Dominionism's parallel economy: Corporate sponsors
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Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 02:28:36 PM EST
Today, I begin covering a series here that I've been covering on DailyKos--namely, what may be one of the first attempts to fully plumb the dominionist "parallel economy".

The first installment on DailyKos was in large part a repeat of my post on "Shepherd's Guides" and similar "Christian yellow pages" type directories; here on Talk to Action, we'll begin the series with discussion of the four companies that are most solidly linked with dominionism in the workplace--Amway/Quixtar, Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and US Plastics.

As you will see, a surprising amount of money actually gets funneled to dominionist groups by these four companies--and readers of Talk to Action may wish to consider where their money goes when making their shopping decisions.

Much has been made of dominionist corporate sponsorship by neoconservative groups like the Scaife and Coors foundations--there are some major dominionist corporate sponsors that are themselves dominionists and major players in the "parallel economy", though.

Amway aka Quixtar

AmWay--it's a dominionist funding group, it's a major recruitment front for dominionist churches, it's a coercive group in and of itself, it's all of the above!

Minor snark aside, AmWay is probably the one of the biggest funders of dominionism, and does a fair amount of promotion of dominionism (among its worst offenses).

AmWay--or more properly, its "Amway Business Motivational Organisations" used in "downlines" of the company--is frequently cited as a prototypical example of a "coercive business group"--that is, a business organisation that operates much like a coercive religious group. Multiple "exit counselors" and researchers into coercive groups have expressed grave concern regarding Amway BMO's and particular downlines.  Steven Hassan, a professional "exit counselor" who operates the Freedom of Mind Institute, has listed the Amway BMOs as coercive groups according to the BITE model of "abusiveness" of groups; other groups that have expressed concern include FACTnet, Cult Awareness Information Centre, and Rick Ross Institute.  (It is not an exaggeration to state that the only groups more universally considered abusive are Scientology and the Moonies.)  In fact, at least one major "danger sign" already exists--a specific org called amquix.info exists re AmWay's history of abuse, and a very good book called Merchants of Deception exists detailing both the abuse and the extensive promotion of dominionism within AmWay.

And believe you me, Amway promotes dominionism like it was going out of style.

Many AmWay downlines--in particular the Dexter Yager downline--are known to promote specific types of dominion theology popular in neopentecostal circles, in particular within the Assemblies of God.  This should probably not be shocking; quite a lot of Diamonds in AmWay are known to be members of the Assemblies of God and/or the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International.  Notable Assemblies Diamond-level AmWay members include John Ashcroft and Doug Wead, both of whom have had very close links with George W. Bush; Wead in particular largely coached Bush in regards to "learning to speak dominionist-ese" and largely introduced Bush to dominionist leaders.  (Of particular note, Ashcroft is very influential in Assemblies of God circles; his father is founder of Chi Alpha, an Assemblies "fraternity front" targeting college-age students.)  

Multiple persons who have left AmWay have reported heavy pressure to convert to dominionist and specifically neopentecostal forms of faith in Business Motivational Organisations; in other words, there is a very strong possibility that AmWay may in and of itself be used as a front to recruit people into dominionist churches.  Likewise, there is considerable evidence that AmWay in large part may be promoted as a type of "MLM affinity fraud" within Assemblies of God churches in particular--hence the two groups are essentially acting as "co-recruiters", the Assemblies recruiting from AmWay downlines and AmWay recruiting from Assemblies churches.  (It is of note that AmWay is often promoted by FGBMFI members as a "Christian Business Opportunity" to audiences in dominionist churches and is very, very actively promoted as part of the "parallel economy"--specifically as a "Christian alternative" to Proctor and Gamble, as noted below.)  It is of particular note that often Diamonds linked with neopentecostal dominionist groups are quite high up in the hierarchies of both church and AmWay (for example, Diamonds who are deacons or even assistant ministers in churches).

In addition, AmWay motivational seminars (in particular, within the Dexter Yager downline) have promoted specific deceptive methods of recruitment into religious groups--specifically, a tactic known as "servant evangelism", "stealth evangelism", or "bait and switch evangelism".  The concept in general involves striking up a business relationship, false friendship, etc. for the explicit purpose of gaining enough trust to begin religious hard-sells to the target person--with the explicit knowledge that the target will be unaware until it is too late that the entire purpose of the relationship was to gain a convert.

