As I introduce my new Center Against Religious Extremism report Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"), "In 2010 on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, author Jeff Sharlet publicly accused "The Family", which hosts the National Prayer Breakfast, of being directly responsible for the notorious Uganda Anti Homosexuality Bill, signed into law in early 2014. As this Center Against Religious Extremism (CARE) special report demonstrates, The Family is also tightly linked, through its affiliate The Gathering, to the controversial Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case which gave broad new religious freedom rights to private corporations." Last September, three generations of the Green family - owners of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain and central plaintiffs in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case - attended The Gathering 2013 along with a Christian nonprofit that played a supporting "air traffic control" role in the Hobby Lobby case and also litigated Conestoga Woods v. Sebelius. Also present at The Gathering 2013 was the National Christian Foundation, which has funded the law nonprofits that litigated both the Conestoga and Hobby Lobby cases. Because gay rights was the initial analytic vantage point from which I began studying "The Gathering", this new CARE report of mine is packed with with material on The Gathering as a central hub of evangelical anti-LGBTQ activism. But this concerns far more than gay rights. As I describe in my report,
"[The Gathering is] a community of quietly but deeply radical billionaire Christian patrons helping bankroll a mounting global onslaught against LGBT rights, who have led attacks on public schools and unions and heavily fund creationism and global warming denialism".
The Gathering is now trying to re-brand itself - with two NYT op-ed writers scheduled to speak at The Gathering 2014. But funding of the culture wars by The Gathering foundations has, over the last decade, actually increased quite dramatically (see: http://www.twocare.org/the-gathering-the-religious-rights-cash-cow/), and the Alliance Defending Freedom - which has participated in the World Congress of Families and worked with Russian legislators pushing anti-gay legislation - gave a presentation at The Gathering 2013. On other politics of The Gathering - one interesting fact which says a lot is that the Winter 2005 issue of The Gathering's quarterly newsletter featured an op-ed from a Christian Reconstructionist pastor who argued that disobedient and morally incorrigible children should be executed, per Leviticus 20:9. The pastor argued that Jesus held that position. The Gathering has extensive ideological and organizational links to the Christian Reconstructionism movement. The largest foundation which attends The Gathering - the National Christian Foundation - gave out roughly $670 million in grants in 2013 and is now ranked the 12th biggest nonprofit foundation in America that raises money from private sources, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. NCF funding of anti-gay organizations and ministries, active from Uganda to Russia, is so extensive that I've taken to describing the NCF as the most prolific funder of anti-gay activism in the United States. One of my ongoing CARE projects has been the creation of a growing mini-encyclopedia just to catalog and describe all the anti-gay causes that the the National Christian Foundation bankrolls. ( see: The National Christian Foundation Anti-LGBT Funding Encyclopedia.) I'd post the whole report here, but it's a bit too long. Some other useful bits:
"The community represented at this annual event - whose membership and foundations give upwards of one billion dollars a year in grants - serves as the financial wing of The Family and represents the main private funding stream bankrolling the ongoing culture wars (see Twocare.org special report, The Gathering: The Religious Right's Cash Cow), including the mounting international onslaught on LGBT rights and the legal campaign against Obamacare." [...] Last year, from September 12-15, 2013 at the plush Phoenician Hotel in Scottsdale - a Versailles of the desert which bills itself as "Arizona's premier luxury resort destination", leading American evangelicals on the hard religious and political right, members of multimillionaire and billionaire clans - including owners of the Hobby Lobby chain - who represent some of the world's biggest fortunes gathered, socialized, dined and, as they do every year at The Gathering, laid plans for the slow motion religious, cultural, legal, and governmental re-engineering of, and Christian supremacist hegemony over, America and the world. The Gathering community includes many of the richest family dynasties on the Christian right. In any given year at the Gathering one might find members and representatives of the billionaire Green, Coors, DeVos, Prince, Friess, Maclellan, DeMoss, and Ahmanson families, as well as heads of the Templeton foundation and the gargantuan National Christian Foundation, now the 12th biggest charitable foundation in America that raises money from private sources according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The NCF is one of the biggest single funders of The Fellowship Foundation and the Wilberforce Foundation, The Family's two key nonprofits (see footnote.) NCF funding of these two nonprofits, from 2001-2012, topped $5.4 million dollars. Giving their testimony of faith at the inaugural speech of The Gathering 2013 - inside the lavish air-conditioned hotel ensconced by The Phoenician's water park and 27-hole golf course sustained by extravagant irrigation amidst the red crumbling hills of drought-plagued Arizona - were Mart and Tyler Green of the Green Family, whose patriarch Hobby Lobby founder David Green has been identified by Forbes magazine as the "Biblical Billionaire Backing The Evangelical Movement", the biggest funder of evangelical causes in America. Enthused Mart Green, "We enjoy having three generations here at The Gathering." His family's credo, he explained, was: "Love God intimately, live extravagant generosity." Green spoke about his ongoing project to facilitate the translation of the Bible into developing world languages; his son Tyler talked of the burden of wealth - the need to give wisely. It was not the first time Greens had addressed The Gathering - in 2008, Mart Green briefed The Gathering community on his family's $70 million-plus bailout of financially troubled Oral Roberts University. But there was nothing in Mart and Tyler Green's brief, almost perfunctory 20-minute testimony to explain what pressing reason might have led three generations of Greens to make the nearly 1,000 mile multi-generational pilgrimage from their Oklahoma City area homes to Scottsdale, near Phoenix, Arizona, to attend The Gathering 2013. But suspiciously close at hand were the Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Conestoga Woods v. Sebelius cases destined to soon be merged into the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case in which, in a momentous and highly controversial June 30, 2014 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the contraceptive mandate that had been added to the Affordable Care Act by the Department of Health and Human Services and held that private corporations such as Hobby Lobby can have religious freedom rights. Joining the Greens at The Gathering 2013 was Alan Sears, president of the biggest Christian law nonprofit in America, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was then litigating a whopping 19 out of the 40-odd lawsuits - including the Conestoga Woods v. Sebelius case - filed in Federal district courts across the country that sought to exempt private for-profit corporations from reproductive health care mandates in the Affordable Care Act. The choice to hold The Gathering 2013 in Scottsdale is quite suggestive of the major role the ADF played in the event - Scottsdale, Arizona happens to be the headquarters of the massive Alliance Defending Freedom. And it was not the first time The Gathering has been held in the Arizona location. In 2006, as legal battles over same-sex marriage were breaking out across the nation, The Gathering was also held in Scottsdale. Then in 2009 - as the pivotal Hollingsworth v. Perry case challenging the constitutionality of California's anti-same sex marriage ballet amendment Proposition 8 was underway, with Alliance Defense Fund lawyers litigating in favor of Prop 8 - The Gathering was again held in Scottsdale, though the official program of the conference made no mention of an ADF briefing. Hollingsworth v. Perry was one of the ADf's rare defeats; the law nonprofit boasts that it has won 80% of its cases. [Note: The Gathering members, and Gathering-funded nonprofits and their board members represented an astonishing 7 out of the top 12 contributors who funded the 2008 pro-Proposition 8 campaign. Howard Ahmanson, Jr.'s Fieldstead & Co. gave $1,395,000; John ("Jack") Templeton, head of the John Templeton Foundation, gave $1,100,000; the National Organization for Marriage gave $1,041,134.80; Focus On the Family chipped in $539,643.66; the American Family Association contributed $500,000; Elsa Prince-Broekhuizen, mother of Erik Prince and Betsy DeVos, and who has served on the boards of several NCF and The Gathering-funded nonprofits including Focus On The Family, Focus On The Family Action, and the Council For National Policy, gave $450,000; Concerned Women for America kicked in $409,000.] During a special ADF briefing at The Gathering 2006, ADF President Sears - who is co-author of the 2003 anti-gay book "The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing The Principle Threat To Religious Freedom Today", which accuses the LGBT rights movement of having "followed a strategy akin to what Hitler used in the 1920s and 1930s to take over Germany" (page 27) - painted for his Gathering audience a bleak portrait of the dark days prior to the launch of the ADF in 1994: "Hillary Health Care was on its way... Much of country's religious heritage had been decimated..."
"I am a positive voice for Vallejo and support Vallejo business expansion. I will find businesses to come to Vallejo! We are a "Destination" and great for tourism. I supported Solano 360 for the many jobs it can bring. Specifically, I'm currently engaging developers and county supervisors to bring a life size Noah's Ark project there" --- Solano County Democratic Party and local AFL/CIO-endorsed candidate for Vallejo City Council Anthony Summers, interview with the Vallejo Times Herald, October 29, 2013 "I was totally shocked when I met Mr. Summers yesterday at the Farmer's Market. He stated that he was not behind the actual Solano 360 but wanted a "Noah's Ark" development at the Fairgrounds. In addition, he wanted a "Nazareth scene" for the project. I was appalled." -- Solano County Sierra Club member Joseph Feller, from the Vallejo Independent, November 3, 2013
In one of the more noteworthy and even historic developments in recent California Democratic Party political history, the Solano County branch of the Democratic Party and a local AFL-CIO have each endorsed a Vallejo pastor, currently running for Vallejo City Council, who a few days ago disclosed that he is negotiating with unnamed developers to bring a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark to Vallejo, California - an economically troubled city only a short commute by boat across the Bay from San Francisco. If pastor Anthony Summers wins in the upcoming city council election tomorrow, November 5th, 2013, we may soon be asking, "will that be a union construction job ?" and "will it have animatronic dinosaurs just like the Kentucky Creationism Museum ?" At first blush it might sound crazy, but why not ? Consider -- given the lasting power of politicized Christian neo-fundamentalism in America, which just helped shut down the U.S. federal government, an argument could be made that nothing says "made in America" better than a Noah's Ark theme park. But Noah's Ark-based economic development may not be the only innovative approach to urban renewal and the public sector that candidate Summers brings to the table. Another possibility is a bold alternative to President Barack Obama's admittedly mundane push to make sure all (or most, at any rate) Americans have adequate health care. Consider Anthony "Tony" Summers' startling revelation, from a June 21, 2012 conference call - which really amounts to the apotheosis of America's experiment with "faith-based initiatives", raising the dead through prayer :
"We have seen so many miracles happen here in our city, and around us, with people that we know -- again, from literally seeing people healed, lives changed, literally the dead raised..." -- Pastor and candidate for Vallejo City Council Anthony Summers, from conference call organized by Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network, June 21, 2012"
If faith can truly, as pastor Summers claims, raise the dead then what can't prayer treat ? Broken limbs, cancer, diabetes or severe mental illness are trivial by comparison. So it would seem that doctors and hospitals, and indeed all of the advances of modern medicine we take for granted, everything that medical science has brought us since the Medieval era of blood-letting and the "Four Humors", is quite unnecessary and, indeed, an egregious waste of taxpayer money. Needless to say, Planned Parenthood clinics would be redundant too. Especially because, in a bold departure from the official national Democratic Party plank, pastor Summers opposes legal abortion. Summers' close partnership with internationally influential evangelist Ed Silvoso (whose ministry partners have by some accounts had a profound and globally inspirational impact on LGBTI rights in Uganda) also raises the prospect Vallejo might soon see an innovative trash disposal program which could promote ideological, religious, and cultural cohesion among Vallejo city residents as well. While leaders in Silvoso's International Transformation Network -- which fosters innovative neo-totalitarian urban renewal projects across the globe -- are touting Vallejo, CA as a "model" experiment to inspire other like-minded and economically downtrodden American cities and towns, the original model was pioneered in the Argentine city of Resistencia in the late 1980s where, as Ed Silvoso describes in one of his books,
"a 100-gallon drum was set up to the left of the platform for the new converts to dispose of satanic paraphernalia. As people came forward, they dumped all kinds of occult-related items into it, many of them wrapped in newspaper. Before praying for the people, gasoline was poured on the contents of the drum, a match was struck and every evil thing inside went up in flames. Many times, spontaneous deliverances occurred when a specific fetish was burned and the spell was broken."
As his colleague Cindy Jacobs suggested [see video] at one of Silvoso's international ITN conferences in late 2008, public bonfires can be an effective way of neutralizing other problems besetting America's cities, such as idolatry and witchcraft:

