Ron Luce's "stealth evangelism" guide exposed (part 3)
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Tue May 16, 2006 at 11:44:37 AM EST
This is a continuation of a series, beginning with an initial post in regards to the 1995 "RIOT Manual"--a guide on "stealth evangelism" for youth published by Teen Mania Ministries and distributed by "Christian contemporary" artist Carman.

We reviewed tactics 1-30 here;  suffice it to say that things only get even more bizarre from here.

And yes, this IS typical of the old "bait and switch" and of current tactics in getting kids into stuff like "BattleCry".

As if our poor beleagured custodial staff didn't have enough problems, how about tract-handling with food?
31. REAL FOOD Use the Real Food tactic to get the gospel into people's hearts during lunch time in your cafeteria. Standing in line for lunch at school usually is a brain-dead activity. But you can infiltrate the cafeteria by putting a tract on every tray before people pick them up.

As they're holding their tray in line, they will begin to read the tract and find out more about the Lord. When they reach for a napkin, they'll pick up a tract because you've infiltrated the napkin holders with tracts. After a while people will get the message that there is an invasion going on in their school - a Righteous Invasion of Truth.


Whilst amusing, it's rather unlikely for a large number of reasons:

a) Generally school lunchrooms are operated by a dedicated staff of food service employees.  Students, by and large, aren't allowed in the lunchroom until lunch is served (in other words, the dominionist kids would have to skip class to infiltrate the lunchroom, especially in schools with staggered lunch schedules).  This is in part due to homeland security concerns and partly due to concerns regarding food allergies and even basic food poisoning prevention.  (Anymore, to be a "lunch lady" you are required to go through a specific certification course on food preparation safety and food-prep security offered by the local department of health.)

b) In many schools, there are either multiple lunch lines (this was even the case in my own school in the late 80's where a separate salad line existed) or there are no cafeteria personnel at all and all lunches are sent preboxed and pre-prepared (I was also in a school system in my early high school years where this was the case).

c) Again (due to zero-tolerance policies) anyone caught trying to interfere with the lunchroom equipment in such a manner would probably at best be suspended.  (Very often, there are specific lunch monitors even in high school--partly because kids have been occasionally busted in text-message drug deals and similar misbehaviours during lunch periods.  In addition, due to homeland security concerns, the use of lunchrooms period by non-school staff has been severely restricted in many school districts. Generally kids seen as being disruptive in any manner are often banned from lunchroom at a minimum.  (Again, this is due to multiple unfortunate incidents--the most infamous possibly being the Columbine shootings, but also because of students sometimes deliberately doing things like bringing allergenic food to a "peanut-free table" set up for allergic kids.)

We go straightaway back into at least the sixth listing mentioning a criminal science headline at number 32 (at this point I am wondering if Ron Luce has a bit of a "Law and Order" fetish):

32. STAKEOUT

With the Stakeout tactic, you will watch closely the person you want to witness to, much as police watch a suspect ed criminal. What do you watch for? You look for clues that will tell you what your "suspect" believes or thinks is important. For example, if he spends a lot of time messing with his hair or clothes that tells you something about him. It could mean he is insecure and doesn't have a high opinion of him self. Maybe you notice that he looks sad all the time or that he cuts himself down frequently. As a result, you could share the gospel by telling him that God sees him as incredibly valuable.

Maybe you notice that one of the people you're praying for dresses like a certain music group. If you want to relate to her, read up on the lyrics of that kind of music. Find a song that has some spiritual overtones and find out what the Bible has to say about that subject. When you get a chance, ask her, "So, what do you think [her favorite band] means when they say ______?" Listen to her ideas, then gently tell her what the Bible says.

By closely observing people you can pick up clues that can help you present the gospel to them in a unique way. Some have blasted others with the gospel and shoved the Bible down their throats before they took the time to know them. But a Stakeout is loving people enough to learn how they see life before you tell them about the Lord.


