Six Reasons Why Americans Should Care About What is Happening in Uganda
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Oct 14, 2010 at 03:48:27 PM EST
...and its not only about protecting the rights of gay Ugandans whose lives may be in jeopardy.

A May 2010 Vanguard documentary, Missionaries of Hate, shows the impact of a conference in Uganda featuring Scott Lively and the "kill the gays" bill proposed in their Parliament, but it took more than one conference to demonize Uganda's gay population.  For years there has been a multi-faceted effort by western politicians and evangelists to promote a politicized Christianity in Uganda.  Jeff Sharlet exposed the role of The Family in his book by the same name and his newly released C Street House. Kapya Kaoma produced a report on western evangelical involvement in Uganda in The Public Eye. Charismatic evangelicals, now organized under the authority of apostles, have declared Uganda as a prototype in Transformation movies. The situation for gay Ugandans is dire, but for the groups who have helped to bring this about, Uganda is a prototype to be replicated in countries around the globe.  Following are six reasons why we should be paying more attention.

1.  Although this could mean life or death to some gay Ugandans, this issue is not limited to gay and lesbian citizens nor is it limited to Ugandans.  

As seen in the Transformations movies, an ideology is being taught in which mini-utopias can be achieved in communities around the world through a process of identifying literal demons to be purged. Some may mistake this as spiritualizing a battle against societal ills, but it is not.  In Uganda this spiritual warfare has advanced from the abstract (spiritual warfare against demons) to the concrete (targeting the people who are believed to harbor the demons). Once this worldview is embraced, it can be used to demonize any group which is viewed as an obstructing the "Kingdom on earth." These demons/individuals are described as an obstacle to achieving Christian dominion.  They therefore become the reason that illness, poverty, corruption, environmental degradation and other societal ills, can not be miraculous defeated.  In plain English, this means that gays and other demonized groups are claimed as the cause of the misfortune of others.

2. Uganda is viewed as a prototype for merging church and state.

 The journalist in Missionaries of Hate remarks, "Church and state have become virtually inseparable."  This is the clearly stated goal of Christian dominionists, as can be seen in the Transformations movies and Transformation entities such as Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network, which has branches in numerous American cities.

3.  The religious/political onslaught in Uganda is a multi-faceted effort by several groups that promote Christian dominionism over society.

The movement is global, and dominionist groups involved in Uganda are also active in the U.S.  Jeff Sharlet has written about involvement of The Family in Uganda and their efforts for more than two decades to impact both the economic and religious trajectory of that nation's development.  Kapya Kaoma has documented the exportation of homophobia by American evangelists  in his report at The Public Eye, including Americans partnering with vocally anti-gay Anglican Archbishops in Africa. Bruce Wilson's Transforming Uganda shows the role played by charismatic dominionists associated with networks of apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation, and their promotional media and organizations including: the Transformations movie series; Transformation organizations, such as Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network (ITN); and the Seven Mountains campaign.  However, the latter group overlaps considerably with the former.

Charismatics involved in the schism of Mainline Protestant denominations have been embracing the Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare techniques promoted in the Transformations movies and Transformation organizations over the last decade.  Charismatic Presbyterian groups have used spiritual mapping to claim that gay and lesbians are a source of demons inside Presbyterian USA.  Anglican charismatic groups have embraced this brand of spiritual warfare, including SOMA, which dedicated an entire convention in South Africa in 2000 to studying the Transformations prototypes with the producer, George Otis, Jr., and several stars of the first Transformations movie. (The American Anglican leader who recommended the Transformations for the conference is now the bishop heading American Anglican churches under Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi.)  

The first Transformations movie which so intrigued these Anglicans is the one that featured Kenyan Thomas Muthee, now better known for anointing Sarah Palin at Wasilla Assembly of God before she ran for governor.  The Anglican Archbishop who preceded Henry Luke Orombi, is featured in Transformations II, in a segment on Uganda with numerous political and religious leaders, including President Yoweri and First Lady Janet Museveni.  Another Transformations movie production titled An Unconventional War, featured Julius Oyet in the starring role and includes Sen. Sam Brownback. Julius Oyet was recognized by the Parliament when the anti-gay bill was first introduced. (The scenes of Museveni, Brownback and other leaders are clearly live interviews, not taken from other sources.) It could be argued that Brownback's brief comments about Uganda in the movie are totally benign, but he has numerous other associations with the apostles and has participated in other New Apostolic events. According to Jeff Sharlet, both Brownback and Museveni are members of The Family.