The ambitious scope of this urban renewal effort - which Ed Silvoso's close colleague C. Peter Wagner has likened to the civic improvement efforts of historic urban renewalist Savonarola, comes out in the carefully thought out roster of unnecessary items and literature to purge by fire, and other means, from cluttered city landscapes:
"C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Ed Silvoso and, Chuck Pierce, have repeatedly emphasized in their writings the need for believers to destroy or neutralize, by burning, smashing, or flushing down toilets, objects deemed to be unholy, including profane books and "idolatrous" religious texts (such as Books of Mormon), religious relics (such as statues of Catholic saints, the Buddha, or Hindu gods), and native art (such as African masks, Hopi Indian Kachina dolls, and totem poles.)"
Not only does pastor Anthony Summers -- who teaches courses on "discipleship" based on Ed Silvoso's writing, helps distribute Silvoso's idea-packed books, and stars in Silvoso's 2012 video showing the inspirational example of "Transformation in Vallejo" -- come with such impressive urban renewal, healthcare, and public beautification ideas in hand, he also can help reinvigorate American populist democracy, with Silvoso's impressively candid ideas on political organizing:
"The discipling of nations is our primary task on Earth... To disciple someone means to turn that person into a follower of the teachings you espouse... The Romans "discipled" nations by conquering and imposing on them Pax Romana. Lenin and his followers "discipled" Russia and the Soviet Union by molding in a regimented and all-encompassing way the lives of millions with Communist philosophy. Mao did the same in China, the largest nation on earth. Militant Muslims actively take over nations and disciple them a la Ayatollah Khomeini; and even though they do not use the term "disciple", they are making entire populations into followers -disciples- of Mohammad." -- page 42, Transformation - Change The Marketplace And You Change The World
To top it all off, Silvoso even provides an innovative (and cheap!) faith-based approach to that could potentially make the entire city of San Francisco, as an LGBTI-friendly redoubt across the Bay from Vallejo, thoroughly unnecessary:
"As soon as the now ex-gay man came up from the waters [baptism], he was struck by the power of God, evicting the demonic forces that had controlled him for so long and rewiring his psyche correctly to enable him to feel like a man again." - Transformation, page 167
And, while many critics have accused conservative evangelicals of retrograde, anti-science tendencies, evangelist Silvoso brings a breath of fresh air, by demonstrating how such life-changing and liberating miracles can be effected technologically, at a distance, with computer tablets and iPhones. In the face of such profound and innovative approaches for rebuilding urban America and even rewiring American brains, a mere 500-foot long replica of Noah's Ark pales by comparison. No doubt pastor Summers will richly reward his Democratic Party and AFL/CIO endorsements, should those succeed in lofting him onto the Vallejo City Council; and it is difficult to imagine how Anthony Summers' future political career could represent anything less than a "transformational" win-win for the residents of Vallejo and, indeed, all of California. For other, related stories on Anthony Summers' Vallejo candidacy, see: A Fiendish Strategy To Infiltrate and Break up Traditional Democratic Party Coalitions (Bruce Wilson, October 31, 2013, Talk To Action)

Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Union “Apostles” Fielding Another Democratic Candidate (Rachel Tabachnick, October 31, 2013, Political Research Associates

Vallejo City Council Race : Democrat-Endorsed Pastor Tied To Anti-Union, Anti-LGBT Movement (Talk2action.org, Bruce Wilson, 10/31/2013)

Anti-Gay Christians Target Vallejo, CA Government, With Democratic Party Help (Talk2action.org, Bruce Wilson, 10/22/2013)

Political Notebook: Vallejo pastor, LGBT residents clash over city council race (Bay Area Reporter, Matthew S. Bajko, 10/31/2013)

Get Straight Or Just Die (Vallejo Independent Bulletin, Marc Garman, 09/19/2013)

Anthony Summers Responds (Vallejo Independent Bulletin, Marc Garman and Anthony Summers, 09/23/2013)

October 19, 2013 Solano County Democrats meeting concerning the endorsement of the candidacy of pastor Anthony Summers (video, ~1 hour)

