Responding to the 'BattleCry' campaign: Introducing 'Acquire the Evidence'
Mike Doughney printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 12:29:25 PM EST

Recently, Teen Mania Ministries, a twenty-year-old national 'youth ministry' connected with some of the usual characters of concern such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, has initiated the 'BattleCry' youth organizing campaign, most visibly by preceding a stadium event in San Francisco with a contentious presence at City Hall there on March 24. They've since announced that they're organizing rallies to promote their campaign to be held in front of City Halls nationally, concurrent with a "BattleCry" stadium event in Philadelphia on May 12.

Teen Mania and their "BattleCry" have been scrutinized here on Talk To Action a few times, by Lorie Johnson and Joan Bokaer. We also commented on them in this thread.

I've been part of a team that's been aware of Teen Mania and its founder, Ron Luce, for some years. Now that they've begun seeking press attention and fomenting controversy to publicize themselves, we've brought our website fully online with the following debut article. Please visit the site at acquiretheevidence.com for additional information.

Ron Luce Admits "BattleCry's" Dependence on Secular Talent

Ron Luce took to the stage of the "BattleCry" San Francisco event last March and spent a large part of a Friday evening in the company of a few real live pigs, saying "we don't want ninety-six percent of your generation living with pigs," later clarifying that he's referring specifically to "this pigpen called American culture."

Meanwhile, this spectacle had been made possible in part by a company that produces shows for secular superstars like Madonna and Nine Inch Nails, which had been hired by Teen Mania to work on the "BattleCry" event.

One of the themes repeated over and over in the "BattleCry" events and propaganda involves the allegation of vileness and worthlessness of much of popular culture, and specifically, music. Here's just one example of many, from Ron Luce's book published as part of the national launch of the "BattleCry" campaign:

Music: pounding home the obscenities. The enemy isn't limited to television and movie screens, of course. Going far beyond the limits of decorum and good taste - while foregoing any attempt at true musicality - most of today's hits simply dish up steaming helpings of vileness.

Ron Luce, "Battle Cry for a Generation," page 38

In the book, Ron Luce then goes on to quote lyrics he finds offensive, including the titles and partial lyrics of two songs by Kid Rock. This, from the head of an organization that's hired Nocturne Productions, a firm that's working in support of Kid Rock's current tour.

Nocturne, an international production company whose website lists Madonna, BonJovi and Nine Inch Nails as some of the tours they're involved with just in 2006, is also involved in the production of "BattleCry." Nocturne Productions is named in the credits of the video coverage of the first two "BattleCry" events, aired on TBN, JCTV and the NRB Network.

Nocturne is also named as one of the top five independent contractors on Teen Mania's tax return, having been paid $91,500 for services in the year ending August 2004.

This instance of Teen Mania relying on a secular firm for essential services is not an isolated incident. Ron Luce himself has admitted that he can't "get the job done otherwise" in a New York Times article detailing the relationship between Teen Mania and Tocquigny, an Austin, Texas based ad agency whose clients include Dell, AMD and Caterpillar.

I think people have gotten more and more open to dealing with secular firms when they see that there's no way to get the job done otherwise, at least in Christian circles.

This is a startling admission from a person who advocates a black-and-white, absolutist worldview and markets an identity based on an idealized, strict brand loyalty to those in his subculture. He mandates a separation from, and an aloofness to secular content, to be maintained at great cost if necessary, that's a recurring theme across years of his live events and TV shows where he instructs teens to go home and destroy their secular CD collection.

But perhaps Luce's polarized, zero-sum-game worldview is best summarized in this one sentence from his book:

Our cause brings truth and life; their cause results in lies and death.

Ron Luce, "Battle Cry for a Generation," page 199

Ron Luce has made a career selling his idealized, strictly black-and-white world to teenagers. But when confronted with the realities of the marketplace, apparently even he's discovered a few shades of gray that he can't do without. He's taken exactly the middle ground that he berates teenagers for occupying.




Display:
This is an excellent article, and also shows how dominionists are more than happy to partner with the "evil secularists" when it suits them.  (One just wishes in this regard that the corporations in question had more info on just who they were dealing with.)