For more about the global interconnectivity of the movement, see the bios of American and Ugandan religious and political leaders seen in Bruce Wilson's 20-minute video compilation "Transforming Uganda."

4.  Dominionism is packaged in progressive terminology that sounds almost like liberation theology or social gospel, but has a very different agenda.

Transformation entities and the related "prayer warrior" networks are marketed to communities with terms like love, unity, charity and reconciliation.  On the surface they are charitable organizations and prayer networks with the goal of fighting racism, crime, poverty and corruption. They do indeed provide charitable services including involvement in faith-based programming, but this is packaged with very literal demonization of those things/people which they believe are obstructing the "Kingdom on earth." They attack secular democracy and religious pluralism as an obstacle to the supernatural eradication of societal ills which they believe will take place when Christian dominion is achieved.  

It is difficult to criticize groups that are loudly advertising their charitable deeds, including fighting AIDS, poverty and corruption.  They promote their work with testimonials and movies of happy and smiling people who are supposedly benefitting from their efforts.  However, as can be seen in Bruce Wilson's "Transforming Uganda, all of this charity and happiness masks a more sinister agenda - that of merging church and state and of expelling "demons" from society as part of taking Christian dominion.

In Uganda this can be seen in the war on AIDS which has provided services to many Ugandans, but has also included a war by Christian dominionists on sex education and birth control, the demonization of gays, and claims of miraculously healings once Christians began taking dominion over communities. Tranformations II> features smiling Ugandans who are some of the thousands claimed to have been miraculously cured of HIV/AIDS. In the Transformations movies and testimonials, leaders state that their prayers result in the deaths of witches and warlocks, who appear to symbolize those in society who are demonic and must be purged for Christian dominion to take place. Vignettes filmed in the U.S. show Transformation movement leaders spiritually mapping communities to locate demons, and claim, for example, that their prayers resulted in spontaneous burning of a transcendental meditation center.  

The apostles and prophets of the movement travel around the world on spiritual warfare missions then announce the damage supposedly done supernaturally to the icons of Catholic churches and other religions as a result of their spiritual warfare  Transforming Melbourne, a related entity, still features the testimony from one of these warfare excursions in 1997 against what they call the demonic "Queen of Heaven." The apostles claim  that their prayer warfare against this territorial demon may have resulted in numerous positive results, including fires in Indonesia, destruction of a basilica, and the death of... Mother Teresa! This excursion was covered extensively in Confronting the Queen of Heaven, written by C. Peter Wagner, founding apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA).

5.  "Reconciliation" events promoted by the movement are about conversion, not acceptance or religious pluralism.

Reconciliation activities and ceremonies are featured throughout Transformation media and other New Apostolic Reformation campaigns, including The Call events led by Apostle Lou Engle. The purpose of reconciliation events is described in detail by the leadership in numerous books and media, including those of C. Peter Wagner and John Dawson, who are among the developers of this demon warfare methodology.  They explain that territorial demons and generational curses control ethnic and religious groups who resist conversion, and that the demons must be driven out in order for these populations to be converted to charismatic evangelicalism. This was the purpose of the spiritual warfare excursion against the "Queen of Heaven" described above.  

'Reconciliation' ceremonies are required for both sides to repent of their past sins and generational curses, a prerequisite to driving out territorial demons.  The ceremonies are advertised as fighting racism and promoting unity, and appear to have played a role in congressional proclamations apologizing for the treatment of Native Americans.  Sen. Sam Brownback participated in a  reconciliation ceremony with Native Americans at The Call Nashville in 2007, claiming authority as a U.S. senator to make the apologies, and Brownback also introduced a resolution in the 109th Congress apologizing to Tribal governments and Native Americans.  Regardless of Sen. Brownback's intentions, this type of 'reconciliation' event is done for the purpose of conversion, not coexistence or religious pluralism, as clearly and repeatedly stated by the movement's leadership.  It is based on the belief that these ethnic groups previously worshipped demons and were under the control of territorial demons because of both their own sins and those done to them.  The apologies from both sides are required to remove the demons and curses, which, they believe, then allows the mass conversion of these populations to charismatic evangelical belief.  