One of the big bits of dominion theology AmWay has promoted is the concept known alternately as "Name It And Claim It", "Blab It And Grab It", "Confess and Possess", or "Prosperity Gospel".  ("Prosperity Gospel" is actually based on a variation of dominion theology that teaches that Satan "stole dominion" over the world upon the fall of Adam and Christ was tortured (or, in some versions, wrestled the devil) for three days in Hell; it is also explicitly taught that the Saved or Elect are "God's Army" (or "Joel's Army") and that they are literally on a mission from God to "reclaim dominion" over all things physical and spiritual.  "Prosperity Gospel" is essentially a subset that teaches that one must "name and claim" what one desires to "claim dominion" over it and seize it.)  In particular, AmWay motivational seminars have been known to promote the works of specific authors well known in the "Prosperity Gospel" and "Word-Faith" circuits (including E. W. Kenyon, Robert Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale and Don Gossett) and have been known to quote Bible verses out of context (a practice known as "scripture twisting") in identical manner to "Prosperity Gospel" churches.

AmWay is also known to promote concepts relating to neopentecostal concepts of "deliverance ministry" and in particular concepts relating to "Serpent Seed" theology--the concept that all humans are either literal sons of God or literal sons of Satan (persons refusing to buy from AmWay are described as the latter and as being used as "tools of Satan" to oppress AmWay salespersons).

One of the most infamous urban legends around--the claim that Proctor and Gamble's "man in the moon" symbol is a Satanic symbol and/or that the head of P&G is a practicing devil worshipper--may well have gotten its start within the neopentecostal AmWay member community.  The "P&G man in the moon is a Satanic sign" urban legend has had currency within Assemblies of God circles since at least the mid-seventies; snopes.com dates this (from outside of the neopentecostal community) from approximately 1980, indicating the urban legend may have both been developed to hurt P&G's profits within neopente circles and to promote AmWay specifically as the "Godly alternative".  (Of note, Proctor and Gamble have recently won damage settlements against AmWay distributors promoting this urban legend.  The book Merchants of Deception has detailed similar smear campaigns targeted at the Clinton family which were actively promoted in AmWay business motivational meetings.

If that weren't enough, AmWay's founder is probably the biggest corporate funder of dominionism in the US.

Funding of dominionist groups occurs through the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation as well as the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation; Media Transparency has written on several of the groups funded.  A partial list of groups known to be specifically funded include the Coalition for National Policy, Focus on the Family, Traditional Values Coalition, Foundation for Traditional Values, Campus Crusade for Christ, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Gospel Communications (in fact, DeVos is co-owner along with Salem Communications), Assemblies of God televangelist Luis Palau, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services (a dominionist-run "mental health" facility), Ave Maria School of Law (a dominionist law school founded by the former Domino's CEO Tom Monaghan), and Coral Ridge Ministries (links here and here for all the gory details).  Media sources have noted that the DeVos Foundation is probably one of the top two corporate funders of Focus on the Family (along with Truett Cathy of Chick-Fil-A); Rolling Stone has noted that the DeVos foundations contributed over (US) $5 million annually to dominionist groups as of 2005.

According to multiple media reports, Richard DeVos himself is a member of the Coalition for National Policy; the CNP is a group that is invitation-only and largely operates as a "five year planning committee" between dominionist and purely political neoconservative groups.  Multiple sources have stated that the DeVos foundations are one of the primary funding sources for the CNP.

Richard DeVos has close links in particular with Coral Ridge Ministries, a virulently dominionist group run by James Kennedy (including grants of $5 million annually in similar fashion to Focus on the Family funding) and which formerly ran a "Center for Reclaiming America" that also explicitly promoted Christian Reconstructionism.  Many Focus on the Family affiliated groups tend to get heavy funding--possibly due to Elsa Prince's position in Focus (see below).

As noted, DeVos himself also has very close links with dominionist groups due to the "co-promoting" of AmWay and dominionist (and specifically Assemblies) churches with each other; several Diamonds are very politically influential or have been in past, and Dick DeVos recently attempted an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in Michigan running on a dominionist platform.

DeVos was a major funder of efforts to fight Michael Schiavo in court (in Mr. Schiavo's efforts to discontinue life support for Terri Schiavo) per bioethics.net.  (So, ironically, DeVos is also indirectly responsible for TerriPAC, dedicated to making sure nobody else is put through that hell again.)

Richard DeVos is in fact surprisingly influential in regards to political dominionism; an ACLU Washington article largely attributes organisation of the modern dominionist movement to DeVos and to Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ (this dating back to the early 70's, the beginnings of the modern dominionist movement outside of the Assemblies).

And the dominionist funding doesn't stop there.

