Despite (or perhaps because of) endorsements made by Gov. Phil Bryant (R) and other Republican state officials, voters in Mississippi elected a surprising number of Democrats in several hard fought mayors races.
Pat Robertson apparently knows that People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch project has frequently made him a target. And he doesn't like it.
Yesterday, Robertson led off the "Bring it On" segment of "The 700 Club" with a rant against an unnamed group that makes a habit of calling out wingnuts. Robertson then threw down the gauntlet as only he can--he threatened "a full-scale exposé" of the group. Watch here.
It's pretty obvious Robertson was referring to PFAW--he specifically referred to PFAW posting a clip from two weeks ago of him telling a woman concerned about her cheating husband to "give him honor instead of trying to worry about it." Watch PFAW's clip here, then watch the full segment here. Does anyone think PFAW yanked Robertson's words out of context? I didn't think so.
The Chairwoman of Republican Liberty Caucus of Washington (the Ron Paul formation), is Sandi Brendale, wife of Philip Brendale–a featured speaker at the regional Anti-Indian Conference held in Bellingham on April 6. Sandi Brendale, by the way, is an Eagle Forum media expert. Phillip, a board member of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance -- the organization leading the national hate campaign against tribal governments -- funnels funds from industry through his anti-Indian consulting corporation.
[a correction to the video: Max Myers headed, for six years, the Global School of Supernatural Ministry (GSSM) of the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening (ANGA), not the Global Awakening ministry itself.]
According to TPM, Stephen McDowell, who comes across in the interview less like a Jefferson impersonator than a 21st century Christian Right talking head in a wig and early 19th century garb, is "president of Biblical Worldview University." Biblical Worldview University is an arm of the Providence Foundation, which was originally started as a Maranatha subministry with then-MCM pastor McDowell in charge
For those who don't know, MCM was a "campus ministry" deeply connected with the rise of the dominionist right in the 1970s and 80s. They disbanded in 1989, widely denounced even in evangelical Christian circles as an abusive cult. Several descendant and offshoot organizations still exist today, including Every Nation and Providence Foundation, among others. (I am a walkaway from an Every Nation church.)
Their theology was (and is) a fusion of Latter Rain/Third Wave and Christian Reconstructionist forms of post-millennial dominionism. While former MCM leader Bob Weiner was (and still is) more Third Wave charismatic, other MCM offshoots including Providence Foundation skew more CR.
The Providence Foundation is a major contributor of American "history" textbooks to the homeschool movement--particularly America's Providential History.
And now they play presidents on national TV. Nice.
It’s their latest attempt to restore America to its Judeo-Christian heritage.
Their goal is to engage pastors around issues so they will get their congregations to participate in the political process and flock to voting booths. Right now, tens of millions of evangelical Christians simply don’t vote. The states that will be targeted in 2014 are Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Alaska, Arkansas, North Carolina, Nevada, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.
You may not have heard of the American Renewal Project, but its fingerprints have been all over a lot of recent issues. In addition to Prop 8, the group also played a key role in ousting three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.
Brody spoke with the American Renewal Project's leader, David Lane. He prefers to stay under the radar, but made no bones about his goals for 2014.
“If the key to maintaining sustainable freedom is righteousness -- the same virtue that produced freedom -- what is the greatest threat to freedom? Unrighteousness. America has left God.” Lane believes it’s time to remove politicians from office who have led America down this immoral and unsustainable broken path
But Lane is quick to point out that these pastor policy briefings are not so much about ousting certain politicians from office. Rather, they are meant as a way for pastors to unite over crucial issues facing society and the church at large.
This kind of talk is music to the ears of Newt Gingrich, who told Brody that Lane's efforts will help pastors understand that nothing less than "the very nature of America" is at stake.
Kevin Swanson of Generations Radio was in rare form on his podcast yesterday. He decried the numerous Supreme Court decisions that have resulted in government-mandated prayer being barred from the public schools. That's to be expected. But Swanson went one step further. He actually encouraged Christian teachers and school administrators to disregard those decisions. His argument? Those decisions impose a "false religion" of humanism, and any educator who ignores them is obeying God's law. He also claims that the reason our country is going in the wrong direction is that several generations of kids haven't grown up with the fear of God. Listen here (warning, self-downloading MP3).