A few Native American and African Amercian apostles in the movement accept the apologies on behalf of the ethnic groups they represent at ceremonies across the country. For instance, ICA Apostle Jay Swallow accepted the apology from Sen. Brownback on behalf of Native Americans at The Call Nashville 2007. The ceremonies include numerous symbolic actions. For instance, in some ceremonies the New Apostolic leaders perform rituals showing the release of the land from the clutches of the demonic Baal, Queen of Heaven, and Leviathan, supposedly worshipped by Native Americans. In a ceremony in Georgia, Apostle Jay Swallow also represented Native Americans and repented "for the iniquities of the ancient Cherokee people."  They claim that the results of these ceremonies have included miracles, like the end of droughts.

Many Transformation ceremonies, as depicted in the Transformation movies include claims of destruction of artifacts of the group -  the apostles say they harbor demons. In another ceremony Apostle Jay Swallow led the smashing of vessels described as Native American pottery with graphics of the demons Baal and Leviathan. They reported that the artifacts were place in trash bags and smashed with a dogwood rod presented to Jay by Chuck Pierce. Apostle Chuck Pierce is one of the top tier leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation. The apostles have targeted numerous artifacts as demonic, including historic Indian mounds as well as other artwork, sculpture, and architecture throughout the country, such as historic monuments and buildings associated with Freemasonry.

 At The Call Jerusalem, hosted by Lou Engle, reconciliation between Jews and Christians was symbolically demonstrated on stage. See this video of the ceremony at The Call Jerusalem, held simultaneously with the Global day of Prayer which is also a Transformation-sponsored event. As in the other examples, this reconciliation was with Messianic Jews who have converted to evangelical Christianity, not an acceptance of Jews or of religious pluralism. Similar 'reconciliation' events, including one organized by C. Peter Wagner and Ted Haggard, have taken place in Muslim nations, which are described as being controlled by the same demon the "Queen of Heaven," which they claim holds power over Roman Catholics. Lou Engle held The Call in Uganda in May 2010, advertised as "a gathering of fasting and prayer to confess our personal and national sins, to pray for God's blessing on the nation, and for a great spiritual awakening among her youth. However, it was actually cheerleading for support of the anti-gay bill led by several religious leaders, much like The Call events held in the U.S.  At The Call San Diego, held in support of California's Proposition Eight on the Saturday before the 2008 election, Engle shouted from the stage for martyrs to the cause.

6.  The Transformation movement is not just about religious supremacism but about taking dominion over all aspects of society.

 In addition to the Transformations movies series, another tool of charismatic dominionists is the Reclaiming the Seven Mountains campaign, which has the stated goal of taking dominion over arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media, and religion.

The six points described above refer to the threat posed to separation of church and state and religious pluralism by Christian dominionists.  The ideology of dominionism  is spreading across the globe and is not limited to the New Apostolic Reformation or its campaigns - the Transformations movies, Transformation organizations and the Seven Mountains campaign.  However, this movement is the source of Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare ideologies and of much of the demon warfare that is attracting interest in denominations across the spectrum.  This includes some Pentecostal denominations as well as charismatic groups from Mainline Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism.

For these Christian dominionists, Uganda is a prototype, and we should be paying attention.

[This article was written as a preface for the bios of American and Ugandan politicians and religious leaders seen in “Transforming Uganda,” a 20-minute video compilation by Bruce Wilson demonstrating the significance of the Transformations series of movies and the work of International Transformation Network in Uganda.]




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They may CLAIM to be doing good, but the treatment they give the homeless is devastating.  They blame the homeless for their own misery, even though it's been shown time and time and time again that homelessness is purely economic in origin and that those who are homeless are usually not responsible at all.  The sad thing is that their brainwashing is so effective that often homeless people buy into the blame game, thus making themselves even more miserable.  (Read anything by Vincent Lyon-Callo, or Stack, or any number of researchers on this subject, to see how even 'decent' shelters REALLY function.)

