Samuel Rodriguez and the Oak Initiative - Marketing Religious Supremacism as Social Justice
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Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 01:33:38 PM EST
Part Two of Dismissing Dominionism

Rev. Samuel  Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Chrisitian Leadership Conference and a columnist for the Washington Post from 2007 -2009, is also vice president of the Oak Initiative, a religio-political entity initiated at Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries in 2009.  The Oak Initiative is described by Rodriguez as a social justice organization, but is now coordinating with Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy.  The Oak Initiative is also partnering with its affiliate, Transforming Michigan, Lou Engle's The Call, and the nation's apostolic prayer warrior networks, in preparation for The Call Detroit, described as a spiritual warfare offensive against Islam. Preparations have included speeches on the "Nine Prinicipals of Warfare" by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William "Jerry" Boykin and ceremonies held around the state for the purpose of fighting the demons they claim control freemasonry and Islam.

In one of the most of ironic of Rodriguez 49 Washington Post columns, he makes a statement about the controversy surrounding Rod Parsley, John Hagee, and Jeremiah Wright in the 2008 presidential election.
"These spiritual leaders need to focus more on the greatest religious asset in the faith arsenal of the American experience; religious pluralism."

In 2009, Rodriguez joined the International Coalition of Apostles, a network of several hundred apostles convened by C. Peter Wagner with the stated goal of taking Christian dominion over society and government. In November, 2009, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference under the leadership of Rodriguez, formed an alliance with John Hagee's Christians United for Israel.  Rodriguez also became vice president of The Oak Initiative, a Religious Right organization formed in 2009 with a mission to save Christendom from the enemy -  portrayed as a Marxist/Leftist/Homosexual/Islamic coalition.

Oak Initiative Activism

Rodriguez and others are marketing the Oak Initiative as a "social justice movement." The organizations website claims having "a presence in all 50 states and 164 nations." Following is a short overview of what their activism has entailed thus far.

During the 2010 elections the organization widely disseminated a video titled "Marxism in America," in which board member Ret. Lt. Gen. William Boykin claims that under Obama's leadership the nation is in the grips of a growing Marxist insurgency. This video was popular with Tea Party organizations across the nation. Video embedded below or see full transcript.

The Oak Initiative is marketing a book by board member Nicholas Papanicolaou titled Islam vs. the United States and posts videos about "Shariah law taking over the world." Another Oak Initiative production features Kamal Saleem, one of several phony "ex-terrorists" speaking at venues around the country about the evils of Islam and the need to pass laws limiting the activities of Muslims.

Boykin and Saleem also spoke at a Texas branch of the Oak Initiative, claiming that Muslims are dedicated to destruction of the Constitution and the American way of life.  The Texas branch then tried (unsuccessfully) to stop a Presbyterian organization from allowing a Muslim youth group to use their camp.  The Texas Oak Initiative coordinator then worked with Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy and a representative from Eagle Forum, to help Texas legislators prepare House Bill 3027 to ban Shariah law in Texas courts, a senseless exercise in fear mongering taking place across the nation. (See this New York Times op-ed by Eliahu Stern on the push for anti-Shariah legislation.)

The Center for American Progress has recently released a report titled Fear, Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America on the marketing of Islamophobia by entities such as Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, but did not mention the Oak Initiative as one of the conduits of propaganda to the public.  

The Oak Initiative is marketing the Team B II Report, "Shariah: The Threat to America," produced by Gaffney's organization with Boykin as one of two team leaders. Right Wing Watch has video of Gaffney being interviewed by Rick Joyner and Joyner has also appeared on Gaffney's radio show. Linked is an Oak Initiative announcement from Rick Joyner describing the presentation by Gaffney and Woolsey at the 2011 National Religious Broadcasters conference.

The Oak Initiative is the sponsor of Transformation Michigan and is working with Lou Engle to prepare for the The Call Detroit on 11/11/11.  Rick Perry's prayer rally was patterned after The Call "solemn assemblies" and led by staff of the The Call and the related International House of Prayer, headed by Mike Bickle. Bickle has participated in leading The Call events for years and led part of Rick Perry's all-day prayer event.

These groups have been working throughout the year in preparation for 11/11/11 The Call Detroit, which is billed as a massive spiritual warfare assault on Islam.  Gen. Boykin has spoken in Michigan about applying his "Nine Principles of War" to spiritual warfare against the Islamic enemy, warning audiences, for example,  not to "wait until they build a mosque, get out ahead of it."  Rodriguez has also spoken to Transformation Michigan, but the video has been removed.

