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Honduras … Left behind?

23 July 2009

I’ve speculated before on the role Christian Dominionists play in the Honduran (and Central American in general) reactionary politics.  “The Family” or Washington “C Street” group — led by Dominionist pastor Doug Coe — has ties to reactionary figures in Central America, but hit on the first solid evidence of a tie between Dominionists and the Honduran coup leadership that I’ve seen.

Among the goals of  Christian Dominionist theology is a state in which:

All religious organizations, congregations etc. other than strictly Fundamentalist Christianity would be suppressed. Nonconforming Evangelical, main line and liberal Christian religious institutions would no longer be allowed to hold services, organize, proselytize, etc. Society would revert to the laws and punishments of the Hebrew Scriptures. Any person who advocated or practiced other religious beliefs outside of their home would be tried for idolatry and executed. Blasphemy, adultery and homosexual behavior would be criminalized; those found guilty would also be executed. found an on-line ad for “The Kingdom Government” conference in Miami, featuring General Romero Vasquez Valesquez (whose firing was the excuse for the military rousting of President Zelaya  and “constitutional” replacement of the sitting president in Honduras) speaking at a workshop this Saturday.  Leading to the question of how the General received a visa to enter the United States, and what the General’s connection is with “Prophet” Jaime Chavez.

I found a short clip of the “Profeta”, speaking about the Kingdom of God in Central America, and — in the accompaning explanatory text on the “youtube” posting — learning that the General was also at another “Kingdom Government” conference (this one in Paris) in 2008.

I keep wanting to spell “Prophet” as “Profit”… and maybe for good reason.  Setting up the Kingdom Government costs money.  Profeta Chavez’ group… MIGA Partners seeks “partners” willing to pony up a thousand to five thousand U.S. Dollars in return for which Profeta Chavez will bless your region, nation or economic zone… or something like that.

Outside the Kingdom are the Garifuna, the afro-indigenous people of Honduras. If you’ll remember, the “rationale” still being used to justify the coup was to prevent a referendum on a constitutional convention that might (not would) lead to a new consitution, that would probably have incorporated new trends in Latin American political theory that don’t bode well for the old power elite … who apparently, being already blessed on this earth, are the logical heirs to the Kingdom.

The Garifuna, according to the Miami Herald, are opposed to the coup.

Although removing term limits (something adopted from the Mexican Consitutiton) has been the most talked about possible change a proposed new Honduran Constitution would have made, the changes proposed seemed to reflect the same trends seen in other recent Latin American constitutions.

The single presidential term came from the 1917 Mexican Constitution, which was the model for most Latin American consitutions.  In Mexico, where the Madero Revolution of 1910 (which started off the wider social revolution) originally was a reaction against Porfirio Diaz’ continual re-elections to the Presidency, it has been criticized both on the right (as in Mario Vargas Llosa’s critique of the Mexican political system as a “perfect dictatorship”) and left.  Rightist countries like Colombia, as well as left-wing governments like Venezuela have recently changed their constitutions to allow for re-election.

Mexico added an indigenous rights clause to its constitution in 1994, which is controversial in some respects, but the concept of enshrining communal rights in a Constitution is well established in Latin American legal theory.

As is, proportional representation in the Legislature, as a means to opening representation to traditionally under-served groups.  In Mexico, proportional representation  has been used mostly to maintain political parties rather than communities, but in theory opened the legislature to any group that could at least obtain a small number of votes.  A few parties have tried (and have managed to obtain a voice in the Chamber) by openly appealing to under-served minorities.  The parties themselves generally have internal rules regarding “affirmative action” for legistlative seats (requiring a percentage of candidates to be indigenous or female), but the concept — setting proportional seats for under-represented groups like minority language or ethnic groups — is also fairly well established in Latin American political thinking.  Bolivia and Ecuador both have new constitutions that seek to open the system to under-represented groups.

But, then a Kingdom Government is not a democracy.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Timo permalink
    23 July 2009 12:35 pm

    It’s imprecise and reaching to automatically equate Christian Dominionism with The Family, since there are some rather large disagreements between them. Domionism emerged autonomously from The Family in the 1970s, led by the theologian Rushdoony. The Family has a much older pedigree, going back to 1935. Dominionists want some form of overt Christiant theocracy ruling the US and eventually the world. But they want this to happen through the overt application of Biblical law to society.

    The Family is quite different, for two reasons. They are much more centered on controlling political policy decisions than they are imposing Biblical law overtly. They are happy to work with non-Christians, in fact, if that advances their agenda. Something that would be anathema to a Dominionist.

    More importantly, The Family is based on the notion of an inner elite circle that is in fact *exempt* from Biblical law. This is an extremely radical position that could only be condemned by Dominionists, for whom the whole point of their movement is to hold everyone accountable equally to biblical law.

    Treating the two as “the same” is like treating democratic socialism the same as Stalinism. Kind of a reach.

  2. 23 July 2009 4:36 pm

    Good point, though both seem centered in a Calvinism, or at least the “election of saints” taken to an (il)logical extreme. There are those who argue that “The Family” support of those outside the “elect” (say, Suharto in Indonesia) is — like the Dominionist support for Likkud in Israel — simply a means to an end.

    To tweak you analogy, Dominionism is to Stalinism, as”The Family” is to Maoism. Not that there aren’t people — whether Communists or Dominionists — who make common cause with a movement to achieve shorter-range goals (say, controlling natural resources in Honduras). Think of the Taliban here… another religiously oriented political movement. A lot of Talibanists are nationalists or pan-Islamicists… or just old fashioned bandits fighting under a flag of convenience.

  3. Mary O'Grady permalink
    23 July 2009 6:46 pm

    I’m with you, Richard. Neither the dominionists nor the Family are benign enough to be compared to democratic socialists in any way, shape, or form. Both groups strike me as a hateful Jeebusite answer to Stalinism, actually.

  4. Timo permalink
    24 July 2009 8:24 am

    The point of my analogy was to contrast a non-elitist movement (democratic socialism) that nevertheless has a strong ideological agenda, with an elitist movement (Stalinism) that is ultimately more interested in being powerful than it is in promoting a specific agenda. So there’s really no slighting of democratic socialism intended or committed.

    I also think it’s important not to treat conservatism, not even conservative Christinity, as a single monolithic movement, such that if you’re A, you’re also B and C and D, etc.


  1. Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 20. « Mercury Rising 鳯女

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