"The discipling of nations is our primary task on Earth... To disciple someone means to turn that person into a follower of the teachings you espouse... The Romans "discipled" nations by conquering and imposing on them Pax Romana. Lenin and his followers "discipled" Russia and the Soviet Union by molding in a regimented and all-encompassing way the lives of millions with Communist philosophy. Mao did the same in China, the largest nation on earth. Militant Muslims actively take over nations and disciple them a la Ayatollah Khomeini; and even though they do not use the term "disciple", they are making entire populations into followers -disciples- of Mohammad." -- page 42, Transformation - Change The Marketplace And You Change The World by Ed Silvoso (2007, Gospel Light books) "As soon as the now ex-gay man came up from the waters [baptism], he was struck by the power of God, evicting the demonic forces that had controlled him for so long and rewiring his psyche correctly to enable him to feel like a man again." - Transformation, page 167
Last Saturday at a heated local Democratic Party meeting near Vallejo, CA, Vallejo Independent editor Mark Garman addressed the local California Democratic Party's endorsement of pastor Summers,
"This is a human rights issue. Last year Anthony Summers made a movie with a guy named Ed Silvoso - who preaches that gay people are infested with demons, demons which need to be driven out... It's as simple as this - you have endorsed a candidate who has chosen to affiliate himself with a known hate group."
In their writings and rallies, they encourage their followers to burn art, objects and scripture associated with all competing religious and philosophical belief systems. They have helped craft a bill that would legislatively annihilate an entire segment of humanity. They are not an Afghanistan-based Islamic insurgency or a 1930s-era German political movement. They are native to American Christianity, and they are moving to take entire U.S. cities. On September 18, 2013, an explosive story in the Vallejo Independent Bulletin, "Get Straight Or Just Die", drew attention to Democratic Party-endorsed candidate for Vallejo City Council pastor Anthony Summers and his ties to the openly dominionist New Apostolic Reformation leader Ed Silvoso -- who proposes that evangelical Christians should become engaged in politics in order to "disciple" nations in the manner that Lenin and his revolutionary Bolsheviks took over Russia and the Islamic followers of Ayatollah Khomeini took over Iran. As the Vallejo Independent Bulletin story documented, Summers has appeared in Silvoso's promotional videos - which have touted candidate Summers as an active participation in Silvoso's "Transformation Vallejo". Many Americans assume that, as a political movement, the religious right is declining or moribund. But evangelist Ed Silvoso's maximally politicized charismatic Christianity is active internationally - it is tied to an effort in the African nation of Uganda to mandate the death penalty for "repeat" homosexuality - and Silvoso has ongoing "transformation" efforts in the U.S. as well, - such as in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Vallejo, CA. In July 2009, while a battle raged in Vallejo's schools concerning religiously-motivated bullying of a lesbian high school student, Silvoso and his movement leaders held a waterfront rally in Vallejo, which featured an appearance from apostle and prophet Cindy Jacobs - who would later become notorious due to her claim that flocks of blackbirds dropped dead from the sky, victims of God's wrath, after President Barack Obama's decided to rescind the Clinton-era "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" rule concerning gays in the military. Endorsing the event was Vallejo city Mayor Osby Davis, who in an event brochure was quoted stating, ""If we do our part, God will heal our city". The same year, mayor Davis told the New York Times, "The sins that keep you out of heaven are not the just those sins of being gay, those are sins of lying, murdering, unforgiving, all kinds of sins"; also in 2009, Davis appeared onstage with Ed Silvoso at another Vallejo prayer rally, at which the Vallejo mayor gave a ringing endorsement of Silvoso's efforts to "transform" the city, stating, "I really believe in the message." Now, as Vallejo Independent Bulletin editor Marc Garman suggested me in a September interview, the political bid of Vallejo City Council candidate pastor Anthony Summers - who is openly participating in Silvoso's movement - could help lock in control of Vallejo city government for years. And Judging by testimony from concerned Vallejo City residents, who have testified to pastor Anthony Summers' alleged efforts in 2009 to undermine an anti-bullying program in Vallejo's public schools, such an outcome could also lock in or exacerbate the bullying of LGBT teens : On Saturday, October 19, 2013, at a contentious, emotionally charged local Democratic Party meeting in Martinez, CA, concerning controversial Democratic Party-endorsed candidate for Vallejo City Council pastor Anthony Summers, a 15-year veteran Vallejo public school teacher recalled before her audience the intense battle over bullying in Vallejo schools back in 2009,
"I was really very involved in the anti-bulling stuff - it was vicious. It was vitriolic. It was horrible. I sat across the table from people who wanted me dead. I mean, really - who believed I would burn in hell. OK ? And said so, to my face. And these were the people the school district brought to the program, to try to craft an anti-bullying program - that we were required to do because we lost a lawsuit, because a student was bullied, not by other students but by faculty and staff at high school... It's just unreal, the kind of hatred we face. Vallejo is not ready for an elected official who does not believe we need to fight this fight... This issue is current right now the rights of gay and lesbian people. We need people who are elected in our city who will take that fight on."
One after another, they testified on how pastor Anthony Summers, who is an active participant in a movement that has worked to crush LGBT rights in the Africa nation of Uganda, had worked to undermine creation of an anti-bullying program in Vallejo's public schools. One woman active in local Democratic Party politics stated, "I was stunned when I learned of this endorsement. Basic bedrock values of Democrats are civil rights for everybody. Equal justice for everyone." One man explained, "I've been talking with Anthony Summers for years. We actually went head-to-head with him in front of the Vallejo School Board when he was actively working to dismantle an anti-bullying proposal." As the man testified, in 2009 Democratic Party-endorsed candidate Anthony Summers had declared homosexuality to be a "very public sin". He went on,
"At that time, in 2009, there was a girl, Rochelle Hamilton, in our school, that was contemplating suicide. That contemplation of suicide is what led to an ALCU-mandated implementation of an anti-bullying campaign in Vallejo and he actively worked against that and - not only himself but he was working with two other groups from Sacramento, Capital Resource Institute and the Pacific Justice Institute - which are both very violent, anti-gay lobbying groups."
In a May 20th, 2010 Huffington Post statement, Rochelle Hamilton described the abusive climate in the Vallejo high school she had attended:
"Every day, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face discrimination, harassment and even violence because of who they are. In my case, I was called "ungodly," and told I was "going to hell" for my "sin." I was asked, "What are you, a man or a woman?" And I regularly had to hear that it's "not right to be this way." What may surprise you is who my harassers were. All those comments came from teachers and staff at my old high school in Vallejo. All I wanted was to be able to go to school and be myself. I couldn't do that when adults were judging me and telling me that something was wrong with me. I was even required to join a counseling group that discouraged students from being LGBT -- like that's even possible. How was I supposed to learn like that?"
The bullying of Hamilton led to an ACLU-backed lawsuit which led in turn to a settlement requiring the creation of an anti-bullying program in Hamilton's former school - a campaign which, speakers at the contentious meeting testified, Democratic Party-endorsed candidate Anthony Summers had actively worked to undermine. Ed Silvoso's "Transformation Vallejo" project is one of many around the United States and the globe. One of Silvoso's promotional videos, "Transformation in Uganda", presents, as Uganda members of Silvoso's effort, pastors who are in the vanguard of the evangelical crusade against gay rights in Uganda. One of the members of Silvoso's Uganda "transformation" team, Julius Oyet, even claims to have helped conceive the potentially genocidal anti-LGBT so-called "kill the gays" bill that has loomed before Uganda's parliament since 2009. The involvement of Silvoso's movement in inciting anti-LGBT hatred in Uganda is subject of the 2013 documentary God Loves Uganda On the U.S. domestic front, one of Ed Silvoso's recent transformation efforts was an attempt to win the governorship of Hawaii: At a July 2008 prayer rally, Hawaii Lt. Governor James "Duke" Aiona testified to his active participation the Ed Silvoso-initiated effort called "Transformation Hawaii". Then, in November 2009, at a conference center near Honolulu, Hawaii, the future 2010 election Republican-elect Hawaii gubernatorial candidate James "Duke" Aiona, then serving as Hawaii's Lt. Governor, told his audience, "We're one body of Christ, we're one church, we're all here to disciple the nations, here in Hawaii and everywhere else - and I want you all to know that." Up onstage at the November 2009 conference, Ed Silvoso and his fellow International Transformation Network members - leaders in the dominionist charismatic Christian movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation - then blessed and anointed Aiona, in a ceremony very similar to the public anointings of Sarah Palin and, more recently, Ted Cruz. Later at the conference, during a feverish ceremony, with 2010 Hawaii Republican candidate for United States Senate Cam Cavasso among the onlookers, amidst a crescendo rising of ambient band music, NAR apostle and evangelist Pat Francis shouted out, her voice cracking with emotion,
"...We break generational curses, we break generational curses, we break generational curses, and we plead the blood of Jesus over every altar of demon, over every altar of ancestral spirit, over every altar of false religion, and in Jesus name we declare that you are the King of Hawaii, you are the Lord of Hawaii. We dispossess the gods of Hawaii, and we lift up the one and true God, Jesus Christ. And we are charged, standing guard, and we put our foot on Hawaii. And you said every place we put our foot, we will rule. So we are the Kingdom, the Kingdom is here. "
In a post-election interview, gubernatorial candidate Aiona attributed his loss in the election in part to "Transformation Hawaii", a local affiliate of Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network - a connection that my research and journalism had exhaustively documented in the lead up to the election. But what might have been in Hawaii - and what may come to pass in Vallejo - was starkly evident during a pro-civil unions rally held in August 2010 at the Hawaii state capital building. As documented by Hawaii resident and activist Carroll Cox, pro-LGBT rights demonstrators were, in effect, treated as second-class citizens, while members of Ed Silvoso's Transformation Hawaii effort were welcomed into the capital building and even the office of then-Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, who would proceed to veto the HB444 civil union bill and, the next day, go on Hawaii radio to compare same-sex marriage to incest. As Cox asked, about the event,
"Why is it that the people who came to the Capitol building in support of the gay community and HB444 were required to obtain a Special Use Permit and proof of liability insurance in order to participate in a rally, but the pastors, church members, and those rallying against the civil rights legislation were not similarly required to obtain the necessary permits? And, why is it that certain people were invited to a special prayer meeting inside the Governor’s office, but others were excluded?"
"A wildly racist, pro-segregation school privatization "nuclear option" of the 1950s that was designed to protect Georgia's racially segregated schools has recrudesced, to be recycled and repackaged - with the help of Michelle Rhee and her supporters (such as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg) - as a panacea for all that's said to be ailing America's schools." As I explore in a new Talk To Action report, embattled school privatization advocate Michelle Rhee, head of StudentsFirst and subject of the hagiographic documentary "Waiting For Superman", claims that "education is the civil rights issue of our time" -- But privatization schemes promoted by StudentsFirst and its Tea Party-aligned 2012 "Educator of the Year" were originally conceived by racist white Southern politicians as a plan to thwart the desegregation of racially separate schools mandated by the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Decision. The neo-voucher school privatization schemes now running in almost 1/4 of the states in the Union and which are lustily backed by Rhee's StudentsFirst organization are horrible for so many reasons, it's hard to know where to begin. First, as an article in the October 2013 issue of Rolling Stone The Hidden War Against Gay Teens examines, the neo-voucher programs now operating in twelve U.S. states that divert private and corporate taxpayer dollars away from state coffers to instead pay for students to attend private schools (many of which are religious schools) are now supporting a new form of segregationism that targets LGBTI students. As Rolling Stone's Alex Morris crisply explains,
"Georgia, along with 11 other states (Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Rhode Island, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, New Hampshire, Louisiana and, most recently, Alabama), has adopted laws – sometimes referred to as "neovouchers" – to grant dollar-for-dollar tax credits to people who donate money to provide children with scholarships to private schools. In theory, such a plan has the potential to help a lot of students, but in practice, especially in deeply religious places like Georgia, it has also meant that millions of dollars have been redirected from public funds to privately run Student Scholarship Organizations, which can then funnel the money to schools with strict anti-gay policies. Because the money goes straight to the SSO and never actually enters the public coffers, it's free and clear of being considered a "public fund" – allowing church and state to technically be kept separate. All of which may sound fishy, but consider this: It's fully legal because the laws make it so. And, as the school-choice movement gains ground, it's certain that other states will soon pass similar legislation."
Alex Morris' October 2012 Rolling Stone article also documents viciously anti-gay content taught by these neo-voucher funded Christian fundamentalist schools:
"The Accelerated Christian Education's 11th-grade science materials include a section on "Man's Corruptions," in which students are taught, "In Old Testament times, God commanded that homosexuals be put to death. Since God never commanded death for normal or acceptable actions, it is unreasonable to say that homosexuality is normal." A biology textbook published by the Bob Jones University Press begins a section on homosexuality by quoting Romans and goes on to say that "God calls homosexuality a sin and condemns those who engage in it." Such textbooks, and others with a similar stance on homosexuality, are part of the core curriculum in Georgia's Christian schools."
But that's only the first level of awfulness inherent to StudentsFirst's mendacious public relations-driven school privatization beatification efforts, which elide the stark reality of what StudentsFirst is really up to. As I detail in my Talk To Action report, the neo-voucher schemes Michelle Rhee backs were originally conceived as a cynical dodge by which Southern pro-segregation states such as Georgia could avoid implementing the court-mandated school desegregation required by the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which judged racially segregated schools to be unconstitutional. I was personally stunned to uncover this troubled lineage, earlier this year, when I stumbled across a mention in White Flight - Atlanta And The Making Of Modern Conservatism, by Kevin M. Kruse (2005, Princeton University Press). On page 132, Kevin Kruse describes,
"At the heart of their plan to defend schools segregation, for instance, stood a revolutionary scheme called the "private-school plan." In 1953, a full year before Brown, Governor Talmadge advanced a constitutional amendment giving the general assembly the power to privatize the state's entire system of public education. In the event of a court-ordered desegregation, school buildings would be closed, and students would instead receive grants to attend private, segregated schools. "We can maintain separate schools regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court", Talmadge promised, "by reverting to a private system, subsidizing the child rather than the political subdivision."
Indeed, as I show in my report, there's even video available from the period, of a televised appearance by Georgia governor Herman Talmadge, staunch defender of segregation, describing the plan to privatize Georgia's public school through a voucher program. In short, a racist, pro-segregation school privatization "nuclear option" of the 1950s has recrudesced, to be recycled and repackaged, with the help of Michelle Rhee and her supporters (such as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg), as a panacea for all that's said to be ailing America's schools. As I write in my report,
"This is mind boggling, because the mechanism Talmadge envisioned, to protect Georgia's racist regime of segregated schools, is exactly the mechanism now used to channel taxpayer dollars to private schools in twelve states across the union."
But wait! - there's more: In its short existence, StudentsFirst has twice opted, in its choice for its first two nominated "educators of the year", to pick virulently anti-gay Southern state legislators tied to the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party that just shut down the Federal government. In 2013, as I detail, StudentsFirsts' 2013 "educator of the year" John Ragan, a Tennessee state representative, was outed by LGBT rights groups for his role in sponsoring antigay state legislation that would have, as I wrote, "not only blocked discussion of homosexuality in Tennessee schools but also required school officials to tell parents about students who are gay or who simply were suspected of being gay." But StudentsFirst's 2012 pick for "educator of the year", former Georgia state senator "Chip" Rogers, who has so far escaped critical scrutiny, is if anything even more problematic than Ragan. As I reveal, Rogers,
has arguably played a more substantive role in battling LGBTI rights [than Ragan] - by helping expand (see page 10, linked PDF) Georgia's tax credit program that, as reported by the New York Times on January 20, 2013 - channels millions of state tax dollars to virulently anti-gay Georgia private religious schools that use creationist educational curricula filled with inaccuracies, historical revisionism, heavy political slant, denigration of non-Protestant fundamentalist religious beliefs, and bizarre pseudo-scientific claims."
As I detail, StudentFirst's "educator of the year" Rogers' political career came to an untimely end following a scandal which ensued after Senator Rogers presided over an October 2012 Georgia Republican caucus session during which a Georgia Tea Party member gave a four-hour presentation claiming, among other things, that the Obama Administration was using Cold War-era mind-control techniques as part of a United Nations conspiracy to impose a totalitarian one-world government. I chose not to focus, in my report, specifically on the question of what actually gets taught in neo-voucher funded schools - but the grim reality is that these StudentsFirst-backed neo-voucher schemes are financing fundamentalist schools which teach from fundamentalist textbooks packed with factual errors, heavy partisan political slant, and even wild-eyed fabrications - for instance, until a widely noted 2012 controversy (which I helped originally provoke) a science module in one popular curriculum, Accelerated Christian Education, taught that the Loch Ness Monster is real, has been tracked by submarine, and disproves evolution. But that's perhaps most central to what's corrupt, shameful and indeed bizarre about StudentsFirst's claim to be improving education in America -- looking past the heavy PR glitz to actual outcomes, the result of privatization schemes backed by StudentsFirst's Michelle Rhee, and her supporters such as newly-elected Democratic U.S. Senator Cory Booker, we can see a grim degradation in educational quality, for the simple, shocking reason that most neo-voucher-funded schools are unregulated and, until recently, American secular society has been almost wholly unaware of what's in curricula they teach from. The ACE fundamentalist school curriculum, which has been extensively and devastatingly analyzed by U.K. critic Jonny Scaramanga (himself a self-described former victim of the ACE's dubious pedagogy) is led by the more popular A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press textbooks commonly used in fundamentalist Christian schools now funded by neo-voucher privatization schemes backed by StudentsFirst. And as I helped chronicle in a 2011 235-minute video documentary that I co-produced with researcher Rachel Tabachnick, which examined school privatization effort in Pennsylvania, A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press texts,
"teach that dinosaurs lived on earth with humans; deny global warming; promote hostility toward other religions and other sectors of Christianity (particularly Roman Catholicism); provide a biased and often factually incorrect version of history; and teach extreme laissez-faire economics, claimed to be biblically-based."
For a 5-minute video excerpt from "School Choice: Taxpayer-Funded Creationism, Bigotry, and Bias" that shows the actual content of A Beka and Bob Jones University Press textbooks, see this video. An August 2012 Mother Jones story, 14 Wacky "Facts" Kids Will Learn in Louisiana's Voucher Schools, snappily repackaged (albeit with a few factual errors) content featured in the video. As the 5-minute video shows, the following claims can be found in A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press textbooks:
"- Only ten percent of Africans can read or write, because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists. - "the [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross... In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians." - "God used the 'Trail of Tears' to bring many Indians to Christ." - It "cannot be shown scientifically that that man-made pollutants will one day drastically reduce the depth of the atmosphere's ozone layer." - "God has provided certain 'checks and balances' in creation to prevent many of the global upsets that have been predicted by environmentalists." - the Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda. - "Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created." - Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential win was due to an imaginary economic crisis created by the media. - "The greatest struggle of all time, the Battle of Armageddon, will occur in the Middle East when Christ returns to set up his kingdom on earth." " For more, see Rachel Tabachnick's Vouchers/Tax Credits Funding Creationism, Revisionist History, Hostility Toward Other Religions
"The pastor [Huch] referred to Proverbs 13:22, a little while ago, which says that the wealth of the wicked is stored for the righteous. And it is through the kings, anointed to take dominion, that that transfer of wealth is going to occur." - Rafael Cruz, August 26, 2012