Reportedly, Dexter Yager (operator of one of the four major "downlines" of AmWay) is a major contributor towards dominionist causes including Liberty University.  In addition to known links with Assemblies and AmWay-affiliated leaders John Ashcroft and Doug Wead, there is evidence that the Dexter Yager downline was explicitly used for electioneering to promote the candidacy of George W. Bush.  AmWay is known to have contributed at least $1.3 million to Republican presidential campaigns in the 2000 election, with an additional $760,000 donated by Dexter Yager.

Of particular note to political dominionism and links with the administration, the DeVos family has close links with Elsa Prince (specifically, as an in-law); Mrs. Prince is also a major contributor to dominionist groups and is a standing board member for Focus on the Family.  Elsa Prince has apparently also been a board member for the Family Research Council and is also a known CNP member; her son (and Betsy DeVos's brother) Erik Prince is co-founder of the Blackwater mercenary squad.  (Blackwater has been accused of, among other things, gross human rights abuses and possible war crimes as well as wartime profiteering.  The group was the subject of the critical movie Iraq For Sale.)

Sadly, just avoiding AmWay's products may not be enough--the DeVos family also owns controlling stock in the Orlando Magic NBA team (so every time you watch a game featuring that team, you could well be supporting dominionism).

Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A may have some of the best-known links to dominionism, in part because of their extensive promotion of dominionists in things as simple as children's meals.

One of the tactics Chick-Fil-A is infamous for is stealth evangelism targeting kids--via use of both Veggietales and via giving out Focus on the Family audio programs as children's meal incentives.

"Veggietales" was originally created by Paxson Communications (owner of PAX-TV and a major player in the dominionist "alternate media")  as an alternative to PBS programming for families in the dominionist "parallel economy"; according to the very creators of the show, they apparently think Sesame Street promotes the "homosexual agenda" and hence the creators made the "parallel economy" alternative.

Veggietales is, by the explicit admission of the creator, designed to recruit kids into dominionism as early as the toddler age; disturbingly, Veggietales has been used to recruit kids into "revivals" held by Assemblies "name it and claim it" preacher Luis Palau and in a flyer distributed in a public school trying to recruit kids into a "Jesus Camp" type summer camp affair.

Of disturbing note, the creator of Veggietales is linked to one of the early dominionist "Joel's Army" groups, Maranatha (FACTnet, a group dedicated to exposing coercive and abusive groups, has more info here).  Maranatha was so spiritually abusive it was banned on multiple state campuses; it has since reinvented itself under the names "Morning Star International" and "Every Nation".

Chick-Fil-A has distributed CDs of the dominionist program Adventures in Odyssey; this show has been described as a Radio "Jesus Camp", and is broadcast on radio stations that are part of the dominionist "alternate media".  Show topics have included promotion of assistance to the Contras (under the guise of "evangelisation" of the Miskitu first nation--a very common method FGBMFI-linked groups used to funnel aid to the Contras which made the Miskitu targets of both the Contras and Sandanistas as a result; the Miskitu had been Christianised since the early 1800s and actually had a European style of government by the 1850s, and were in fact largely Protestant well before the dominionists came with their Contra funding-fronts).  Other fun radio topics include the wholescale genocide of a people simply because they were pagans and a story on how it is permissible to steal and destroy roleplaying games belonging to another person to prevent them from being "demonised".

Chick-Fil-A has also been associated with the promotion of "dad's groups" linked to Campus Crusade for Christ (which has been noted as being coercive on a number of campuses) and promotes the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation--a group that has promoted "bait and switch" evangelism, is a major funding source for dominionist groups, and is most known for having famous sports figures (including, formerly, NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon) promoting an explicitly dominionist version of the New Testament.

Truett Cathy, the head of Chick-Fil-A, claims to >use "Biblical principles" in running Chick-Fil-A--often this is a code-word often used in the dominionist community to flag a business as "dominionist friendly".

Hawking dominionist "kid's meals" is bad enough.  That's far from the only support Chick-Fil-A gives to dominionists, though.

Among other things, Chick-Fil-A is a major sponsor of National Bible Week--a dominionist-operated scheme to get state legislatures to pass resolutions declaring a week of Bible study and which was started by a proto-dominionist group in 1940 called the "National Coalition for Religious Recovery" (which felt the Great Depression occured because people "got away from the church"); is one of the largest corporate funders of Focus on the Family (and FotF has lauded him back in past--after all, he does drop those CDs encouraging the genocide of the entire pagan population into kid's meals); apparently publishes books on "Christian business" popular in the dominionist community; and operates a fairly extensive group of facilities targeting kids and adults.