Ah, yes, fun with yet another tactic promoting scoping out the specific weak spots of a potential target so that they can rush in for the "kill".  (Yes, as a matter of fact, they DO act a lot like wild dogs worrying down a deer or cow.  No offense to the wild dogs meant, of course.)

Old-school crackers have a term for this too--"social engineering" and "vulnerability probing"--the idea being that you end up gaining the trust of an individual, and map out the weak points of a system to infiltrate it.  Kevin Mitnick used to be a veritable genius at this sort of "social engineering" before he got imprisoned for it; now he sells his services as a "white-hat" social engineer teaching people how not to fall for the same tactics he used to break into a large number of systems--including some linked to the Department of Defense.

It's also interesting how they promote--subtly, mind--the general concepts of "deliverance ministry" again.  One of the urban legends that has had continuous running since the very invention of jazz music in the dominionist community (and one which has helped fund the careers of "Christian Contemporary" artists like Carman nicely as an "alternative" to "demonic" secular music--not uncoincidential) is the idea that certain rock songs, or certain song lyrics, contain hidden references to Satanism or the devil.  (This began with blues singers being accused of selling their souls to the Devil, expanded to rock-and-roll being accused of being satanic (common lines given were about the Eagles' "Hotel California" being about the Church of Satan (in fact, it's a song about drug addiction), Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution" telling kids to kill themselves (here, again, a song about addiction, specifically about how alcoholism is a form of slow suicide) and how the band Kiss' name supposedly stood for either Knights In Satan's Service or Kids In Satan's Service (in fact, it's neither, it's just plain Kiss), and so forth) and has now expanded to hip-hop and rap being the targets of nearly identical claims as those made regarding heavy metal in the 80's (yes, including the whole "backwards masking" claims of secret Satanic messages hidden in metal albums).

In fact, it's a common claim even today by "deliverance ministry" preachers that ALL secular music, and even music by "crossover" "Christian contemporary" artists like Amy Grant or by "Christian metal" artists like Stryper or Bloodgood, are in fact Satanic and "open doorways for Satan"; the Christian artists are generally condemned for having too much of a "rock beat" or being promoted in secular media (Stryper, not surprisingly, got both, seeing as they were a Christian metal band that became a crossover band to secular artists towards the end of their careers and always had some of the best popularity of any "Christian" artist in the type of music they performed), and the definition of "Satanism" gets very loose indeed (Tina Turner, for instance, was condemned as a "Satanist" for studying Buddhism, and the Beatles were similarly condemned).  Hence the only music that people can listen to in these groups is old-time gospel or--surprise, surprise--artists like Carman et al.  (Yes, this is a big part of what keeps the "Christian Music" industry alive--people are literally taught in dominionist churches they will go to hell for listening to anything else!)

(Very interestingly, and as a personal aside, my first breakings-away from dominionism came when my youth pastor accused the band Stryper of being Satanic.  I actually owned albums from Stryper and knew they held altar calls at their concerts, and were about as far as you could get (even in dominionist terms) from being Satanists.  I later found out that they'd lied about Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution" and the house of cards started to tumble down after that; not uncoincidentially, some of my first work in fighting dominionism was specifically with groups fighting censorship of rock music by "deliverance ministry" groups like Bob Larson Ministries.  Quite a bit of crossover there, and at least for folks in my generation, the fight against dominionism really started with the fight against groups like the PMRC (which, while lead by Tipper Gore and Bob Dole's wife, had a lot of support from dominionists and used quite a bit of reference material from dominionist groups), Bob Larson, the Christian Coalition and the like.)

As if we didn't have enough issues with "faith-based coercion" in the prison system, they encourage kids to visit prisoners to annoy the hell out of them literally:

33. JAIL MINISTRY

The Jail Ministry tactic can take your R.I.O.T. Squad into a county jail for adults or a detention center for teens to share the gospel. While there, use drama, music and tracts to reach a captive audience.