In a sermon last year at an Irving, Texas, megachurch that helped elect Ted Cruz to the United States Senate, Cruz' father Rafael Cruz indicated that his son was among the evangelical Christians who are anointed as "kings" to take control of all sectors of society, an agenda commonly referred to as the "Seven Mountains" mandate, and "bring the spoils of war to the priests", thus helping to bring about a prophesied "great transfer of wealth", from the "wicked" to righteous gentile believers. link to video of Rafael Cruz describing the "great transfer of wealth" and the role of anointed "kings" in various sectors of society, including government, who are to "bring the spoils of war to the priests".

Rafael Cruz' dominionist sermon given August 26, 2012, at the New Beginnings Church of pastor Larry Huch, in Irving, Texas has already received considerable scrutiny due to an excellent Huffington Post commentary by Methodist Associate Pastor Morgan Guyton, who noted the explicitly dominionist nature of pastor Cruz' sermon, which concerned the divine mandate for believers, with anointing of "kings" in their respective spheres, to take control over all sectors of society.

Cruz spoke of "Kings who are anointed to go to war, win the war, and bring the spoils of war to the priests."

Discussion of the now-notorious speech by Rafael Cruz has missed the fact that Ted Cruz was subsequently blessed and anointed by prominent dominionist pastors, in effect as a "king" in the political/governmental sphere, at a special blessing ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, at a July 19th-20th 2013 rally designed to draw pastors into politics.

But in a very real, mundane sense Ted Cruz has already helped deliver hundreds of millions of dollars, or more, to the evangelical right. Cruz' past service - as a "king" who brought "spoils to the priests" - is a matter of established record; as I revealed in a prior story, no less than a top adviser to President George W. Bush has stated that in 1999 Ted Cruz played a major role in helping the Bush for President campaign lock down the conservative evangelical vote in the 2000 election.

One can interpret the "great transfer of wealth" -- predicted by Ted Cruz' father Rafael Cruz, and by Pastor Larry Huch, who threw his Texas megachurch's considerable heft behind the 2012 Cruz for Senate campaign -- in magical terms, sure.

But Ted Cruz' apparently notable role in getting George W. Bush into the presidency led in turn to Bush's "Faith Based Initiative" - that continues to this day under two successive Obama administrations and which, during the Bush years, funneled billions of dollars to churches and institutions associated with the religious right.

In other words, the "great transfer of wealth" is about more than wishful thinking. It's about an ongoing effort, by leaders and institutions of the evangelical right, to gradually gobble up the secular sphere of government.

Thus, for example, fast growing Christian schools such as the late Moral Majority co-founder Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, which now vacuums up hundreds of millions of dollars in federal student aid money each year. Or the hundreds of millions of diverted tax dollars now flowing, in a least 12 U.S. states, under so-called "neo-voucher" schemes, to private schools - many of which, as explored in a new Rolling Stone story, have virulently anti-LGBT policies. Under Bush, too, several billion dollars per year in USAID funding were shifted from secular aid nonprofits to religious ones, some them holding anti-gay and reactionary, even theocratic, underlying ideology.

I could go on at length about this dreary subject, which involves major shifts in government social service funding streams. But instead, let's turn now to the "kings for dominion":

In his August 26th, 2012 guest sermon at Larry Huch's Irving, TX megachurch, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz' father Rafael Cruz, in what was not the first of his guest appearances at the church, explained,

 

"The pastor [Huch] referred to Proverbs 13:22, a little while ago, which says that the wealth of the wicked is stored for the righteous. And it is through the kings, anointed to take dominion, that that transfer of wealth is going to occur. God, even though he's sovereign, even though he's omnipotent, he doesn't let it rain out of the sky - he's going to use people to do it."

Introducing pastor Cruz, in the context that it would soon be Rosh Hashanah, which would ring in the Jewish New Year of 2012, Larry Huch had stated, invoking dominionist numerology,

 

"The number 12 means 'divine government', that God begins to rule and reign. Not Wall Street, not Washington - God's people and his kingdom will begin to rule and reign"

As Huch spoke, Rafael Cruz could be seen in the audience, standing next to Huch's wife Tiz, hand upraised to receive and magnify Huch's prophetic blessing. Huch continued,

 

"I know that's why God got Rafael's son elected - Ted Cruz, the next Senator. But here's the exciting thing - and that's why I know it's timely for him to teach this, and bring this anointing. The rabbinical teaching is, especially amongst gentiles, who God opens their eyes, that in a few weeks begins that year 2012, and that this will begin what we call the "End Time Transfer of Wealth.

And that when these gentiles begin to receive this blessing, they will never go back financially through the valley again. They will grown and grow and grow. It's said this way - that God is looking at the church, and everyone in it, and deciding, in the next 3 and 1/2 years, who will be his bankers. And the ones that say, "Here am I, Lord, you can trust me", we will become so blessed that we will usher in the coming of the Messiah. This message if for you. Would you welcome our good friend Rafael Cruz ? What a tremendous man of God."

Pastor Cruz could not have made himself more clear:

 

"There are some of you, as a matter of fact I will dare to say the majority of you, that your anointing is not an anointing as priest. It's an anointing as king. And God has given you an anointing to go to the battlefield. And what's the battlefield ? The battlefield is the marketplace. To go to the marketplace and occupy the land. To go to the marketplace and take dominion. If you remember the last time I was in this pulpit, I talked to you about Genesis chapter 1, verse 28, where God says unto Adam and Eve, "Go forth, multiply, TAKE DOMINION over all creation." And if you recall, we talked about the fact that that dominion is not just in the church. That dominion is over every area - society, education, government, economics...

Describing the anointing of kings, pastor Cruz spoke of,

 

"Kings who are anointed for a totally different reason than priests. Kings who are anointed to take dominion. Kings who are anointed to go to war, win the war, and bring the spoils of war to the priests. So the work of the kingdom of God could be accomplished. And I'll tell you - the king needed the blessing of the priest in order to be successful in battle... [in Deuteronomy] Before the king went to battle, the priest came and blessed the king and blessed the warriors. And the king needed the blessing of the priest in order to be successful in battle... Now, the priest also needed for the king to be successful in battle, because the priest needed the spoils of war in order to repair the temple, in order to carry out the ministry that God had entrusted him. So the king and the priest complimented each other, and they were both very, very interested in blessing one another.

