devos the dominionist

In 2005 I linked to a Rolling Stone article on the Domionist movement in America, and James Kennedy, the leader of their evangelical crusade to take over the United States government. I’d remembered liking the article, but I hadn’t remembered, until reading a comment left on Sam’s site just now, that it mentioned Rich DeVos, the father of our Republican candidate for Governor of Michigan. (note: In the original post, I misidentified Rich as the candidate for Governor. They person running is his son, Dick DeVos.) Here’s the clip:

…While the dominionists rely on grass-roots activists to fight their battles, they are backed by some of America’s richest entrepreneurs. Amway founder Rich DeVos, a Kennedy ally who’s the leading Republican contender for governor of Michigan, has tossed more than $5 million into the collection plate…. And Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza, is a major source of cash for Focus on the Family, a megaministry working with Kennedy to eliminate all public schools.

The one-two punch of militant activists and big money has helped make the Dominionists a force in Washington, where a growing number of congressmen owe their elections to the machine. Kennedy has also created the Center for Christian Statesmanship, which trains elected officials to “more effectively share their faith in the public arena.” Speaking to the group, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay — a winner of Kennedy’s Distinguished Christian Statesman Award — called Bush’s faith-based initiatives “a great opportunity to bring God back into the public institutions of our country.”

The most vivid proof of the Christianizing of Capitol Hill comes at the final session of Reclaiming America. Rep. Walter Jones, a lanky congressman from North Carolina, gives a fire-and-brimstone speech that would have gotten him laughed out of Washington thirty years ago. In today’s climate, however, he’s got a chance of passing his pet project, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, which would permit ministers to endorse political candidates from their pulpits, effectively converting their tax-exempt churches into Republican campaign headquarters.

“America is under assault!” Jones thunders as his aides dash around the sanctuary snapping PR photos. “Everyone in America has the right to speak freely, except for those standing in the pulpits of our churches!” The amen chorus reaches a fever pitch. Hands fly heavenward. It’s one thing to hear such words from Dominionist leaders — but to this crowd, there’s nothing more thrilling than getting the gospel from a U.S. congressman. “You cannot have a strong nation that does not follow God,” Jones preaches, working up to a climactic, passionate plea for a biblical republic. “God, please — God, please — God, please — save America!”

So, it’s not just that DeVos runs a shady multi-level marketing operation, or that he’s promising to bring Intelligent Design into our classrooms (as was mentioned here yesterday), or even that he’s using his personal fortune to bankroll the likes of Katherine Harris, he and his father are also members of a fundamentalist sect conspiring to put our country under strictly-interpreted Biblical law… I’m not a huge fan of our incumbent governor, Jennifer Granholm, but I’m feeling pretty damned motivated to start working on her campaign.

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17 Comments

  1. UncleWendy
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Damn, i thought this post was gonna be about Devo. Anyway, how can we possibly remind them that their church isn’t our church? Remind them that their “God” isn’t our god? I mean, how can we get everyone to understand that “America” and “church” are not synonymous? And dammit, how did the two become so entertwined to begin with???

  2. Dr Cherry
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    But Wendy, your religion is wrong and their’s is right. Obviously, if satan didn’t have us in his clutches we’d happily join them.

  3. Shanster
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    You knew this post would bring me out of the corner. I’m not going to argue with any of your points because when I think of these issues I know that I don’t want the ‘shoe on the other hand’ when the Catholics become the majority, or the Muslims, or whatever group may be the most fertile. My only question is whether the freedom of speech for ministers really bothers you that much? I think there’s already plenty of ‘endorsing’ of Democratic candidates going on in Baptist churches, and you’re right that more conservative churches would then become pulpits of Republicans, but that’s almost true already, just without the pastor’s official stamp. Preaching to the choir, no? Is that really a problem?

  4. It's Skinner Again
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The only problem is that churches’ tax-exempt status prohibits partisan politics. So why not revoke the exemption? Then they could campaign all they like, and the US could use the revenue.

    The Dominionists are the ones who are against religious freedom. We have separation of church and state not to do away with religion, but to keep religion free from the government. It’s not a complicated idea.

  5. ol' e cross
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Not that it makes much difference to this discussion, but I’m confused. The RS article refers to “Rich Devos Amway founder.” Rich is Dick’s dad the founder. But Dick is the contender for governor. Seems like RS confused and conjoined the father and son?

    Either way, it does demonstrate the principle:
    “If your daddy’s Rich, you’re probably a Dick .”

