NAR Apostles Claim Partnership Role in the Mythical 'Transformation' of Cory Booker's Newark
Cory Booker's meteoric rise has been mentored and financed by a who's-who of GOP funders and "free market" think tanks. He has been embraced as a spokesperson and served on the boards of the core organizations promoting "private school choice," but marketed to the public as school reform. At the grass roots level, as with so many issues, it's the Religious Right that does the heavy lifting on promoting school privatization as the salvation of poor, urban children. Where there are hubs of school privatization activism, there also hubs of modern-day apostles working to infiltrate Hispanic and African American churches. Because of the recognition of the GOP's abysmal record with minority populations, the Religious Right outreach to minority populations is becoming increasingly party-independent, and focused on cultivating ideologically-aligned political leaders in both major parties.
Apostle Ed Silvoso was one of the early pioneers of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), a movement that is sweeping the globe and rebuilding the American Religious Right. The network of modern-day apostles is at the cutting edge of anti-gay and anti-reproductive rights activism around the world, but mask these efforts in claims of racial reconciliation, charitable activities, and "transformation" of communities. Since 2007, Cory Booker's Newark has become the model for "Transformation" used in Silvoso's movies and promotional materials around the globe. Bruce Wilson, co-founder of Talk2action.org, first exposed this NAR activity in Newark in his series of stories on the Pray for Newark and Transformation Newark http://transformationnewark.wordpress.com/who-we-are/ beginning in January 2010. At that time the Newark campaign appeared somewhat amateurish and lacking scope, it has since been used as a model in high quality promotional materials used across the U.S. and in Asia, Africa, and South America.
In July 2011, Silvoso's North American Conference on City Transformation was held at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, the church Cory Booker has attended since his youth. The Silvoso-initiated project for transformation of Newark includes PrayforNewark, an effort led by Apostle Bernard Wilks, a member of the International Coalition of Apostles and an associate pastor at Metropolitan Baptist.
Like a Trojan horse marched into a city, the Transformation entities are billed as inclusive, charitable, and as free manpower for cash-strapped municipalities - cleaning up cities, assisting police, and mentoring school children. Photos of the graduation ceremony of 154 police cadets in Newark in 2010 show Apostle Bernard Wilks commencing the ceremony at Metropolitan Baptist Church and including the participation of a Muslim leader. But behind the scenes, the agenda is less inclusive, as seen in this video of Apostle Wilks calling for Newark to be returned, as much as possible, to its Puritan theocratic roots and a time when only Christian believers could vote or have leadership roles. (Transcript is below embedded video.) Some of the code language used for this effort across the country is "The Nehemiah Plan" based on interpretation of biblical verses.
Here is the thing. The city's charter specifically specified - and the expert on this is Lloyd Turner and I guess Joanne has a lot of it too, maybe by studying and some by osmosis - the charter did specify that Newark was to be a representation as closely as possible to the Kingdom of God, here on earth. All of the voting citizens of the city, all of them were believers and members of the church. They allowed others to reside there but they didn't have the same rights and privileges as those who were committed to Christ. Now, the original charter required that, and some how that aspect of our spiritual heritage has been lost, where it was the body of Christ that was the [total?] leadership with governments over the city. So, we want to see that restored as much as possible and we want to see the residents of this city no longer in great affliction and no longer a reproach.
LLoyd and Joanne Turner, referenced in the video, are apostle in Silvoso's ITN and have worked to bring the Transformation paradigm to communities throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. Lloyd Turner's book Highways of Holiness: Preparing the way for the Lord was published by Silvoso's ministry in 2006 and paved the way for the Transformation Newark projects and its regional connections to similar projects.
The dip in crime in Newark, celebrated in the promotional videos and claimed to be prayer-based by Transformation organizations, did not last. Mayor Booker laid off 167 police officers and, as noted by Bruce Wilson in a Talk2action article, CBS reported that by mid-2011 "murders were up 71%, shootings up 29%, and auto theft up 39%. The magical results of Pray For Newark's prayer-based crime fighting effort seemed to suddenly evaporate." This has not stopped the NAR apostles from continuing to use Newark as a model of the miraculous results of their brand of city transformation.