Plan a Jail Ministry by first talking to your youth pastor. If you can't find any one at your church to help, try contacting the facility directly. Ask the chaplain if your Squad can come out on a Saturday afternoon. Most chaplains in juvenile institutions are happy to have people visit who are good role models for kids. When you go, be ready to minister. The chaplain can help you choose the R.I.O.T. tactics most appropriate for his or her institution.


The scary thing is, as evidenced by both the type of churches that the "RIOT Manual" would be promoted in (those with a very, very heavy emphasis on the "spiritual warfare" aspects of dominion theology) and based on the very kinds of groups that promote "faith based coercion" (very often the same groups promoting to adults the concepts of "spiritual warfare") it's probably likely that they would find someone sympathetic in the prison system who'd gleefully let a mess of young God Warriors in to prosyletise to the convicts.

This is, of course, not considering the fact that increasingly (outside of "scared straight" programs--and even those are passing out of fashion) minors are increasingly not being permitted to tour jails and prisons.  County jails have in past had more lax rules regarding visitation (and in fact this is why they were targeted in the flyer--at the time of publication of this booklet, "scared straight" visitation put on by DARE groups was still somewhat common and done with authorisation of sheriff's departments).  Increasingly, though, prisons occasionally even prevent visitation by minor relatives of prisoners, and Michigan's state statute is fairly typical (visitation only allowed for minor children or grandchildren of inmates, must be accompanied by an adult relative, prisoners in certain categories (multiple drug-related offenses or termination of parental rights) not allowed minor visitors at all (and in fact substance-abuse related offenses can lead to no visits save by clergy and attorneys for upwards of two years). Utah has similar regulations, including requiring filing a specific form for minor visitation.  Sauk County Sheriff's Department in Wisconsin has similar regs prohibiting non-related minors from visitation, as does Williamson County, IL Sheriff's Office, and Worchester County Sheriff, MA; Alachua County, Florida doesn't state a flat ban on non-relative visitors but requires that minors be in the custody of people on a list of four pre-approved visitors (and also further requires that "prison ministry" be done only by ordained or legally authorised ministers) and San Diego County Sheriff has similar restrictions.  The same goes for juvenile facilities; Portage County, WI juvenile hall prohibits visitation by minors other than children of inmates.

This is in part due to tough new laws regarding sex offenders and drug-related offenses and persons who have committed those offenses generally being required to stay away from minors.  (In the case of sex offenders, generally there are specific regulations due to Megan's Law that state that certain levels of sex offenders cannot legally be within a certain number of yards of children.)  It is far from uncommon to have sex offenders in both juvenile and adult custody in county jails; in fact, a search of Louisville in the Kentucky State Sex Offender Registry shows quite a few sex offenders in the county jail right now, and so do the county jails in Bullitt County (a rural county just south of Louisville) and even Whitley County (a rural county near Cumberland Falls, notable for being the home of the SBC-run University of the Cumberlands which recently kicked a student out for revealing on his MySpace page that he was gay--and may lose a chance to gain a pharmacy school from it, both because of protests by Fairness advocates in the state and because the planned accreditation board (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) explicitly prohibits discrimination against LGBT persons in its regulations and has stated it will not be willing to accredit University of the Cumberlands' proposed school of pharmacy if the school maintains its present policy of expulsion of outed LGBT students).

The section concludes with telling people to stick to a single tactic per person--in other words, at least a minimum of four targets are recommended.

And lest one doubt that Teen Mania is the ringleader, the resources page is particularly telling in that fully half or more of it is adverts for Teen Mania--and includes an application form for Teen Mania.  (Mars Hill and Gospel Films, the two producers of "Scared Saved" movies, are given major props as well, as is Carman (the "Christian Contemporary" artist used to hawk this in the beginning) and a secondary group called "Impact Productions".  

Impact Productions seems to be associated with Real Impact Missions, which is apparently a group that promotes teen ministry as well as sending kids on "missionary trips" (a la Youth With A Mission), and is so poorly run that it received an F on transparency and is close to the bottom of every category it's ranked in at ministrywatch.com--largely because it refuses to give any info on its organisation.  (To give a comparison, the only groups with similarly poor transparency ratings are almost uniformly name-it-and-claim-it preachers, and the only groups with similarly poor sector rankings are all televangelist groups.)  The group has links not only with Ron Luce but many other dominionist groups including Ted Haggard's New Life Church, and at least one of the board of directors is an honest-to-God flaggellant who has made a small career of wheeling around a 12-foot cross.