And when I say "Winshape" is extensive, I mean extensive; the network includes a "parallel economy" alternative to Outward Bound, a "training group" for collegiate dominionists, a network of foster-care homes, a own "Jesus Camp" type affair, an explicit missionary corps a la Youth With A Mission to train "future Christian leaders" (presumably to start dominionist movements in their own countries), a religious retreat (which is affiliated with a college which started out as a conservative Bible college and missionary school (and is still technically a Protestant college, though they do allow non-Protestants to attend), and finally a marriage counseling retreat.

In regards to that "retreat"--it includes seminars from a dominionst "marriage counseling" service (which has a bibolatrous statement of faith); the counseling service has links to Salem-controlled groups as well as a plethora of dominionist sponsored links.  (As noted, Salem Communications is a big player in dominionist radio.) The Winshape marriage seminars also include links to a second "Christian counseling" service which is explicitly dominionists-only; in fact, it's associated with an "ministerial mill" with close links with steeplejacked congregations and dominionist churches--as revealed in the staff page. Folks associated with Intimate Care Ministries (one of the groups linked to the second group) have been associated with Bill Gothard et al; Bill Gothard is a known promoter of dominionist "deliverance ministry", including operation of dominionist "character city" stealth-evangelism programs aimed at public schools and promoting the rather bizarre idea that "Cabbage Patch Kids" dolls were demonically possessed and caused infertility, and at least one exit-counseling group considers his work potentially abusive.

Rather disturbingly, it also has programs that could potentially put spouses at danger (there is no communication with the outside world, and at least some of the tracks deal with spouses who are physically abusive to their spouses--a situation where it is far more appropriate for the spouses to separate and the abused spouse to protect him/herself)).

Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby may have the most egregrious links of all (aside from AmWay)--as we will see below, Hobby Lobby is a de facto funding front for one of the most infamous of dominionist denominations.

Hobby Lobby originally came under scrutiny because of things like playing only "Christian contemporary" music in its stores, closing on Sundays, and funding of some religious charities--these would be seen merely as "evangelical quirks" (similar to In-N-Out or Focus 21 putting Bible verses on their bags) were it not for some deeper investigation.

Firstly, Hobby Lobby actually has two divisions that deal with dominionist concerns:
    * Mardel (a chain of Christian bookstores)
    * Bearing Fruit Communications (an advertising and production company which deals heavily in promotion of dominionist media)

This is in addition to the other parts of a rather substantial empire:
    * Hobby Lobby Creative Centers (the main craft store chain)
    * Hemispheres (a home decor design company)
    * Crafts Etc.! (an online and wholesale retailer of craft supplies)
    * H. L. Construction (a construction company responsible for building Hobby Lobby stores)
    * Hong Kong Connection (an import/export company dealing in Chinese goods)
    * Greco Frame and Supply

There were already a few warning signs, though.  Among other things, there had been a few reports of explicit religious discrimination, both against employees and against lesbian shoppers; previous research had also found that one of the "charities" being funded was none other than Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

There were also a number of reports of things generally seen as "not quite legal"--things like making employees sign statements they won't sue Hobby Lobby as a condition of hire (in an attempt to stave off EEOC lawsuits) and firing employees for refusing to fudge tax statements.

The incident that really got research started was a post on Dark Christianity where an astute reader noticed a 4th of July ad that was in fact co-sponsored by the group Wallbuilders...and further research showed Wallbuilders has been partnering explicitly with Hobby Lobby for some time.

For those of you unfamiliar with Wallbuilders...well, let's just say they're Bad News.  

Wallbuilders is a hardline dominionist group (and in fact has been considered a Christian Reconstructionist group); its head, David Barton, was head of the Texas GOP when that state convention was thoroughly steeplejacked by dominionists (and Wallbuilders has been bankrolled by the RNC after the latter's wholescale steeplejacking by dominionists, he runs a separate group called "Providence Foundation" which is also Christian Reconstructionist, actively partnered with Shrub to get out the dominionist vote, and is promoted by charming bastards who promote religious harassment manuals for teens.  In fact, Wallbuilders is damn near at the core intersection of "Joel's Army" neopente dominionists and traditional Christian Reconstructionists; Wallbuilders also has connections with the Army of God domestic terrorist network through Summit Ministries.  Seriously, this is about as damning as it gets).  Wallbuilders has links with the highly abusive Bible-based cult Maranantha, the "Christian Patriot" and racist-linked Constitution Party,

Oh, and they also happen to be the major promoters of the "America Is A Christian Nation" canard that is so very popular in dominionist circles.  Its leader only has honorary degrees from Oral Roberts University and Pensacola Christian College (the later is unaccredited, publishers of the bunk "A Beka" curriculum, and also have been noted as being a "Bible-based cult"); historians and even the Seventh-Day Adventists (a very conservative Christian denomination) have debunked many of Wallbuilders' claims and quotes, some of which involve falsified quotations from the Founding Fathers.  It is not in fact exaggeration to describe the work of Wallbuilders as wholescale historical revisionism.

