More churches stand up to Ohio dominionists!
dogemperor printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jan 27, 2006 at 01:26:10 PM EST
Two weeks ago, I reported on a major precedent in the fight against dominionists hijacking our country and hijacking Christianity.

31 pastors of Columbus area churches joined together to file formal legal complaint with the IRS against two dominionist churches--World Harvest Church and Fairfield Christian Church--at the heart of the "Ohio Restoration Movement" and similar moves to set up "Patriot Pastor" movements in other states (such as Texas).

And now the movement by these pastors--which I affectionately refer to as the "Ohio Rebellion" (in the Rebel Alliance or even Revolutionary sense, of course)...is snowballing.

Per the Columbus Dispatch (which has been the major newspaper covering this story) and a recent mirrored post on Dark Christianity:
Religious leaders who accused two evangelical pastors of illegally playing politics came forward yesterday and reaffirmed their decision to challenge the tax-exempt status of the pastors' churches.

Arrayed around the pulpit at the North Broadway United Methodist Church in Columbus, 22 of 31 pastors who originally filed the complaint with the Internal Revenue Service gathered for a news conference to defend their rare and explosive action. Yesterday, the ranks of signers grew to 33.

And the Rev. Eric Williams, senior pastor of the North Congregational United Church of Christ in Columbus, said at least two dozen more ministers from Ohio and across the nation have asked to have their names added to the complaint seeking an IRS investigation into the political activities of the Rev. Rod Parsley, of World Harvest Church in Columbus, and the Rev. Russell Johnson, of Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster.

"We come from different traditions, we come perhaps from different theological points of view, we come from different experiences, but we all come together around this one single concern," Williams said, referring to the pastors representing nine Judeo-Christian denominations.

The pastors want the IRS to determine whether the two evangelical megachurches headed by Parsley and Johnson, along with three affiliated organizations, should lose their tax-exempt status for participating in partisan politics.


The original action--which I reported on here on Talk2Action--by these pastors is in itself historic; to the best of any researchers' knowledge, this is the first time a complaint against a church for electioneering has ever been filed by other members of the clergy.  

The fact that other clergymen, both in Ohio and nationwide, are now joining the Ohio Rebellion is most encouraging indeed.  (This is exactly the sort of action that is needed in mainstream churches, IMHO.)

True to form, the pastors of the dominionist churches have already begun demonising the Ohio Rebellion and the clergy behind it, calling them literally unholy:

Until yesterday, only about nine of the complaining pastors -- whom Johnson (of Fairfield Christian) labeled "an unholy alliance" -- had been identified. But they revealed themselves yesterday under pressure from the public and Parsley, who last week called them the "anonymous 31." The pastors said they acted as individuals and not on behalf of their churches.

The Rev. David W. Meredith of the United Methodist Church said "there was never any intention to keep our names secret" and it was difficult to assemble "very busy clergy" for a public event.

In a statement released last night, Parsley said, "I welcome the news that the liberal clergy members who filed these baseless allegations against us have decided to publicly identify themselves. We've been praying for these clergy since all this began and we look forward to the opportunity to pray for them by name."


(Although it may not seem like it to people outside the dominionist community, Parsley actually directly threatened the pastors making legal complaint.  In neopentecostal churches, especially those into "Third Wave" theology (of which World Harvest Church is an embracer thereof), "word-faith" movements and the "spiritual warfare" aspects of dominion theology, one extremely common method of specifically "cursing people in the name of Christ" is to get groups of people to pray over the names of "targets" for all manner of harm to come over them until they convert (and to will all manner of harm to come to them for the specific purpose of bending them to the dominionists' will).  I've detailed the specific process here.)

Needless to say, the dominionist pastors are trying to play "But if you'd just talked to us...", but the pastors behind the Ohio Rebellion are having none of it.  And, for the most part, their congregations are behind them:

Parsley said if the pastors had come to him personally, "rather than air their grievances in the media, we certainly would have quickly put their fears to rest."

