Palin, dominionist intimidation, and *actual* witch-hunters
Palin's links to Thomas Muthee, Witchfinder General
I have written in past re Palin's connections with "Joel's Army" promoters of deliverance ministry--a concept in neopente dominionist circles, including in the Assemblies of God, that anything and anyone outside the group can be demonised or "open doorways to Satan" in exactly the same way that Scientologists refer to "body thetans", "suppressive persons", and "enturbulation".
The past few days have been spent on gathering some of the most damning and disturbing info on this yet--namely, Palin's linkages to Thomas Muthee, head pastor of the neopente dominionist Word of Faith Church of Nairobi, Kenya.
And, per posts in the Wild Hunt Blog (a neopagan site that also has a major watchdog project focusing on promoters of "deliverance ministry") has noted based on Bruce Wilson's initial expose of Wasilla A/G, this includes a frank endorsement from Muthee:
As for Palin herself, she spoke approvingly of being personally prayed over by Thomas Muthee just before winning governorship of Alaska. Muthee is a popular figure among Third Wavers for driving out the "spirit of witchcraft" that resided in Kiambu, Kenya.
An article in the Times Online gives more info:
In video footage of the speech, she is seen saying: "As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he's so bold. And he was praying "Lord make a way, Lord make a way."
This is disturbing on multiple levels.
For starters, Muthee is a rising star in "Joel's Army" circles--especially being promoted as being a God Warrior in Darkest Africa. For seconds, as Bruce Wilson noted, it appears he was a regular at a Joel's Army revival at Wasilla A/G during the exact period Palin was running for governor--and proving even more of a lie to her statement to have quit the church:
Mike Rose, senior pastor of Juneau Christian Center has a long relationship with Rodney Howard-Browne, credited with being the instigator of the outbreak of 'Holy Laughter' around the world, including the Toronto Airport Revival. Thomas Muthee visited Wasilla Assembly of God and gave 10 consecutive sermons at the church, from October 11-16 2005. As both Palin and Wasilla AoG Head Pastor Ed Kalnins have attested, Thomas Muthee 'prayed over' Sarah Palin and entreated God to "make a way" prior to Palin's successful bid for the Alaska governorship. Muthee made a return visit to the Wasilla Assembly of God in late 2008. Thomas Muthee's Word of Faith Church is featured in the "Transformations" video which details an account on how Muthee drove "the spirit of witchcraft" out of Kiambu, Kenya, liberating the town from its territorial demonic possession and enabling a miraculous societal transformation. The "Transformations" video set is used as an argument for social improvement through spiritual instead of human means, and as the best method for fighting corruption, crime, drugs and even environmental degradation.
Bruce Wilson has the video up of the conference (and I would encourage wide mirroring, as there is apparently an astroturf campaign by Wasilla A/G to get the vids yanked from YouTube) and extensive documentation of the Joel's Army/Third Wave linkages of all of the neopente dominionist churches she's attended--for those who aren't easily triggered, it's worth a look just to get a good gander on the "private face" of Joel's Army".
Oh, as for that "method" of purification? It involves something that most people thought was dead with Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General...but which still has a very dark and terrible life in neopente dominionist circles.
Namely, this involves literal calls to round up suspected "witches".
A look into a neopente dominionist witch-hunt
Bruce Wilson's article notes:
In the video, producer George Otis declares that after Thomas Muthee and his followers banished the "spirit of witchcraft" from the town, the crime rate in Kiambu dropped almost to zero, along with the rate of alcoholism, and according to Otis most of the residents of the town joined churches. The "Transformations" video has helped spark a network of 'Transformation' ministries and mission organizations and 'transformation' has become a buzz word for change based on supernatural instead of human efforts.
Unfortunately not noted is pretty much how most of the people were convinced to convert.