Concluding the service, the two men, Huch and Cruz, met onstage and pastor Huch conveyed a "word", a prophetic message from God relayed through one of his believers, from Rafael Cruz to his New Beginnings Church audience,

 

"God laid this on Rafael's heart, for right now - listen to me - In the next 3 and 1/2 years, and we're not waiting 3 and 1/2 years, it's the End Time Transfer of Wealth... You know, during the elections - and it just hit me, Rafael was up there and he was saying, "this is the anointed by God" - when I got a phone call, would I come to a meeting to meet Rafael Cruz and Ted Cruz, Tiz and I had already received about ten phone calls asking if we would get behind a candidate - 'could we come and speak at your church ? Can we come ?" I mean one after another.

And when we were asked by some friends to come to this house. They said we would not only meet Ted but we would meet Rafael. Before I ever met Ted, I met Rafael. And I knew that if the son was like the dad we could trust him to be our Senator. Amen ?

But here's what, here's when it came to me - Ted will be our next Senator, and I gave Rafael a word the other day... this is just the beginning. It's going to be much, much, much higher. But here's the deal - Ted Cruz is the real thing. But he hasn't become the real thing now that he's going to be Senator. He was the real thing when he was working as a clerk, he was the real thing when he was going through college, he didn't become faithful now that he's Senator. He's going to become Senator - and I believe some day either Supreme Court justice of Vice President - but he was faithful back when he was his [Rafael Cruz'] boy and God took that faithfulness."

As a final note, consider what's implicitly packed into Rafael Cruz' and Larry Huch's "great transfer of wealth" -  According to Huch and Cruz, this is a transfer of wealth, "from the wicked", to "righteous" gentiles.

In the generally accepted English meaning of the term, "gentile" refers simply to non-Jews. And because "righteous Jews" were not included among those predicted to benefit from the "great wealth transfer", the logical import is that those Christians anointed as "kings" would plunder - remember, Huch and Cruz spoke of this specifically in terms of war, and combat - the fortunes of non-righteous gentiles and, you guessed it, Jews.

Given the noisily Christian Zionist milieu in which the "great wealth transfer" service was given - Larry Huch opened Rafael Cruz' sermon with a blast from a shofar, there was a huge Menorah looming over the stage, the main pulpit featured a cross superimposed on a Star of David, and some of the men in the audience wore yarmulkes - it's more than a little creepy.

Adding to the creepiness, this isn't the first time in recent political history we've heard Proverbs 13:22 from a stage.

In September 2008, with the election looming and John McCain and Barack Obama readying their final battle plans, a strange video surfaced, from an August 2005 ceremony held at the most significant Alaska church of 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

In the video, which became briefly notorious and unsettled many uncommitted moderate voters, Sarah Palin, who would soon run for and win the Alaska governor's seat, was shown being blessed and anointed by a Kenyan pastor with a croaking, raspy voice who called upon God to bless candidate Palin and protect her against witchcraft.

While that part of the video received considerable mockery from mainstream media, few seemed to notice a short speech by Muthee, which preceded the blessing and anointing of Palin. In the nakedly dominionist speech, Thomas Muthee - a close colleague of New Apostolic Reformation kingpin C. Peter Wagner - called upon believers to "invade" and "infiltrate" seven leading sectors of society:

 

"In a moment, I'll be asking you that we pray for Sarah, and I'll tell you the reason why. When we talk about transformation of a community, we are talking about God invading seven areas in our society. Let me repeat that one more time. When we talk about transformation of a society, a community, it's where we see God's Kingdom infiltrate, influence seven areas in our society.

Number one is the spiritual aspect of our society...

...the second area whereby God wants to penetrate in our society is in the economic area. The Bible says the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous. It is high time that we have top Christian businessmen, businesswomen, bankers, you know, who are men and women of integrity, running the economics of our nations. That's what we are waiting for. That's part and parcel of transformation. If you look at the Israelites, you know, that's how they won. And that's how they are, even today....

So we go to the third area, it's in the area of politics... There are people who are wired to politics because God wants to take the political, you know, dimension of our societies. And those people should be prayed for. That's why I was, you know, I was so glad to see Sarah here. We should pray for her, we should back her up. And, you know, come the day of voting, we should be there, not just praying, we should be there. And I'm saying this because that's what I'm telling our church. I'm telling them that we need this in Parliament. In here is what you call Congressmen, you know, you know, the, the Governors, we need the brethren right inside there. Is anybody hearing me?

You know, because who will change the laws of the lands? The problem is do we just pray, but we do nothing about it. If the believers had not done something in this country, your president would not be in office today. Yes or no? Am I right?

Number three, or number four, it's the area of education. We need believers who are educationists. If we had them, today we would not be talking about the Ten Commandments being kicked out of the church, I mean out of our schools. They would still be there. One of the things that you, you know, I would love you to know, I'm a child of revival of the Seventies, and that revival swept through the schools. They are open to preaching, you know, open. Open. Wide open. You go to any school, there is what we call Christian Union. Christian Union is nothing more but a bunch of kids that are born again, spirit-filled, tongue-talking, devil-casting. Is anybody hearing me? All over the country! Is anybody hearing me?

We need God taking over our education system! Otherwise, we, if we have God in our schools, we will not have kids being taught, you know, how to worship Buddha, how to worship Mohammed, we will not have in the curriculum witchcraft and sorcery. Is anybody hearing me?

The other area is in the area of media. We need believers in the media. We need God taking over the media in our lands. Otherwise we will not have all the junk coming out of, you know, coming out of the media... Why can't we have our living church in Hollywood? Guess what will happen. If we have a living church right in Hollywood, we would not have all the kind of pornography that we are having. Is anybody hearing me?

And the last area is in the area of government. Hello? We need believers there. We need men and women of integrity. You know, as the Secretaries of State. We need them right there. People that are born again, spirit filled, people who know God, and people who are serious with God.

So in a moment if you do not mind, I'll ask, you know, even before I go to do this thing, you know, I'll ask Sarah, would you mind to come please? Would you mind? Come, please. Let's all stand up, and let's hold hands all over this house. Come, Pastor, come.

[Sarah Palin joins Muthee and two Alaska pastors onstage]

Thank you, Jesus. Let's all pray. Let's pray for Sarah. Hallelujah! Come on, hold your hands up and raise them. Hold them and raise them up here! Come on, talk to God about this woman! Come on, talk to God about this woman we declare favor from today. We say favor, favor, favor! We say praise my God! We say grace to be rained upon her in the name of Jesus. My God, you make your judgement, you make room. You make ways in the desert, and I'm asking you today, we are asking you as the body of Christ in this valley, make a way for Sarah, even in the [inaudible]. Make her way my God. Bring finances her way, even in the campaign in the name of Jesus, and above all give her the personnel, give her men and women that will back her up in the name of Jesus. We want righteousness in this state. We want righteousness in this nation. Because you say [inaudible] in the name of Jesus. Our Father, use her to turn this nation the other way around. Use her to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers so that the curse that has been there long can be broken. In the name of Jesus. Father, we thank you today. We come in the hindrance of the enemy, standing in her way to there. In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus! Every form of witchcraft, it will be rebuked in the name of Jesus. Father, make her way now. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Let's all be seated."

Sarah Palin, as I helped document in 2008 and 2009, was extensively tied to the unabashedly dominionist New Apostolic Reformation, whose seminal theorist and organizer C. Peter Wagner has called, in a December 2012 op-ed in Charisma magazine, for his followers to "take over everything".

Last Sunday at a rally against Obamacare, both anointed politicians Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz could be found side-by-side, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

[note: for some additional perspective, see my story The Tea Party Plan To Shatter the American Republic, The Far-Right Christian Movement Driving the Debt Default by Deborah Caldwell and my story Ted Cruz Worked With Religious Right Founder Paul Weyrich, To Elect George W. Bush]    