But the Rev. John Edgar, of the United Methodist Church, said, "It's not a conversation about whether or not we should have gone to Pastor Parsley ahead of time. It's about whether or not there's a violation of the IRS code . . . Clearly, there are significant violations. They knew it and the person they were helping (Blackwell) is someone who should have enforced the laws that were being broken."

Most of the pastors who assembled yesterday said they have told their congregations they signed the complaint and were overwhelmingly supported.

"When I told my congregation on Sunday during our worship service, there was a round of spontaneous applause," said the Rev. Kim Keethler Ball, of the American Baptist Church.

"As American Baptists, one of our core values, like the other traditions here, is that we value separation of church and state. For us, this issue falls in that realm and, precisely, (in the complaint) the issue is running a political campaign from church for a particular candidate."

The Rev. Lee Anne Reat, of the Episcopal Church, said she told her congregants she signed the complaint during her sermon Sunday.

"I talked about the need for a broader voice to be heard in the religious domain: a voice that takes into account the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans and the freedoms that we enjoy as people of faith -- freedoms that were an original gift from God. The response from my congregation was that there were a lot of tears, tears of pride. They are very much in support of the action that this group has taken. We stand proudly as people of faith, not an unholy alliance."


We need to see a lot more like this, but this is an encouraging start here. :3



Display:
Thought I'd re-post the link since it may have gotten buried in the previous thread. This news wasn't limited to Columbus. The New York Times (TimesSelect at this point) published a very decent article on the challenge - an exciting development since getting the news out to a wider audience is essential. Even if IRS doesn't do an audit, this kind of coverage will alert more people to the problem, help to educate them about the distinction between the Religious Right "Christians" and mainline clergy, and let the Right know that they no longer have the freedom to operate freely without fear of repercussions. Moderates and liberals tend to "turn the other cheek" and avoid fights. Doesn't work with this aggressive group.

by Psyche on Fri Jan 27, 2006 at 06:24:31 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Thoughts on the Finale of the Finn Debacle
Now that Bishop Robert Finn has finally resigned his leadership of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri -- here are some final thoughts......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
DeVos and School Privatization Funders Backing Philadelphia Democratic Mayoral Candidate
The Betsy DeVos-led American Federation for Children (AFC) and its core funders have spent more than fifteen million dollars in Pennsylvania over the last......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Religious Right Rabbi: Christian Coalition Favorite Daniel Lapin Resurfaces
Back in the 1990s when I was regularly covering the antics of TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, one part of the job was......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Christian Right leaders escalate anti-LGBTQ threats
As marriage equality has advanced around the country, and the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the issue in June, threatening language......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Could Support for LGBTQ Rights Disrupt the Coalition of Jews and Evangelical Christian Zionists?
Some might say that the relationship between the conservative US Jewish community and Evangelicals is inviolable, with support for Israel being the cement that......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)
Whine Festival: Second-Tier Religious Right Leaders Still Don't Like Marriage Equality
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.In preparation for this, a sad collection of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Whither the Christian Right in the Democratic Party?
You don't have to be a Hillary hater (and I'm not) to recognize that Clinton and other Democratic Party leaders have had long and......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Bishop Robert Finn Resigns Leadership of St. Joseph-Kansas City Diocese
Bishop Robert W. Finn, the Opus Dei Bishop who was convicted by a Missouri court for failing to report suspected child abuse by a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Two Overlooked Indiana Outcomes that Could Haunt the Christian Right
I think there are two underreported features of the fallout from Indiana that we should make sure do not get lost in the hoo......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
President Obama Can Help Stop Religious Discrimination
Barry Lynn, the longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently posted an important essay at Huffington Post. In......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Marriage Matters: Thoughts On The Recent Unpleasantness In Indiana
Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of "Interfaith Voices," a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
The Campaign Against Pro-LGBTQ Denominations
The recent endorsement of marriage equality by the Presbyterian Church (USA) seemed like a good moment to discuss the campaign to divide and conquer......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Upcoming Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice
The 29th annual conference From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom will be held from April 10-12 at Hampshire......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)

Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (5 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (2 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.