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ASPartOfMe
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23 Feb 2024, 12:00 pm

Alabama justice who ruled embryos are people says American law should be rooted in the Bible

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On the same day that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker handed down an opinion declaring that fertilized frozen embryos are people, imperiling women’s access to in vitro fertilization treatments, he espoused support for a once-fringe philosophy that calls on evangelical Christians to reshape society based on their interpretation of the Bible.

During an online broadcast hosted by Tennessee evangelist Johnny Enlow on Friday, Parker suggested America was founded explicitly as a Christian nation and discussed his embrace of the Seven Mountains Mandate — the belief that conservative Christians are meant to rule over seven key areas of American life, including media, business, education and government.

“God created government, and the fact that we have let it go into the possession of others, it’s heartbreaking,” Parker said in the interview, first reported this week by Media Matters for America, a liberal nonprofit media watchdog. “That’s why he is calling and equipping people to step back into these mountains right now.”

Hours before the interview was published, Parker issued a concurring opinion in a case in which he and his fellow justices ruled that frozen embryos have the same rights as living children under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

Parker wrote that Alabama had adopted a “theologically based view of the sanctity of life” and that “life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God.” To support his legal opinion, Parker repeatedly cited the book of Genesis, including a passage asserting that all people are created in God’s image.

“Even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God,” Parker wrote, “and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.”

Parker did not respond to messages requesting comment. In a written statement, Enlow said, in his view, the Seven Mountains Mandate encourages Christians to fight for their values in government and elsewhere to aid “in the healing of society.”

“It is not sinister to desire a voice and relevance in political matters,” said Enlow, who in 2020 suggested that then-President Donald Trump could impose martial law to remain in office following his electoral defeat. “I am pretty sure that is why every citizen takes the time to vote.”

Parker’s statements — in his remarks to Enlow and in his written opinion — are the latest examples of Republican politicians and elected officials embracing the Christian nationalist view that America’s laws should be rooted in a fundamentalist reading of the Bible.

The Alabama chief justice’s embrace of the Seven Mountains Mandate, in particular, signaled the growing influence of a once-fringe political and religious theology that’s been spreading in recent years among certain segments of evangelical Christians, said Matthew D. Taylor, a senior scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies in Maryland.

“The Seven Mountains is not about democracy,” said Taylor, who has studied the role Christian extremism played in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. “In fact, I would argue that the Seven Mountains itself is a vision that is antidemocratic.”

Adherents of the ideology have grown in prominence and power in the years since the 2016 election, when Trump became an unlikely hero of the Christian right and cultivated relationships with celebrity pastors who preach the Seven Mountains Mandate. Parker is the latest in a line of prominent Republicans to openly embrace the concept, Taylor said.

Charlie Kirk, the MAGA influencer and founder of Turning Point USA, celebrated the GOP’s shift under Trump when he told attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2020, “Finally we have a president that understands the seven mountains of cultural influence.”

In 2022, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado called on attendees at a political conference hosted by a group with a mission to “reform the nation via the Seven Mountains” to “rise up” and place “God back at the center of our country.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson, the nation’s highest-ranking Republican, also has ties to pastors and activists who preach the Seven Mountains. Johnson, like Parker, has aligned himself with the evangelical activist and self-styled historian David Barton, a leading promoter of the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation whose laws should reflect biblical principles.

Barton and other Seven Mountains proponents argue that the idea of separation of church and state, regarded by many as a bedrock of American democracy, is a myth invented by progressives based on a misreading of Thomas Jefferson’s famous 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists. And any laws or court rulings limiting the influence of religion in schools and government — such as the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1962 and 1963 decisions banning mandatory public school prayer and Bible readings — are an affront to America’s true founding.

These ideas aren’t only gaining influence among preachers and politicians, experts say. In a survey last year, Paul Djupe, a political scientist at Denison University, found that about 20% of American adults — and 30% of Christians — agreed with the statement that “God wants Christians to stand atop the ‘7 mountains of society,’ including the government, education, media, and others.”

Prior to conducting the survey, Djupe expected to discover only marginal support for the Seven Mountains concept.

“It turns out,” he said, “a substantial number of Americans believe these things.”

Parker echoed Barton’s views about America’s founding during his interview with Enlow, after Enlow asked the chief justice to comment on the growing use of the phrase “Christian nationalism” among those who support the separation of church and state.

“This is an undefined term that’s being thrown around now to label people, and I have no idea what they mean by or what should be meant by it,” said Parker, who then defended his view that America’s “original form of government” was based on the Bible.

“It’s constitutional,” Parker said. “It’s our foundation.”

Taylor said it was “jaw-dropping” to hear a state supreme court chief justice espousing a theology that he views as antidemocratic “while making very extreme decisions.”

But, he added, “this is the new reality of our politics.


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magz
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23 Feb 2024, 1:06 pm

If I ever though some Catholics in Poland had fringe ideas...


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Aspiegaming
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23 Feb 2024, 4:01 pm

Project 2025.

They'll turn our country into the Christian equivalent of Saudi Arabia but with extra catering to the greed of the wealthy. People who Christians don't approve of will be arrested and put to death. Sinners even minor ones like myself will face imprisonment. Porn and recreational sex will be banned as well.

Insanity grows and it's horrible to think these people believe they're doing the right thing when they're just being evil oppressive authoritarians.

Why should I be punished for a sin I shouldn't be ashamed of and choosing to be an outsider? Why should free will be condemned?