There are now multiple YouTube videos up discussing the matter, but it would appear (based on multiple reports) that this involved a coordinated campaign of harassment of the likes not seen since the days of the Salem Witch Trials of the execution of Jeane Panne in Belgium in the 1600s:
Sarah Palin has been linked to a witch hunt. No, not a figurative witch hunt, the kind in which people are made to feel pressured and discriminated against. I'm talking about a real witch hunt, in which a woman is accused of witchcraft by someone seeking political power, and the woman is forced to flee her home in fear of her life.
Yes, you are reading this right--a woman was targeted simply for being a fortune teller, recruited the local cops, and arrested her simply for refusing to convert to "Joel's Army" spirituality.
An article in the Christian Science Monitor dating from 1999, and discussing the "Joel's Army" practice of "spiritual mapping"--that is, systematically mapping out which areas are supposedly "demonised" and targeting them for "spiritual warfare"--goes into more detail on Muthee's purge and the targeting of Mamma Jane:
In 1988, he and his wife, Margaret, were "called by God to Kiambu," a notorious, violence-ridden suburb of Nairobi and a "ministry graveyard" for churches for years. They began six months of fervent prayer and research.
Not so much discussed is what tends to happen in these meetings--typically what goes on are literal imprecatory prayers against "targets", that they either convert--or be forced to leave or die.
Ironically, it's a Joel's Army site promoting Muthee that goes into detail on the harassment of Mama Jane--and on tactics used:
Pastor Muthee said, "When we began to recognize who - or what - Mama Jane really was, my wife Margaret and I set ourselves to pray. Our aim was to break the power of witchcraft over the town -- a power that was preventing people from turning to the Lord. It was a struggle that involved much groaning in our spirits. In time, however, we felt the burden lift. The dark cloud we had seen covering the town drifted away, and we felt supernatural joy inside. We knew things were going to change.
The Times Online article also reveals some choice info on the specific forms of harassment:
According to accounts of the witchhunt circulated on evangelical websites such as Prayer Links Ministries, after Pastor Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon.
And some of the most damning info is also at another Joel's Army site--largely a repeat of the first site, but also talking about specific organisation of not just prayer-gangs but targeted recruitment of officials to harass Mama Jane.
Sadly, incidents like this are part of a growing humanitarian crisis, especially in Nigeria and Kenya. And--even more tragic--often the targets are the youngest of all.
Bringing a terrible new meaning to "suffer the children"
Neopentecostal dominionism has grown explosively in sub-Saharan Africa, partly due to extremely aggressive targeting of the region by neopentecostal dominionists starting in the 1940s and partly because one of the main conduits of promotion has been "word-faith theology"--the same "name it and claim it" that Creflo Dollar et al promote on TBN and other dominionist networks. (Ironically, they are targeted much for the same reason Jewish people are targeted for conversion--many neopente dominionist end-time scenarios explicitly call for communities of "God Warriors" to be established in every nation and/or ethnic group before Jesus can come back and Rapture the lot of them off.)
And with "name it and claim it" tends to come "deliverance ministry"...and in Africa, "deliverance ministry" tends to breed "God Warrior" progroms, some of which even manage to put the actions of neopente dominionist hate-group "Watchmen At The Walls" to shame.
One example is with the destruction of traditional places of worship:
Born to a family of traditional priests, Ibe Nwigwe converted to Christianity as a boy. Under the sway of born-again fervor as a man, he gathered the paraphernalia of ancestral worship -- a centuries-old stool, a metal staff with a wooden handle and the carved figure of a god -- and burned them as his pastor watched.
In addition, it's not just the recently converted burning this stuff, but apparently temples are actually being raided for the African equivalent of Assemblies-style book burnings:
As poverty deepened in Nigeria from the mid-1980s, Pentecostal Christian church membership surged. The new faithful found comfort in preachers like evangelist Uma Ukpai who promised material success was next to godliness. He has boasted of overseeing the destruction of more than 100 shrines in one district in December 2005 alone.
And then there are those who bring a new, and all-too-often deadly, meaning to Christ's impunction to "suffer the children".
. . .
