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The New Christian Right is Global: What Mainstream Media Isn't Telling You

World Christianity is Changing, But Perhaps Not For The Better if You're a Liberal
 
 
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In Fighting Demons, Raising the Dead, Taking Over the World, published by Religion Dispatches, I describe Sarah Palin's strange new Christianity, rapidly becoming the face of the new, globalizing Christian right. Along with the story, Religion Dispatches also features my recent interview with Bill Berkowitz, The New Christianity: What the Mainstream Media Has Missed

Over the course of September and October 2008, I was one of a tiny group of writers who correctly identified the highly distinctive nature of Sarah Palin's Third Wave and New Apostolic Christianity. At the web site I co-founded in late 2005 with journalist Frederick Clarkson can be found over 20 unique stories and a score of short video documentaries including a 36 page report (link to PDF of report) concerning Sarah Palin's churches and her religious associations.

Sarah Palin is in the same radical new stream of Christianity as is Ted Haggard which, as I wrote in my Religion Dispatches story, has aggressively exported its new doctrines and practices to the global south: Latin America, Asia, and Africa:

In 1996 a team from Ted Haggard's New Life Church flew to Mali and began furtively anointing entire towns with cooking oil.

The strangeness of it gripped Dutch missionary René Holvast, who later wrote: "It was confusing and produced a growing uneasiness. It did not seem to fit our current evangelical theological and anthropological textbooks."...

René Holvast has theological training, but his perplexed reaction was similar to that of Alix Spiegel, a radio journalist who went to Ted Haggard's New Life Church in 1997 to do a story for This American Life...

As I told Bill Berkowitz,

Sarah Palin is, broadly speaking, in the emerging postdenominational movement, which by 2000 encompassed 385 million Christians and is vastly different from the faith as it has been practiced in recent centuries. We identified Palin as in a majority tendency of postdenominationalism known as the neocharismatic movement, or the "Third Wave."

Evangelical missionary reference work World Christian Trends calls the Third Wave "a new and disturbingly different" kind of Christianity whose members "can accurately be called radical Christians with some pentecostal /charismatic parallels" and which has, as one of the distinctive characteristics of Third Wave Christian ministry, a heavy emphasis on healing miracles including raising the dead--an emphasis promoted from the pulpit in sermons at Palin's most central church, the Wasilla Assembly of God.

We also found extensive evidence that Palin is in a religious movement founded in 2001 that has coalesced out of Third Wave Christianity; the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

The NAR is bent on radically reinventing Christianity, and is fast becoming the vanguard of the global Christian Right.

Sarah Palin's new Christianity is rapidly moving to achieve dominance in the GOP, but few Democrats appear aware that Palin's movement even exists. Thus, the danger: that the Democratic Party will be blindsided in the 2012 presidential election, as the New Apostolic Reformation / Third Wave Christianity gambit - of peeling away ethnic constituencies that have traditionally voted for the Democratic Party - comes into play. For more, see: Proposition 8 : A Proving Ground For The New Christian Right

Bruce Wilson writes for Talk To Action , a blog specializing in faith and politics.