Gingrich Faith Leader Wants To "Infect" One Million Young Americans
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 12:51:12 PM EST
[update: for related story, see Gingrich Faith Coalition Leader: Punch To Gut Healed Stomach Tumor]

Dutch Sheets is a member of Newt Gingrich's Faith Leaders Coalition -- as confirmed in January by researcher Rachel Tabachnick and noted in a February 27, 2012 story in The Nation). In a February 19, 2009 podcast, Sheets detailed (transcript below) an ambitious Internet-driven plan to "infect" one million young Americans per year with the dominionist Seven Mountains vision - that believers should infiltrate and take places of influence in key sectors of society and culture.

The 7M mandate has been promoted extensively by the NAR, including by Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee, prior to his blessing of Sarah Palin, as shown in 2005 church footage (see links, above) that emerged during the 2008 election. The Seven Mountains are: business and finance, religion, the family, education, media, arts and entertainment, and government.

Dutch Sheets is a major leader in the movement coalescing within born-again charismatic Christianity known as the New Apostolic Reformation. The NAR is the dominant tendency in Gingrich's Faith Leaders Coalition. The New Apostolic Reformation was covered in two full WHYY NPR Fresh Air segments, hosted by Terry Gross, aired in August and October 2011.

The NAR's sprawling national and state-level prayer networks serve as hubs for political organizing, and while NAR doctrine is heavily infused with the need to combat demons, the movement also advances a radical form of theocratic libertarianism. NAR leaders are currently distributing, in California, prayer guides that attack unions.

NAR politics skews toward the Tea Party spectrum, and is infused with paranoid anti-communist conspiracy theory. One of the NAR political ventures, the Oak Initiative, has promoted the claim that the Obama Administration's health care reform legislation contained a provision for the creation of a left-wing constabulary force like the Nazi brownshirts. The Oak Initiative (see link, above) heavily demonizes Islam.  

While the other NAR-associated leaders in the Gingrich Faith Coalition - notably George Barna and Jim Garlow - (Barna especially) have crafted lower-key public personas, Dutch Sheets is a firebrand within the NAR movement who serves as a "spiritual father" to one of the most virulently antigay pastors associated with the NAR, Damon Thompson, and has touted a form of faith healing in which pastors physically assault, onstage, advanced-stage cancer patients. Sheets also maintains that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Notable aspects of the NAR teaching include the doctrine that believers should destroy or neutralize, by burning, smashing, or flushing down toilets, objects deemed to be unholy, including profane books and "idolatrous" religious texts (such as Books of Mormon), religious relics (such as statues of Catholic saints, the Buddha, or Hindu gods), and native art (such as African masks, Hopi Indian Kachina dolls, and totem poles.)

While the NAR came to widespread public attention due to Texas governor Rick Perry's August 6th, 2011 The Response prayer event, which was dominated by C. Peter Wagner's apostles and prophets, by November 2011 NAR leaders were beginning to shift their support from Perry to Newt Gingrich - whose alliance with the hard religious right goes back decades.

Dutch Sheets' specific vision, described in his February 2009 podcast, of infecting a million young adults per year with the Seven Mountains ideology and vision, for Christian takeover of society, may not have come to fruition.

But the New Apostolic Reformation relentlessly targets young Americans, including through an ambitious nationwide effort, in which NAR ministries are participating, to establish Christian clubs in public schools throughout America - the subject of a new book by journalist Katherine Stewart, titled The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children.

Stewart can be seen discussing her book, in the video below, during a February 7, 2012 panel discussion hosted by Mark Crispin Miller and held at the McNally Jackson NYC bookstore.

[below: transcript of Dutch Sheets talk, in which he outlines a plan to "infect" one million young Americans per year with the Seven Mountains dominionist agenda.]

"What if I said to you that God has given us a strategy through which we can release a minimum of one million young people a year into different parts of our culture, with an understanding that they are sent there by God to change that part of society?

There's actually been a lot of talk lately about the "Seven Mountains", or pillars of our culture and society, that influence everything else - the Religion Mountain, the family, arts and entertainment, media, education, government, and business. We know that if we can impact each of those mountains and really bring the kingdom of God and its influence there, we can change our culture.

What if I said to you that we can send a million young people into those mountains every year, with a true revelation from God that they are called there, called to be a minister of the Lord there? That's ten million young people over the next ten years. If we could do that, we could change America.

We have that strategy, and we'll be releasing that at the conference this year, of the United States Apostolic Alliance, March 30th through April 2nd.

What if I said to you that we have identified 23 states that, according to Chuck Pierce in the vision he saw, have a righteous root that we can call on, or use, let's say - in other words, that state has something that God has done there that is a root put there by his spirit that can release, or out of it can grow life, etc. - we believe there are 23 of those states. And there are 27 that don't have that righteous root.

What if I said to you that we have a plan to begin to target those 23 states and move them toward awakening and reformation? Well, that doesn't mean we're going to abandon the other 27. We're not about to do that. It just means that we now have a strategy from the Lord of knowing what to do in each state.

You need to know where yours fits in that. You need to know, "Am I one of the 23, with a righteous root? And, if so, this should be our strategy." You need to know, "I'm one of the 27. This needs to be our strategy." You need to know where we feel like we should start. Because I believe there's six, seven, maybe eight states this year that we need to begin to target in a very significant way. We're going to talk about that at the conference this year. I really hope you can join us.

God has also given us a plan that I believe is very critical for where he wants to take us in this awakening and reformation. And that is, the joining of the generations in a more significant way. In fact, I believe God has put on my heart what I'm calling at this point a Reformation Institute.