Little reported in the US press, but more reported overseas in the UK, is the growing crisis of not only traditional healers and traditional faith communities being targeted for harassment but the crisis of ndoki orphans...children who are literally forced to flee their homes for their lives due to being targeted as "witches" in neopentecostal dominionist "revivals" in even more horrific manner than Mama Jane:
The rainy season is over and the Niger Delta is lush and humid. This southern edge of West Africa, where Nigeria's wealth pumps out of oil and gas fields to bypass millions of its poorest people, is a restless place. In the small delta state of Akwa Ibom, the tension and the poverty has delivered an opportunity for a new and terrible phenomenon that is leading to the abuse and the murder of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children. And it is being done in the name of Christianity.
If anything, the practices are essentially the same thing that goes on at neopente "deliverance" services here with an African twist--and have, disturbingly, had the power at times of an entire village and neopente preachers who launch essentially "Joel's Army" fatwas against infants in some cases:
Mary Sudnad, 10, grimaces as her hair is pulled into corn rows by Agnes, 11, but the scalp just above her forehead is bald and blistered. Mary tells her story fast, in staccato, staring fixedly at the ground.
5000 kids abandoned--a conservative estimate--in one area of Nigeria yearly. The problem of "ndoki orphans" is prevalent throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa--Kenya is a hotspot, as is Ghana, as is Nigeria, as is the Congo, as is South Africa.
The problem is in fact severe enough that it's being actively exported--the United Kingdom has done much coverage of "deliverance ministry"-related child abuse, in part, because it's becoming a rather serious problem thanks to neopente dominionists in African emigre communities there. The BBC was one of the first mainstream news agencies to report on this form of religiously motivated child abuse due to a number of rather infamous cases of "deliverance ministry"-related abuse in the UK, which led to the discovery of at least thirty cases and the setup of a dedicated division of Scotland Yard to investigate; even now, UK social services groups are given instructions on how to spot "deliverance ministry"-related child abuse and are among the very few groups taking an aggressive stand against it including via research and educational efforts.
And sadly, deaths occur not just of children but adults too. The Nigerian Tribune reports that the Burning Times have come to Africa as people accused of being witches--typically in neopentecostal dominionist "deliverance services"--are literally being burnt at the stake in scenes more closely resembling the Spanish Inquisition than the 21st century:
Let's take for instance, the belief in witchcraft. Most Africans believe that witches exist and are real.
One of the few other groups trying to help kids in this situation is RISE International--whom has contributed to efforts to help "ndoki orphans".
The problem, alas, isn't just restricted to Nigeria. As a major researcher on Joel's Army and the "Third Wave" on Talk to Action reports, it's not just sub-Saharan Africa, and "independent" neopente dominionist groups are promoting this worldwide--including via a Guatemalan church linked with a literal coup-de-etat:
The last city segment features Almolonga, Guatemala. Otis begins this segment by claiming that Almolongo is now 80% born again after the transformation of this town of about 19,000. Again he tells of a town in the grip of demonic strongholds, this time the demons of folk deities and syncretism. He states that previously the gospel could not take hold and evangelical Christians were a despised minority. Again a group of intercessors prayed and "after many signs and wonders and deliverances from demonic possession" the town was transformed. Otis then catalogs the miraculous changes in this once poor town plagued with crime and alcoholism. He claims that all four jails have been closed as there is no longer crime. Two dozen evangelical churches have replaced 36 bars and cantinas. The streets and buildings have been renamed after biblical places. But more remarkably Otis claims that this spiritual transformation has healed the land and revived the agricultural economy. Harold Cabelleros, founder of El Shaddai Church in Guatemala City, claims that Almolonga farmers now have three harvest per year, and that once God came to town, the harvest time for a radish dropped from 60 days to 40, and then 25.
The involvement of El Shaddai is extremely disturbing for a special reason. Not only does El Shaddai have close links with Mell Winger (and by extension, Tedd Haggard at New Life Church--at least until Haggard was outed as gay, that is) but it is linked with the one dominionist group explicitly linked in a court of law with genocide and crimes against humanity. Specifically, El Shaddai is a member of a group of "Assemblies daughters" known as Verbo Ministries and a frontgroup of Verbo, Global Outreach Ministries...and two of the most infamous members of Verbo Ministries are Efrain Rios Montt and Jorge Serrano Elias.
