Newark's Prayer-Based Crime Fighting Effort Isn't Working
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue May 03, 2011 at 09:12:35 AM EST
A radical notion: who needs cops? Just pray down crime. But in Newark, where the murder rate has risen over 70% from 2010 to 2011, the approach doesn't seem to be working very well. Privatizing government services has long been a key goal of the American religious right, and as a 2-part new Talk To Action report details (1, 2), the push for education vouchers has been orchestrated by right wing funders dedicated to eradicating public schools altogether. But voucher initiatives are presented as secular. Then, there's prayer-based crime fighting, an even more radical privatization scheme. [video, below, touts Pray For Newark's alleged crime fighting prowess as a model for all of California]

Pray For Newark claims amazing results as its Christian volunteers "prayer walk" the Newark city streets, seeking to pray down crime. As shown in the slickly-produced video (featured in this story) from Harvest Evangelism, the ministry credited with launching the Newark effort, by 2010 the effort had 100% coverage in the city, at least one prayer-walker per city street (Newark has almost 1,000 streets) and exults that consequently, by March 2010, Newark had its first murder-free month since 1966.

Then, in late 2010, after a cost-cutting proposal led to a showdown with the local police union, Newark Mayor Corey Booker fired 167 city police officers. The results are unsurprising. By mid 2011, reports CBS, murders were up 71%, shootings up 29%, and auto theft up 39%. The magical results of Pray For Newark's prayer-based crime fighting effort seemed to suddenly evaporate.

Shown in this video, there's an even more ambitious prayer crime-fighting initiative in Jacksonville, Florida that aims to find at least one prayer-walker for each of Jacksonville's almost 10,000 city streets. Pray For Jacksonville video states that the effort is also an initiative of Ed Silvoso's Harvest Evangelism ministry.

As I've described in previous articles (see 1, 2, 3), the Pray For Newark bills itself as being inspired by the writing of evangelist Ed Silvoso who, at his 2008 yearly conference, repeatedly likened enemies of his movement to rats that would be, when the time was right, exterminated (see conference video footage from Silvoso's 2008 International Transformation Network conference, held in Mar Del Plato, Argentina: 1, 2, 3.) Ed Silvoso's ministry is also tied to a key co-author of Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill.

As covered extensively by this website, 2010 Hawaii Republican gubernatorial candidate James "Duke" Aiona is closely tied to Silvoso's International Transformation Network ministry. In 2008 Aiona, who lost the election to Democrat Neil Abercrombie, publicly declared himself to be apart of the ITN's Hawaii effort, called "Transformation Hawaii", then during the election in late 2010, Aiona held a press conference denying that he was involved in the ITN. After the election, Honolulu Civil Beat writer Chad Blair publicized Aiona's contribution of a chapter to a book published by Transformation Hawaii.

Ed Silvoso is a top apostle in the International Coalition of Apostles, which is in the forefront of a fast-growing movement in charismatic Christianity dubbed in 2001 the New Apostolic Reformation. Head of Pray For Newark in the city, Bernard Wilks, is an ICA apostle. Silvoso and his fellow top ICA and NAR leaders C. Peter Wagner and Cindy Jacobs have written extensively about the need to burn (or otherwise destroy) allegedly idolatrous and blasphemous books, art, and other cultural artifacts.


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