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Harvard 'Social Transformation Conference' To Feature Avowed Witch Hunters

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[ Alternet readers unfamiliar with the global evangelical movement discussed in this story can get a good introduction by reading this March 1, 2010 Alternet story, Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin Are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America]

Footage from a November 2009 evangelical conference held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village near Honolulu shows scheduled "Social Transformation" conference speaker Dr. Pat Francis up onstage, her voice cracking with intensity, shouting out "In the name of Jesus we break the power, of witchcraft power, every witchcraft power, we drive you out!" While Salem has garnered all the attention, the real peak of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's witch craze was in what is now North Andover, where two dogs were tried and executed for witchcraft. It's been a few years now since witch hunting was in vogue in Massachusetts, but an upcoming conference to be held at Harvard this April 1-2 could help rekindle the practice.

As documented in my new 14 minute video, four of the speakers slated for the "Social Transformation" conference, to be held at the Harvard Northwest Science building, promote the idea that witchcraft is a pressing contemporary societal concern. Three of those also claim that entire family lines can be collectively cursed because of ancestral involvement in idolatry and witchcraft.

The video demonstrates that these four conference speakers are "apostles" in a global evangelical network whose leaders appear bent on restoring a Pre-Enlightenment worldview in which believers and society are beset by demons including succubi and incubi, menaced by the conjoined threats of apostasy and idolatry, and plagued by "generational curses"--these apostles represent a Christian supremacist movement whose leaders encourage believers to cleanse the Earth of infidels and competing belief systems.  

Controversy over the conference started with two pieces by Michael Jones of Change.org and Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out. Both organizations are committed to fighting for gay rights, and many of the speakers scheduled for the upcoming conference are tied to antigay organizing and rhetoric. As Jones' story documented, some of the featured speakers slated for the conference, such as Bill Hamon, seem to advocate imposing the death penalty for homosexuality.  

A hard-hitting op-ed in the Harvard Crimson published March 24 notes that  while proponents of the Social Transformation conference promise it will be an "existential encounter that will renew and revive your passion to be agents of change", rhetoric from featured speakers such as Lance Wallnau clashes wildly with portrayal of the conference as inclusive.

In an October 2010 broadcast Wallnau declared, "So you've got your homosexual activity, your abortion activity here, Islam coming in, you've got a financial collapse--all of this, to those of us who are Christians, is an apocalyptic confirmation that when you remove God from public discourse, when you don't line up your thinking with kingdom principles, you inevitably hit an iceberg like the Titanic and you go down." Do the speakers for the event have the right to express their opinions? Of course, but should they be allowed to co-brand themselves with Harvard? As the Crimson explains,

"Of course, we do not dispute the value of the First Amendment and believe that Harvard can and should invite to campus any speaker it wishes. In the case of speakers who are known widely for intolerant or strongly offensive views, however, they should not be put on a pedestal--quite literally--and be allowed to take advantage of speaking under a Harvard banner and the legitimacy that banner affords naturally affords them...

By hosting a panel discussion whose participants will merely voice their opinions without being called upon to justify their past incendiary remarks, the event seems to accept incredibly offensive opinions without providing any internal challenge. In a sense, the intellectual integrity of the entire Harvard community is consequently on trial with this coming conference." [emphasis mine]

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