Impact Productions' website seemed to be down at the time of this writing, but a Google Archive of the homepage hints that they are also a major producer of religiously oriented films.  A further Google search turned up connections between Impact Productions and promotion of "Passion of the Christ", and is apparently also the primary company behind the movie "End Of The Spear" and also makes other films promoting targeting Native American groups in South America, when they're not making religiously oriented films for children.  Quite interestingly, Impact Productions also has documented links to Hollywood, thus being possibly one of the major conduits by which Ron Luce is contacting secular promoters.

The scary thing is, the contents I've just described are typical of Ron Luce's groups, and of "spiritual warfare" groups in general (being a survivor of one of those groups, I can vouch for this).




Display:
Perhaps this site needs a topic or section for the subject ?  

by Bruce Wilson on Wed May 17, 2006 at 07:53:12 AM EST
I'm beginning to think so, actually, as Luce's "teen spiritual warfare" groups do seem to have a lot of traffic about them.

(I'd probably also suggest an area on religiously motivated child abuse, too, but then again I'm one of the few people posting anything on that, so...)

by dogemperor on Wed May 17, 2006 at 08:49:38 AM EST
Parent

that doesn't mean it's unimportant. I did a post on Metafilter.com about Dobson's advice, sometime last year.

It disturbed a lot of readers - who thought Dobson was such a "nice" man - and I thought it should.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed May 17, 2006 at 09:19:19 AM EST
Parent

There you go :

nothing there yet, but if you did an anthology [ your anthology on moral refusal, etc. was really good ].....

Joan Bokaer's done three or more posts, you've done some, and I know there are others.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed May 17, 2006 at 09:31:13 AM EST
Parent

Okay, reposted my three-part anthology on there.  Here's the other Luce-related posts that probably need copying over there:

Battle Cry Last Weekend in Philadelphia
Responding to the BattleCry Campaign: Introducing "Acquire the Evidence"
BattleCry Youth Rally in Massachusetts, Summer '04
Christ's Righteously Equipped Warriors

(As these are from other authors, we may want to contact them to repost, or whatever)


by dogemperor on Wed May 17, 2006 at 09:50:44 PM EST
Parent

It's a start : I imagine it can serve as an attractor for discussion

by Bruce Wilson on Thu May 18, 2006 at 11:11:47 PM EST
Parent






dogemperor, since you've mentioned Every Nation and its ties to Maranatha Campus Ministries before, thought you might be interested to know that Luce has been working quite a bit with Every Nation as of late.

A friend and colleague of mine has put together a list of Maranatha, Morning Star International and Every Nation front organizations... asked me if I thought Ron Luce and Acquire the Fire should be added to that list.  At the time I said no, but certainly they're all part of the same "club" so to speak.

BTW, two Every Nation leaders with links to Maranatha are listed as keynote Battle Cry Leadership Summit speakers - Tim Johnson, who is a pastor at Every Nation's flagship church in Nashville, and Darrell Green.  Johnson works directly with MCM's former top evangelist Rice Broocks, while Green is a disciple of another former MCM leader, Brett Fuller.

by ulyankee on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 03:20:03 PM EST

Actually, I find that EXTREMELY interesting myself--especially as Maranatha aka MSI aka Every Nation is possibly one of the most spiritually abusive groups known in the neopente movement, I'm not entirely surprised to see a lot of the bad habits from the "Maranatha Complex" carrying over.  (In fact, I'd argue that the coerciveness is endemic in "spiritual warfare" groups within the neopente movement period, but that's my two pence.)

If you'd be willing to post a diary entry on this, we'd love to see it.

by dogemperor on Fri Jun 09, 2006 at 01:21:37 PM EST
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