There is quite an amount of backgrounder material available on Luce at Talk2Action.  Posts which have focused on Luce include:

"Battle Cry" Youth Rally in Massachusetts, Summer '04 (gives a look at the massive rallies held, comments include a lively debate between Talk2Action regulars and a Luce apologist)
Christ's Righteously Equipped Warriors (discussion of the extensive use of "spiritual warfare" ideology, particularly the "spiritual warfare" symbolism promoted in dominion theology; comments detail Ron Luce's extensive links with "dominion theology" movements--more on this below)

As I've noted, Ron Luce has links with one of the scarier branches of "Christian Nationalism"--the "dominion theology" movement which had its origins in the Assemblies of God and has been promoted by both the Assemblies and various "neopentecostal" groups.  

The Assemblies in fact has directly promoted Luce's seminars multiple times--through its seminary, through its official  website, through Assemblies churches, through conference  which was almost entirely comprised of heads of Assemblies front groups targeting kids and the director of youth ministries for the Assemblies of which Ron Luce was a featured speaker, through promotion directly by Assemblies-linked youth ministries, through partnership with Youth With A Mission (an Assemblies frontgroup which has such a history of spiritual abuse targeted at its members that most exit counselors and experts on spiritual abuse consider it a "Bible-based cult), through international branches of the Assemblies (the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada is the name under which the Assemblies of God operates in that country), and through a dominionist conference with close links to the Assemblies.

The Assemblies aren't the only promoters of "dominion theology" that Ron Luce partners with (and the Assemblies are certainly dominionist and abusive--here's a short list of the many, many ways)--Luce also has connections with other figures in the pente "spiritual warfare" community.  Among them, Ron Luce has documented links with Ted Haggard (of New Life Church, a neopentecostal church in Colorado Springs that is now the de facto home of the National Association of Evangelicals and which has been documented by many sources as not only dominionist but specifically involved in the Brownsville aka Toronto "third wave" movement); this has included, notably, cross-promotion as Haggard himself has appeared at Luce's conferences.  Luce is heavily promoted by dominionist groups into the "spiritual warfare" movement, including "deliverance ministry" movements.  Another group Luce is linked to is the See You At The Pole movement, which has featured such charming examples of "Christian love" as nailing the names of "unsaved" classmates to crosses and praying over the crosses that their classmates become suicidal unless they become dominionists.

In the realm of more conventional connections to dominionists, as well as deceptive tactics they use themselves, there are still more links to Luce.  As it turns out, Exodus International--one of the major groups promoting bogus and potentially psychologically harmful "de-gaying therapy"--has one of its chief speakers as a Teen Mania conference regular.  (Yes, these conferences do tend to not only depict LGBT folks as demon-possessed but crazy to boot.)  

Luce's Teen Mania group--which, like so many other organisations closely linked to the Assemblies and the "dominion theology" movement that target youth--also promotes frank recruitment by deception; the same sort of "bait and switch" evangelism promoted by, say, the Seven Project (an Assemblies front-group targeting teenage kids and often promoted as a program for "at-risk youth").  In a copy of a manual published by Carman Ministries which is an instruction manual for dominionist youth groups on how to conduct "bait and switch" evangelism, Teen Mania is mentioned in chapter 3 specifically; the manual itself was published by Ron Luce himself, and promoted by "Christian Contemporary" singer Carman (popular in dominionist circles).  The book itself is a de facto publication by Teen Mania, as evidenced in the resource section.

The "R.I.O.T. Manual" can in fact be considered the operating manual for Teen Mania on how to target non-dominionists for conversion. Portions of the book also promote: frank harassment of targets who appear to be "depressed" or "on drugs" (literally advising them to have multiple people "chase down" targets to corner and prosyletise to); heavily promote "spiritual warfare" ideology, advise "mock funerals" as a bit of theatre to recruit members (shades of "Hell Houses"); advise kids to include mentions of God and Jesus in school papers even when completely irrelevant (noting specifically that students are a "captive audience"); advise mass prosyletisation in shopping malls (with instructions on how to avoid security guards when complaints are made re the dominionist kids harassing the customers!) and including littering stores and even store merchandise with tracts; advises literal "sheep-stealing" (in classic FGBMFI style of setting up "Charismatic Catholic" groups by having members join churches, and similar to how IRD sympathiser groups could have been seeded) including targeting of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses in particular; advise literally having members fake choking (!) whilst another "plant" pretends to administer CPR and uses this to prosyletise; advises people to carry around a video camera and falsely claim they are interviewing people for a video program; advises people to join public schools for the sole purpose of stealth evangelism; advise leafletting of tracts including inside school lockers (many schools prohibit distributing any material not published officially by the school, including student-published magazines not linked with the school, and this is likely to get a kid suspended) and also encourages leafletting the cafeteria and even the toilet (!); and encourages the kids to get MTV removed from the local cable systems (firstly, not bloody likely as Viacom is one of the largest network companies; secondly, this was a very common tactic by dominionist groups especially in the 80's) and encourages kids to promote the idea of state-led and state-sanctioned dominionist prayers in schools.

