“Prior to 9/11, the Taliban government in Afghanistan did not register very much on American radar screens, with one notable exception: when it blew up two colossal images of the Buddha in Bamiyan province in early 2001. But destruction of treasured artifacts isn’t just limited to the Taliban.
“There’s a right-wing politico-religious presence centred in the US, but with a global reach, engaging in similar practises, destroying religious and cultural artifacts as a key aspect of its ideology of “strategic level spiritual warfare” (SLSW).
“Until recently a fringe evangelical movement, warned against as deviant, “spiritual warfare” is rapidly positioning itself within America’s mainstream political right. It’s well past time for political journalists to start covering what this movement is up to.
“As an example, leaders have bragged online about the destruction of Native American religious artifacts, which their twisted ideology somehow sees as a liberating act, promoting “reconciliation” between estranged groups of people. Critics, however, see it as reflecting an eliminationist mindset, while traditional conservative evangelicals have denounced the ideology as un-biblical. Some even claim it is actually a form of pagan practice dressed up in Christian clothes, according such artifacts a spiritual power that the Bible itself denies.
“The ultimate goal is to replace secular democracy, both in America and around the world, with a Christian theocracy, an ideology known as “dominionism”. The supposed purpose is to “purify” the world for Christ’s return – again, strikingly similar to what the Taliban believe, but also significantly at odds with more common, long-standing Christian beliefs about the “end times”, as well as the nature and purpose of prayer, and the roles of human and divine power.
“This description might seem utterly fantastical, but copious evidence for it is hidden in plain sight, . . .”