By Steve Davies
Pentecostalism – The decline, infiltration and fall of Australian Democracy
There is a strong sentiment that there’s something not right with the Morrison Government. There is also a sentiment something is not right with Prime Minister Morrison’s leadership.
These sentiments and concerns have gradually increased since Morrison’s “miracle” election win in 2019. Broadly speaking, that increase is due to the aggressive and arrogant manner in which this government has pursued its agenda.
As important as they are, set aside the many policy issues for the moment and you are left scratching your head. What is driving this government to behave so aggressively and arrogantly after an election win?
All of these questions, sentiments, views and concerns have increased further due to the reactions of this Prime Minister and that of his government to Australia’s bushfire disasters and its ongoing denial of the global climate crisis.
There have been recurring questions and reports in both the mainstream media and social media concerning Morrison’s religion – Pentecostalism. Some of these reports highlight the secrecy of the Pentacostalism.
“ … it is also a characteristic of Pentecostalism itself. Little more than a century old, this highly distinctive expression of Christianity has flourished in the spiritual marketplace by selling a feel-good message to seekers while keeping the full truth for trusted true believers.”
However, there is actually quite a lot of information that lifts the veil on the nature of Pentecostalism. In particular, the ideas and strategies that drive its ‘influence’ in the world of politics and government.
The conclusion I have come to is that serious questions need to be asked of the Prime Minister and his government.
We, the people, need to demand transparency from government on these issues. Religious influence is one thing. Dominance another.
The conversation that we must have
It is well known that the Christian Right seeks to shape government and society. The question is to what extent is the Australian Government is in the grip of dominionism and Pentecostalism? Arguably you can see this influence in this government’s stance on climate change, social welfare, employment policies, religious freedom and education.
Morrison has made no secret of his religious beliefs and affiliations – Pentacostalism. In addition, there have been questions about the influence of his religion in the press, social media and the wider community. Questions about his religious beliefs and affiliations have been further amplified by his response, as Prime Minister, to the bushfires that have ravaged Australia since September 2019.
What I am writing here is not an attack on the religious freedom of politicians as private citizens. The information I am presenting concerns dominionist strategies associated with the Pentecostalist movement and Christian Right. Strategies intended to shape and dominate governments and societies.
The strategies in question are known as the Seven Mountains Mandate. The Seven mountains mandate has a long history. It is a dominionist strategy for transforming nations and with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The advocates of this strategy have taken to using the term sphere’s of influence rather than mountains. They are doing so to soften the language. Why? To slide under the radar. To minimise resistance.
The marketing and communication is very clever. However, at the end of it the agenda is the same. To conquer the seven mountains to transform nations in the image of a particular brand of Christianity.
These strategies and their underpinnings raise serious questions concerning the infiltration of Australia’s system of government – the policies it sets and, indeed, its behaviour. Seeking to influence is one thing, seeking to dominate another.
The ideology of dominionism remains a divisive issue within the broader the fundamentalist movement itself. It has been reported that attempts have been made to recast dominionism as a benign influence (to soften the language), in order to deceive people. There is more detailed information in this Church Watch Central article; Is your church part of Houston’s NARpostolic Australian ‘Christian Churches’ (ACC) network?
Church Watch is essentially a religious research group:
“Founded by pastors, elders and members from various denominations around Australia (now with pastoral contributors from around the world), CWC investigates and publishes news on controversies, reports on scandals, resources on discernment and tools to identify cults and sects.”
“We wish to be factual as we can on Church Watch Central. If there is any information on ChurchWatch Central that you think is not accurate, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All constructive criticism will be appreciated.”
There has always been tension over the separation of church and state in Australia. In view of the activities of what is broadly coated the Christian Right and the dominionist ideology we need to revisit that issue in 2020 with a particular focus on the degree of infiltration and the influence of the Seven Mountains Mandate on government policy making.
Between 2010 and 2018 public trust in Australia’s democracy, its institutions and leaders has more than halved. Research undertaken by the Museum of Australian Democracy predicts that:
“By 2025 if nothing is done and current trends continue, fewer than 10 per cent of Australians will trust their politicians and political institutions — resulting in ineffective and illegitimate government, and declining social and economic wellbeing”.
The decline in trust was sparked by conflicts within the Rudd Government. Those conflicts became public and resulted in the removal of the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the installation of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.
The Liberal Party under Tony Abbott exploited those divisions to win office in 2013. The tactics used by the Liberal Party to gain power emboldened them to aggressively pursue a policy agenda that did not match the promises it made during the election. That resulted in a further decline in public trust.