Like I said...Bad News.

So further research was begun posthaste on Hobby Lobby's connections to dominionist groups, especially in those charities and media groups it funds.

It turns out that Hobby Lobby's founder, David Green, actually runs a tract-handling industry called "Every Home for Christ" as well as funneling money into a religious movie business his son operates operating under the name "Bearing Fruit Communications" (and on Hobby Lobby's page, actively promotes movies his kid makes).  

Oh, about those movies. Probably the best term for them is "Injun Exploitation"--the two movies produced by his son are "End Of The Spear" and "Beyond The Gates of Splendor", both of which focus on the religious conversion of the Waorani people of Ecuador.  Sadly, the Waorani people are often used as a sort of "Wild Man of the Amazon" type show by dominionists (you know, the sort that went out of fashion at carnival sideshows back in the 40's) where they are pimped as "The Most Violent People In The World"; Ron Luce's "Teen Mania" group actually used the movie "End Of The Spear" as a lead-in for one of his "Wild Man of the Amazon" shows with a converted Waorani.  (The truth about the Waorani people is far sadder.  The Waorani are among the most endangered indigenous peoples on the planet, in large part due to missionaries invading their lands often in conjunction with oil companies; their population has declined rapidly, from 25,000 people in the 1950s (when originally contacted by missionaries and when they fought to remain uncontacted (outsiders are literally seen as cannibals by the Waorani)--the subject of the "Injun Exploitation" films) to only 2000 today.) Much of the efforts of Bearing Fruit Communications are aimed squarely at youth recruitment.

At least one member of Bearing Fruit's board of directors (T. Ray Grandstaff) is a former Senior VP for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. FCA has been linked to dominionism in numerous ways; they are well known for "bait and switch" evangelism (in fact, they and Athletes in Action are among the two groups most frequently banned from public school campuses due to bait-and-switch "altar calls" marketed as anti-drug talks to the school administration).  More info here.  (Such tactics are a favourite of dominionist groups explicitly targeting youth.) It's also well known (and, apparently, explicitly by design) that Fellowship of Christian Athletes rather aggressively "dominionist-ises" any team they are let into (this tends to be bad even within the NFL, but even more so within FCA groups run in colleges and high schools).

Of particular note, FCA has close links with the US Air Force Academy religious coercion controversies, and the ACLU has had to fight them since the 60's because of religious coercion (in particular, Jewish people tend to be targeted, according to the anti-cult group Rick Ross Foundation); in addition, it is explicitly supported by dominionist groups, and explicitly partners with other dominionist groups targeting youth (including Chi Alpha (an Assemblies of God frontgroup), Campus Crusade for Christ, and even scarier groups like "See You At The Pole" (infamous for, among other things, nailing people's names to crosses and "praying" over them to essentially curse people in the name of Christ to convert or suffer) and Council for National Policy).  

A second member of the board (Bill Hane Sr.) is a former VP of advertising for Hobby Lobby (and reportedly directs the "ministry" efforts); a third member of the board of directors (Mike Galloway) was the former senior graphic designer for Lifechurch.tv (Lifechurch.tv is a large multi-campus, multi-state church that is nominally part of the Evangelical Covenant Church but in practice is a neopentecostal megachurch; of note, it has attempted prosyletisation in the online game "Second Life", is particularly aggressive in regards to prosyletising and missionary activity via the Internet, and has close connections with Ron Luce's "BattleCry" group).

There are still other groups they support that promote dominionism:

  1. Mardel Bookstore is a "Christian and education" bookstore which is run by Mart Green (who is also CEO of Bearing Fruit Communications, above); as noted above, Mardel Bookstore and Bearing Fruit Communications are both officially seen as divisions of Hobby Lobby.  Mardel Bookstores explicitly sell dominionist curricula packages including Bob Jones University's package.  (BJU's curriculum, among several others, has been ruled as educationally insufficient by the University of California at Berkeley and students solely educated on BJU will not receive high school credit for courses in biology or history.)

  2. 1-800-NEED-HIM is a dial-a-conversion, "dial-a-prayer" and referral service to dominionist churches.

