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What is Dominionism?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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"Dominionism" is a term that is used by some people to describe the idea that some Christians believe that governance should be done by Christians and should be based on Christian principles. This term is used almost exclusively by other people, especially critics, to describe this opinion, rather than being used by Christians who have this opinion. The term is based on a Biblical passage in Genesis, which says that God gave mankind dominion over "all the earth" and "every living thing." The use of this term has been controversial, with some people arguing that it is used to mischaracterize some Christian viewpoints.

There are several ideas that fall under the heading of dominionism, and they are said to be held mainly by conservative Christians, who might also be described as members of the Christian right. The precise definition of "dominionism" can vary, because those who are said to be dominionists typically do not use the term, so certain ideas might be included or excluded from the definition, depending on its usage and purpose. A few examples of what might be considered dominionism include the following:

    1. Governance ought to be based on Christian principles.
    2. The laws of the land should reflect the Christian heritage of the nation, particularly when the term is used in reference to the United States.
    3. Government should prefer Christianity over other religions.
    4. Complete separation of church and state is anti-religious.
    5. Society should be based on Christian thought and philosophy.

To many Americans, applications of these or other Christian principles would be counter to the notion that separation between church and state is important. A strict expression of dominionism would seem to discriminate against non-Christians — or, in some cases, even people of certain Christian sects. Some people fear that the practice of dominionism would result in the creation of a theocratic state. Others claim that extreme dominionism would result in violence and oppression against non-Christians.

Many Christians and even some political analysts, however, argue that "dominionism" is a term that was created by opponents of Christianity simply to provoke fear among non-Christians. They claim that the ideas attributed to dominionists exaggerate certain Christian or religious viewpoints or take them to the extremes. For example, some people argue that a preference for Christian political candidates does not mean that only Christians should be allowed to hold government offices. Likewise, they claim that most Christians would defend freedom of religion for people of all faiths. Such differences of opinion and the fact that there is no movement that claims to be be dominionist are among the reasons why the use of this term has been controversial.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Historical Index contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon991573 — On Jul 01, 2015

How can you possibly stand for your principles, without violating someone's opinion? Is there any truth that would settle the dispute?

Is truth inside the people or is there an origin of truth? Let us search for truth, and when we find it, we can be free.

By anon336137 — On May 26, 2013

I want to make something perfectly clear to everyone about Dominionism and Dominionists themselves and how I feel about them and their sympathizers.

Dominionism is an ideology and theology which has as a primary goal the overthrow of the American Republic and the replacement of, or grafting onto American law with Old Testament Biblical/Levitical Law. Dominionists work toward that goal very aggressively. This makes them promoters of sedition toward democracy and traitors to the United States of America.

Dominionists have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they wish to do away with those who they consider undesirables, using the death penalty that is called for in Old Testament Levitical Law: atheists, homosexuals, rebellious children and those who refuse to accept Jesus to be converted to their brand of Christianity. If you are a Christian but not the “right kind” of Christian in their eyes, you are not safe from their wrath. So I ask all you conservatives who have voted Republican over the past 30 years every time and have supported the Tea Party this one question: Should you be associating yourselves with these traitors and be supporting the overthrow of our democratic Federal Republic of the United States of America? This is what you are really doing if you accept their lies and you should be held responsible for aiding and abetting the Dominionists in their goal.

As an atheist and supporter of secular government, I perceive Dominionists as a great threat. They have threatened me and my people, my fellow atheists and freethinkers and other religious people of any and all religions that support democracy and a secular government. Dominionists want to kill me and my people. I take that both seriously and personally. They have declared themselves to be my enemy in hatred. I view them with the same eye. Dominionists are my enemy. I do not like them. Dominionists are a serious threat to the American Democracy and our Federal Republic.

If you believe that your Christian religion should be made the official religion of your state, you are a Dominionist. If you claim that America is a Christian nation, you are a Dominionist. If you believe that the Biblical laws should be enshrined into American law, you are a Dominionist. If you agree with the rabid evangelical claim that your God should be in control of everything, you are a Dominionist. If you think that government should fund Christian institutions, you are a Dominionist.

If you are a Republican and/or Teabagger pushing your Christianity into the public sphere, you are a Dominionist. If your vote helped put a Dominionist candidate into public office, you are a Dominionist.

If you are a Dominionist or a Dominionist supporter, you are my enemy and you are a threat.

Dominionists are anti-Constitution and anti-democracy. They will sell all of us out for their wet dream of an established national church controlling everyone’s lives. They are traitors to the United States of America and our way of life.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Historical Index contributor, Tricia...
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