CR: The New Centennial Review Special Issue CFP
“21st Century Religion:
Global Christian Reconstructionism and its Radical Discontents”
In light of claims that biblical law should hold dominion over human law, this special issue of CR: The New Centennial Review** seeks to engage with the dialectic relationship between a vision of inclusive Christianity—as imagined through the lens of Christian Reconstructionism—and global development. By engaging with Christian Reconstructionism and the current state of American and global Christianity, this special issue seeks to understand what the intervention of theocratic dominionism means for citizenship, pluralism, and conditions of difference and diversity, and how the translation of biblical law would redefine notions of sovereignty, borders, and identity. At the same time, it seeks to interrogate the relationship between white discontentment and the re-imposition of Christian law within a secularizing domestic space (America) and global world.
Believing that the tenets of Christian faith apply to all of life, not just the “spiritual” side, Christian Reconstructionism signals both a reaction against and alternative to the ways contemporary societies engage with definitions of self and family, constructs of identity, and the varied realms of art, education, economics, technology, and politics. Derived originally from the writings and public works of Rousas John Rushdoony and his Chalcedon Foundation (est. 1965), followers of Christian Reconstructionism articulate and disseminate what they understand to be a biblical worldview based on aspects of traditional reformed theology and both the Old and New Testaments. Although calling for a return to biblical law, this is not simply an inversion in order to return to tradition, but a radical upending of secularity and a concerted effort to cement white heteronormative standards—a postmillennial movement, Christian Reconstructionism seeks to transform every aspect of culture to establish the Kingdom of God through a totalizing mark of inclusive identity.
In claiming absolute knowledge of God’s will and moral codes, Christian Reconstruction results unavoidably in the reification of epistemological dualisms of “us” and “them”—its vision and claim for earthly power necessitate both the identification of and acting upon those deemed other. It represents a political movement mired in libertarian economics and the moral constraints of God’s original laws and covenants, including, as Rushdoony stressed, a return to patriarchy and the penal sanctions of Mosaic law. Christian Reconstruction thus speaks to a theology of domination and total dominion, one pulled betwixt and between Christ’s doctrines of community and love with a clear demarcation of proper identity. As Gary North, a top Reconstruction theorist, wrote in his 1989 book, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism, “The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly…must be denied citizenship.” While this theocratic vision of reconstructing human society has yet to manifest, its influence is found throughout contemporary culture, helping create space for the emergence of the Christian Right into everyday American politics, particularly as it relates to the family, education, and law. It also, as North’s comments demonstrate, re-introduces the conditions for colonialism, redefines the nature of global development, transforms projects of liberal democratization, and intervenes upon flows of people, goods, and information.
In normalizing biblical law (and thus claims of heresy, blasphemy, and apostasy) and western traditions of identity (e.g., white, patriarchic, nuclear family), how does the emergence of Christian Reconstructionism and its global reach represent a radical refusal of secularity and the modern/postmodern? With what affect and effects? How does this transform the way we consider citizenship and the flow(s) of peoples? How can it offer a sense of inclusivity given its claim of/for dominion? How does it signal both a radical disconnect with contemporary global society and radical discontent with the imposition of inclusive (liberal) values? What are the implications when imaginings for a new future rely on the conditions, rules, and morals of the past? How does the theonomy and dominionism of Christian Reconstructionism signal a return to (or suggests a reimagining of) colonial thinking?
**NOTE: In developing proposals and projects, please keep in mind CR: The New Centennial Review ’s commitment to “philosophically inflected interventions, provocations, and insurgencies that question the existing configuration of the Americas, as well as global and theoretical work with implications for the hemisphere.”
Potential Topics Include (but are not limited to):
- One Nation/World (Literally) Under God
- The Varied Meaning(s) of Religion
- A Theory (or theories) of Christian Reconstructionism
- Translating Religion in a Secular Age
- Defining Citizenship under Reconstruction
- Inversion, Reversion, or Revolution?
- Alternatives to Christian Reconstructionism
- Impact on Contemporary American Conservativism
- Christian Reconstructionism and Philosophical Discourse
- Christian Reconstructionism and Identarian Movements
- Homeschooling in the Time of Reconstructionism
- From Separation to the Reconnection of Church and State
- Post-millennialism and Presuppositional Apologetics in a Postmodern Society
- Political Religion or Religious Politics?
- From Colonialism to Dominionism
- From Democracy to Theonomy
- (Re)Defining American Liberty in Light of Biblical Law
- Tradition or Progress
- Religious Pluralism in the Age of Reconstructionism
- Translating Biblical Law into Human Law
- Reimagining the Global Future as Christian Hegemony
- The Construction and Reification of Christian Normativity
- Right (Godly rule/law) vs. rights (democratic law)
- Christian Reconstructionism and Militarism
- The “Heresies” of Judaism and Islam
- Utopian/Dystopian Conditionalities
Please send questions and queries to Morgan Shipley at email@example.com
If interested in contributing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by December 15, 2020 a short biography and 500 word abstract, clearly outlining specific subject as it relates to Christian Reconstructionism, critical argument, and significance of contribution.
- Abstracts Due: December 15, 2020
- Invitations to Contribute: No later than January 15, 2021
- Final Articles Due: March 1, 2022
- Publication Date: Summer 2022
CR: The New Centennial Review is devoted to comparative studies of the Americas that suggest possibilities for a different future. CR is published three times a year under the editorship of Scott Michaelsen (Department of English, Michigan State University) and David E. Johnson (Department of Comparative Literature, SUNY at Buffalo; Instituto de Humanidades, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile).
The journal recognizes that the language of the Americas is translation, and that questions of translation, dialogue, and border crossings (linguistic, cultural, national, and the like) are necessary for rethinking the foundations and limits of the Americas. Journal articles address philosophically inflected interventions, provocations, and insurgencies that question the existing configuration of the Americas, as well as global and theoretical work with implications for the hemisphere.
Dr. Morgan Shipley
Department of Religious Studies, Michigan State University