In fact, Hobby Lobby seems to fund an entire plethora of dominionist causes including a "behaviour modification" facility called Harbor House for "at risk" youth (thus funding the dominionist "mental health parallel economy"--very disturbingly, the facility seems to be run by a dominionist church operating under the name "Church of the Harvest" which uses "cell churches"; the church itself is a neopentecostal dominionist group that explicitly promotes "name it and claim it" in its bibolatrous statement of faith), and is pretty explicitly a Joel's Army church operating under the name ("Church of the Harvest" is a MAJOR code-phrase for "Third Wave" neopente and Joel's Army churches; their history page where they talk about the "prophetic generation for the last days revival" is pure Joel's Army stuff if I ever heard it)).

In addition to the other stuff he funds a neopente mission group that explicitly targets kids in Roman Catholic countries (Latin America is among the last places I'd call "unchurched"--in a danger sign, they apparently started out in the 70's in Beirut where a lot of "Christian Zionist" groups linked with the Assemblies of God were illegally setting up shop to beam "messianic Jewish" programming down to Israel as an end-run against Israeli laws prohibiting missionary activity aimed at Jewish people).

That in itself was enough to ping my "dominionist-dar" (along with the use of the term Affect Destiny for one of their groups ("Destiny" tends to be a major codeword for Assemblies-linked churches in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa)--as it turns out, Book of Hope turned out to be a frontgroup of the very denomination that pretty much invented dominion theology.

The operator of Book of Hope, Bob Hoskins, is also president of Life Publishers International (which is a publishing front company of the Assemblies of God by its own admission--they are, among other things, primary publisher for Paul Yonggi Cho (yes, the same Paul Yonggi Cho I've written about before; the same one with links to dominionist genocidal scumbags in Guatemala). Book of Hope is essentially an Assemblies front as well, and Hoskins is apparently one of the Assemblies of God's major missionaries in the Middle East in particular.  Book of Hope has actively worked with Teen Challenge (a second Assemblies of God front group targeting teens; you'd honestly be amazed to find out just how many Assemblies frontgroups exist) to set up "stealth evangelism" programs promoted falsely as anti-drug groups (similar to the operations of the Seven Project, yet another Assemblies operated "youth ministry" disguising itself as a program for at-risk teens and actively promoted within public schools).

Of note, Life Publishing International publishes a specific Assemblies-authored Bible version promoted to youth.  This is based on the "Life In The Spirit Study Bible", an official Assemblies study bible produced in NIV and KJV versions.  (As we'll note in a later installment, the NIV is the preferred "modern English" translation of the Assemblies, in part because of deliberate skewing of translations towards dominionist viewpoints.  We'll also be getting into explicit detail in regards to the "Different gospel" promoted in the "Fire Bible" aka "Life in the Spirit Study Bible" in future installments--as this is pretty much the official Assemblies study bible now and due to the Assemblies' heavy involvement in dominionism in general, it's important to understand this.)

Reportedly Book of Hope receives some of the largest funding out of the groups funded explicitly by Hobby Lobby.  This should probably not be too surprising--as it turns out, David Green is an Assemblies member and actively consults with his pastor re business practices.

U.S. Plastics

The investigation of U.S. Plastics' links with dominionism began with a post from a Dark Christianity poster who experienced religious discrimination in the hiring process.

As it turns out, the CEO has explicitly written books on "business as missionary work", has known links to dominionist historical revisionism groups (specifically with some group called the Christian History Institute which is hosted by Salem's Gospelcom network; as we'll discuss later, Salem Communications is a major player in the dominionist "alternate media"), a fellow dominionist businessman gives him heavy props, and is also given props by a Christian Reconstructionist with links to the Constitution Party (possibly the most misnamed party in existence; the Constitution Party is what was formerly known as the US Taxpayer's Party, is a de facto Christian Reconstructionist political party, and gets a lot of support from "Christian Patriot" mafia groups as well as flat out racist groups like the Klan, neo-Nazis, and Christian Identity practitioners)--in fact, the guy giving Tam props is the VP candidate for the Constitution Party in their most recent presidential bid.

In addition to that, he actually sells books on setting up "Christian businesses" as a form of bait-and-switch on the corporate website as well as a book on "name it and claim it", conducts motivational talks for dominionist groups, and--perhaps most damningly in regards to U.S. Plastics potentially being a front--reportedly Tam officially made God the CEO (as in listed in the incorporation document) and uses much of the profits of the company to set up missions in third-world nations (a lot of neopente missionary groups as well as Southern Baptist affiliated missionary groups have been connected with frank religious coercion).  