Not only that, but Dominionist-run shelters* they run are usually known for stealing from the homeless and making outrageous demands on them (like payment up front for every little 'service').  I know of one shelter that demands that anyone agree in writing up front that if they 'enter their homelessness recovery program', they will sever connection with ALL others in their life for a minimum of 6 months, and that they will only attend services at the associated church religiously while in their so-called 'program'.  Breaking that rule means anything you have is confiscated and you're thrown out with only the clothes on your back, never to return.  I know of one elderly woman who was forced by homelessness to enter their program... and she was treated like this even though she'd lost her job due to the recession and thus lost her home.  Even though she wasn't dominionist and was a faithful church-goer, they insisted that her own church was a bad influence and she could not have any contact with anyone from that church (on the day after her sixth month, she was allowed to leave for a short period- and let people know where she had been- she wasn't even allowed to make phone calls or write).

So we can deny their claims to charity.  That's not being charitable.  I would call what they do EVIL.

On the Native American stuff- I cannot believe how abysmally ignorant some people can be of their own culture, or how brainwashed.  My own way is a form of pre-Columbian Christianity- that's what my elders taught, and there is some evidence to suggest they know what they're talking about.  Native Americans do not worship European gods and creatures out of Biblical stories.  That would be laughable if it wasn't so scary.  I fear for my people, and for their cultures.  They're being steeplejacked just as churches (and the Republican party) has been steeplejacked.

*- During my research and studies, I repeatedly heard of the same sort of stories from the same known dominionist-run shelters from people I talked with or interviewed.  Many homeless people refuse to enter shelters because they are so demeaning and abusive, and they soon learn which places to avoid.  Sadly, there are new homeless people all the time who don't know and get caught... often loosing what little they had left to their name.  The general rule of thumb was the more 'religious' the shelter was, the worse they treated people.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Oct 14, 2010 at 05:54:46 PM EST

.....I've no doubt you're telling the truth.  Could you tell us the name of the organizations running these shelters, the names of the shelters, and where these shelters are located?  

by fabucat on Thu Oct 14, 2010 at 06:05:01 PM EST
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... is their use of expulsion of demons and other spiritual warfare techniques on those needing professional mental and physical care.  The idea that illness is caused because one is harboring literal demons, or even the belief that demons can physically enter born again Christians, would have been considered fringe not that long ago.  Now there is an explosion of faith-healing centers and deliverance centers that are expelling demons in the name of providing care.

Nancy Alcorn leads Mercy Ministries, a network of residential homes for young women with various problems.  Alcorn has stated, "Jesus didn't say to medicate demons, he said to cast them out." Mercy Ministries had to close down their Australia operations because of a scandal over exorcisms in place of care, among other things.  Nevertheless they have a new facility in Sacramento funded by Buzz Oates who recently hosted the baptism of 22 of the girls in his swimming pool. Lou Engle was in attendance at this September, 2010 event.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 09:30:26 AM EST
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The emphasis on 'personal responsibility' is especially offensive.  They blame everything that happens on the person who is suffering.  Whether it's 'allowing demons to enter' or 'bad lifestyle' or 'bad work ethic' or 'doesn't budget' or 'drug abuse' or whatever- they blame the victim.  

I got such a lecture this morning on another blog.  The person who did the lecturing was whimpering a few months ago because they were unemployed (by what was said not by anything they'd done) and nearly ended up homeless (and begging for prayers) ... but at the same time they suggested I don't accept responsibility for the things that happened to me.  Well, how can I be responsible for the decisions or actions of other people- just like happened to them?    

Like usual, it's different for them.

As I've experienced (and others have experienced and talked about)... if they claim a demon is the problem and a slap on the head doesn't magically fix everything, then they tell you you're not willing to let go of the demon and keeping it in you.  Back in my Pentecostal days, they used the word "Spirit" more, by the way.

I've met a lot of disabled people who were walkaways, who walked because people insisted that they were harboring demons and refusing to "Let Jesus expel them".

