Totalitarianism and The American Intelligent Design Movement – Part I

The Chalcedon Foundation are a Christian Reconstructionist [1] [2] organization [3], founded by the late RJ Rushdoony.

The Chalcedon Foundation propose

an explicitly Biblical system of thought and action as the exclusive basis for civilization


[t]he role of every earthly government including family government, church government, school government, vocational government, and civil government is to submit to Biblical law.[4]

Rushdoony subscribed to the postmillenial notion that Christ will only return to earth when biblical law is the only law throughout the world. In his 1973 890 page effluvium, “Institutes of Biblical Law”, the first of three movements, Christianity and democracy are “inevitably enemies.” Rushdoony envisages the church as the final dictatorship. Nothing less than world domination will do.

In this world of absolute, undemocratic, incontrovertible law where only abject obedience will suffice, segregation is foundational, slavery is acceptable, there can be no tolerance for any other religion, and those who do not follow certain ancient pronouncements in the Hebrew bible shall be executed.

In accordance with the Torah, the death penalty applies to, among others, incorrigible juvenile delinquents, blasphemers, adulterers, homosexuals who engage in anal sex, and the propagators of “false” doctrines (i.e any religious, political, or scientific view contrary to the text of the Bible). The daughters (but of course not the sons) of priests are required to be especially pure. It is perhaps a matter of theological debate if they should be put to death for letting Johnny reach third or even second base, but a home run is certain death.

Homosexual people, women, and cross-dressers can generally expect the worst of the new world order.

War must be waged on the new Amalekites, as typified by fans of Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walking, until they are eradicated. Yes, this is really part of Rushdoony’s vision. Both female power and the merest hint of sexual sadism are anathema, and Sinatra’s mildly assertive Easy Listening piece is put forward as an example of what Orwell must have been referring to with his image of a “boot stamping on the human face – forever.” Perhaps it is best that Rushdoony never heard Venus In Furs.

In Rushdoony’s theocracy, there will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother… There will be no curiosity… All competing pleasures will be destroyed. [5][6]

The founder of the Chalcedon Foundation cannot rightly be compared to any of the Taliban; what he wanted was a ruling elite far more scripturally orthodox, more fundamentalist, more murderous, more totalitarian, and more ambitious for power.

“Institutes of Biblical Law” is critical of Darwin and the principles of biological evolution, but there is a firmer link between the modern ID movement and Rushdoony. Influential millionaire Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson Jr, on the Board of Directors at The Discovery Institute, and one of their major donors, is also a former director of The Chalcedon Foundation.

Howard Ahmanson Jr

Ahmanson was one of Rushdoony’s best friends, and kept a vigil at his death bed.

In a rare interview in 1985 with the Orange County Register, Ahmanson said

My goal is the total integration of biblical law into our lives.

When in 2004 Ahmanson’s extreme views created negative press for some of the Republicans he gave money to (which apparently led to some of them returning the donations) [7][8][9], Ahmanson gave another interview, in which he publicly softened his stance. Not going so far as to condemn Rushdoony’s views, you understand. Just making it known that he doesn’t think stoning of homosexuals is “essential.” An opt-in practice, perhaps.

It would still be a little hard to say that if one stumbled on a country that was doing that, that it is inherently immoral, to stone people for these things.[10][11][12]

Ahmanson is also a major player in attempts to institutionalise second class status for homosexual people. He donated nearly $1.4million dollars in support of Proposition 8.[13][14] [15][16]

Here is another of Ahmanson’s friends:
Marvin Olasky

This is Marvin Olasky. Ahmanson has financed several of his books. Olasky would abolish the separation of church and state. He has written

There’s nothing about ‘separation of church and state.’ That was Thomas Jefferson’s personal expression in a letter written over a decade after the amendment was adopted…. The founding fathers would be aghast at court rulings that make our part of the world safe for moral anarchy. [17]