Reportedly Tam is closely linked with a church belonging to the Christian and Missionary Alliance (a church which has steadily become a neopentecostal denomination and is now specifically linked to religious coercion in regards to Boxing Day Tsunami relief--in fact, the Assemblies of God are essentially a CMA "daughter denomination" and seem to have steeplejacked their own parent), and in particular funds a group called OMS International.  OMS International has a bibolatrous statement of faith and is an aggressive missionary group which is part of a missionary association including most of the dominionist groups worldwide conducting missionary activity (including the Assemblies, individual "missions" of Assemblies pastors like Luis Palau, "Assemblies daughter" churches like Foursquare, and similar dominionist groups like Campus Crusade).  (In fact, this association has been around for some time and includes practically all of the groups that are aggressively "steeplejacking" congregations in Latin America as well as engaging in fullscale "sheep-stealing".)  OMS International, of note, does have a history of setting up health care facilities and similar setups as forms of "bait and switch" evangelism (including, notably, hospitals in Haiti).

Further info from the readers here have noted that U.S. Plastics is in many ways the very model of a dominionist company; among other things, the company does direct prosyletisation at work by a huge banner and cross with "CHRIST IS THE ANSWER" on it and tracts at work, and even has conversion solicitations on its website.

Tomorrow, we cover the dominionist parallel medical economy, featuring the American College of Pediatricians, a dominionist pediatrician's clinic in Washington, and the real risk that the dominionist "parallel economy" starts to present to kids.




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I ran into Chick-Fil-A a lot this recently when I was researching Christian nationalist events that occurred over the summer.

Thanks for this exhaustive research !

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 03:12:59 PM EST


Dogemperor!!! Bless you and bless your depth of research!!! I thought I could be an obsessive linker and researcher, but you, honey, are *motivated*! Not that I blame you one bit, given the hell on earth you were put through in an effort to save you from hell eternal. AmWay--An aunt and uncle of mine, members of the Assemblies of God who have gotten a bit more liberal of late, used to sell the stuff for a long time. (They only stopped because they were very busy. They are *brilliant*, a business owner and a cardiac nurse--I can't believe they've fallen for this nonsense.) I thought something was really wrong with it. I had read inklings, and then I read and heard some about it from the horse's mouth, as it were. I sold Avon for a long time myself. They tried to convince me that AmWay was no different from Avon. I would counter-argue that at least Avon only wants your money. DeVos and the Orlando Magic--When the city of Orlando (where I lived most of my life, until three years ago) was considering adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes, they fought it tooth and nail. I blogged almost obsessively about the campaign to amend Chapter 57, because I was working obsessively for it. I posted some about the opposition from the DeVos family and the Orlando Magic organization on my old blog. You can see it here, here, and here. Chick-Fil-A--Well, I guess I'm glad I'm allergic to chicken! Again from living in Orlando, I remember their free chicken sandwiches for church bulletins promotion. Not only didn't anything from a mosque, synagogue, or Wiccan gathering count, but they wouldn't take bulletins from many Christian denominations, either. There was no non-Christian way to get the free sandwich. Totally upsetting, and bigoted besides. At least the cows are cute. Veggie Tales--Am I the only one who reaches for the Vidalia Chop Wizard and fixes a nice vinaigrette when thinking of that show? Jeff Gordon--I *knew* there was an excellent reason for not liking him! :-D Hobby Lobby/Crafts Etc.!--These stores came well-recommended to my wife and myself, but we've never tried them, 'cause there are so many other options in NYC and we've never seen one here. We'd be awesome customers, too. She's an avid seamstress who will be taking courses in interior design soon. I am an interior decorating student, and notorious among my friends for always wanting to give away a bracelet or pair of earrings I've made and for painting as a cure for despair. (That's why our refrigerator is cobalt blue and our bed is hot pink.) The fact that they've discriminated against lesbian customers is, of course, extremely interesting to me. So are all the rest of the damning details. Don't think we'll *ever* try them now! See You At the Pole--I organized the first in my school, the first year it was done. We never posted specific names or anything like that. But this was in 1992, and I think things have gotten much harsher since then. Once again, thank you so, so, so very much for sharing this. Will read your article on pediatricians and kids soon. Am shuddering in advance, and I'm not kidding. This needs to be known.

by GreenEyed Lilo on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 11:41:41 PM EST

I am so, so, so sorry about that last mess of a post. This site doesn't respect my Word formatting, I forget. (I always compose posts in Word.) Actually, if a kind admin can please remove that last icky post, that would be just fine by me.

