Another Senior Journalist Confesses to Ignorance
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 08:15:17 PM EST
First, two veteran CNN journalists admitted that they had never heard of such major terms as dominionism, Christian Reconstructionism or the New Apostolic Reformation until reading an article by Michelle Goldberg on The Daily Beast.   Now comes religion writer Lisa Miller of The Washington Post with a column in which she describes the New Apostolic Reformation as "a previously unknown Christian group."   One could say many things about the NAR. Low profile, perhaps. Publicity shy, maybe.  But the NAR is far from unknown, except perhaps to Lisa Miller.
Megachurch pastor Ted Haggard wrote about the NAR in a book published in 1998. By 2003, he was elected president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was one of the best known and most visible figures in evangelicalism.  Bruce Wilson reported on this in the prominent online magazine Religion Dispatches in 2009.  Haggard worked closely with NAR founder C.Peter Wagner in promoting the movement, which was rooted in the Pentecostal/Charismatic "Third Wave" of the 1980s and 90s. Wagner himself writes about NAR in a book in 2002.

Of course, neither Wagner nor Haggard were marginal or obscure figures. Wagner is a widely published author who was for 30 years (among other things) a professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary.  As Wilson reported, Wagner was busy doing high profile teaching and publishing and working with vast networks of apostles and prophets, worldwide from his World Prayer Center, and the Wagner Leadership Institute.  Wagner's views have been controversial among many evangelicals, even as they have been widely influential among others.  

The NAR splashed dramatically on the national radar screen in 2008 when Sarah Palin's involvement was widely reported. Bill Berkowitz summarized in a retrospective article last year on AlterNet:  

Presidential campaign watchers got their first taste of the New Apostolic Reformation when it was revealed that Sarah Palin, while mayor of Wasilla, had been prayed over in a laying-on-of-hands by Rev. Thomas Muthee of Kenya, director of the NAR East Africa Spiritual Warfare Network, in a ceremony designed to protect Palin from witches and demons. Muthee, it turns out, is famous in his native land for driving out of town a woman he deemed a witch, a charge that had her neighbors calling for her stoning.

Palin, according to Alaskan Apostle Mary Glazier, became part of her prayer network at the age of 24. Wasilla is no stranger to wandering NAR leaders. Last June, Apostle Lance Wallnau stopped through in the course of his world travels, promoting the movement's Reclaiming the Seven Mountains of Culture campaign at Wasilla Alaska Assembly of God Church -- the very church at which Muthee laid hands on Palin. (The "seven mountains" are the realms of business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.) Other NAR luminaries dropping by Wasilla last year include leading international Apostles Naomi Dowdy and Dutch Sheets.

There were a number of videos documenting Palin's involvement in NAR, made during the 2008 elections.  These were widely discussed and footage of Palin appearing at NAR ceremonies was even shown on national television.  Here is one by Bruce Wilson.

Its bad enough that Miller hasn't heard of such a major movement in evangelicalism and so presumes that no one else could have either.  What's worse is that she writes that the recent stories in The New Yorker, The Texas Observer and The Daily Beast "raise real concerns about the world views of two prospective Republican nominees"  -- and then spends the rest of the piece telling us why we should not be concerned.  Her main point is that not all evangelicals think like that.  True.  But no one said that they do.

She says that the "echo-chamber effect" of the articles "reignites old anxieties among liberals about evangelical Christians."  This might be an interesting point, but she does not bother to provide any evidence that this might be so, and if it was, what the consequences might be.  And while we might not be surprised to find liberals who make broad brush generalizations about evangelicals, what is astounding is that Miller would try to make her point by making broad brush generalizations about liberals.  

The very next sentence is similarly revealing.  "Some on the left" she claims, "seem suspicious that a firm belief in Jesus equals a desire to take over the world."   That may be. But she does not say who, or how many, the extent that such views might exist  and of what consequence they might be.  

The whole column is like this.

"'Dominionism'", she declares, "is the paranoid mot du jour."  Unfortunately, she does not say who exactly is being paranoid or what exactly they are paranoid about.  

If the knocking down of straw men is remarkable in this piece, so is the use of false equivalence.

"Certain journalists" she claims, "use 'dominionist' the way some folks on Fox News use the word 'sharia.'"  She does not name any journalists who do this. She offers no examples of scary misuse of the term dominionist. She makes no effort to show how her unsubstantiated charge against  unnamed journalists is in anyway like what happens on Fox News.  

Finally, there is her stated reason for this column. "It's a plea," she writes, "given the acrimonious tone of our political discourse, for a certain amount of dispassionate care in the coverage of religion."  

