Posts tagged ‘Literal Interpretation of the Bible’

September 29, 2010

Sarah Palin and Dominion Theology

by Vince

Nicole Greenfield describes the scary aspects of Sarah Palin’s theocratic politics:

Drawing inspiration from a well-known passage in the first chapter of Genesis in which God grants humans dominion over all living things, dominion theology involves an anthropocentric outlook, which, among other things, favors the interests of humans over animals and the environment. The benefit of drilling for oil in ANWR, from this point of view, outweighs the loss of wildlife and the destruction of their habitat. But dominionism is also part a broader nationalist movement of the Christian Right, one that aspires to influence secular institutions so that the country is ultimately governed by a conservative Christian interpretation of Biblical law—to build a Christian nation. And if Glenn Beck’s “Restore Honor” rally at the end of August was any indication, Sarah Palin certainly subscribes to—or is, at least, willing to publicly and prominently invoke—such an ideology.

Closely related to dominionism, and another possible basis for the anti-environment stances of many conservative Christians, is a dispensationalist eschatology informed by a literal interpretation of the Bible. In this view, prominent within the churches to which Sarah Palin has belonged, biblical prophecies are read from an “end times” perspective, effectively eliminating the need to consider the consequences major environmental decisions, like oil drilling for example, will have on future generations. “There is a way that dispensationalist eschatology feeds into environmental irresponsibility,” says Brian McLaren, a prominent evangelical pastor and author. “But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

That helped make sense in my head a few bits of Palin’s approach to theology, her desire to drill in ANWR (which she claims is uninhabited by animals), and her American Exceptionalism. She brings to the tentative 2012 election scene a short sighted and nationalist view of religion and politics. I hope those who are not literalists do not get tricked into buying into her scheme.