And I believe - I'm very confident - that God has given us a plan through which we can infect these young people with the understanding that they're called to transform these mountains but then also to begin to prepare them to do that.

It's a web-based institute, it's going to incorporate not only who I am, what God has taught me, but many, many, many ministries that are functioning in our nation today - so that we can awaken these young people to what God is saying to them, put destiny in them, and then move them into the right website - so that they can hear the teaching they need to fulfill these assignments.

We have a plan to do this. I'm actually inviting several who have a voice to this young generation to this year's conference. We're going to try to marry who we are, the forties, fifties, sixty year olds, with this younger generation, and I believe there's a true joining that will take place this year that I think will launch us into the new.  

And, again, my prayer is that you will join us. I believe these strategies will work, I can't implement them without you, it's not going to be enough if you hear about them through the grapevine or secondhand. Come, listen, pray with us, join us, we're going to pray together, we're going to worship together, we're going to have some very long seasons of just worship - waiting in the Lord - seeking his presence.

I believe this will be, for some of us, perhaps the greatest gathering we've ever been a part of. Last year's national conference of USAA, many people told me, was the best they'd ever been a part of. I'm not satisfied with that, I believe this year's can be better. So would you pray about joining us? - Actually, don't pray about it, just come. And I'll see you there. God bless you."

In a February 19, 2009 podcast, Sheets detailed (transcript below) an ambitious Internet-driven plan to "infect" one million young Americans per year with the dominionist Seven Mountains vision - that believers should infiltrate and take places of influence in key sectors of society and culture.

So the interesting question is -- did they succeed? And if not, by what is the real number? 500,000? 50,000? 5,000? While I honestly do not know, my guess is that it's closer to 5,000 than either of the other two figures.

Thing is, the Internet has this habit of inoculating people against this type of infection too -- particularly young people who tend to be curious and see what else is out there.

I accept that American society is riven through with ignorant religious bigots who are in positions to do harm -- any casual perusal of the type of bills coming out of state houses these days is ample evidence of that, but those people are not the fruit of missions like this one -- they are simply people who have been promoted higher than their own level of competence intent on trying to make what they believe is a difference in society.

I would need to see real evidence of the large numbers Sheets claims they can attract to their cause before I can believe that it's go any chance of being more of a problem than the people we already have around today.

by tacitus on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:51:05 PM EST

...that Sheets' particular Internet driven ideological "infection" scheme probably didn't come to much.

But the point here is that Dutch Sheets is officially one of the "Faith Leaders" attached to a leading presidential candidate.

And, he's just one leader, among many. There are myriad evangelism schemes, many which are actually funded, that target children and young adults. What's the actual effect? - I don't think anyone really knows for sure. Sociologists and pollsters are about two decades behind the curve, so I'm a bit dubious about alleged metrics.

For example, the new trend - promoted by Peter Wagner's movement - is for believers to deny they are "religious" or, for that matter, even "Christian". In the new parlance, one is a "follower of Jesus". The formulation serves to attack the authority of institutional churches, which serves the purposes of the NAR quite well. And, it also probably skews polling data.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 05:39:43 AM EST

... that the current dialogue taking place in the GOP primaries would be enough to make us take all of these activities very seriously, whether the particular project impacts 5,000 people or 5 million people.

The primary success of the NAR (and other  Dominionists, including Reconstructionists) has been their ability to promote their narratives - Christian nationalist and "Biblical economics" narratives that are now common.  This has involved  numerous different initiatives directed toward many different populations.  When one fails, they try something else.

We could continue to pretend this is fringe and not a threat to separation of church and state. It's true we are not as far down the road as Uganda or Guatemala, where a NAR pioneer is now the Foreign Minister, but the Dominionist impact in the 2012 presidential primaries is clearly visible to those familiar with their narratives.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 11:10:32 AM EST

The sort of things we are hearing at all levels makes it clear that unless we stop these people, they will win.

They ARE winning, in spite of those who still claim that these are just a fringe group or that they're loosing.

They're going full steam ahead with all of their goals... destruction of public and higher education, defunding of social services (Florida is moving to cut ALL funding that helps the nearly-homeless to stay in their homes for instance), you name it.

The upcoming election is going to be critical, and then the ones after that as well.  I cannot stress enough the threat these people pose to us... those who oppose them.

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Doesn't there appear to be a backlash taking place against this kind of religious extremism in American politics? Santorum's odd invectives against JFK seem to have lost him points in the polls, for example. The war on women that the GOP has being pursuing recently has started to wake people up also.
A recent article in the Washington Post (?) said some GOP insiders are actually hoping they lose the upcoming elections so they can purge the party of its tea party (Christian extremist) infection.
Wishful thinking on my part perhaps, but I can't imagine the majority of the American people giving their rights away to theocrats wholesale.

by PastorJennifer on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 05:52:12 PM EST
But a minority of the population seems also to be drifting further into ideological extremism.

The problem seems to be that between the secular libertarian (and Koch brothers financed) wing and the New Apostolic Reformation (and Catholic far-right) influenced sectors of American conservatism, the most energized sector of the Republican base has gone very far right, even to the extent of holding very different understandings on basic realities and facts (Global Warming? - a hoax! Health Care Reform? - A secret left-wing plot to create a brownshirt army! Bailout for General Motors? - we're in Stalinist Russia! - and so on).

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 11:17:10 AM EST

Then I can only hope that their extreme narratives alienate people from their party, and the center reasserts a degree of sanity in the public square.

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