In 1999, Bush for President campaign aide Ted Cruz helped lock down the Christian conservative vote for Bush, by arranging a meeting between his friend Paul Weyrich, a key architect of the religious right and new right -- who co-founded the Moral Majority, the Heritage Foundation, and ALEC -- and Bush campaign member Timothy Goeglein, who went on to serve in the presidential administration of George W. Bush. Soon after, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist presided over the wildly controversial Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision, which effectively shut down the 2000 election vote recount in Florida, thus handing the presidency to Bush. Serving on the elite Republican legal team during the legal battles leading up to the Rehnquist Court decision was Ted Cruz, a former legal aide to Justice Rehnquist, who moved on to become Texas Solicitor General. From that position, Cruz helped corrupt - with help from Rehnquist - legal precedent, furthering Christian nationalist narratives concerning the U.S. government's allegedly Christian origin. Serving on the elite Republican legal team during the legal battles leading up to the Rehnquist Court decision was Ted Cruz, who moved on to become Texas Solicitor General. From that position, Cruz helped corrupt - with help from Rehnquist - legal precedent, furthering Christian nationalist narratives concerning the U.S. government's allegedly Christian origin. In his June 27, 2005 opinion on the Van Orden v. Perry case, which had been kicked upstairs to the nation's highest court with help from his former legal aide Ted Cruz, Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote,
"In this case we are faced with a display of the Ten Commandments on government property outside the Texas State Capitol. Such acknowledgments of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our Nation's heritage are common throughout America. We need only look within our own Courtroom. Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the south frieze. "
If Rehnquist had been telling the truth, it would have meant that Moses - coming down from Mount Sinai - had carried stone tablets, from God, that instructed the Israelites to steal, commit adultery, and kill. One of the core foundations of the American legal system is the principle, derived from English Common Law, of Stare Decisis: the principle of established legal precedent. Factual accuracy is at the heart of the principle. Without scrupulous attention to factual accuracy, Stare Decisis - and thus the American legal system - can be corrupted. As Texas Solicitor General, Ted Cruz helped do just that. From the late 1950’s to the early 1960’s hundreds of stone monuments bearing the Christian Protestant version of the Ten Commandments were installed on government property across America - donated by a liberal Christian nationalist organization, The Fraternal Order of Eagles. Decades later, these monuments helped provoke church-state separation legal cases that came before the United States Supreme Court in 2005 and again in 2008, in the Van Orden v. Perry and Summum v. Pleasant Grove City cases. In the 2005 Van Orden v. Perry case, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the display of one of those Ten Commandments monuments, at the Texas State Capital in Austin, was constitutional. One of the architects of the case, arguing in favor of the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments display, was Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, now a United States Senator credited with playing a leading role in the current shutdown of the U.S. federal government. Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz was one of eight co-authors of the Writ Of Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court, which court kicked the case up to the Supreme Court for a decision. In that legal brief, Cruz and his co-authors declared,
"THE “HISTORY AND UBIQUITY” OF THE TEXAS TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENT, AND OF TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENTS ACROSS THE NATION, ALSO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE TEXAS MONUMENT DOES NOT VIOLATE THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE."
As evidence as that claim, Ted Cruz' brief to the United States Supreme Court referred back to the Supreme Court's 1984 Lynch v. Donnelly decision. Cruz' brief argued,
"Similarly, in Lynch, the Court noted that “[o]ur history is replete with official references to the value and invocation of Divine guidance,” including official Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, House and Senate chaplains, the national motto “In God We Trust,” the Pledge of Allegiance, religious paintings in the National Gallery, Moses holding the Ten Commandments on the frieze of this Court, and regular presidential proclamations for a National Day of Prayer."
Most of Cruz' cited litany from Lynch was spurious, such as the mention of "religious paintings in the National Gallery", or of relatively recent origin; the motto "In God We Trust" only become the national motto in 1956 and appeared on U.S. currency in 1957, and the Pledge of Allegiance, written in 1892 by socialist Francis Bellamy, was adopted by Congress in 1942. The National Day of Prayer dates back to 1952. But, unlike those real institutions of civic piety, the "Moses holding the Ten Commandments on the frieze of this Court" does not even exist, at least in the form in which it has become enshrined in United States Supreme Court case law thanks to, in considerable measure, Ted Cruz. As court reporter Tony Mauro wrote, for the Legal Times, in early March 2005,
"Numerous briefs in the case refer to it, usually to make the point that the challenged Ten Commandment displays cannot possibly be unconstitutional if the Court itself has tolerated one in its own chamber since the building opened 70 years ago. The tablets, according to Liberty Counsel lawyer Matthew Staver, who will argue today, represent "the only written words inside this chamber." "
But what do those words literally say in Hebrew ? - They command, "THOU SHALT COMMIT MURDER, THOU SHALT COMMIT ADULTERY, THOU SHALT STEAL". As if it had been written by Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, that is the literal translation of the Hebrew letters up on the Supreme Court chamber - which, thanks to Ted Cruz and other Christian nationalists, has become established, enshrined legal precedent for religious displays on public property across the land. Tony Mauro's story also noted the efforts an an American-Israeli citizen, Avrahaum Segol, to bring attention to the literal translation of the text on those tablets:
"Some have even asked why Moses' beard obscures enough of the Hebrew that instead of reading "Though Shalt Not Steal," it says "Steal," and similarly appears to command viewers to kill and commit adultery, to boot. An Israeli sculptor named Avrahaum Segol has bombarded the Court and the media with letters questioning [sculptor Adolf] Weinman's motivations. Earlier this year a Court official wrote Segol that "It is clear that the sculptor intended for the tablet to represent the entire text of the Ten Commandments." "
But as a simple point of fact, the beard of Weinman's carved Moses image does not "obscure" any Hebrew. Mauro's statement indicates that the allegedly "obscured" Hebrew actually exists. It does not. All that exists, in Hebrew, are the commandments to steal, commit adultery, and kill. Mauro did not explain why his interpretation was self evident, nor did he mention that the Moses figure had horns. For Jews, depictions of Moses with horns can carry unpleasant symbolic meaning. On May 1, 1996 the Anti-Defamation League, in a press release on its successful effort to persuade a Spanish manufacturer to cease selling a 16-inch porcelain ceramic figurine of Moses with horns, provided text from a letter the ADL had sent to the Spanish company LLADRO:
"for centuries the archetypal anti-Semitic image was that of a Jew depicted as a demonic creature complete with horns. Uadro's apparent portrayal of Moses perpetuates this pernicious image."
And that "archetypal anti-Semitic image" -- a horned-Moses, carrying commandments instructing the Jewish people to murder, steal, and commit adultery (a tripartite theme central to the Nazi propaganda film The Eternal Jew) -- was what Ted Cruz, only a few years later, would help embed in United States case law.
"We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context." -- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz' late friend Paul Weyrich, in a 1980 Dallas speech to fundamentalist ministers. Weyrich is widely credited as one of the top architects of the new right and the religious right.
While a September 8, 2013 Politico story from Stephanie Simon documented U.S. Senator Ted Cruz' ties to pseudo-historian David Barton (one of the more influential national middle-aged leaders on the Christian right), Cruz' ties to the politicized religious right are far more profound than that. Indeed, as a 2011 book from Bush presidential administration member Timothy Goeglein reveals, back in 1999 Cruz already had high-level national-level political connections that helped make George W. Bush president - connections perhaps developed during his stint as a legal aide for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, but most certainly also tracing through his father Rafael Cruz' participation in the Paul Weyrich-cofounded Religious Roundtable that mobilized Christian conservative voters to help elect Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980. Over the last several years, mainstream media, liberals and progressives alike have succumbed to a misleading narrative that depicts the Tea Party as secular and libertarian. But leading Tea Party Republicans in the U.S. Senate Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were raised within the bosom of the politicized Christian right and have access to its leadership, one of whom is former Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul (consider this 2003 op-ed from Rand Paul's father, Ron.) But Ted Cruz brings to the table his own formidable, even astonishing, elite connections that, in 1999, helped enable candidate George W. Bush's lock on the 2000 election Republican presidential nomination. In 1999 Cruz, then a George W. Bush campaign aide, helped cement support from the religious right for Bush by arranging a meeting between one of the key architects of the movement, Paul Weyrich - who played a pivotal role in drawing evangelicals into electoral politics - and one of the Bush for president campaign top campaign leaders Timothy Goeglein, who went on to serve as Special Assistant to U.S. President George W. Bush and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 2001 to 2008, and now works with Focus on The Family. As Goeglein recounted in his book Man In The Middle - An Inside Account of Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era (2011, B&H Publishing Group), with book forward written by Karl Rove, George W. Bush had already sent a powerful message to conservative evangelicals that he was theirs when, during the December 14, 1999 Iowa Republican Primary Debate Bush stated that his favorite philosopher was "Christ, because he changed my heart." But, reveals Goeglein, then-Bush campaign aide Ted Cruz helped play the inside track, by arranging a meeting between Cruz, Goeglein, and Paul Weyrich. Starting on page 34, Goeglein begins,
"In addition to the strong support Governor Bush was garnering in those early primaries, he was also gaining the support of key social conservatives in a systematic but off-the-record outreach effort where I was spending lots of my time. One of the most important such meetings occurred a month after I arrived in Austin. My friend and fellow campaign aide Ted Cruz, a former Supreme Court Clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and later a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Texas, phoned me one day and told me Paul Weyrich, one of the leading traditional conservatives in the country, was in Austin and wanted to have breakfast to discuss Governor Bush's record and the campaign. Ted asked me to join him. Paul, who later became a close friend and ally, had a reputation for blunt talk and core, unswerving convictions, and so I knew the meeting would be foundational to our coalition efforts in the Bush campaign. We met for a breakfast all of us thought would last an hour or so. It ended up going nearly three hours. Paul queried me and ted on nearly every issue possible in a spirited, lively session. I came to see the repartee among the three of us was rooted in common principles and values; and by the end of the breakfast, Paul told us, in all his years of following presidential politics, he had never felt more comfortable with the core convictions of a candidate on the issue he most believed in, the sanctity of every human life, the foundation of the traditional family, and American sovereignty. Te breakfast ended in unity and common purpose. This kind of one-on-one outreach was a cornerstone of the first Bush campaign, and conservative support was one of the keys to victory."
In other words, per Goeglein's account, Ted Cruz helped create the Bush Presidency. It's astonishing for an almost endless range of reasons, not the least of which is that it is doubly true as well - Cruz also served on the Bush campaign's elite legal team that fought the legal battles over the vote recount in Florida which in turn led to the wildly controversial Bush v. Gore Supreme Court ruling that installed George W. Bush in the presidency. But Cruz' ties to Paul Weyrich are nonetheless even more jaw-dropping than that considering who Weyrich was. How did Cruz earn the friendship of the man who helped create the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC ? Read the rest of this story, here at Talk To Action
The point of this essay is not to unpack the origins of the Tea Party, a co-creation of Ron Paul and the Koch brothers which reorganized and re-energized the activist cadres of the religious right, who dominate the movement, and who swept in to take Congress in 2010.

Rather, my intent is to draw attention to an elaborate plan, hatched by strategists of the religious right, to take advantage of the economic chaos that would likely ensue if the current budget impasse is not resolved by mid-October 2013. Amidst that chaos, Tea Party activists would, at the state and local level, challenge and undermine the authority of a weakened federal government - especially in those 26 U.S. states so dominated by Tea Party-aligned Republicans that they have refused to participate in Obamacare.

The objective would be to lock in Republican dominance of over 1/2 the states in the Union and preserve, even enhance, the political power of an aging, white-dominated, predominantly Christian conservative demographic for years to come.

This would, in effect, shatter the Republic. Unthinkable ? Consider the following:

"Precinct by precinct, town by town, county by county, a decentralized political movement could begin to undermine the legitimacy the existing political structure. It can do so politely, helpfully, and sympathetically.

The central issue is legitimacy...

When the dollar dies, political legitimacy dies with it. This is the central premise of my recommended strategy." -- Ron Paul political strategist Dr. Gary North, from Phase 2 of Ron Paul's Political Strategy

Now, consider:

In May 2012, in a fundraising pitch for Senate candidate Ted Cruz, Texas Congressional Representative Ron Paul gave a warm and ringing endorsement of Cruz and promised that "If elected, Ted will stand side-by-side with my son Rand in the U.S. Senate to fight against Big Government." In a nod to shared John Birch Society-style conspiracy theory-driven ideology, Paul wrote,

"...Rand, Ted, and I had a lengthy discussion about the dangers of the Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air.

...Ted is a firm believer in American sovereignty - and will never support or vote for ceding our rights to the United Nations."

With help from Ron Paul, Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has become one of the Tea Party ringleaders driving the current budget impasse that threatens to cause an historic default on payments to service the Federal debt.

What would be the consequences if Congress and the Senate cannot resolve the current budget standoff ? Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury released a report which forecast,

"credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, and U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, potentially resulting in a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse."

In two weeks, Tea Party leaders in Congress will pull back from the brink... or not.

But what if the very plan is to go over the edge ?

