Citing a Daily Beast piece linking GOP candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry to a radical Christian strain called "Dominionism," CNN's Jack Cafferty fretted about a possible Christian theocracy in America on Wednesday's Cafferty File.
"I got to reading this piece, and it scared the hell out of me," Cafferty fearfully remarked of the article's conspiratorial claims. "We contacted both campaigns a few hours ago, haven't heard a word back form either one of them."
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The article was published in the liberal Daily Beast and reported on by NewsBusters on Monday. Cafferty even cited NewsBusters in his brief summary of the article's critics. "And the website Newsbusters says the Daily Beast quote, 'went a few more steps off the deep end by publishing this piece'," Cafferty mentioned.
According to the Daily Beast, Dominionism claims that Christians have a "God-given right to rule" all earthly institutions, political and cultural. "Think of it like political Islamism," author Michelle Goldberg writes.
And what are the ties which Perry and Bachmann supposedly possess to this movement? Bachmann was apparently "close" to one a group supporting Dominionism, and appeared in a documentary produced by that group, Truth In Action Ministries. She has also praised certain religious figures connected with the movement, according to the Daily Beast piece.
Perry, meanwhile, has not directly supported the movement, at least from what the Daily Beast has found. One group, The New Apostolic Reformation, which appears to harbor Dominionist beliefs, supports Perry's bid for President and was involved in his recent prayer vigil. That's the major "link" Perry shares with these fringe beliefs.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 17 at 5:14 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
JACK CAFFERTY: Forget about the separation of church and state. There is reason to believe that religion could have a whole new meaning for the next occupant of the White House. The Daily Beast reports that two of the Republican candidates for President – Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry – are quote, "deeply associated" with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism that's called "Dominionism."
For those of you who haven't heard of this before – and I was one of those, I hadn't heard of it either – stand by, 'cause this stuff is really out there.
The Daily Beast writes how Dominionists believe that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Dominionism finds its roots in a small fringe sect called Christian Reconstructionism – people who advocate replacing U.S. law with the laws of the Old Testament. That would include the death penalty for homosexuality and abortion. Swell.
The Daily Beast reports that both Bachmann and Perry appear to have ties to groups that support Dominionism. Bachmann appeared in a documentary for one of these groups called "Truth In Ministries." Also, she often praises or cites different religious leaders who are connected to these beliefs.
As for Perry, there is a group called The New Apostolic Reformation that sees him as their ticket to power. They talk about quote, "taking dominion over American society," unquote, and they hope that Perry can claim the so-called mountain of government. This group was also involved in Perry's prayer vigil in Houston a couple of weeks ago.
Critics suggest the Daily Beast's examples show so-called Dominionist groups attaching themselves to the candidates, and not so much the other way around. And the website Newsbusters says the Daily Beast quote, "went a few more steps off the deep end by publishing this piece."
We reached out to both campaigns for a response, and not unexpectedly haven't heard a word back from either one of them.
Here’s the question: How much does it worry you if both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have ties to Dominionism?
CAFFRTY: This is way out there, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER: Yeah, I never heard of Dominion – like you, I never heard of Dominion –
CAFFERTY: I hadn't either. I got to reading this piece, and it scared the hell out of me. I thought, what is this?
BLITZER: Alright, well we're anxious to get some reaction from the Bachmann and Perry campaigns. If we do, we'll of course share it with our viewers right away.
CAFFERTY: We asked for a reaction. We contacted both campaigns a few hours ago, haven't heard a word back from either one of them.
BLITZER: Alright, well if they come in in the next hour or two, we'll share it with our viewers whenever we get it.