Serrano Elias is particularly noteworthy here, as he was not only a protege of Rios Montt (and a protector of Montt's slaughter of upwards of possibly 200,000 Mayans (we aren't for sure how high it goes; they're still finding the bodies over 25 years later) and over a million displaced persons) but apparently was also a member of El Shaddai--not just a member, but apparently a minister and one of those establishing the initial benchhead for the closest thing the world has known to Nehemiah Scudder's regime in Heinlein's "If This Goes On...":
In 1976 he collaborated with various American Protestant churches to help the population recover from the devastating earthquake that had afflicted the country. He then published a document describing the miserable conditions under which the indigenous population lived, which resulted in his receiving threats. He went into exile in the US, only returning in 1982, to work in the government of fellow evangelist General Efraín Ríos Montt as Vice President of the Advisory Board to the government.
And El Shaddai, too, has attempted harassment of people and destruction of cultural relics in the name of "spiritual warfare":
As soon as the church started building, government archaeologists leaped to the defense of the pre-Colombian site. But before the church's laborers stopped, they are said to have dug up the head of a snake carved in stone. The leaders of El Shaddai Church interpreted the suddenly revealed archaeology of their new location as a sign: the Lord had brought them face to face with his vision for Guatemala.
El Shaddai is also at the heart of an attempt to make a third go at turning Guatemala into the Republic of Gilead--only bloodier, if Montt's rule is any guide.
The CSM article itself notes other examples of similar "witch hunts", even here in the States:
* In Hemet, Calif., a new pastor began noting on a map sites where what he believed to be negative spiritual influences were located: controversial religious centers, cults, youth gangs, and the West Coast's largest methamphetamine manufacturing facilities.
Interestingly, one of the US churches most consistently linked with this sort of thing is New Life Church in Colorado Springs--former home of Ted Haggard. In Jeff Sharlet's article "Soldiers of Christ"--published May 2005 in Harpers Magazine--targeted harassment of not just critics but of people seen as the Enemy are noted:
He was always on the lookout for spies. At the time, Colorado Springs was a small city split between the Air Force and the New Age, and the latter, Pastor Ted believed, worked for the devil. Pastor Ted soon began upsetting the devil's plans. He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church; his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings. One day, while he was working in his garage, a woman who said she'd been sent by a witches' coven tried to stab Pastor Ted with a five-inch knife she pulled from a leg sheath; Pastor Ted wrestled the blade out of her hand. He let that story get around. He called the evil forces that dominated Colorado Springs--and every other metropolitan area in the country--"Control."
As disturbing as this is...it also appears that Sarah Palin may have been taking notes from Muthee et al--right down to the use of cops for harassment.
Evidence of subversion of Wasilla government?
Some of the info that has come out re Palin--and regarding her own running of Wasilla's government as well as her stint as governor--give ever more info indicating she essentially is running as the Manchurian Candidate of Joel's Army. And interestingly, a fair amount of this may directly tie into police scandals.
One bit of info includes info on Progressive Alaska indicating Wasilla A/G may have engaged in major infiltration of the Wasilla Police Department and that critics fear retribution:
A blogger told me that he needs to back off the more sensitive Palin information because he's afraid of getting shot by some of the more fanatical, hard-core "Palin-bots." I've been told that when media representatives attempted to speak to several members of Palin's former church, one member wouldn't speak out of fear of his/her life and the other declined out of fear of potential treatment by law enforcement who are also members of the church.
(And now you know why I post pseudonymously and am a bit paranoid on giving my personal info out!)
And tomorrow, we have some explosive new info to point out regarding how Palin is a veritable dominionist Midas--it turns out TrooperGate and "RapeKitGate" both have strong dominionist connections.
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