Due to the falling popularity of the government Tony Abbott was removed from the Prime Ministership. He was replaced by Malcolm Turnbull. Prime Minister Turnbull attempted to shift and soften policy directions. Contrary to expectations within the Liberal Party Turnbull barely won the election. Hence, the seeds of conflict festered and grew within the Turnbull Government.
Conflicts between the extreme right and moderate wings of the Liberal Party resulted in two leadership spills. The eventual result of these leadership spills was the installation of Scott Morrison as Prime Minister on 18 August 2018. Scott Morrison called an election for May 2019 and won with a wafer thin majority.
The Morrison Government has continued with a policy agenda driven by its extreme right. Public disquiet with its policies and approach has grown. The Morrison Government’s weak approach to climate change, coupled with its reaction to the bushfires that have devastated large areas of Australia and have outraged Australians and the world.
Public trust is still at an all time low. The tipping point alluded to by the Museum of Australian Democracy in its December 2018 report Trust and Democracy in Australia remains.
Indeed, we are arguably past the tipping point due to the arrogance shown by the Morrison Government since the last election. An arrogance underlined by the horrific impacts of the bushfires, the government’s refusal to accept the science of climate change and listen to the public.
The gulf between the government and the community is clear – Australia found to be much less divided on need to tackle climate change than US.
The community and media are scratching their heads over the reaction of the Prime Minister and his Government to climate change and the bushfires. This is on top of disquiet over policies as diverse as those associated with financial institutions, Newstart, Aged Care, health and more. Increasingly the sentiment is that we do not have a normal government.
There are also deep concerns over the behaviour of government politicians and, to this day, concerns about the influence of Pentecostalism within the Morrison Government. Concerns about dominionism and the Seven Mountains mandate have been raised some media reports.
An excellent 2011 report by Chrys Stevenson; Is the Australian Christian Lobby dominionist? states:
“They say when the United States sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. And so it is with dominionism. Now an international movement, dominionism is thriving in Australia.
From local parents and citizens associations to regional councils, from our previously secular state schools to state government departments and even within Parliament House, Canberra, this particular clique of evangelical Christian extremists is working quietly but assiduously to tear down the division between church and state, subvert secularism and reclaim this nation for Jesus.
But, is there sufficient evidence to suggest that the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is at the forefront of this ideological holy war? In order to achieve their aim, dominionists plan to infiltrate, influence and eventually take over seven key spheres of society: business, government (including the military and the law), media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.”
The Seven Mountains Mandate is essentially a Christian Right strategy of political and cultural infiltration and conquest.
The mandate has a long history and is also a means of unifying and growing the Christian Right. Some say, of dominating Christianity itself. The Christian right and neo-conservative politics increasingly work hand in glove. The mandate is a strategic theocratic weapon.
The convergence of interests between the Christian Right and neo-conservatives was reflected in the election of Donald Trump and, indeed, in the election of Scott Morrison.
“The parallels between Donald Trump’s unexpected triumph and Scott Morrison’s “miracle” election win are remarkable. A week on, it’s increasingly apparent this was a Trump-like victory.”
This convergence is so strong that after Scott Morrison’s election victory:
“Some of Australia’s most extreme Christian-right parties have withdrawn from politics, claiming the election of Prime Minister Scott Morrison had rendered them redundant.”
In Australia, as in America, it is evident that:
“Dominionism, like the Christian Right itself, has come a long way from obscure beginnings. What is remarkable today is that the nature of this driving ideology of the Christian Right remains obscure to most of society, most of the time. Dominionism’s proponents and their allies know it takes time to infuse their ideas into the constituencies most likely to be receptive. They also know it is likely—and rightly—to alarm many others.
It is time to ring the alarm bells over the influence of dominionism in Australia and the very real threat it poses to our system of government, democracy and society.
In a very real sense Australian democracy has already fallen. Public trust in our institutions has collapsed. We have a government that simply does not listen.
We have a government under the influence of a religious ideology that advocates the establishment of a theocracy. Capturing the Government Mountain through “Archangels” is one of the keys to that.
We have a government whose behaviour and actions suggest that it has adopted the strategies and intent of the Seven Mountain Mandate. One indication of that is the Religious Freedom Bill.
One thing is certainly clear in all of this. This government needs to come clean on the influence of this religious ideology on its behaviour, policies and actions.
I will be writing more about these matters in the very near future.
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