  6. Kathleen
    Posted September 29, 2006 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I’m hoping that the Intelligent Design bandwagon is enough to derail his campaign. I shudder to think of that man as my governor.

  7. justPassingThru
    Posted October 23, 2006 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    So sad. I stumbled here via Google. I find these corners of the internet rather depressing… A bunch of folks with there blood boiling ranting about politics with absolutely no attempt to try to aquire some facts.

    How much do you really know about Rich DeVos? Amway? Personally I grew up not far from Amway headquarters (other side of Grand Rapids) and didn’t know much about it until after college and I was living in Arizona. I actually toured Amway in college — Amway corporate is a neat place. At the time I didn’t understand the MLM portion — I was working towards a JOB and career. After college when I was working my “dream” job (thankfully I’m no longer doing that), my brother introduced me to the business opportunity. We were involved for a while and I can honestly say it dramatically changed both of our lives for the better (in a holistic fashion, not pure $).

    Anyway, my point was… As Ol E Cross pointed out the facts are a bit out of whack here. Any clue how old Rich Devos (co-founder of Amway) is? Also he had a heart transplant several years back. I wouldn’t expect him to run for governor. It is his son Dick DeVos (51 years old himself) who is running for governor.

    I’m curious how much Ol’ E Cross actually knows about Dick since he was quick to “label”/steriotype him.

    The DeVos and Van Andel families have always been huge into community service. Dick has been a leader in that area. Are all rich people self absorbed?
    One example: http://www.devosforgovernor.com/MyStory/?id=2
    More: http://www.devosforgovernor.com/MyStory/?id=6#Volunteer_service

    Dick and his family happen to attend the same church I do — Mars Hill Bible Church. Check it out (mhbcmi.org). Is Mars Hill the perfect church? Not in my book, but I go there because for years (20+) I struggled with a pornography addiction and this was was a church that I could talk about it, get help and now help lead other guys to freedom.

    Our pastor (Rob Bell; see book Velvet Elvis & Nooma video series [nooma.com]) is currently preaching a series on “Jesus Wants To Save Christians”. You can check that out online.

    Is it possible that maybe all “Christians” aren’t whackos? Maybe all rich kids aren’t out of touch with the rest of us?

    If you have a problem with Dick Devos, I’d encourage you to check out his campaign website — read his story, read his plan, read what he has been up to with all that money — is it just for PR? Also check out Mars Hill Bible Church and ask yourself why he would associate himself with a church like that.

    For what it is worth, Mars Hill Bible Church isn’t into politics. Last I checked you can’t even hand out non-partisan voting guides there. Personally I feel that’s sad, but I think the heart is in the right place.

  8. ol' e cross
    Posted October 23, 2006 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    JustPassingThru,

    It sounds like you’re implying that

    Dick DeVos is addicted to porn and that’s why he attends Mars Hill Bible Church. Honestly, if

    Dick DeVos has a porn addiction, I think that is his business and
    you shouldn’t be bringing it up on blogs, especially if he told you in confidence as a church member. If

    Dick DeVos openly admits he’s addicted to porn, that’s another matter and I’d be willing to discuss it. Otherwise, though, I really think your inneudos are inappropriate.

  9. Dr Cherry
    Posted October 23, 2006 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Dick DeVos is a great choice for governer, unless you belive in science, can’t afford private education, or you’re a woman.

  10. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted October 24, 2006 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I like this “Rich and Dick DeVos love porn” development, but they don’t have my vote yet. I’m going to withhold judgment until I hear, specifically, from them, what kind of porn they like. If it’s of the “Slammin’ Granny in the Fanny” variety, I might be tempted to go with Granholm, who has a better environmental record.

  11. justPassingThru
    Posted October 24, 2006 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Sorry to waste your time and mine.

  12. Dr Cherry
    Posted October 24, 2006 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Now if we could only keep DeVos from wasting our time …

  13. Dr Cherry
    Posted October 24, 2006 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I sort of miss your old trolls.

  14. mark
    Posted October 24, 2006 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s odd that you should mention our old trolls. I’m thinking about posting something tonight on Objectivism – the religion, as I recall, practiced by most of them. It seems as though some of them are finally turning their backs on Bush.

  15. mark
    Posted October 24, 2006 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    (I think the pterodactyl porn might cure you of your addiction.)

  16. Dr Cherry
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    And all this time I thought they were mocking objectivism.

  17. Ted Glass
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    It was all performance art, Dr. Cherry.

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