GOP Convention Blessed By Pastor in Movement That Burns "Unholy" Books and Art
[note: a related story, from Religion Dispatches editor Sarah Posner, covers Samuel Rodriguez' appearance at the Republican National Convention from outside the frame of his participation in C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation.]
On Tuesday, the opening night of the Republican National Convention was brought to a close with a prayer from a "stealth" apostle who along with Sarah Palin (whom he calls a "kindred spirit") is part of a rising radical politicized charismatic Christian tendency that one of the architects of the modern religious right warns is on the verge of becoming a "Christian Jihad".
Top leaders of that "stealth" apostle's movement, as I described in a 2011 story,
"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.)"
In his book Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America, recommended by significant Christian theologians and released May 2012, Colonel V. Doner, who pioneered distributing voter guides in churches and helped mobilize the religious right to reelect Ronald Reagan in 1984, writes,
"I realized that the main difference between "our people" and "their people" (Islamic fundamentalists) was that ours (with the notable exception of bombing abortion clinics and assassinating doctors) had not (yet) resorted to violence."
In his book, Doner identifies one particular Christian tendency as leading the vanguard of such potentially jihadist Christians: the New Apostolic Reformation - a theologically, ideologically, and politically radical movement that is reshaping large swaths of global Christianity and which includes, notably, the apostles and prophets brought together during the last decade under C. Peter Wagner.
Blessing the convention was National Hispanic Leadership Conference President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who has served as an apostle in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles and has extensive ties to Wagner's movement.
Rodriguez also has ties to policy advisers on faith who are influential within the Democratic National Committee and has appeared in public with First Lady Michele Obama, leading evangelical Christians and secular critics to accuse Rodriguez of leading a double life (as well as possibly exaggerating the size of his NHCLC coalition's membership.)
In 2010 Rodriguez co-led a political initiative which promoted a video speech from (Ret.) Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, in which Boykin claimed that a provision in the health care reform legislation signed by President Obama was "laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America" - a force Boykin compared to Hitler's brownshirts.
While Rodriguez's public speech before secular audiences is typically moderate, when addressing movement audiences a very different Samuel Rodriguez can emerge. In 2006, the Rev. Rodriguez told members of a Utah church,
"We have radical Muslims. Radical homosexuals. Radical abortionists. We need radical, born again, spirit filled Christians to arise ! Do you follow me ? We don't need any sissy Christians, Oprah Winfrey Christians. We need prophetic, devil stomping, demon rebuking, blood washed, Bible believing, free-from-sin Christians !"
In 2010, at an Oak Initiative event speech, Rev. Rodriguez compared legal abortion to genocide, called for political candidates who shared a "Biblical worldview", and stated,
"The Tea Party, God bless you, CPAC, Council on National Policy, look at your audience! If your audience is 99.9 percent white, no te vista, que no va! The election is not going to happen at a national level. You need to go beyond that--enlarge your tent. Get it off the party platform and put it into practice, in the name of Jesus, and then you will see something happen in your party. This message was sponsored by the Oak Initiative."
The secretive Council On National Policy, founded by the Rev. Tim LaHaye, author of the "Left Behind" series, is considered one of the most influential leadership groupings on the theocratic Christian right.