Apostle John Benefiel is one of the national leaders of the 50-state apostolic prayer warrior networks.  Benefiel has stated that teams are going to  freemasonry lodges in Michigan and performing a ceremony to divorce Baal.  This includes driving a stake into the ground with a verse from the book of Jeremiah.  Prayer warriors are also reportedly going to each mosque in the state. The reasoning behind the ceremonies at freemasonry lodges is the belief that who embrace freemasonry are allowing high-level demons to enter and control communities.  In videos of endorsers and leaders of Rick Perry's prayer event which received some press exposure, Benefiel is the one claiming the Statue of Liberty is demonic.

Ceremonies divorcing Baal are being repeated in all fifty states and are claimed to have miraculous results that "transform" communities.

At the 2011 Oak Initiative Summit, Boykin claimed that many Jews can't identify with the Republican Party because they mistakenly believe that Hitler was on the political right. Boykin claims that Hitler was an "extraordinarily off-the-scale-leftist."   He then implies that Pres. Obama is preparing for a security force similar to Hitler's brownshirts, something he has claimed in other videos promoted by The Oak Initiative.

At the same summit the founder and president of the Oak Initiative, Rick Joyner, and Boykin claimed that the economic collapse was a plot of a nefarious cabal that wants to create a global government, including George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Oak Initiative also produced a video claiming that Obama's administration targeted for closing the GM and Chrysler dealerships owned by contributors to the Republican Party. This conspiracy theory had been thoroughly debunked months before, including by the conservative  Heritage Foundation and by Fox News.

This past June, Rick Joyner, who also leads MorningStar Ministries, claimed that Hurricane Katrina was an act of grace by God to stop  gay events in Key West and New Orleans.  Joyner, who frequently discusses his association with state and national politicians, claimed to have been contacted by a U.S. Senator asking if Katrina was judgment from God.

Oak Initiative board member Louis Sheldon is founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, currently flagged as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Sheldon is author of The Agenda: The Homosexual Plan to Change America.  TVC launched a series called the "Homosexual Urban Legend Series" for the purpose of providing

"reporters, editors, and other opinion leaders with accurate information on the relationship between homosexuality and the molestation of children."
The Oak Initiative list of strategy and objectives includes:
"to raise up effective leaders for all of the dominant areas of influence in the culture, including: government, business, education, arts and entertainment, family services, media, and the church."

This is a reference to the "Reclaiming the Seven Mountains" campaign promoted by the NAR in order to take control over arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media, and religion.  They are supposedly being reclaimed from the demonic forces which the NAR leaders say have taken control over these mountains of culture.

Leadership of the Oak Initative

The board of the Oak Initiative includes Apostles Cindy Jacobs, Jay Swallow, Ardell Daniels (husband of Apostle Kimberly Daniels), Bob Weiner, Lance Wallnau, and Negiel Bigpond (sometimes listed as Nigel).  

Lance Wallnau is the leading spokesperson for the "Reclaiming the Seven Mountains of Culture" mandate.  Bob Wiener was the founder of Maranatha Campus Ministries, which disbanded in 1989 after accusation of abusive and authoritarian practices. Weiner is the author of the 1988 book Take Dominion, which describes the various organizations included in the ministry, including the Forerunner Newspaper, which was headed by J. Lee Grady.  Grady would later become the editor of Charisma magazine and also an apostle in the International Coalition of Apostles.  

Other board members of The Oak Initative include: Lou Sheldon; Janet Folger Porter, who has been rejected by some evangelicals because of her recent partnership with the apostles of the NAR; and Ret. Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who travels the country teaching the "Nine Principles of Warfare" and how to apply them to spiritual warfare against Islam and other beliefs that are considered to be demonically controlled.

Apostles as the "New Kind of Pentecostals"

According to Rodriguez and other apostles and prophets of the NAR, they are not like the Christian Coalition or the Religious Right, but a multi-racial and multi-ethnic movement for "righteousness and justice."

As head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Council, which is described as leading "the 16 million vibrant and growing Hispanic Born Again community and our 34,218 Evangelical congregations" Rodriguez has been courted by Democrats and Republicans, including both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during the presidential primaries.  

Jim Wallis wrote the foreword to Rodriguez 2010 book, stating,

"He is the only Christian leader I know who has led immigration reform rallies but has also been the commencement speaker for Liberty University.  Christianity in our country will never be the same."

Rodriguez states in his biographies that he has advised Pres. Obama and claims that the Oak Initiative is nonpartisan. He met with Obama in July, as part of the Circle of Hope coalition of evangelicals dedicated to helping the poor.

Simultaneously, The Oak Initiative has produced videos with claims that the U.S. under Obama is in the clutches of a Marxist insurgency.  The leadership has virulently opposed healthcare reform and government social services. Rodriguez has ranted against being "enslaved by government" and claims that Jesus, not government, is the answer to social justice.

Rodriguez was a co-author of "Come Let Us Reason Together," an initiative to bring evangelicals and progressives together on social issues, but he also shouts about "radical Muslims, radical homosexuals, radical abortionists," and "sissy Christians, Oprah Winfrey Christians." (Video embedded in article.)