‘Path to 9/11’ director David Cunningham, who was outed a few years ago as a member of the far-right group Youth with a Mission, has been toiling away on a number of media projects at YWAM’s expansive University of the Nations campus on the Big Island. His efforts include the development of a feature film about King David, running a film school, and starting a “grassroots” news service—which, as it turns out, is a front for YWAM.
My senator, Roger Wicker, has introduced the Military Religious Freedom Act of 2012. A couple of things here:
1.) It's very interesting that it bears the exact same name as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. I'm sure that's just an accident. Surely, the use of such Orwellian language could not be intentional.
2.) From TheHill.com blog: 'Under current Pentagon rules, military chaplains may decline any involvement in gay marriage ceremonies.' It's obvious that this bill is just more pandering to the theocratic right.
3.) The chaplains already have plenty of 'religious freedom'. They have so much of it, in fact, that they feel the need to force it upon vulnerable young cadets.
A real 'military religious freedom' act would impose penalties upon chaplains (and officers) who used their positions to coerce and pressure the 'unsaved' into their evangelical programs. Maybe Senator Wicker will work to defend the rights of soldiers who don't want christian fundamentalism shoved down their throats?
That, as Sheldon Cooper says, was sarcasm.
The text of the legislation follows.
Military Religious Freedom Act of 2012 - Requires the Armed Forces to accommodate the conscience and sincerely held moral principles and religious beliefs of its members concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality, and prohibits the Armed Forces from using such conscience, principles, or beliefs (beliefs) as the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment.
Prohibits any member from:
(1) directing, ordering, or requiring a chaplain to perform any duty, rite, service, or function that is contrary to his or her beliefs; or
(2) discriminating or taking any adverse personnel action against a chaplain for refusing to comply with a direction, order, or requirement that is against his or her beliefs.
Prohibits a military installation or other property owned, rented, or under the jurisdiction or control of the Department of Defense (DOD) from being used to officiate, solemnize, or perform a marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the union of one man with one woman.
Blake Page was a senior at the United States Military Academy, slated to graduate in May. He was due to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army, and once he left the military was all but guaranteed a hefty salary in the private sector. But now Page is walking away from West Piont. Why? Page is an open and unashamed atheist, and heads up West Point's Secular Student Alliance. However, after three-and-a-half years of what he describes as the failure of the academy brass to curb an outright illegal and unconstitutional level of Christian proselytizing. He writes about his decision in a scathing article at Huffington Post.
While there are certainly numerous problems with the developmental program at West Point and all service academies, the tipping point of my decision to resign was the realization that countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution. These men and women are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against the non-religious and establishing formal policies to reward, encourage and even at times require sectarian religious participation.
These transgressions are nearly always committed in the name of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. The sparse leaders who object to these egregious violations are relegated to the position of silent bystanders, because they understand all too well the potential ramifications of publically expressing their loyalty to the laws of our country. These are strong words that I do not use lightly, but after years of clear personal observation I am certain that they are true.
In his official resignation letter, Blake describes several official and unofficial practices that he considers to be blatantly unconstitutional. For years, West Point has required cadets to take part in mandatory prayer and awards extra passes to plebes (freshmen) for attending retreats and chapel choirs. On an unofficial level, he reports that nonreligious cadets are openly looked down on, and that it's made pretty clear that taking part in religious activities will be rewarded. He describes a situation that appears to be only marginally better than that prevailing at the Air Force Academy, where numerous stories have come out about the outright hostility towards non-Christian cadets.
Blake spoke last night with HuffPost Live from his barracks at West Point. Watch it here (sorry, it won't embed).
Those of you in the Kansas City/Topeka area, be on alert--there's going to be a major invasion of fundie lunacy in Topeka on Saturday. And it has the endorsement of none other than Kansas' governor, Sam Brownback.
An outfit called Reign Down USA is planning a prayer rally at MacLennan Park in Topeka. It's currently scheduled to start at 3 pm Central (4 pm Eastern). It looks innocuous enough--its vision is to fulfill a "call to humility, prayer, worship, seeking Him with all of our heart, and repentance of our own personal sins."