The stated strategy of one of the key intellectual architects of the Tea Party suggests that is indeed the plan - go over the edge and crash the economy, because the resulting chaos would create an unprecedented political organizing opportunity.

In his 2008 "Phase 2 of Ron Paul's Political Strategy", key Ron Paul political adviser Dr. Gary North wrote,

"The mainstream media have a very short attention span. When you think "mainstream media" think "attention deficit disorder." The media simply cannot ADD things up. They cannot and will not connect the dots.

[...]

The key to political success is not an overnight grab for power at the top....

...The Federal government are facing bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve System is going to have to fund the Federal government with fiat money. When Medicare goes bust and Social Security follows, the Federal Reserve will inflate. The dollar will decline another 95%, as it has since 1914, only faster.

When checks from Washington no longer buy much, there will be a monumental political transformation. This is the central premise of my recommended strategy.

The goal of Ron Paul's supporters should be to be in positions of influence locally, all over the country -- in 3,000+ counties, in every precinct. This should be done one precinct at a time.

This is stealth politics, and it is now a viable strategy for Ron Paul's hard corps.

[...]

If Ron Paul will provide the leadership, he can spearhead a national movement whose goal is to roll back the state to its Constitutional limits -- its 1791 limits, meaning the Bill of Rights. All ten of them. This movement must be based on a systematic, well-thought-out campaign to roll back the civil government in every area of life"

Dr. North's strategy would, "if Ron Paul will provide the leadership", also "roll" things back to a time when slavery was legal and women lacked the right to vote.

While Dr. Gary North's economic forecast did not specifically call for a Tea Party-led default on Federal government interest payments, his prediction of a dramatic decline in the value of the dollar in the wake of such as default closely tracks the Federal Reserve's own predictions of what will happen if Ted Cruz, and his Tea Party allies in Congress, decide to pull the trigger.

World markets would be shaken to the core. Across the globe, governments and private investors would shift away from their support of the dollar as the reserve currency of choice. The American empire would be, in effect over. And the cadres of Ron Paul, Gary North, and the religious right would roll up their sleeves and get to work.

How close is Gary North to Ron Paul ? Well, they have been collaborating since Paul's 1976 entrance to national politics, when Paul picked North as his congressional aid (North boasts that he was Paul's original speechwriter.) Moving into the present, Gary North is co-author, along with Neo-confederate Thomas Woods, of the newly released Ron Paul Christian homeschooling curriculum.

In short, Ron Paul and Gary North are very, very close. That's notable since Gary North is one of the top theorists and strategists of the Christian Reconstructionism movement, which Ron Paul has long been aligned with and aims to impose biblical law ("theonomy") and eliminate many of the current functions and institutions of the federal government.

Meanwhile, Thomas Woods is one of the key intellectual architects of the nullification and secession movement, who has created the theoretical underpinning for legal challenges to federal authority.

Needless to say, a virulent racism runs through both movements, Woods' and North's.

And so here we are, at what may be an epochal bifurcation point.

One branch potentially leads, at least per the strategic vision outlined by Gary North in "Phase 2 of Ron Paul's Political Strategy", to an expansion of the political influence of reactionary fundamentalist Christianity and, somewhere down the road, the establishment of state-level biblical governments dominated by aging white males - in other words, a return to the style of sectarian church-dominated government that prevailed in the colonies prior to the writing of the Constitution and the establishment of the Federal government -- a time when, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Jesuits and Quakers were hanged. A time of witch trials.

Did I mention yet that Dr. Gary North is an enthusiastic advocate for imposing stoning, as a capital punishment, for homosexuality, adultery, female un-chastity (sex before marriage) and witchcraft ? ("Executions are community projects", North once wrote.)

That's door number one. Door number two leads to a very different future.

What's astonishing to me, to add a personal note, is that this perilous fate which looms before us has been engineered by a movement that, in the minds of liberals, progressives, and mainstream media, now scarcely exists at all.

Recently, I discovered a fascinating metric for charting that fact - try a search, on Google Trends, for the frequency, 2004 to the present, of the term "Koch brothers" (commonly believed to be the puppet-masters of the Tea Party and the religious right). Then, do the same search on the terms "Christian right" and "religious right".

What you'll find is that the Koch brothers are now very much in the news. Not so much in 2004.

But since 2004, when "Christian right" and "religious right" were very much on the American mind, public acknowledgment even of the very existence of a movement called the "Christian right" or the "religious right" has all-but disappeared -- even as its creationist, anti-science, anti-reproductive rights, radically laissez-faire, pro-corporate and pro-privatization partisans have seized control of Congress and many U.S. states, and now threaten to bankrupt the Federal government.

Let's hope the billionaire Koch brothers, who are presumably somewhat less interested in global economic chaos, have more influence within Tea Party circles than do Ron Paul, Gary North, and Thomas Woods.

Otherwise, American Democracy, and the Republic, may careen off on a course charted by the John Birch Society, Christian Reconstructionists and Southern secessionists, and a humble, patient OB-GYN from Texas who in 1976 went to Washington and in 2003 was moved to write,

Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view...

[...]

The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers....

...This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people's allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation's Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war."

In a few weeks we will know, for sure, whether Ron Paul and the angry white men will rise to the political fore or recede, as just another shade in the rainbow of pluralist democracy.

How lucky do we feel ?

The stability of our economy, political system, and way or life now lies in the hands of Tea Party politicians who seem to be flirting with a radical path that would cripple America but help ensure their movement's continuing political and cultural relevancy. Meanwhile, a Tea Party aligned megachurch preacher with ties to former top Pentagon officials is calling for a "military takeover - martial law".

No, I for one do not feel very lucky. I do have hope that clearer, wiser heads will in the end prevail. It will be, at best, a close shave.

Have a nice day.

