It's been a bad week for Michelle Goldberg. Last Monday the Daily Beast columnist laid out a loopy conspiratorial post about how Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry were theocrats-in-waiting, Christian "dominionists" who were bound and determined to destroy the separation of church and state.
Since then, former Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers shot holes in Goldberg's argument, liberal religion reporter Lisa Miller dismissed Goldberg and other alarmists as misinformed, and now Daily Beast contributor and former Billy Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross is weighing in with an August 21 story entitled "Christian Dominionism Is a Myth" (emphasis mine):
Michelle Goldberg’s Aug. 14 post on The Daily Beast “A Christian Plot for Domination?” pejoratively positions Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry as Dominionists by association with an obscure theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism.
“If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional,” wrote Goldberg, adding to the din and confusion about what is becoming a defining issue of the 2012 presidential campaign.
Although her well-intentioned article may resonate in the echo chambers of her fellow East Coast media elite, Goldberg misapplies a broad label that few, if any, evangelicals use or with which they identify. It reveals more about the author’s personal perspective and lack of nuanced understanding of the topic than it provides useful information about the subjects themselves.
The collateral damage in such reporting is that readers are moved one step closer to perception defining reality, reinforcing the communications axiom "It’s not that people don’t know so much, but that they know so much that isn’t so.”
I don’t know or represent either candidate, nor do I have anything to do with their campaigns. But I am a lifelong evangelical who understands the foundational tenets of belief in the doctrine of love, according to the principles of Jesus in the Great Commandment and the Sermon on the Mount.
Having worked in media relations at the intersection of faith and culture for more than 30 years, I don’t believe there is a vast liberal conspiracy against Christians. Rather, it often comes down to colliding worldviews on the authority of Scripture and nuances of faith among ministries and media.
This week a national religion reporter asked me to identify the top 10 things the media get wrong about evangelicals and politics. In a spirit of collaboration, to foster understanding rather than further unsympathetic criticism, I inventoried principles from my experience of general areas of disconnect between the press and the pews, illustrated by anecdotal examples...
To read the rest of Ross's piece, click here.