Republican-Linked Religious Right Leader Calls For "Military Takeover"
"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."