In his 1992 book, The Tragedy of American Compassion, one of Ahmanson’s favourites, Olasky opines that charitable measures to alleviate poverty are only safe and effective when accompanied by Judeo-Christian theology.[18][19][20][21][22]

In the 1996 book Telling The Truth, Olasky stated his belief that secular journalism cannot be objective, and that news should be filtered through “a biblical lens”.[23]

Olasky is a Christian conservative with clout. Not only was he an advisor to George W Bush, but his writings have been championed and disseminated to members of Congress by Newt Gingrich. In his first address as speaker of the House, Gingrich said

I commend to all Marvin Olasky’s “The Tragedy of American Compassion.[24]

While he would not describe himself as a Christian Reconstructionist, implementation of Olasky’s ideas on the First Amendment, poverty, and the press certainly moves the United States further towards an uncompromising theocracy.

Rushdoony and Olasky. Friends of Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson Jr, Director at The Discovery Institute, bigot, and enemy of democracy.


[1] Eyes Right!: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash, ed. Chip Berlet.
[2] Mobilizing Evangelicals: Christian Reconstructionism and the Roots of the Religious Right, Julie Ingersoll, in Evangelicals and Democracy in America, Volume 2: Religion and Politics, eds. Steven Brint, Jean Reith Schroedel.
[3] Chalcedon Foundation Website. Our Ministry.
[4] Chalcedon Foundation Website. Vision Statement.
[5] The Institutes of Biblical Law, Volume 1, RJ Rushdoony.
[6] 1984, George Orwell.
[7] Equality California Website. Press Release October 26, 2004.
[8] The Washington Times. “Gay group urges Wolf to return foe’s donation“. August 1 2004.
[9] “Would Mimi Take Over Michele Bachmann’s Pulpit in Congress?” Orange Juice Blog. July 5 2013
[10] “Anti-gay millionaire bankrolls Caravaggio spectacular” The Observer. March 6 2005.
[11] “The Mystery Man Behind Prop 8″, Max Blumenthal.
[12] British Centre for Science Education.
[13] Fieldstead & Co. Website.
[14] “Proposition 8: Who Gave In The Gay Marriage Battle?”, Los Angeles Times online.
[15] “CA Prop. 8’s Top 10 Supporting and Opposing Contributors”, Maplight: Revealing Money’s Influence On Politics
[16] “A look back at the money in the fight over Prop 8″, Southern California Public Radio, Website, June 26 2013.
[17] “God’s Country”, Joan Didion, The New York Review of Books. November 2 2000.
[18] Book Review, ConservativeHome blog, December 1 2001.
[19] Book Review: The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky, Foundation For Economic Education (an American freemarket organization), Website, December 1 1990.
[20] Book Review: The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky, Geoff Prewett, personal pages.
[21] Book Review: The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky, “Defending.Contending” Website. December 9 2011.
[22] Book Review: The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky, ‘The Price Of Liberty’ Website. January 27 2005.
[23] “News: Dr. Marvin Olasky New Distinguished Chair of Journalism”, Patrick Henry College Website. August 22 2011.
[24] Transcript of Newt Gingrich’s Inaugural Address at the opening of the 1995 Congress.

53 thoughts on “Totalitarianism and The American Intelligent Design Movement – Part I

  1. and here is a pretty direct statement which could have been written of the french revolution but wasn’t

    PZ is using ridicule and sarcasm in his “sacrilege” posts. He is not actually plotting a revolution.

  2. Uh, yeah, well, I guess you see the forced conversion one way as acceptable and the other way as not.

    I think they see teaching evolution as forced indoctrination, not as forced conversion.

    Personally, I have no problem with the idea that those with religious objections should be able to opt out of that class.

  3. This seems pertinent to this thread:

    “The great trouble with religion – any religion – is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason – but one cannot have both.”
    — Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)

    Science education based on the overwhelming consensus of working scientists and the equally overwhelming amount of objective, empirical evidence is neither force nor indoctrination.

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