All indications are that the religious right is rallying to the defense of Jews Offering Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), the "pray away the gay" outfit that is facing a lawsuit from four former clients who claim JONAH defrauded them and used degrading methods of "therapy." On paper, this shouldn't be surprising. The suit seeks to shut down JONAH for numerous violations of New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Protection Act--and if successful, it could make it a lot easier to expose conversion therapy as the hoakum that it is.
But when you look further into it, you really have to wonder why the fundies are mounting a full-throated defense of JONAH. After all, back in the 1980s its founder, Arthur Goldberg, was the mastermind of one of the largest investment frauds uncovered during the 1980s. From 1984 to 1986, Goldberg and his firm, Matthews & Wright, convinced several cities to buy $2 billion worth of fraudulent municipal bonds. If that wasn't bad enough, all indications were that he deliberately targeted impoverished communities with large minority populations. For instance, he got East St. Louis, Illinois--a city that at the time had almost half of its residents out of work--to raise $223 million for a riverfront housing development. He also got Guam to raise $300 million for single-family housing. Facing over 60 counts of fraud in Guam and Illinois (though the Guamanian case had to be moved to Los Angeles because so many of that island's residents had been bilked), Goldberg pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud in 1989 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Goldberg managed to conceal his criminal past until Truth Wins Out and South Florida Gay News exposed it in 2010. Read South Florida Gay News' writeup here and Truth Wins Out's writeup here.
The fundie response seems obvious--"Oh, but Goldberg has repented of his crimes, so they shouldn't be held against him anymore." Except that doesn't appear to be the case. Soon after the SFGN/TWO exposé, Goldberg wrote a letter to his colleagues on the board of NARTH, of which he was executive secretary at the time. Ex-Gay Watch got its hands on the letter.
The reason why Goldberg wrote the letter tells you all you need to know about him--he felt he had to do so "so that all of you may have some idea of what was involved." Which means he never disclosed his criminal past to NARTH--something that would be unthinkable in any organization. Indeed, NARTH's vice president of operations at the time said that the first he heard about Goldberg's crimes was in that letter. Then, rather than express any sort of remorse for his crimes, he instead claimed he only made a mistake and was forced to plead guilty due to not having any resources to fight the charges.
During the 1980′s, my firm and many others attempted to “grandfather” several bond issues of our clients in order to beat the deadline of the 1986 federal tax law changes. These deal structures were challenged and ultimately 2 separate criminal legal actions were filed against me. After fighting for several years and running out of resources, I determined it was in the best interests of my family, myself, and my firm that I plead guilty to the minor counts of the indictment. In both actions, the guilty plea involved a finding that no intentional fraud took place. Rather the conduct for which I fully accepted punishment involved conduct that would be sufficient to constitute fraud under the relevant statutes – even though non-intentional. In fact, one of the pre-sentencing reports specifically found that no one involved in the transactions in question lost any money whatsoever on the transactions and that I did not receive personal enrichment from the transactions. Nevertheless, I accepted full responsibility for my negligent actions.
However, this is belied by eyewitness reports that Goldberg described his scheme as "selling bonds to the cannibals," and that he didn't care whether any of the housing was ever built. Translation--Goldberg knew damned well what he was doing.
I've been picking through Mike Bickle's teachings on Bridal Mysticism and the Song of Solomon - which Bickle seems to view as allegorical for the end-time relationship of the church (the Bride of Christ) to Jesus. Here are some interesting quotes:
"As women are called to be sons of God who experience His power, so man [sic] are called to be the Bride of Christ who encounters His heart. Both describe a position of great privilege for the redeemed before God, transcending gender."
Women are to become "sons", men are to be the spiritual lovers of Jesus, both "transcending gender". But don't take that too literally:
"The Divine kiss is a metaphor for intimacy with God... The kisses of His mouth speak of the release of the Word of God that tenderizes our hearts in the love of God. We are NOT to think of kissing Jesus on the mouth." [emphasis in the original]
Don't take that too literally except, perhaps, in the case of the "chamber experience":
"She [The Bride of Christ] wants to be with Him [Jesus] wherever He is. She lost the sweetness in her communion with God. She longs for the kisses of His Word and the chamber experiences with the Lord."