I hope Miller will take her own plea to heart.




Display:
Frank Schaeffer  also had a  mostly great article about Bachmann and the religious right at  http://www.alternet.org/story/151960/michele_bachmann_was_inspire d_by_my_dad_and_his_christian_reconstructionist_friends_--_here%2 7s_why_that%27s_terrifying/ . He also points out that he believes that there are too many sane Christians to allow these fakes to take over, even as he points out that majority opinion is the last thing these folks would respect.

Just like the European bird, the wren is blind to the threat posed by the cuckoo in its nest and thinks it the best of all possible wrens as it claims perfection in all the things the wren measures. But all those measures are simply camouflage of its real intentions that do not include anything good for wrens.

Dominionists and their subversion (steeplejacking) of Christian churches and organizations, and the building of their own front groups has been well documented on this site, and though the similarity with other theocratic right wing groups set on subversion of other religions has been less documented here, the remarkable similarity of all of them to each other more than to the religion they camouflage in is the key IMHO to defeating their agenda, as well as using each other to stir up bigotry in their hosts to give each other more power.

I believe the real Cuckoo Metaphor (as opposed to just a synonym for crazy) is the process that can make the most headway in the discussion. It changes the discussion from "our religion vs their religion" to every religion has theocratic cuckoos that need to be opposed with out bothering about what religion they want to impose, as it would have little in common with the honorable form of that religion in any case.

by FreeDem on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 12:44:32 AM EST

"Dominionists and their subversion (steeplejacking) of Christian churches and organizations, and the building of their own front groups has been well documented on this site, and though the similarity with other theocratic right wing groups set on subversion of other religions has been less documented here, the remarkable similarity of all of them to each other more than to the religion they camouflage in is the key IMHO to defeating their agenda, as well as using each other to stir up bigotry in their hosts to give each other more power."

I have a hard time understanding what you are trying to convey due to the overuse of run-on sentences.

by LupusGreywalker on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 10:04:27 AM EST
Parent



Lisa Miller's ignorance of the New Apostolic Reformation is unnecessary given the fact that Peter Wagner's apostles have published dozens (probably hundreds, in fact) of books and their movement has produced many thousands of hours of conference footage, a good deal of which now gets internationally broadcast on God TV--to millions of believers worldwide.

In addition, NAR theology has led to very public rifts among Christian conservatives. Marsha West and Brannon Howse, previously affiliated with the American Family Association, have recently leveled a barrage of criticism against the AFA for partnering with the NAR's apostles, in conjunction with Rick Perry's The Response event.

Conservative criticism of the NAR is hardly new however--the so-called "discernment ministries" have been closely tracking the movement, which they accuse of heresy, for more than a decade (two decades, in some cases).

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:25:21 AM EST

.. ministries have lives to live, jobs to attend to, and never enough time or money to focus on the NAR culture. Not too many of my Pentecostal or Charismatic brethren are going to fund my efforts in this regard nor help me pay my own bills - but then again, I've not tried to be a Perry Stone or a Hank Hanegraaf figure either. I do what I can, though. There's just never enough time ..

by rev rafael on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 11:02:50 AM EST
Parent


Journalists living in the Northeast and on the West Coast tend to ignore The Rest of US. They don't have the experience of driving between cities and finding nothing but rock 'n roll, country music, and religious programs on the FM radio. They don't see ads for revivals to be held at their local Family stadium / convention center (yes, that's the name of the local suburban stadium/ concert venue/convention center, as opposed to the urban counterparts). They don't see "Christian bookstores" containing free "Christian yellow pages" at their local strip mall. They don't have people asking which church they attend.

If you live in the Midwest or the South, the above phenomena are prominent enough for the curious non-Evangelical to conclude that there is an Evangelical subculture out there.

WaPo reads like a company newspaper, and no doubt the religion news is covered with a strong slant toward politics. That still doesn't explain why the religion reporter is ignorant of the politicized versions of Evangelical Christianity. Coastal snobbery? (eh, being paranoid again...)

by NancyP on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 02:19:45 PM EST


... starting to throw around the names of the movements that we've been covering here for years, I decided to post some links to resources on my new blog (I'm not leaving TTA here, I just now have another blog over at the new freethoughtblogs.com site) so people know where to find out about the various religio-political  movements.