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DoniiMann
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23 Feb 2024, 4:28 pm

Matthew 4:8-10
"8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

John 18:36
"Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Seven Mountains is a heresy, brought to the world by the same sects that brought the world 'Prosperity Doctrine' (AKA: Ignore everything Jesus said about the love of money. God actually wants us to be rich). If I understand the situation correctly, the mainstream churches (Catholics, Anglican, etc.), and fundamentalists (Baptists, Brethren, etc.), all preached that God's kingdom is in the next life and they should value it more than this one.

But the Pentecostals push the idea that God wants to establish his kingdom here, and basically remove the barrier between here and there. There's good justification for it. JC spoke a good deal about how Christians should live in this world. Only problem is, there's no similarity between what he pushed and what the Seven Mountains/Christian Nationalists/ Dominionists are pushing.

Pentecostalism is a phenomenon in Africa and Latin America. Like faith healing, they often offer the only hope that the poor can latch onto. And now they're pushing into American politics. They want to do to their Seven Mountains what Trump is doing to the Republicans. They want to be the power, whether they're officially in the top job or not.

And they don't like competition. If they rule, kiss freedom goodbye. Freedom of religion, freedom of consenting adult sexuality, freedom of appropriate medical care...


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Aspiegaming
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23 Feb 2024, 5:14 pm

It's so hard to live under God because his followers keep altering the rules making it harder to be accepted by him.


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ToughDiamond
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23 Feb 2024, 5:39 pm

There's not much democracy in fundamentalist religion, so if those nutjobs get their way, democracy will go out of the window. They seem to think that government is just a matter of imposing what they see as their deity's moral code onto everybody. Many countries used to be run along those lines, and it'll be interesting to see if the fundies in the USA will manage to turn the clock back. I think in the long run they're bound to fail, but they might do a lot of damage in the short term.

It's probably better in the UK where religion and politics are mostly kept apart except for a few appointed Anglican bishops in the House Of Lords who don't seem to cause much trouble. It's kind of worrying that it's very hard for an openly atheist candidate to get elected in the USA. In the UK I doubt there's a single constituency that would elect anybody who started publicly ranting about "God's law" and that kind of thing.



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23 Feb 2024, 6:30 pm

These dang theocrats.

A theocrat state senator in my home state of Oklahoma literally said in a townhall (which may have even happened today) that LGBT people are filth that don't belong in the state. (wish I was exaggerating, really do) He said so under the guise of "we are a Christian state". BS. No state in the USA is a Christian state. We are supposed to be a USA of freedom of religion. You can't have freedom of religion if you enforce Christianity. Very simple.

These freedom haters need to be put in their place. I'm so sick of this nonsense.


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27 Feb 2024, 7:53 pm

What would happen, then, to us Lutherans who believe in the theology of the two kingdoms, which are of the sacred and the secular? While we believe both are under God's rule, we also believe each has its own place and should not be intertwined. This Seven Mountain Mandate flies in the face of our theology, and I suspect we wouldn't be welcome in their Christian Nationalist dystopia.


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27 Feb 2024, 9:46 pm

Kraichgauer wrote:
What would happen, then, to us Lutherans who believe in the theology of the two kingdoms, which are of the sacred and the secular? While we believe both are under God's rule, we also believe each has its own place and should not be intertwined. This Seven Mountain Mandate flies in the face of our theology, and I suspect we wouldn't be welcome in their Christian Nationalist dystopia.


We'd be considered apostates, which is worse than someone who has never believed.


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Tim_Tex
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27 Feb 2024, 9:47 pm

Aspiegaming wrote:
Project 2025.

They'll turn our country into the Christian equivalent of Saudi Arabia but with extra catering to the greed of the wealthy. People who Christians don't approve of will be arrested and put to death. Sinners even minor ones like myself will face imprisonment. Porn and recreational sex will be banned as well.

Insanity grows and it's horrible to think these people believe they're doing the right thing when they're just being evil oppressive authoritarians.

Why should I be punished for a sin I shouldn't be ashamed of and choosing to be an outsider? Why should free will be condemned?


And if we protested, we'd get the sh*t beaten by law enforcement, which is already domestic terrorism in many places.

Virtually all conservatives in the U.S. are Christian nationalists. And no, those endorsing Nikki Haley are not off the hook with this.


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Tim_Tex
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27 Feb 2024, 10:12 pm

Harmonie wrote:
These dang theocrats.

A theocrat state senator in my home state of Oklahoma literally said in a townhall (which may have even happened today) that LGBT people are filth that don't belong in the state. (wish I was exaggerating, really do) He said so under the guise of "we are a Christian state". BS. No state in the USA is a Christian state. We are supposed to be a USA of freedom of religion. You can't have freedom of religion if you enforce Christianity. Very simple.

These freedom haters need to be put in their place. I'm so sick of this nonsense.


They want to outlaw non-procreational sex. That is the straw that breaks the camel's back for me. The CNs know that the vast majority of Americans oppose their ideology, and their strategy is to fool people into thinking Trump is more "moderate" than he is, to get peoples' guards down. In other words, trickery.

Even the Evangelicals who know damn well that he is no moderate will vote for Trump because they think the Dems want to "oppress Christians".

And even if all the tenets of Project 2025 are put into place, people will be too afraid to fight back, even though the opposition vastly outnumbers the CNs.


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DoniiMann
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28 Feb 2024, 4:10 pm

Hilarious that they spend their time criticizing Muslims for Shariah, but expend most of their effort trying to install Chariah.


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