In the end, this seems to be about divine pleasure:
"In reality, holiness is a call to pleasure that is perfect and unending. To be holy is to know God and be like Him, and He Himself is the highest pleasure that exists. We cannot experience a more superior pleasure than knowing the God of heaven and sharing in His glory.
God is a lover of fascination and delight, and He formed man in such a way that we would desire these things. His call to holiness is the fulfillment of these desires He has put within us."
In a February 2009 column in Charisma magazine, long considered the flagship publication of the charismatic movement, editor J. Lee Grady observed, "Not long after ecstasy became known as a recreational drug, someone in our movement got the bright idea to promote spiritual ecstasy as a form of legitimate worship." Grady went on to issue the following prophetic warning:
"Recently I told a friend in Pennsylvania that when people get tired of this drug imagery it won't be long before we see some Christians having sexual experiences at the altar. "It's already happening," my friend said. He described a recent "worship concert" in which one of the musicians simulated sex while stroking a microphone and whispering sensual phrases to Jesus. What is next-orgasmic worship? God help us."
To cite a saying often incorrectly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, "God helps those who help themselves".
As even committed movement loyalists such as Grady speak out, and apparent fruits of Mike Bickle's unusual theology and worship practices manifest, how long will the evangelical center remain in denial ? Or, as Kansas City pastor Ernie Gruen asked, in 1990 sermon about Mike Bickle's Kansas City Prophets movement and Bickle's Grace Ministries, "How Long Do We Keep Smiling and Say Nothing?"
Two days ago, I mentioned that Rick Joyner hosted a post-election "webinar" with another NAR leader, Bob Jones. In it, Joyner and Jones actually laughed about the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy because in their view, it's divine punishment for the East Coast voting in gay marriage. When I found out about this video via People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch, I was actually getting ready to watch the whole thing in hopes of getting the full context. However, after watching the PFAW clip and seeing Jones and Joyner laughing at the suffering wrought by Sandy--especially when so many people are STILL in the dark--I felt it was so outrageous that I felt I had to post immediately.
As sick and twisted as that was, it wasn't the most revealing part of the video as a whole, which lasts for over an hour (PFAW only got about a minute and a half clip). Not by a longshot. If I heard right, Joyner and Jones seem to have convinced themselves that they can get President Obama to help them fulfill their ambition of taking over the world and cleansing it of all "evildoers"--i. e., those who dare to oppose them--so Jesus can come back and they can hand the world over to him.
About 50 minutes in, Joyner suggests that Obama could potentially receive a "revelation" that could "turn him around." If that were to happen, he could "do things Romney could not do." I know that suggestion generated a lot of belly laughs. After all, the NAR's agenda could not be more antithetical to what we as Democrats stand for. But then I discovered that there's at least one Democratic elected official who has NAR ties--Kimberly Daniels, an at-large city councilwoman in Jacksonville. She's the "apostle" of an NAR church in Jacksonville, and is a real piece of work. Among other things, she thinks that Halloween candy is infected with demons and claims to have cast out "demons" of homosexuality and witchcraft.
When I heard this, I initially thought that it didn't track. After all, just a few minutes earlier in the same video, Joyner declared that Obama was, in biblical terms, a "wicked man" and that the nation "sided with wickedness" by giving Obama a second term. Also, in his pre-Election Day sermon to his flock at MorningStar Fellowship Church in Fort Mill, South Carolina (20 minutes south of me--gag); Joyner declared that anyone who thinks Obama is a Christian is kidding himself, and that he is in fact the most anti-Christian president we've ever had.
But then I remembered my own experience with a dominionist outfit. As many of you know, during my freshman year at Carolina I was suckered into joining a campus ministry that was part of a church that was part of another notorious NAR-affiliated outfit, Every Nation. Late in the first semester of my sophomore year, I pretended to rejoin them in order to get evidence against them to complain about them to the student attorney general's office in hopes of getting them booted off campus. As much as I'd spoken out against them, they welcomed me back with open arms--even likening me to the Apostle Paul. Yep, that's right--they likened my speaking out against them to persecution. They had so convinced themselves I'd come back to them that when they found out I'd turned them in, it hit them from out of left field. I suspect the same is going on with Joyner hoping to bring Obama into the fold--he's convinced that Obama will eventually come under "submission" to an "apostle" aligned with the NAR.