Oak Initiative Confirms Resignation of Co-Founder and Vice President Samuel Rodriguez
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:19:35 AM EST
The Oak Initiative confirms that Samuel Rodriguez is leaving the board. Following is a copy of the e-mail I received from the organization stating that Rodriguez is resigning because of his increased responsibilities editing a new Spanish version of Charisma Magazine.  However, it appears an article at Talk2action.org may have been a catalyst, and that Rodriguez's departure may be damage control.  According to journalist Greg Metzger, Rodriguez chose to leave after Metzger confronted him with the extremist agenda of the Oak Initiative that I described in a September 4 article as conflicting with Rodriguez's public persona. Was Rodriguez an innocent and unwitting bystander at the Oak Initiative?
Following is the e-mail from the Oak Initiative and additional information about Rodriguez's role with the organization.

Dear  Rachel Tabachnick,
 Thanks for your inquiry. Sam Rodriguez did recently resign from the board of The Oak Initiative citing as the reason being that his increased responsibilities with editing a new Spanish version of Charisma Magazine would prohibit him having time to give a meaningful contribution to The Oak. We have a deep appreciation for Sam Rodriguez and will miss his contribution to The Oak, but congratulate him for this new endeavor. 
This change should be reflected on our website soon. Thanks again for the inquiry.
Rick Joyner
Greg Metzger states in his recent article that he read some of the statements about Islam from the Oak Initiative website to Rodriguez.  Metzger continues,

"While he pleaded ignorance with regards to the details of the Oak Initiative's agenda and website (he claimed he had barely been involved), he assured me that by the end of the day he would resign from the Board and make clear his regret. Five hours later I received an email with his letter to the Executive Board of NHCLC responding to Tabachnik's article and detailing the steps he was taking to denounce extremism, steps that include his resignation from the board of the Oak Initiative. It was, as a mutual friend of mine and Samuel's put it, the most that could be hoped for."

Metzger pointed to Rodriguez's comments for Christianity Today on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

" Every extreme, whether ideological, spiritual, or political, carries potentially catastrophic destruction."
These comments were more in line with Rodriguez's public persona and his numerous articles published by the Washington Post.  In a July 2007 article on the need for an Islamic "Reformation," Rodriguez states,
At the end of day, Reformation stems from pluralism. Pluralism gives birth to tolerance, tolerance breeds respect and respect invites collaboration.

Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, on the executive committee of the National Association of Evangelicals and, according to Metzger, on the board of Christianity Today.  He has been promoted in major publications across the nation and described as "a new kind of Pentecostal" dedicated to social justice.

Rodriguez's Role with The Oak Initiative

Even a cursory glance at the media of The Oak Initiative contradicts Rodriguez's claims to Metzger that he was "barely involved." Rodriguez is described as one of the founders in the 2009 media.

"The Summit, held August 20-22, 2009 at MorningStar Ministries in Fort Mill, SC, was a powerful time lead by John Kilpatrick, Lance Wallnau, Samuel Rodriguez, Gordon Pennington, Rick Joyner and others. This Summit was the beginning of The Oak Initiative, a grass roots organization started by Samuel Rodriguez, Rick Joyner and other key Christian leaders."

Rodriguez served as vice president of the organization from its inception and is featured in the videos explaining and promoting the organization. Links to some of these videos follow the article.

As described in a previous article titled Samuel Rodriguez and the Oak Initiative: Marketing Christian Supremacism as Social Justice, the Oak Initiative is a a religio-political organization on a crusade to save America from a Marxist/Leftist/Homosexual/Islamic enemy.

The Oak Initiative website markets videos of past conferences including speeches on the Seven Mountains Mandate by NAR apostle and board member Lance Wallnau.  The MP3 is described as follows,

Continuing the 7 Mountain Mandate Series, Dr. Lance Wallnau gives key insights on "Unveiling the Glory", "Apostolic Invasion", "Sphere Mastery" and other timely messages useful in the Kingdom process of taking over the world.

On the same page of the Oak Initiative catalog is the  2010 Oak Initiative conference media, which included board members Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William "Jerry" Boykin and Samuel Rodriguez.

In addition to speaking at Oak Initiative conferences, Rodriguez represented the organization's board on conference calls to affiliates, such as Transformation Michigan. The Oak Initiative, Transformation Michigan and the "prayer warrior" networks under the apostolic authority of John Benefiel and Cindy Jacobs (also a board member of The Oak Initiative), are working together to prepare for The Call Detroit, a spiritual warfare assault on what they claim is the demon of Islam.  Preparation has included ceremonies outside masonic lodges and mosques across the state of Michigan as a prelude to the "spiritual warfare" of The Call Detroit on 11/11/11.