Transformation leaders use phrases like removing Newark's "great affliction" as code language in public. Booker is introduced by Apostle Wilks in this video of the National Day of Prayer in Newark in 2012, hosted by Wilks and his pastor's association. Booker's speech is typical, using religious language while burnishing his credentials as an inclusive leader.
Behind the scenes of the Transformations organizations, the "us vs. them" is not based on race, but on religion. Again, it can appear inclusive at first glance. Transformation Newark activities include a monthly magazine that appears to filled with Jews and Christians together, but the Jews in this case are evangelical converts who claim Jewish heritage and continue Jewish observances. (Graphic at right from Transformation Newark magazine recognizing their ministry of the month.) NAR leadership throughout the world includes Messianic rabbis and emphasizes Christian Zionism and Jewish outreach as an important aspect of their ideology. NAR events almost always include overt or coded references to the need to convert Jews, as seen in Rick Perry's pre-campaign kickoff prayer rallyand events like the Global Day of Prayer. These often include groups of people wearing Jewish tallitot or prayer shawls and blowing shofars. See a trailer about the GDOP held in Jerusalem and another of Lou Engle's TheCall Nashville.
Silvoso's "Transformation" movies and entities are professional quality productions with progressive-sounding messages touting the changes that churches and ministries can bring to their communities. It requires looking beyond the surface to see the Dominionist-based agenda. At a national ITN conference, attended by numerous Hawaiian politicians and candidates, Silvoso and other leading apostles shouted about putting "our foot on Hawaii" and comparing those that oppose their church-state merger to "rats" that should be exterminated.
Help from Evangelicals Without Evangelizing?
Silvoso is an uncle of Kevin Palau, whose work in Portland, Oregon was celebrated in an August 9 New York Times article titled "Help From Evangelicals (Without Evangelizing) Meets the Needs of an Oregon Public School." Kevin, son of internationally known evangelist Luis Palau, has been promoted as a progressive evangelical for his work in partnership with Portland's openly gay former mayor, But behind the scenes, Kevin Palau uses language like groups of "ecclesia" doing "advent conspiracy" together. This language is understood by those working in city transformation efforts to mean, in this case, foregoing the overt "war on Christmas" and working together in more covert ways to reclaim the meaning of Christmas by the ecclesia. The term ecclesia is being promoted to replace the word church, representing a shift to the churches' mandate to take control over the "Seven Mountains" or power centers of society - arts, business, education, family, government, media, and religion.
Luis Palau, brother-in-law of Silvoso, was one of the evangelist who marketed Guatemala's Rios Montt to American evangelicals as a Christian leader who would bring about social transformation to the war torn nation. On November 28, 1982, Palau and Rios Montt charged a gathering of 700,000 evangelicals with the task of applying their evangelical principles to every area of society, arguing that Guatemala's crises would only end when the formerly Catholic nation had become the "first reformed [Protestant] nation in Latin America," according to a 1983 article titled "Guatemala: A New Jerusalem." Pat Robertson followed up with a grandiose promise of a billion dollars of support from American evangelicals. Rios Montt has since been charged in Guatemala with genocide and crimes against humanity.
The purpose of this example is not to link Transformation Newark to the crimes of Rios Montt in Guatemala, but to warn that much evil has been done in the world in the name of societal "transformation" and campaigns that sounded holy to well-intentioned people at the time.
As shown in Bruce Wilson's Transforming Uganda video compilation at Talk2action.org and more recently in the film "God Loves Uganda" by Academy Award winning director and producer Roger Ross Williams, Uganda's successful battle against AIDS was not enhanced, but reversed, in an ideological effort to promote abstinence only and demonize condoms. The mythology of the success of Uganda's abstinence-only efforts was promoted through Transformations movies distributed by NAR apostles, including Transformations II: The Glory Spreads, in which it was also claimed that HIV/AIDS could be miraculously cured through prayer and this brand of societal transformation.
