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

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