Anti-Gay Movement Pastor Leads Graduation For 54 Newark Police
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 04:27:21 PM EST
[image, right: 2010 graduation ceremony for new Newark police officers held in church, officiated by leader in eliminationist, anti-gay movement]

Back in January 2010 I covered the Pray For Newark initiative, in a story titled Movement Behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Bill Organizing in Newark which noted that Pray For Newark is closely tied to a far-right wing evangelical movement whose leaders have played major roles agitating against gay rights in Uganda. Last March, the Rev. Barnard J. Wilks, who leads the church-based Pray For Newark effort in the city, presided over the graduation of 54 new Newark police officers. Pray For Newark's founder Lloyd Turner is a regular at Argentinian evangelist Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network conferences, and footage from ITN's 2008 conference shows Lloyd Turner sitting in the audience while Ed Silvoso compares his opponents to rats that should be exterminated. [see this ITN video footage, at 10:28. Silvoso's eliminationist rhetoric didn't target gays specifically - it was directed, it seemed, at all opponents of his movement.] As I described in my story,

The ecumenical coalition behind PrayforNewark is led by Rev. Bernard Wilks, whose Dominion Fellowship Ministries newsletters for PrayforNewark have repeatedly called for "enemy identification" and a document on the official PrayforNewark web site touts the "Seven Mountains" program  which calls upon born-again, charismatic Christians to take dominion over key societal sectors such as business, government, media and education.

As of when I wrote the story, I felt that the efforts of Pray For Newark to integrate with the Newark Police Department were in a preliminary stage. I was wrong.

Pray For Newark, which has been endorsed by the liberal mayor of Newark Corey Booker, now claims to field one volunteer per street for every single street in the city of Newark. Although the official line from Pray For Newark is that its volunteer army walks the Newark streets praying for the city the volunteers are organized by city ward, suggesting they could also serve as political campaign organizers. And, given that Pray For Newark is widely touted as a crime-reduction initiative this raises an obvious question - how is it substantially different from a citywide neighborhood watch program ?

In a March 2, 2010 NJ.com post Pastor Rick Green, associated with Pray For Newark, exulted that the graduation ceremony for 54 new Newark police department officers was held in a Newark church event officiated by Pastor Bernard J. Wilks, who leads the citywide coalition of churches that make up the Pray For Newark effort. Also attending the event were Mayor Corey Booker, and Newark's police chief and head of public safety. Bernard Wilks is an apostle in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles (ICA).

To understand the ideological extremity of Wagner's movement consider ; Wagner's prophet Lou Engle has been accused of supporting a bill before Uganda's parliament that would mandate the arrest and execution of gay Ugandan citizens. As I described in my January 2010 story on Pray For Newark, among Bernard Wilks' fellow ICA apostles are; Harold Caballeros, who has publicly praised the work of church-based, government-backed death squads in Guatemala; Jim Ammerman, who in September 2008 published a letter calling for the execution of U.S. Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd; and Samuel Rodriguez, who is President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The International Coalition of Apostles is one of the main organizational bodies of Wagner's startlingly ambitious decade-old effort to relaunch Protestant charismatic evangelical Christianity, which aims to overtake and even eventually supplant the Catholic Church, and establish Christian dominion over government and society: The New Apostolic Reformation.

As with Tea Party movement members, the political views of the New Apostolics can be hard to distinguish from those of the John Birch Society. But the New Apostolic Reformation looks very, very different from the Tea Party movement. It's aggressively anti-racist, multi-ethnic and multicultural (up to a point), In contrast to the noisy bluster of the Tea Party, citywide efforts like Pray For Newark operate under a PR-savvy mantle of supposed ecumenical unity that lends a progressive gloss. New Apostolic Reformation leaders have, almost unnoticed, been quietly organizing for years in urban America and now have advanced to the point that they are forging working relationships with police departments in Orlando, Baltimore, Newark, and other major United States cities.

New Apostolic Reformation leaders attribute illness and even mortality, and all the world's problems, to the malevolent activity of demons. They teach that Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are demonic belief systems, Mormonism is "cultic," and non-charismatic forms of Christianity are invalid and under demon-influence. The movement's program for redeeming (conquering, that is) the Earth involves both demon-related activities (witch hunting, expelling demon spirits from geographic areas, and exorcising demons from humans said to be possessed) and also the sort of reconnaissance and information gathering that would be useful for a counterinsurgency - the creation geographic maps noting the location of enemies and their institutions and businesses.  

That's called "Spiritual Mapping," and early in 2010 a story from the Texas Observer, which helped establish the term in the American political lexicon, described the efforts of an Amarillo evangelical to shut down alleged immoral activity in Amarillo Texas. Repent Amarillo had gone as far as creating an elaborate map, using Google Maps (that Internet page is now shut down), which showed the precise geographic of enemy institutions in the city of Amarillo - temples, mosques, centers of Wiccan or environmentalist activity, sex-related businesses and gay bars, liberal churches that supported gay rights, masonic temples... the list was long.

But as I described in Movement Behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Bill Organizing in Newark, outside of the United States, spiritual mapping efforts like Repent Amarillo's are in some cases being carried out by city police departments.  

As the trailer for "A Force For Change," a new feature-length documentary produced by the Sentinel Group, a "Transformations" video production entity, states, "God wants to use the [Sao Paulo] police force to leverage transformation of our society." According to the producer of the documentary, George Otis, Jr., Sao Paulo's police themselves are engaged in the process of "spiritually mapping" out alleged enemy forces within their city. A newly released December 6, 2009 Human Rights Watch report accuses Sao Paulo police of extra-judicial killings, and the rise in such killings detailed in the report closely tracks the rise of Sao Paulo's Christian police association, founded in 2003 among Sao Paulo's over 100,000-strong police force, that is celebrated in Otis, Jr.'s video.

The Sao Paulo effort and PrayforNewark are both identifiably in the same "transformation" movement.

The question is this - will things progress so far in the US ? That might seem unimaginable but so far there's been almost no significant pushback, or media coverage for that matter, of the ongoing merger of church and state in Newark. What's to stop it ? And, as I've mentioned already, Pray For Newark is only one of many such efforts, in cities across America, that are steady integrating the New Apostolic Reformation's ideologically bigoted and, judging from Uganda, eliminationist, brand of Christian supremacy into American civic life.




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