Rodriguez participated in Rick Perry's August 6 prayer event titled The Response. Coincidentally or not, Christianity Today published an article the week before the event  titled "A New Kind of Pentecostal" and featuring Rodriguez.  The article is subtitled,

"It's no longer just about raising a hand to God. It's also about reaching out a hand to the needy."

A quote from Rodriguez is highlighted on page 3.
"The new Pentecostals 'stand at the nexus of both dynamics--salvation and transformation, covenant and community, righteousness and justice, Billy Graham and Dr. Martin Luther King.'"

Jack Hayford, the former head of the International Foursquare Gospel, (a Pentecostal denomination), was also an endorser of Perry's prayer rally. He stated in the Christianity Today article,

"There is a huge awakening for social concern today."

The Apostles' Brand of Social Justice

The goal of these faith-based "social justice" initiatives is clearly spelled out in the writings and media of the movement.  They teach that the cure for societal ills - poverty, corruption, crime, and even environmental degradation - is the expulsion of demons from society, mass evangelization, and Christian dominion.  They believe that prayer events like the Rick Perry-initiated event, which bring together large numbers of people at one time for "corporate repentance," supernaturally advances their agenda.  

Charity and racial reconciliation activities (that sound altruistic) are taught as part of "Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare" techniques.  

Jack Hayford has played a significant role in legitimizing the concept of the apostolic and prophetic movement among Pentecostals, although the ideology promoted by the NAR has been repeatedly denounced by several of these denominations.  C. Peter Wagner has stated that it was Hayford who convinced him to name the movement New Apostolic Reformation instead of calling it postdenominational.  

Hayford gave the introduction to the 1993 training course in spiritual mapping titled "Breaking Strongholds in Your City." A video clip, including Hayford's introduction, is embedded in an article by Bruce Wilson. This training course included the claim from Wagner that the Japanese economy was in decline because the emperor slept with the sun goddess.

Some of the Pentecostal social services touted in the Christianity Today article also engage in the practice demon deliverance for curing ailments and problems of all types. Hayford help develop and is the "apostolic authority" over an ICA apostle-led international network of centers that specialize in demon expulsion or "deliverance."

Following the broadcasting of the video on the Rachel Maddow Show and other venues, many journalists dismissed NAR leaders as fringe, but many of these same NAR apostles have gained credibility and access to municipalities across the nation through the marketing of their faith-based social services, emergency response and Homeland Security services, racial reconciliation ceremonies, and proclamations of their commitment to justice.

Samuel Rodriguez describes these efforts for justice in the video "What is the Oak Initiative?" from the Oak Summit in February, 2010. Other board members, - Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, and Bob Weiner - can be seen in the video as Rodriguez states,  

"We need a new Christian movement in America. That's what we need.  That's why the Oak Initiative is so important. It's not the Christian Right. It's not the Moral Majority.  It's not the Christian Coalition.  It's a Kingdom-culture, multi-ethnic, multi-generational  righteousness and justice movement dedicated to the Lamb."

After expressing his disgust with feminism, government enslavement, and the sin-tolerant church, Rodriguez describes the confusion that their brand of social justice will cause to those outside their movement.
"We desire to offer a counterculture narrative where biblical truth confronts moral relativism on every single platform... This is a justice movement.  This is what makes this different.  We've never seen this before.  We've never seen a movement that is black, white, brown, yellow; committed to both the vertical and the horizontal; that can reconcile  Dr. Billy Graham with Martin Luther King, Jr.; that is committed to both righteousness and justice.

It will mess up every blogger.  It will mess up the media.  They'll have no idea where to label us.  They'll have no idea if we're right-wingers, left-wingers.  They'll have no idea what we are.

Rodriguez is right. They have created confusion. Now the apostles of the NAR, who teach  a dominionist ideology repeatedly denounced by Pentecostal denominations, are being marketed as a "new kind of Pentecostals" engaged in activism for social justice.

Link to Part One of this series of article on Dismissing Dominionism. Also see the archive on The Oak Initiative at Right Wing Watch.

Folks need to start taking your research more seriously and discussing it thoughtfully.
_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 02:04:46 PM EST

Historically-minded Michiganders will recall an earlier "Social Justice" movement in their state. The notorious "radio priest" Charles Coughlin, one of the first popular broadcast preachers (whose anti-semitism and support for Hitler eventually compelled the Catholic hierarchy to shut him down), operated under that slogan and used it as the title of his magazine.

by Pierce R Butler on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 08:15:48 PM EST
Thanks for pointing that out.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 11:47:26 PM EST

You will find Liberal and Progressives using that term as a means of fighting for equality under the law and helping the poor etc. Like anything it can be taken and perverted by others. We have to be after more than just the simple surface appearances. We need to be able to deal with both complexity and complication.

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