The NAR began producing the Transformation movies in 1999 and used them to promote the concept of taking cultural and political dominion over cities and nations through what is described in their training materials as "strategic level spiritual warfare" or "prayer evangelism." This is the idea that communities and entire nations can be proselytized if what they believe to be literal demons are removed. In Silvoso's promotions of Transformation Newark, it is claimed that the success of their efforts followed Cory Booker's request to churches to "get the devil out of our city."
The PrayforNewark effort involved dividing the city into 21 zones and having individuals adopt each of the 900 streets in the city for daily prayer. It sounds quite benign by the agenda is slated to gradually advance. Apostle Wilks explains that in the next stage the goal is for every single resident in the city to be identified by name and have a prayer warrior praying for them, followed later by each resident being aware of their personal prayer sponsor. It is a masterful example of religio-political organizing and data gathering and is being organized in some locations of the country by precinct. It also works outside the boundaries of our current Democratic and Republican divide. Data on the international effort is housed by Silvoso's ministry, with some of it visible at his Transform our World website. The Newark adopt-a-street campaign is being duplicated across the country and in other nations. For example see Silvoso himself, welcoming you to Transformation Newark in this video.
Also see "Lancaster Street by Street," a Pennsylvania campaign based on the Newark model with the goal of "talking to God about our neighbors before we talk to our neighbors about God." Listen carefully for the "seven mountains" references.
Even if you've never heard of Ed Silvoso, you're no doubt familiar with some of the politicians who have been influenced and supported by the movement and it's brand of "Transformation" efforts. For more information on the Transformation movies and, organizations, see the Political Research Associates report on Uganda and other African nations titled "Colonizing African Values." (Transformations article begins on page 51 of the report downloaded from this webpage.) A small sampling of the politicians influenced and supported by the movement have included:
-Sarah Palin, anointed before her run for governor by a NAR apostle from Kenya known for his role in the first "Transformations" movie. Palin's political career began with support of a group of Wasilla pastors who had watched the Transformations movie.
Silvoso's political reach has extended from Uganda to Hawaii - and now Newark.
Silvoso's Harvest Evangelism ministry and his International Transformation Network (ITN) are the source of the annual Global Day of Prayer, founded by Silvoso's South African ministry partner Graham Power and claiming the participation of churches in over 200 nations.
Increasingly there is a correlation between hubs of "Transformation" activity and school privatization efforts. The 2011 Global Day of Prayer was held in Jacksonville, Florida and headquartered at Bishop Vaughan McLaughlin's Potter's House Church with Ed Silvoso and Graham Power receiving top billing. The Potter's House church and its founder, McLaughlin, have also been influential leaders in the school privatization efforts in Florida, including hosting statewide rallies and in promotional materials supporting the largest "school choice" project in the nation, Florida's corporate tax credit program funding students at private schools. Over 80% of these students attend religious schools including The Potter's House Christian Academy.
Alice Patterson, the apostle standing next to Rick Perry when he spoke at The Response, has been key to the Silvoso-directed "Transformation" efforts in Texas and is author of the book Bridging the Racial Divide, published by Silvoso's ministry. Patterson's ministry, Justice at the Gate, was co-founded with Susan Weddington, former head of the Texas GOP.
The other person standing with Perry and Patterson is C.L. Jackson, a Democratic-turned-Republican pastor who has helped Patterson and Perry gain access to African American churches. Jackson was also awarded a faith medal amid much pomp and circumstance at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" extravaganza, held in D.C. in front of the Lincoln monument on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.s "I have a dream" speech.