They already demonize the homeless.  Every homeless person - or previously homeless person, that I've talked with has said that they regularly heard "Get a JOB!" and insulting talk (like "If you weren't so lazy, you wouldn't be on the streets!).  Again, the dominionists (who like to think they're "Good Christians") are usually the speaker.  I imagine (but don't know for sure- it's never come up) that now they're claiming that homeless people have demons and that's why they are suffering.  NO, it's society that is responsible- and they only make it worse.

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 10:53:50 AM EST
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First off, thank you Rachel for your hard work on this. You and others calling attention to these dominionists are definitely unsung heroes. This article is right on and we can only hope more people read it and the other articles on Talk2Action.

ArcheoBob, I sympathize with you. I live in Mississippi, and have had to severely bite my tongue around here. I've already experienced a big drop in my business because of being outspoken against the agenda of the Tea Party. If I am to survive here, I can't speak out. The funny thing is, I meet 'progressives' (for lack of a better term) who are afraid to speak out as well, and some of them are tenured professors, or retired, who could do so without financial repercussions.
As Rachel, Bruce, Chris and others have laid out remarkably well -- these Dominionists, Reconstructions, (or as Mikey Weinstein calls them, the Military-Industrial-dominionist-corporate-proselytizing complex) have a real agenda, and it's really bad for America and the rest of the world.

by COinMS on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 02:25:49 PM EST
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I fear that those who have not experienced this kind of pressure to conform may have no idea what we are talking about.  It's not that we expect that citizens will be stoned to death in the U.S in the near future for the "crimes" spelled out by dominionists like Rushdoony. (God forbid!) We must constantly fight against any slide in that direction, but I'm motivated by the fact that I have already seen and felt what it is like to be in situations where dissent is not tolerated and acceptance depends on at least pretending to go along with the right wing worldview that has taken hold in some communities.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 03:05:19 PM EST
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They may have other fears that they have to deal with.  Dominionism isn't on the radar of part of academia yet... many people still think of them as religious backwoods hicks and don't realize how significant or numerous they really are.  Dominionism is STARTING to get noticed, but without some serious peer-reviewed journal articles, it's not going to be much on the radar.  It can be at the least painful to have colleagues start saying that you're getting into "conspiracy theory' stuff... it can even have severe academic repercussions, even IF you are tenured or retired.

Once we get some formal journal articles written about dominionism, especially how prevalent they are, then that will start to change.  (I've been thinking about that.)

It's also VERY hard  to get funding for doing research on things like that (and research can't always be done on the cheap).  If you start investigating things like that, funding can be even HARDER to get.

Then there are the personal/physical repercussions.  Some of my friends and colleagues know that the dominionists are evil enough to burn houses/kill pets/destroy things.  They may live in a neighborhood like I do- where if I go outside, there is a significant chance that I will be subjected to an anti-liberal or dominionist-leaning lecture (such as "why you should support the tea party")- even in my own front yard.  After a while that gets REALLY old (I avoid a few neighbors because of it).

I can sympathize with them, although I would also encourage them to get involved in other ways- through writing letters, being active on blogs like T2A, and doing personal research.

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 04:22:39 PM EST
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>>Dominionism isn't on the radar of part of academia yet... many people still think of them as religious backwoods hicks and don't realize how significant or numerous they really are.<<

Joan Bokaer has done a yeoman's work in organizing and analyzing the Rise of the Religious Right, so there is much to build on:
http://theocracywatch.org/

and of course all of the resources here on T2A. I'd be interested in seeing what you come up with.

by COinMS on Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 02:17:23 PM EST
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The only websites that are considered valid for reference are .edu and .gov sites and students are cautioned about them.  Academia as a rule totally ignores anything else except as an exercise (or in at least one case I know of- for analysis of word use and content for linguistic research).

Joan's site may be very good, but it's not going to get any attention.  The sad fact is that to 'get on the radar', the information needs to be published and analyzed in a peer-reviewed journal article.  Sometimes I get a bit frustrated because of all the focus on a narrow set of venues- the above-mentioned journals, symposiums, and conferences.  Some of the things known in academia needs to get out to the general public, and there is resistance to that idea (mainly because it's not what people are used to).  There are both analysis of problems and well-thought-out answers available, but that is generally only published in ways that most people don't see.  Since most of it flies against what the elites want anyway, it is ignored by the people who SHOULD be reading it and who know it's there.

