modern Christian writers like Gary North, David Chilton, and Ken Gentry [who writes regularly for Chalcedon, ed.], and finally R. J. Rushdoony [Chalcedon’s founder]. I still keep Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law on my desk where I work.

“The thing I like about Rushdoony and the others—they know we’re gonna win this thing. They know this world isn’t a sinking ship: that Christ intended for souls to be saved and culture to be leavened. They know our labors are not in vain.”

Not really much of a surprise, but it’s interesting to see Giles identifying so strongly with the extremism of Christian Reconstructionism. Rushdoony and his followers are all well-known figures, and for the uninitiated there are good articles to be found in Reason and Wired. Gary North’s defence of stoning (to be meted out against most people who fail to submit), as quoted in Reason, provides a nice flavour of the movement:

Reconstructionists provide the most enthusiastic constituency for stoning since the Taliban seized Kabul. “Why stoning?” asks North. “There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost.” Thrift and ubiquity aside, “executions are community projects–not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do ‘his’ duty, but rather with actual participants.” You might even say that like square dances or quilting bees, they represent the kind of hands-on neighborliness so often missed in this impersonal era. “That modern Christians never consider the possibility of the reintroduction of stoning for capital crimes,” North continues, “indicates how thoroughly humanistic concepts of punishment have influenced the thinking of Christians.”

Salon meanwhile provides a quick summary of Rushdoony’s 800 page Institutes:

Rushdoony presents his vision for a new America in which the church subsumes the federal government and society is administered according to biblical law, or at least his interpretation of it. According to biblical law, he writes, segregation is a “basic principle,” and slavery is permitted “because some people are by nature slaves and will always be so.” Those who don’t comply with Rushdoony’s rules — disobedient children, “pagans,” adulterers, women who get abortions, repeat criminal offenders and, of course, homosexuals — would be executed.

Of course, some might have doubts that an massive tome of dense Calvinist prose is likely to have much influence in the modern world. But back to Doug:

Giles credits God with finding his ministry a niche on the Internet. “We just stumbled into this thing,” he said. “Really, God did it for us.” The TownHall.com column, he added, is one of the site’s consistently best-read columns. Between Clash Radio and TownHall, the exposure he’s received has allowed him to make plans for expanding his ministry to cable TV and syndicated broadcast radio.

Reconstructionist TV! I can’t wait…

2 Responses

  1. […] embracing Reformed theology in order to get a bit more intellectual muscle. Now who does that remind me of? And I’m glad that being involved with those “mistakes” at Maranatha didn’t […]

  2. […] from a man who boasts about how he keeps a copy of Rousas Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law on his desk – a work of extreme Christian fundamentalism which also calls for the death of unbelievers, but […]

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