The website of Transformation Michigan states,

"Transformation Michigan is in partnership with The  Oak Initiative.  We have established groups in Michigan who, with one united purpose, are taking the Seven Mountains in Michigan. Join us in this warfare."

In a 2010 conference call led by Transformation Michigan's Rick Warzywak, Samuel Rodriguez is introduced to those on the call as an Oak Initiative board member. The call closes with Rodriguez saying that he and Rick Joyner are honored to have Warzywak as part of the Oak team.  In the call, Rodriguez explains that evangelicals should support immigration reform because Hispanic immigrants are Christian and their "prophetic purpose" is to "become a firewall against the aforementioned spirits and assaults on our biblical worldview."  According to Rodriguez, one of these assaults is Islam. Rodriguez also states that a "Tea Party movement with Christ" could push back against the spirit of Baal, and then states government has taken over the "auto industry, the banking industry, the health industry and soon the energy industry."

This is not the only example of Rodriguez's promotion of immigration reform as a way to counter Islam.  In a conference call with Charisma Magazine,  Rodriguez states,

"The immigration debate is not political.  It's about the future of American Christianity. Period."

In the call, Rodriguez rails against xenophobia and nativism directed against Hispanics and compares the immigration policy of some Republicans to fascism in Nazi Germany. But his explanation for why evangelicals should support immigration reform is the same as in the Transformation Michigan call.  Rodriguez explains that Hispanic immigration can help insure that America will still be a Christian nation at the end of the 21st century.

Another example of the contradictions in the messages Rodriguez gives to different audiences is in the area of healthcare reform.  In a CNN interview Rodriguez describes Hispanic voters as split in their partisan political support because they have a "very strong faith ethos" but support "justice in education and healthcare reform."  The NHCLC over which Rodriguez presides, lobbied against "anti-immigrant sentiment in the healthcare reform debate."  The chairman of the NHCLC, Gilbert Velez, was quoted in the Christian Post in September, 2009.

"Health Care reform is a matter of Social Justice driven by a moral imperative that is undeniable. The fact that millions of Americans lack health care coverage is unacceptable."

Simultaneously, Rodriguez was helping Rick Joyner to found the Oak Initiative, which produced virulent anti-healthcare reform media including claims that President Obama is leading the country into Marxism and that there is a secret provision in the healthcare bill for a force of like the Nazi brownshirts. Rodriguez was was also one of the religious leaders joining the Family Research Council in the anti-healthcare reform Prayercast on December 16, 2009 with Lou Engle, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Sen. Jim DeMint, Jim Garlow, and Harry Jackson.

A conference video for the Oak Initiative features Rodriguez, stating,

"Today there is an overreach of government, where government seems to take the place of God, replacing God in many homes and communities as the source of provision and dependency, when what has made America great is that exceptionalism. It's God over man and man over government.  That's why the Oak Initiative exists.

...Will you join us?  I encourage you to participate in one of our state chapters throughout our nation.  The Oak Initiative today may very well emerge as the firewall of righteousness and justice.  May God bless you and God bless the Oak Initiative."

While Rodriguez speaks, Oak Initiative board members Cindy Jacobs and Bob Weiner sit behind him on a raised platform.  Along with Rodriguez, they have both been part of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), originally convened by C. Peter Wagner.  Cindy Jacobs is the apostolic authority over the United States Reformation Prayer Network and Weiner is the author of Take Dominion Now and founder of Maranatha Campus Ministries, disbanded in 1989 after accusations of abusive and authoritarian practices.

Greg Metzger began his Patheos article with a "public statement" from Rodriguez.

"I repudiate all vestiges of Islamophobia or any other platform that engages in fear-mongering . . . We must stay vigilant in order to protect the sanctity of compassionate and grace-filled outreach. My commitment stands without compromise. I will continue to advocate and engage a generation committed to sanctification and service, covenant and community, truth with love.
~ Public statement from Rev. Samuel Rodriguez on September 9, 2011"

However, I can find no other indication that Rodriguez has publicly announced that he is leaving the Oak Initiative or that he is willing to disavow the organization's supremacist ideology and war against religious pluralism.

Following are links to some of the Oak Initiative media and videos featuring Rodriguez.

http://www.theoakinitiative.org/content/february-2010-summit-mp3- set-player
http://www.theoakinitiative.org/content/august-2010-convention-20 10-dvd-set
http://www.theoakinitiative.org/content/august-2009-summit-mp3-se t-player


wondering about Rodriguez's contradictions.  The National Tequila Party is described as a counter to the Tea Party and is protesting Rodriguez tomorrow, September 21, in Arizona.

http://tucsoncitizen.com/arizona-hispanic-republicans/2011/09/20/ tucson-protest-against-rev-samuel-rodriguez-for-supporting-anti-i mmigrant-sen-marco-rubio-for-veep/

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 01:02:32 AM EST

(from the linked story)

"The publicist of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and on behalf of Reverend Samuel Rodriguez suggested I pray with her to accept Christ into my heart and in the same breath she threatened me with 125 lawyers if we protest against the Immigration Summit to be held tomorrow in Tucson, AZ."