In 2007, Patterson hosted the "African American Pastors' and Leaders' VIP Summit" which included the participation of Rick Perry, GOP-funder James Leininger (and a Booker campaign funder), and former Secretary of Education Rod Paige. The religio-political outreach summit was advertised as promoting school choice to 300 African American leaders. Similar summits have been held with Latino leaders as well as "Government Transformation" summits featuring Patteson, Ed Silvoso, pseudo-historian David Barton, and Jim Garlow, who spearheaded organization for Proposition Eight in California. Patterson is also behind the "Nehemiah" efforts including San Antonio's Nehemiah Initiative. Some of these campaigns have scrubbed their websites of references to Patterson and Silvoso, and any obvious NAR language.
There are numerous other locations where both a push for school privatization and the infiltration of communities by the NAR is taking place. Strategy varies by state. In Texas, the push is to bring minority churches into the GOP. In other states apostles claim to remain in the Democratic Party. In Pennsylvania, the influx of millions of dollars funneled through the American Federation of Children and its affiliates into the political arena has been paralleled with a more than decade-long campaign by the NAR. In states like Pennsylvania, both the student voucher effort as well as the NAR effort is being fronted by Democrats. For example, one of the 2014 gubernatorial candidates in Pennsylvania is Max Myers, who formerly led the Global School of Supernatural Ministry in the Pennsylvania, South Africa, and Brazil. Myers was under the "apostolic covering" of a network that is known for its virulently anti-gay activism (Lou Engle, for example), but Myers kicked off his campaign at an LGBT community center in Philadelphia. See link one and link two.
Both the private school choice movement and the NAR infiltration of African American and Latino churches has claimed the mantle of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement and is using the language of "social justice" in the service of their ultraconservative agendas. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation in 2002, Dick DeVos emphasized the need to remake the school choice effort into one that was bipartisan and led by faces that didn't all look like the ones he was talking to at the Heritage Foundation. Dick and Betsy DeVos have been ideally suited to lead the joint libertarian and Religious Right effort to privatize education, since their marriage represented the merger of two of the leading dynasties behind the funding of today's Christian Right.
Who is Cory Booker?
Before Booker was a superstar in Hollywood and Silicon Valley circles, he was on the board of the pro-school privatization organizations founded and led by wealthy white conservative ideologues. Booker has spoken at many conferences for the Alliance for School Choice, the 501(c)(3) arm of Betsy DeVos' American Federation for Children. Fellow board members of the John Walton-founded organization included DeVos, Clint Bolick, and Steve Friess. Booker was a keynote speaker at the July 10 -12 strategy retreat hosted by one of the Waltons (Walmart heirs) at Jackson Hole, and including William Oberndorf, Scott Jensen, Matthew Ladner, Chip Mellor, Robert Cone, Jay P. Green, and Patrick Wolf. These names will be well known to anyone who has been resisting the school privatization juggernaut.
In 2012, Booker was keynote speaker at the American Federation for Children summit, along with Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal. The AFC has spent tens of millions of dollars attacking politicians opposed to school vouchers and at least $2.8 million dollars in the 2011 and 2012 efforts to defend Gov. Scott Walker and GOP senators from the recall efforts in Wisconsin.
Booker has been described in conservative media as "explicitly religious" and in other sources as a dedicated Christian Zionist who has led a campus Jewish organization. He has been embraced and promoted by politically right wing Jewish media and leaders including Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, whose own political campaign was funded by Sheldon Adelson.
There is little doubt that Booker will win the primary on Tuesday and his supporters have been eyeing him as presidential material for years. Progressives should be wary.
I've posted another related article here. Also see Susie Madrak's post Anybody but Booker at Crooks and Liars, and Frederick Clarkson at Talk2action.org on the infiltration of the Religious Right into the Democratic Party.
NAR Apostles Claim Partnership Role in the Mythical 'Transformation' of Cory Booker's Newark | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
NAR Apostles Claim Partnership Role in the Mythical 'Transformation' of Cory Booker's Newark | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)