Even generic online information sources are usually considered unacceptable, even for writing papers for class.


by ArchaeoBob on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 09:04:08 PM EST
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American society, it seems to me, has always placed a far greater emphasis on self-responsibility than in European societies which pride themselves on providing a social net for those who fall through the cracks. The Christian right appears only to be amplifying (albeit unconscionably) that which is already the norm in the US.  
So why not get busy Mr Bob (if you aren't already) and try changing the prevailing ethos through action - organizing the homeless and finding ways to help them for example. It would be one way to help you stop feeling like a victim and begin to restore a measure of that self-respect the Christian right denies you.

by PastorJennifer on Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 04:27:08 AM EST
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You obviously don't know me, and I don't appreciate you calling me "Mr. Bob".  You don't know to what level I'm already active, or what I do (besides what I say here).  So you have no right or reason to try to 'fix' or 'correct' me (which is the standard and typical reaction of preachers to someone who needs justice or help anyway).  Why don't YOU get out and fight against dominionism???  If you're not willing to do that- why are you here anyway?

I think the first thing we need to do is recognize that there are a lot of people who ARE VICTIMS... the victims of the churches and of the rich.  We need to accept that victimization is a reality (and not deny it).  Then we need to stop the victimization.  In other words, go after the real bad guys rather than trying to 'fix' those that the bad guys have harmed (we're not the ones who need correction or who are in error).  We also need to recognize what has been happening over the last few decades, how neutral or even encouraging words have been turned bad.

I admit I have a knee-jerk reaction to the word "victim", because it's been turned into an insult and a curse word in this culture (that's what the "take responsibility for what happens to you" crowd likes to prattle it constantly and I hear it time and time again- trying to deny our reality!).  The reality is, victimization of the innocent and hurting by the rich and powerful- and by the churches- in this country, is a FACT.   There has been little justice in this country- or to be more accurate, only "The best justice money can buy!".  Rather than getting onto me (which is how it's coming across) - get out there and do the work too.   You obviously have some idea of what needs to be done (the poor, the disenfranchised and powerless, the hurting, NEED voice and agency- and not 'fixing').  I've got enough on my plate already.

 

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 09:20:31 AM EST
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No.  

Since I cannot document what I know about those organizations without breaking confidentiality and violating the code of ethics I follow; I can only say that it happens and is common- indeed the norm for this area.  Any more than I have already said in public, and I start to get close to the line.

You should also know that the dominionists just look for the chance to sue people who expose them (they're known for SLAPP lawsuits) - if they don't try to burn them out or kill them (they've already done that to some of the GLBT people in this county, and even to friends of GLBT people- and talk to dogemperor about the dangers of being a walkaway around dominionists).  This area in which I live is especially dangerous- and there are at least a couple of dominionists on this small street and they are dominant around here (literally dozens of churches within a few miles, including a few dominionist megachurches and at least two dominionist-oriented hate groups).  

I use a pseudonym in blogs because of the danger, which is very real.  As long as they can't say for sure who I am, the chances of a vicious retaliation for speaking the truth about them is reduced.  They've already preached against me by name in the megachurches in the area because of some things I've publicly written using my own name- and harassed members of my family to try to shut me up.  It's not that big a step from being preached against to being attacked.  (There is a strong cause-effect relationship between being preached against or having politicians give speeches against a group or person- and having members of that group or that individual attacked if not KILLED.)

I WILL email some of the people I know with the names of the organizations... if those people would be interested.  

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 10:26:29 AM EST
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By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Real Religious Liberty is Not Oppression
This is a reposting of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation -- FC Real Religious Liberty is not Oppression FREDERICK CLARKSON Senior......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Houston Mayor Ignites Fervor of Religious Right
The best take on Houston Mayor Annise Parker vs. the churches in her city is the story written by Marv Knox in the Baptist......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Four Stories
LGBTQ Nation   In my first bi-weekly column on religious liberty, I discuss how  "Religious liberty is a progressive and liberatory value, over which......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Christian Right Voter Mobilization -- The Season Finale
One of the secrets of the success of the Christian Right over the years has been that opponents have taken the movement with insufficient......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)

Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

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