Battle Cry Last Weekend in Philadelphia
Joan Bokaer printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon May 15, 2006 at 05:29:18 PM EST
Fear and Loathing at Philadelphia's BattleCry tells the story of one woman's experience at the BattleCry rally last weekend. Susanna Taylor was among some 17,000 attendees listening to founder Ron Luce tell his audience why they should "come to Christ:"
He doesn't just want to be in your heart, He wants to own your heart.... There's only one good reason to come to Christ: because He's the rightful owner of your life.... You don't have to know much about Jesus, just enough to surrender your whole life.

The militaristic imagery was abundant. Throughout Ron Luce's speech, a loud crowd from the back of the stadium would periodically erupt, "We are warriors!"

Some attendees wore shirts with the image of Jesus on the cross, robes waving, and emblazoned across the front the words, "Dressed to Kill."

The first rock band that performed, Delirious, got the crowd festive and up on their feet with lyrics that were projected on large screens so that everyone could join in: "We're an army of God and we're ready to die.... Let's paint this big ol' town red.... We see nothing but the blood of Jesus...."

I admire the courage of folk who are witnessing and writing about BattleCry. Paul Mooney, who attended the rally in San Francisco last March and wrote about it for PlanetOut, is resisting the pull to get hysterical:

I went to the BattleCry rally feeling concerned, but with an open mind. I left feeling scared. BattleCry has close ties to Promise Keepers and other Christian Reconstructionist groups that openly advocate turning America into a theocracy. This could be their way of mentally grooming teens to accept the idea of war. Or it could all fizzle out in a few months. Judging from the empty seats Friday night, less than half of the estimated 25,000 kids showed up.

Whether this is just the Lollapalooza of the religious right or the beginning of a militant fascist youth movement remains a mystery.

As far as I've seen, the danger is that such reporting could simply instill more fear in the hearts of those who are already afraid and cause most others to tune out.

It's a hard problem to approach. My inclination would be - quite honestly - to interview survivors of the Rwandan genocide and then confront some of the rock bands playing out Luce's events with some of the the historical fruits of demonizing rhetoric.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon May 15, 2006 at 08:52:53 PM EST

I read the articles, and the comments by the Battle Cry kids on their bboard, and it was like night and day.

Do they understand what this is about? It's clear that Luce is milking them for both their passion and their money. Why can't they see this?

by Lorie Johnson on Tue May 16, 2006 at 09:53:23 AM EST

It is probably far more proper to state that the kids involved in the "Battle Cry" stuff are, to put it mildly, thoroughly indoctrinated.

I am making at least a two-part post on Talk2Action on a review/expose of a "stealth evangelism" manual published back in 1995 by Ron Luce; from all reputable reports, he's gotten even worse since the time of publishing of this book.

by dogemperor on Tue May 16, 2006 at 10:07:39 AM EST

I hope the kids who said "This sucked" or express minor disagreements are being censored, or just not posting. I hope kids were dragged into it. I hope kids rebel against this false "rebellion".

by GreenEyed Lilo on Wed May 31, 2006 at 05:47:19 PM EST

I've posted a three-part "review" of a "stealth evangelism" manual targeted at kids in dominionist houses that dates all the way from 1995 and was published by Teen Mania Ministries (Ron Luce's primary group) and distributed by a "Christian contemporary" artist heavy into "spiritual warfare" theology himself:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

It is an unusually revealing look at how groups like BattleCry, and Ron Luce's groups in particular, work in practice (and a rare look at the "private face" of dominionism).

by dogemperor on Tue May 16, 2006 at 11:48:20 AM EST


by Bruce Wilson on Tue May 16, 2006 at 07:08:58 PM EST

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