Theocracy not so bad to Roberta Green Ahmanson

Julie Ingersoll of Religion Dispatches looks at a recent interview in Christianity Today of Roberta Green Ahmanson, wife of Howard. Ingersoll says that most reporters do not understand the depth and importance of the theology behind Ahmanson’s support of religious right causes, including his support of the undermining of the Episcopal Church over the last decade, and so miss the impact on our culture and politics.

Christianity Today’s recent article “Connoisseur for Christ: Roberta Green Ahmanson: What inspires the art enthusiast to give millions away?” is primarily about the role of Roberta (the wife of heir to the Home Savings fortune and religious right funder Howard Ahmanson) in support of the arts. But of greater interest is the article‘s uncritical treatment of the couple’s controversial involvement (and extensive financial support of) conservative politics (including Proposition 8, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, the career of World magazine editor and former King’s College provost Marvin Olasky, and the creationist Discovery Institute).

In its discussion of the now well-known ties between the Ahmansons and Christian Reconstructionist founder Rousas John Rushdoony, the article provides yet another example of the inability of the media to take seriously Rushdoony’s impact and legacy….

…In the Christianity Today piece, though, Roberta Ahmanson is quoted as saying “I never was (a theocrat), and I don’t know if Howard ever was either. I’m afraid to say this, but also, what would be so bad about it?”…

,,,As both Sarah and I have written here, pundits who look no further than the issue of the death penalty as punishment for homosexuality justifiably highlight that incendiary point, but at the expense of explicating the far-reaching influence of the Reconstructionist movement, and how its vision became central to the contemporary religious right’s political agenda.

Mind you, I’m not minimizing the crazy idea that homosexuality should be punished by death — and the point should not be lost that these Christian Reconstructionist views have contributed to the anti-gay movement — but Christian Reconstructionism is much broader, advocating a very specific ordering of family, church and civil society. It undergirds the religious right’s agenda in far more sweeping ways than the anti-gay movement.

When Roberta Ahmanson suggests theocracy wouldn’t “be so bad,” we want to know what she’s talking about.

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