One particular section (section 3) even advocates compiling a "hit list" of the "unsaved" and praying that these people become miserable unless they convert (in tactics very similar to those used at the "See You At The Pole" events) and in fact is included in a section that uses parallels to the literal arrest and prosecution of a criminal(!).  Part 5 includes a "Weapons and Tactics" checklist for young "God Warriors"

Of particular note, the group freely acknowledges that doing these things is likely to get one fired but advises people to do it anyways at their places of work.  (Obviously they don't seem too concerned about the real possibility of "hostile environment" lawsuits.  One would think that these kids, if they work outside the "ministry" at all, are best suited to some dominionist company like Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby.)

For those who want to read Luce's advise to kids in his own words, BARF's full archive is (unfortunately) no longer online at its site but the Wayback Machine has archived the full manual in six parts:

Intro and Table of Contents (intro, table of contents)
Part 1 (pages 5-33)
Part 2 (pages 37-64)
Part 3 (pages 68-117)
Part 4 (pages 121-136)
Part 5 (pages 139-143)
Appendix and Resources (showing that work is, in fact, a joint partnership of Teen Mania and Carman Productions, advises people who need further info or wish to get more involved to contact Teen Mania; of VERY specific note, the "Resources" section includes an application form to join Teen Mania).

by dogemperor on Tue May 02, 2006 at 12:46:51 PM EST

dogemperor, did you save this before the archived content was itself blocked?  BTW, BARF still has excerpts posted on its website.  Wonder if they got into some copyright trouble for initially posting the whole thing...

BTW, it is available through Bookfinder.

by ulyankee on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 02:50:43 PM EST
Parent

I had saved most of the posts before they were yanked (and unfortunately they are no longer available via the Wayback Machine at archive.org either, though Google Cache does still have some of the relevant pages).

by dogemperor on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 07:20:10 AM EST
Parent



very interesting post. Very useful and well done site too.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon May 01, 2006 at 02:01:36 PM EST

Luce's own words are plenty damning in and of themselves, and BARF (Biblical America Resistance Front) has been an invaluable resource in researching Luce.  (BARF operates acquiretheevidence.org as a sister site focusing specifically on Luce.)

One of the connections I was unaware of, but am not surprised at, is the link to the DeMoss Foundation (Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation is a major funder of dominionist causes in general, especially groups that use "bait and switch evangelism" as a recruitment tactic).  

I also do appreciate their mention (in the "Read More" section) a major concern I have--that this may be a dominionist group that has crossed over into being spiritually abusive as well.  (Sadly, Luce has many connections to groups that have well documented histories of being spiritually abusive.)

The Portland Mercury, as an aside, has written an excellent article on Luce, and there is an interview available with Sunsara Taylor, who successfully organised a large counterprotest of BattleCry in San Francisco.

by dogemperor on Tue May 02, 2006 at 12:56:39 PM EST


I have actually had co-workers that, while they are well into their adulthood (40 and early 50-somethings), they have bought into similar things to the "Teen Mania" events.  These people go so far as to get rid of all of their teenage childrens' books and music that they deem "filled with demons and devils."  Most of the books they deem bad are things such as classical mythology, fantasy and even sci-fi!  The music that they deem bad is usually anything in the hard-rock category.  They make their kids listen to nothing but gospel from there on out and only allow them to read the bible (often loudly claiming that "you only need ONE book and no others").
I think that there's a whole group of people being "zombie-fied" by this militant brand of fundamentalism.

by Heathen1 on Tue May 16, 2006 at 09:46:33 PM EST


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