De Regier

Plumbing the depths of the Christian Taliban

On July 4, 1986, Regier was in Washington, D.C., with Grimstead and other Christian radicals to unveil the "Christian Manifesto," which was read during a "Solemn Assembly" at the Lincoln Memorial. Some quotes from the Regier-endorsed manifesto and other COR documents from the time:

• We have rested, idle and uncaring, while Satanically inspired Marxist Communism and a revival of pagan religions has enslaved two-thirds of our planet, causing massive, needless suffering to the peoples under their sway.

• Education must focus on the Person of Jesus Christ. We deny that "education" that omits reference to Jesus' role in this world is education at all.

• Those people or nations that live in opposition to Biblical laws and commandments will, sooner or later, be cursed and destroyed.

• We affirm that the Great Commission is a mandate by our Lord to go forth into all the world and make Bible-obeying disciples of all nations.

• We urge that Christians... fervently and continually bow before the Lord and beseech Him that... [we] might be cleansed, renewed, and matured to be mighty spiritual warriors in the battle over American law.

• We affirm that Jesus Christ is King of kings and... that all governments everywhere function by His permission and are obligated to follow His Laws.

• We must move the Christian Church from a "victim" mentality to a "conqueror" mentality.

And you thought Osama was the only one who wanted to take over the world? These are some whacked-out infidels, people. And they've given this particular brand of madness a name. It's called Reconstructionism, and the goal is to establish on earth a very scary version of the will of God.

The movement's father is Rousas John "R.J." Rushdoony, who signed the COR manifesto with Regier and also served with him on the coalition's board. Regier and Rushdoony might have also buddied up while serving on the Council for National Policy, a Christian group once headed by Pat Robertson that conducts secretive meetings on the state of God in the world.

Rushdoony, who died last year and at one time worked closely with conservative Christian icon Francis Schaeffer, founded something called the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965 and preached a strict interpretation of an unerring Bible. He openly supported the death penalty for all homosexuals and for heterosexuals who have sex outside marriage. He also espoused capital punishment for blasphemers, practitioners of witchcraft, and incorrigible children. His son-in-law, Gary North, who now runs Chalcedon, considers stoning the best form of execution.

Scared yet?

Rushdoony's world would be an interesting place. Abstinence before marriage -- or death. So you stole your dad's car keys? Die, sinner. You have the audacity not to believe Jesus is your Lord and Savior? Say hello to my little stone.

COR has been a leading Reconstructionist voice since the 1980s, when Regier was one of its leaders. Although COR has long wanted to outlaw homosexuality, fornication, and other sexual sins, it never went so far as to call for the death penalty because members couldn't reach a consensus on that issue, Grimstead explained to me.

"I wear the name Reconstructionist happily," Grimstead said from his home in California. "If I and my friends were successful, then individuals in all 50 states would come to understand that there is a God who gave us information to run the world."

Unlike Grimstead, most Christian Righters shy away from the Reconstructionist label. Some simply don't believe in such extremism, while others can't afford to be associated with it politically. Regier never publicly espoused the movement's most radical ideas, but Grimstead said he never denounced COR either. "[Regier] said he had to disassociate himself from COR at least officially since he was working for the government in Oklahoma," Grimstead said. "I forget the exact reasons, except that things are more sensitive when you become a public official."

Although Christian right leaders shy away from the label, Reconstructionist rhetoric has been reflected in the speeches of all the right-wing Republican Christian leaders, from Falwell to Bauer to Robertson to Fort Lauderdale's own D. James Kennedy (who signed the manifesto with Regier and is a current COR member). They are all tied together in the end, different threads of the Great Commission. And they all fought hard to topple Bill Clinton -- Rushdoony, in fact, helped found the influential and conservative Rutherford Institute, which funded Paula Jones' lawsuit against the former president.

Robertson's Regent University, in Virginia, teaches some of Rushdoony's texts, though Robertson himself rejects the Reconstructionist label. The motto of Regent, which happens to be Rob Regier's alma mater, is "Christian Leadership to Change the World!" On the Website, Robertson is quoted as saying: "Our graduates are servant leaders [there's that phrase again] who are providing godly solutions to many of the challenges we face as a society."

And the Bushes have been giving many of these well-trained spiritual warriors entrée into the highest levels of federal and Florida government. The president, for his part, has appointed several Christian Righters, including making former Regent Dean Kay Cole James director of his White House Office of Personnel Management. Last year, he nominated John Bolton as undersecretary at the State Department in charge of arms control. All you need to know about Bolton: Jesse Helms called him "the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon."

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