Trying again:

Dogemperor!!! Bless you and bless your depth of research!!! I thought I could be an obsessive linker and researcher, but you, honey, are *motivated*! Not that I blame you one bit, given the hell on earth you were put through in an effort to save you from hell eternal.

AmWay--An aunt and uncle of mine, members of the Assemblies of God who have gotten a bit more liberal of late, used to sell the stuff for a long time. (They only stopped because they were very busy. They are *brilliant*, a business owner and a cardiac nurse--I can't believe they've fallen for this nonsense.) I thought something was really wrong with it. I had read inklings, and then I read and heard some about it from the horse's mouth, as it were. I sold Avon for a long time myself. They tried to convince me that AmWay was no different from Avon. I would counter-argue that at least Avon only wants your money, not your mind or soul.

DeVos and the Orlando Magic--When the city of Orlando (where I lived most of my life, until three years ago) was considering adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes, they fought it tooth and nail.

Chick-Fil-A--Well, I guess I'm glad I'm allergic to chicken! Again from living in Orlando, I remember their free chicken sandwiches for church bulletins promotion. Not only didn't anything from a mosque, synagogue, or Wiccan gathering count, but they wouldn't take bulletins from many Christian denominations, either. There was no non-Christian way to get the free sandwich. Totally upsetting, and bigoted besides. At least the cows are cute.

Veggie Tales--Am I the only one who reaches for the Vidalia Chop Wizard and fixes a nice vinaigrette when thinking of that show? ;-)

Theft/Destruction of Property for Jesus--I touch on this in my recent "Hot Mamas" article, about the American Family Association's problems with Redbook and other womens' magazines. Supporters advocated stealing and destroying magazines they didn't approve of from waiting room lobbies! Also, I once worked with a Christianist woman who thought nothing of taking and breaking, for example, a gay male employee's magazines (we're talking Advocate and local LGBT newspaper, not Blueboy) and the computer protection charm I'd made and nailed to the corkboard above my desk. (Go ahead, ask me about the prank my best friend and I pulled on her! :-) And at Yahoo! Answers Religion and Spirituality, there are all too often posts asking things like, "What should I do with my mother's tarot cards?" The Pagans, atheists, and sane Christians chorus, "Leave them and her alone!", which only convinces the Christianist poster that we're all in league with each other, but there it is.

A poster at the Newshounds forum made an excellent point--stealing is specifically prohibited in the Ten Commandments, but people do it to prevent "bigger" sins. Christianists, Islamists, etc. do that a *lot*, it seems. Their intentions are "good", so their actions that stem from them are also all "good", even if they are in fact sinning according to their scriptures. You would think they'd understand that they can't bring the rest of us morally up to code by their lights, because they can't even get themselves morally up to code. You would think a lot of things, I guess.

Jeff Gordon--I *knew* there was an excellent reason for not liking him! :-D

Hobby Lobby/Crafts Etc.!--These stores came well-recommended to my wife and myself, but we've never tried them, 'cause there are so many other options in NYC and we've never seen one here. We'd be awesome customers, too. She's an avid seamstress who will be taking courses in interior design soon. I am an interior decorating student, and notorious among my friends for always wanting to give away a bracelet or pair of earrings I've made and for painting as a cure for despair. (That's why our refrigerator is cobalt blue and our bed is hot pink.) The fact that they've discriminated against lesbian customers is, of course, extremely interesting to me. So are all the rest of the damning details. Don't think we'll *ever* try them now!

See You At the Pole--I organized the first in my school, the first year it was done. We never posted specific names of people to target for conversion or anything like that. I would never have dreamed of such an awful thing, and I can't imagine most others in my Bible club wanting to do that, either. We simply put up fliers on the "non-curriculum clubs" corkboard and built a buzz by word of mouth, and we attracted attention by circling around the flagpole and praying for things like everyone's safety and success. But this was in 1992, and I think things have gotten much harsher since then. I hope my former Bible Club associates, the ones who stuck with the faith (unlike me) haven't gotten harsher, too.

Once again, thank you very much for sharing this. I may comment on your even scarier articles about doctors and mental health professionals soon, too, but I'm still digesting. This all needs to be known.

by GreenEyed Lilo on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 06:09:46 PM EST


This post was very interesting to read. You've done a great research job here, keep up the good work, it's really appreciated!
Marlena, Web Developer currently working on the Hypnotherapy Online Pharmacies project.
by Marlena on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 05:06:05 PM EST


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