"125 lawyers"? That's a rather heavy-handed SLAPP threat aimed, it would seem, against a fellow Hispanic-American citizen exercising her constitutional rights.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 04:20:39 AM EST

...There's a national tequila party? I need to get out more. Excellent work on this story, what I find interesting is the interplay between Rodriguez and the Oak Initiative and other groups. I wonder what convinced him that Dominionism would give him the greatest influence in politics.

by Hirador on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 03:40:39 PM EST

I would like to thank Rachel for this very challenging and thorough article that does raise questions about Rodriguez's denials to me of significant involvement with the Oak Initiative. I will be linking to and quoting from this piece in my own continued work. I think Samuel took a significant step in resigning from Oak Initiative, but I also think this article highlights the need for him to clarify and in some instances repudiate things he has said and been a part of. Thank you for your leadership on this.

by gregmetzger on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 10:01:31 AM EST

I have posted this blog on the basis of what Rachel has written. http://debatingobama.blogspot.com/2011/09/tabachnik-challenges-ro driguez.html

by gregmetzger on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 01:33:07 PM EST

The Oak Initiative has now removed Rodriguez's name from their leadership list.


by Rachel Tabachnick on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 08:35:57 AM EST

This post and others have prompted another blog post by me on Rodriguez/broader discussions. http://debatingobama.blogspot.com/2011/09/rodriguez-fallout-and-m y-hopes-for.html

by gregmetzger on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 04:27:01 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

The President's Faith: A Matter Of Choice, Not Compulsion
Today President Barack Obama, who is the world's worst Muslim - he drinks alcohol and eats bacon - will do something many Muslims do......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Voting For Jesus?: Candidates Seek To Outdo One Another With Religiosity
The Iowa caucuses are today, and, despite what you may have heard, Jesus Christ is not appearing on the ballot.Several of his close friends......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Conventional Wisdom Watch: Getting it Wrong about the Religious Right
It is a case of the more things change the more things stay the same. I wrote a short post in 2008 about how......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Club Fight: Tenn. Residents Complain About High School's Gay-Straight Alliance
At public schools around the country, students, mostly high schoolers, are forming Gay-Straight Alliance clubs. Fundamentalist Christians often freak out over the existence of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Zionism and Eschatology
The church I attend just had a member place a display at the back of a Sunday morning Bible class.  The display called for......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Save The Day: Celebrating Real Religious Freedom
Saturday is Religious Freedom Day. While it's not one of our most well-known or popular holidays, Religious Freedom Day shouldn't be overlooked. Our country......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Warning of Theocratic Zones of Control
This week, I published a report -- months in the making --  titled, When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Moore Grandstanding: Ala. Chief Justice Tries Again To Block Marriage Equality
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore last week tried, once again, to block marriage equality in that state.There is no case pending before......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Maureen Mullarkey Share the 2015 Coughlin Award!
Yes, folks it's that time of the year again. It's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As it is every......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
All Quiet on the War on Christmas Front
It is time for my annual response to the preposterous-but-malevolent claims broadcast on Fox News and elsewhere that there is a War on Christmas.......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Christian Right: Inviting Cruz or Trump to Tea?
With Republican candidate Ben Carson dropping like a stone in a pool of confusion, who gets invited to the tea party? Tea Party activists......
By Chip Berlet (2 comments)
A Plethora Of Pulpit Politicking Problems?: Far-Right Pastors Prepare For Electoral Bids
The state of Tennessee used to have a law that banned members of the clergy from running for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Trump: An Apocalyptic Messenger for the Christian Right
We stand in the overflow crowd of some 300 in the small town of Tyngsborough near the New Hampshire border. Several thousand people are......
By Chip Berlet (3 comments)
Trump's Demagoguery Threatens Democracy Itself
Now is the time for blunt talk. Donald Trump is a dangerous demagogue generating "scripted violence." Trumpism threatens not just the First Amendment but......
By Chip Berlet (3 comments)
Irony Implosion: Pat Robertson Opposes Politics Masquerading As Religion
TV preacher Pat Robertson and I go way back. In 1996, I wrote a book about him, and I've followed his career since.I long......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)

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 (3 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 (1 comment)
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 (0 comments)
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 (2 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 (1 comment)
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 (4 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 (1 comment)
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 (2 comments)
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 (3 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 (6 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.