On September 30, 2013, with the government shutdown looming, NAR leader, apostle and prophet Rick Joyner, head of the Fort Mill, SC Morningstar Ministries, issued a public call for a "military takeover - martial law". I cover that aspect in my Huffington Post story, Tea Party Republican -- Linked Religious Right Leader Calls for 'Military Takeover' As I describe in my story, Joyner has ties to prominent Republicans include Sarah Palin and former Senator Jim DeMint, now head of the massive Heritage Foundation, and Joyner's NAR movement - which produced Palin - has extensive ties to leading Tea Party aligned Republicans. But now, Military Religious Freedom Foundation head researcher Chris Rodda has an explosive new finding that raises major national security questions; in a Huffington Post story titled Pentagon Leaders Met with Collaborator of Preacher who Proposed "Military Takeover" of the Government, Rodda describes a series of September 12, 2013 "high level meetings" between Pentagon officials and far-right anti-LGBTI Christian leaders "for a frank discussion on the loss of religious freedom by Christians in the Air Force and the Defense Department in general" [for an investigation into those claims by Christian leaders at the Pentagon meeting, from the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and Rick Joyner's Oak Initiative, see this story from journalist Bill Berkowitz.] Representing Morningstar Ministries at the September 12 Pentagon meetings was a board member of Rick Joyner's Oak initiative -- none other than former Undersecretary of Defense Lt.Gen. (U.S. Army Ret.) W.G. "Jerry" Boykin who, as his Oak Initiative bio describes,
"was one of the elite warriors chosen in 1978 to make up the first unit in America's ultra-secretive and deadly Delta Force. He then became commander of the unit, and later still, commander of all U.S. Army Special Forces. His thirty-six years in the military included a tour at the Central Intelligence Agency and clandestine missions around the world. Jerry retired in 2007, serving his last four years as the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence."
If ever there was a man to organize and head a coup, it would be Boykin.
"We estimate that between 28% and 34% of officers and NCOs (non-commissioned officers) in the U.S. military would either back or be extremely sympathetic to Joyner" - Mikey Weinstein, founder and head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Amidst chaos in Washington, while Republicans in Congress are accused of holding the "full faith and credit" of the United States hostage through the current government shutdown, a leader of the newly emerging, reorganized religious right who has ties to prominent Tea Party Republicans has just called for a "military takeover". In a September 30, 2013 broadcast, as reported by Raw Story and Religious Right Watch, Morningstar Ministries head Rick Joyner -- a leading prophet and apostle in the theocratic movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation who has ties to former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin [see: 1, 2] and other leading Tea Party-aligned Republicans -- publicly issued a call for a coup - a "military takeover" of the United States government and the imposition of martial law. In an interview with former Reagan Administration lawyer Michael "Mikey" Weinstein -- who formed the civil rights watchdog organization the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) after discovering a pattern of coercive evangelizing at his former alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs -- Weinstein told me his organization estimated that between 28% and 34% of officers and NCOs in the United States military were adherents to a supremacist form of Christianity known as dominionism who might back or at least be sympathetic to evangelist Joyner's call for a coup. "It is a terrible mistake to dismiss Joyner as merely fringe. The opposite is true", explained Weinstein, who emphasized that there are dozens of dominionist evangelical para-church organizations engaging in what MRFF views as predatory evangelizing in the military. "Complacency is complicity," warned Weinstein, who called Rick Joyner's call for a military takeover a "red line" and also a "wretched" form of "sedition". "We are most concerned about a fusion between dominionist Christianity and the military's weapons of mass destruction", warned Weinstein, who says his client base, members of the military who turn to MRFF for protection against coercive evangelizing, is approaching 35,000. Most of those MRFF clients, according to Weinstein, are Christians who are targeted for holding the wrong doctrine and theology. Morningstar Ministries founder Joyner, who over the last decade has partially rebuilt the crashed real estate and media empire of disgraced TV evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who were caught up in a 1980s scandal which led to a flurry of media claims that the religious right was spent as a political force, has promoted the claim that President Obama's health care reform legislation includes a provision to create a left-wing paramilitary force akin to Hitler's Nazi "brownshirts". Despite his promotion of fringe right-wing conspiracy theory, Joyner - accorded the status of "prophet" within his movement - boasts ties to Republicans such as former Senator Jim DeMint, now head of the mammoth Heritage Foundation and to evangelists in the upper echelon of Christianity Today such as the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, and some surprising international connections as well - Joyner has frequented an internationalist conference co-hosted by a close confident of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his call for a "military takeover" and "martial law", because the nation has been so allegedly "undermined", Rick Joyner omitted several relevant aspects: First, Morningstar Ministries head Joyner is a significant leader in one of the most militant streams of the religious right (the New Apostolic Reformation) which, in turn, has for three decades have been engaged in a slow-motion takeover of the Republican Party. The religious right takeover of the GOP helped power the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress and by 2000, according to a survey released in 2002 by Campaigns & Elections magazine, the Christian right had "strong" or "moderate" influence in the majority of state Republican Party structures. In its new guise, as the "Tea Party", the religious right also drove the 2010 Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and of numerous state legislators and governor's seats across the nation. From those positions of power, after both the 1994 and 2010 takeovers, religious right affiliated Republicans have pursued an insurrectionary agenda, blocking significant national legislation and shutting down the federal government - in short, Rick Joyner's own movement can be accused of working to undermine the Republic and American democracy. Second, Joyner's movement itself claims to have infiltrated the U.S. government and the United States military with its "apostles". So Joyner's appeal to the "Lord" to effect a military takeover can be taken at face value or, alternately, as a coded appeal to those apostles to carry out Joyner's vision for divine national redemption via a coup. While such a possibility may seem unlikely, over the last three decades the dominionist religious right has waged an aggressive, ongoing campaign to promote its supremacist political ideology within the United States military - often in violation of regulations concerning improper and coercive evangelizing in the military according to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which fights such predatory evangelism. In the forefront of the campaign to impose a narrowly sectarian form of Christian dominionist ideology on the military has been the enormous 1/2-billion dollar a year international ministry Campus Crusade For Christ - whose Military Ministries division has advertised a goal [also see 1] of turning United States military personnel into "government paid missionaries" and of "transforming the nations of the world through the militaries of the world". In December 2006, Campus Crusade's Washington D.C.-based Christian Embassy ministry came under fire after a MRFF Washington press conference exposed a video produced by the ministry, filmed inside the Pentagon and featuring Pentagon officials who declared that their primary loyalty is to their religious faith rather than to their appointed positions in the military. Explaining his participation in the video, Major General John Catton said he thought Campus Crusade's Christian Embassy was a "quasi-federal agency". A subsequent investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General vindicated Mikey Weinstein's MRFF with a finding of misconduct on the part of Pentagon officials who participated in the Christian Embassy video. Campus Crusade founder and longtime head William Rohl "Bill" Bright, a close colleague of mega-evangelist Billy Graham, called his ministry efforts a "conspiracy to overthrow the world", blamed rising crime during the 1960s on lack of prayer in schools, claimed homosexuality helped cause the downfall of classical Greece and the Roman Empire. Bright, a key founder of the modern religious right participated in the Coalition on Revival, an ecumenical Protestant organization whose members pledged a blood oath to impose their version of Christian theocracy, and Biblical law, on America and the world. In May 2013 the LGBT rights nonprofit Truth Wins Out released a report exposing Campus Crusade's support, in Africa, for legislation to make homosexuality a capital offense. Third, while Joyner, in his new call for a military coup, bemoaned a "joyful disregard of the constitution", Rick Joyner has himself called for a coercive, authoritarian religious state that would seem to have little room for the Bill of Rights and which would forcible re-educate American citizens: In a 2007 prophecy published June 19, 2007 on the Elijahlist website, which Rick Joyner gave in tandem with apostle Dutch Sheets, Joyner explained, in a subsection titled "The Coming Kingdom",
"The kingdom of God will not be socialism, but a freedom even greater than anyone on earth knows at this time. At first it may seem like totalitarianism, as the Lord will destroy the antichrist spirit now dominating the world with "the sword of His mouth" and will shatter many nations like pottery. However, fundamental to His rule is II Corinthians 3:17, "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Instead of taking away liberties and becoming more domineering, the kingdom will move from a point of necessary control while people are learning truth, integrity, honor, and how to make decisions, to increasing liberty so that they can." [emphases in the original]
Joyner's co-author in the 2007 prophetic communique was evangelist and NAR apostle Dutch Sheets, who according to a 2006 Charisma magazine article was one of several NAR leaders who helped 'mentor' former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris - who helped tip the disputed 2000 U.S. presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. While Joyner's charismatic New Apostolic Reformation is by any account a minority movement within Protestant Christianity, it has claimed influence over a number of prominent Republicans, from 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, to 2012 election Republican hopefuls Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, as well as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Senator-turned Kansas governor Sam Brownback. Underlying the ideological and political extremity of the NAR, consider several data points:
1) The NAR has been tied [see 1, 2] to an effort, in the African country of Uganda, to legislate LGBTI citizens out of existence and one of the NAR's prominent prophets, TheCall founder Lou Engle, through his ministry behind a 2008 GOTV campaign in favor of California's anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8 ballot initiative.
2) C. Peter Wagner, perhaps the NAR's leading theorist and political organizer, promotes a "theology of war", traces his movement's dominion theology to the writing of Christian Reconstructism founder R.J. Rushdoony, and calls upon believers to take over significant sectors of society, the so-called "Seven Mountains" and rule "like kings". 3) Wagner and other top theorists in his movement, such as Ed Silvoso and Cindy Jacobs (each regarded as serving the dual roles as both "apostle" and "prophet"), advocate that believers burn or otherwise destroy art and religious scripture tied to every religious and philosophical belief system on Earth regarded as being in competition with Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation -- a maximally supremacist doctrine reminiscent of the 2001 Taliban dynamiting of Afghanistan's UNESCO-designated Buddhas of Bamiyan.
The identity of the NAR's alleged "apostles in the military", mentioned by apostle Dutch Sheets at a 2008 New Apostolic Reformation conference in Texas, is mostly speculative but one is known for certain - the late Jim Ammerman, who ran a chaplain endorsing agency that is responsible for credentialing a substantial percentage of active-duty chaplains in the United States military. A long-time apostle in one of the main apostolic bodies in C. Peter Wagner's emerging New Apostolic Reformation, the International Coalition of Apostles, during the 1990s Jim Ammerman toured the United States telling audiences that Jewish bankers, in league with the anti-Christ, were plotting to enslave Americans under a military dictatorship enforced by United Nations, German, and Chinese troops hidden in U.S. national parks. According to Ammerman, then-President Bill Clinton, an agent of the Illuminati, would sign over American sovereignty to UN control, after which foreign troops would intern American citizens in prepared FEMA concentration camps. In 2008, the official newsletter of Jim Ammerman's chaplain endorsing agency carried an op-ed calling for the execution of Democratic Party Senators Dodd, Biden, Clinton, and Obama, for the alleged crime of opposing legislation to make English the official language of the United States. Ammerman's conspiracy theories were echoed in a 2009 video from Morningstar Ministries' Oak initiative, a Tea Party-aligned political organizing initiative which features the participation of Christianity Today board member Samuel Rodriguez, who at a 2009 Oak Initiative conference called for the creation of a Christian "Tea Party". In 2010, the Oak Initiative released a video statement from former U.S. Undersecretary of Defense William "Jerry" Boykin, who claimed that Barack Obama's health care reform legislation contained a provision to create a private "constabulary force, a force that can control the population". Warned Boykin,
"Remember, Hitler had the Brownshirts... if you read the healthcare legislation, it's actually in the healthcare legislation. There are paragraphs in the healthcare legislation that talk about the commissioning of officers, i time of a national crisis, to work directly for the president. It's laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America."
But in his September 30, 2013 "Prophetic Perspectives" series broadcast, Morningstar Ministries head Rick Joyner called for a military coup that would do just that - 'control the population', and Joyner's 2007 "prophecy" indicates that Joyner's vision for such a military dictatorship would be as coercive as the "constabulary force" Boykin warned of. Declared Joyner,
"I mean, there's no way our Republic can last much longer. It may not last through Obama's second term. There are a lot of people that feel, you know, it can't. There are forces right now seeking to undermine and to destroy the Republic. There's almost a glib and almost a joyful disregard of the constitution, and a belittling of the constitution. We can't make it without that - that's our foundation, our moorings. We're heading for serious tyranny. [...] I think we've been used in some wonderful and powerful ways by God, we've been one of the most generous nations in history, we've done so much good - and that's why I appeal to the Lord - don't let us be totally destroyed. Please, raise up those who will save us. And as I start telling friends from a long time that no election's going to get the right person in there that can restore us because the system is so broken, so undermined right now - the whole system. I believe our only hope is a military takeover: martial law."
Both Morningstar Ministries head Rick Joyner, NAR guru C. Peter Wagner, NAR apostle Dutch Sheets, NAR prophet Lou Engle of TheCall, and the late Campus Crusade For Christ founder and head Bill Bright are among the endorsers of the Kansas City-based International House of Prayer, which is at the narrative center of the soon to be premiering video documentary God Loves Uganda, that examines the role of American charismatic evangelicals in a mounting crusade of anti-gay hatred in the Africa nation of Uganda - where legislation that would make active homosexuality a capital crime has loomed before Uganda's parliament since 2009. Supporters of the so-called "kill the gays bill" claim it would defend traditional Ugandan families against an alleged LGBT threat. A similar theme could be heard at a speech given last August 12th, at the religious right's Iowa Leadership Summit, by Rafael Cruz - the father of Tea Party Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has helped lead the current government shutdown effort. Procaimed pastor Cruz,
"When you hear this attack on religion, it's not really an attack on religion. The fundamental basis is this. Socialism requires that government becomes your God. That's why they have to destroy your concept of God. They have to destroy all your loyalties except loyalty to the government. That's what's behind homosexual marriage. It's really more about the destruction of the traditional family than about homosexuality, because you need also to destroy loyalty to the family."
As Methodist Pastor Morgan Guyton described in an October 1, 2013 Huffington Post story that examined Senator Ted Cruz' charismatic evangelical Christian roots, Senator Cruz' father Rafael Cruz asserts Christian pastors "were the backbone of the [American] Revolution" and also proclaims an unabashed form of dominionism. Guyton cites, from a 2012 sermon pastor Cruz gave as a guest pastor in an Irving, Texas megachurch, this message to Cruz' church audience:
"The majority of you... your anointing... is an anointing as king. God has given you an anointing to go to the battlefield. And what's the battlefield? The marketplace. To go to the marketplace and occupy the land. To go to the marketplace and take dominion."
Pastor Rafael Cruz' exhortation closely tracked the teachings of New Apostolic Reformation leader C. Peter Wagner on dominionism. Wagner, who in 2008 released a book with the title Dominion: How Kingdom Action Can Change the World and commanded believers, in a 2012 Charisma magazine article, to "take dominion over everything", stated at a 2008 NAR conference the following:
"Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing and it relates to society. In other words, what the values are in Heaven need to be made manifest here on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings. It says in Revelation Chapter 1:6 that He has made us kings and priests - and check the rest of that verse; it says for dominion. So we are kings for dominion."