For the NAR, I recommended Rachel Tabachnick's NAR resource page here at TTA; for Christian Zionism I recommended to Bruce Wilson's "Special Focus" page, also here on TTA; for Dominionism I recommended Leah Burton's godsownparty.com, which has a great Dominionism 101 crash course for people who are just now hearing about these people; and for Christian Reconstructionism, I recommended Fred's four-part break down from The Public Eye. When did Fred write this? Way back in 1994! The mainstream so-called "religion reporters" just haven't been paying attention or reading anything that the people who have been following and reporting on these movements have been writing for years, and in some cases decades.

For me, it's the same thing with all the journalists who are just now discovering David Barton. All of a sudden there are all these people writing about Barton who didn't even know who he was a year ago. The problem is that, while it's good that this is bringing mainstream attention to Barton, these journalists don't seem to really grasp his influence or the influence of his historical revisionism. They're only writing about him because this stuff is a hot topic at the moment.

by Chris Rodda on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 11:25:18 AM EST

One thing I need to stress is that while these groups have different names and different ideologies, for the most part they believe they have to FORCE it on others, which is the essence of dominionism.  They may have their differences, but they do work together for the same goal... taking over the world "for Christ" and forcing their own version of "Christianity" on others.

There may be different branches in dominionism, but we shouldn't focus so much on the trees (or species of trees) that we miss the forest.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 10:22:42 PM EST
Parent



I had missed this post by Frederick until today when you linked to it in your piece referring to my writing. This is excellent and a robust challenge to people who want to continue to deny the significance of NAR.

by gregmetzger on Mon Sep 26, 2011 at 08:57:43 AM EST

In a sermon last year at an Irving, Texas, megachurch that helped elect Ted Cruz to the United States Senate. 192.168.1.1

by newstart028 on Wed Jun 15, 2016 at 10:23:26 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Celebrating Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is the venerable annual celebration of the right to read and the highlighting of efforts by cultural vigilantes of various sorts......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Birthers, Birchers and Lee Harvey Oswald
"It would be more accurate to say that Oswald was his own agent, that he was moved to act by dint of his own......
By wilkyjr (5 comments)
Are Civil Rights and Religious Liberty Mutually Exclusive?
The question posed in the title might seem merely rhetorical:  but its not.  All sides, not to mention the media, often frame contemporary controversies......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Final Repudiation Of Phyllis Schlafly
Monday night around 9:40 I received an email with a curious subject line. "The Greatest American Woman, R.I.P.," it read. "Who could that be?"......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Is This the Dawning of the Age of Vulgar Demagoguery?
Before the end of GOP primaries, I wrote about how Catholic neo-conservatives couldn't bring themselves to support Donald Trump. Even now that he is......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
I am pleased to report that the task of getting the low down on dominionism may be becoming easier for scholars, journalists and activists.......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Dominionism Hiding in Plain Sight
Dominionism has been an evolving movement for a half century. Fed by two main streams, it has becoming a roaring current, tearing through American......
By Frederick Clarkson (9 comments)
Chancy Combo: Why The Founders Were Not Fans Of Preacher-Politicians
Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has vowed to repeal a federal law that bars houses of worship (and other tax-exempt non-profits) from endorsing......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Beware The Gender Unicorn: Franklin Graham Takes Aim At The Transgender Community
Part of my job involves monitoring the activities of Religious Right groups, which means every day my email box receives messages from groups like......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
The Politics of Fear
Joseph Ellsworth McWilliams was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.  He moved to New York City and became a Communist.  Later on he......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Persecution-Free Park: Religious Freedom Still Not Under Attack In America
I just got back from a week-long vacation with my wife and son. We were in Acadia National Park in Maine.On our second day......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Mike Pence and The Roots of the Right-Wing "Political Correctness" Conspiracy Theory
The term "Political Correctness" was hijacked by right-wing ideologues in the late 1980s to trivialize and disparage concern for basic human rights for people......
By Chip Berlet (4 comments)
Mike Pence in 2006 spearheaded a mean-spirited plan to deport all undocumented immigrants
Many of us know Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a nasty homophobe with a carefully-crafted respectable demeanor. But did you know that In 2006,......
By Chip Berlet (5 comments)
What's Past is Prologue: Dominionism is Still Rising
For a half century, a theocratic political movement has been rising in the U.S.  Like any large, successful movement in history, it has a......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
For Salon.com readers - On Donald Trump and William S. Lind
For readers clicking on the first link in Paul Rosenberg's Salon.com interview with Bruce Wilson, here is a link to my recent report (first......
By Bruce Wilson (3 comments)

Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (1 comment)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (4 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (1 comment)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (1 comment)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (3 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (10 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 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 (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.