What drives economic boom-and-bust cycles and stock market fluctuations ? In the late 1970's, the Texas oil tycoon Hunt brothers caused a mammoth speculative bubble in world silver prices by buying up between fifty and seventy five percent of the precious metal. This spring, 2009, a new Rolling Stone magazine story claimed that the financial investment firm Goldman Sachs "has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression."
But Van Nuys, California based megachurch pastor Jack Hayford, current head of sex-scandal embroiled GOP Senator John Ensign's religious denomination, has endorsed a theory proposing that a supernatural mechanism drove down Japanese stock market prices during the early 1990's: the Japanese emperor's alleged sexual intercourse with a "sky goddess" who, according to the theory, might be a succubus.
[image, right: a 20th Century succubus]
Footage from a 1993 evangelical video shows Hayford enthusiastically introducing and endorsing a talk during which his colleague C. Peter Wagner claimed that the early 1990's economic downturn of the Japanese economy was due to what Wagner depicted as a Shinto ritual in which Japanese emperors have sexual intercourse with a demonic sky-goddess being that, posited Wagner, may have been a succubus. Wagner blamed slack Japanese stock prices on the alleged tryst. As British religious scholar Richard Bartholomew notes, C. Peter Wagner's treatment of the Shinto ceremony is factually dubious on a number of counts.
US GOP Senator John Ensign belongs to the 5-10 million member (estimates vary) denomination, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, which Church on The Way Pastor Jack Hayford has headed for 5 years. Hayford gave the benediction at former president George W. Bush's 2001 inaugural prayer service. In 2006 Senator Ensign addressed the Foursquare Gospel International Church's yearly convention via a videotaped message. In 2003, Ensign traveled to Philadelphia and addressed the yearly Foursquare Gospel convention in person.
Jack Hayford has also been one of the regularly featured speakers at Promise Keepers events. The Promise Keepers, a men's ministry which John Ensign joined in college, held rallies during the 1990's with up to several hundred thousand participants and has promoted evangelists who practice demon deliverance, otherwise known as exorcism.
As Church On The Way head Hayford introduced Peter Wagner in the 1993 video,
"Spiritual mapping is a recently adopted term to describe a new dynamic sphere of Christian ministry that is helping many as they seek to discern and break the real strongholds of the enemy: that is, in Bible terms, our enemy, the adversary The Devil and the demonic forces of Hell he commandeers. In this lesson, Peter Wagner helps us see that Spiritual Mapping is Biblical. This can great increase our readiness for pray and deepen our convictions that we're on solid Bible-based turf as we adopt this means for prayer. I think you'll be especially moved as Dr. Wagner gives examples of how prayer targeted through Spiritual Mapping has helped spread the Gospel in many areas."
During his talk, C. Peter Wagner claimed that Japanese emperors have sex with the "Sun Goddess" during a special Shinto ritual,
"So, there is a spirit called a "harlot," a principality who dominates nations, who dominates territories, who dominates people groups, very very clearly -- to such an extent that she has fornication with kings. And I can give you an example of how she does this.
Japan, as a nation, is one of the nations of the world which has consciously, openly invited national demonization. And they do this through what's called a Daijosai Ceremony where, when a new emperor comes in, and we had a new emperor about three or four years ago, when a new emperor comes into power this Daijosai Ceremony takes place, it is a Shinto based ceremony, and as a part of this ceremony the emperor goes to this specially chosen, specially built place -- I think it cost them, I forget, something like 50 million dollars to put this thing on, to build these places.
He eats rice that has been planted and harvested and chosen through witchcraft, and at a certain time that night the Sun Goddess visits him in person and has sexual intercourse with the emperor. It's a very, very powerful thing. So the emperor becomes one flesh with the Sun Goddess. And that's an invitation for the Sun Goddess to continue to demonize the whole nation. And, Japan is under the power of the Sun Goddess. The flag indicates that -- the Land of The Rising Sun, the whole thing is glorifying the Sun Goddess...
You ask, "is this physical or not ?" -- it could be. Because there is a certain spiritual phenomenon, succubus -- it's called succubus. There is a documented physical relationship between human beings and demonic beings."
Peter Wagner went on to outline the purported impact of the alleged imperial sex with the "Sun Goddess", or succubus:
"Since the night that the present emperor slept with the sun Goddess, the stock market in Japan has gone down - never come up since. This has been a disastrous year - first year the rice harvest failed, first year Japan has ever had to import rice. For Japan to import rice is not just an economic disaster -- they lose face. For the Japanese it's very serious. The auto industry is falling apart because of the Yen -- the Yen is becoming so strong against the Dollar they can't export anything or sell anything.
I mean, this country has really gone downhill from -- check it. Some people say it's just a coincidence. Okay [chuckles]. We don't think so. We who are in spiritual mapping, we don't think so..."
[image, right: a Medieval depiction of a succubus]
Succubus-based economics isn't the only peculiar aspect of theological positions Jack Hayford has endorsed or championed. The Van Nuys megachurch pastor has played a key role in promoting recently invented concepts and practices that are radically reinventing and redefining contemporary Christianity, on a worldwide basis.
A June 24, 2009 AP story by John Christofferson concerned an uproar over a YouTube video, of footage taken ata Bridgeport CT church, which showed an apparent attempt to exorcise a "homosexual demon" from a 16 year-old boy. But coverage of the subsequent outrage the video provoked uniformly failed to note that the exorcism attempt may well have been the product of a unified religious ideology promoted from Jack Hayford's Church on The Way, from former NAE head Ted Haggard's Colorado Springs New Life Church, and even at Sarah Palin's most significant church, the Wasilla Assembly of God.
Pastor Jack Hayford's 20,000-plus Van Nuys, CA Church on The Way is one of the biggest megachurches in the United States. During the 1990's the church was headquarters for a budding international ministry, Cleansing Stream Ministries, that specializes in teaching Christians to cast out their own demons, a practice that AP reporter Richard N. Osling, in a 2003 Associated Press story, dubbed "do it yourself exorcism."
Hayford has authorized a book, now available in a free Internet version, that functions as a manual for self-exorcism. [ see, Jack Hayford Introduces Peter Wagner Talk On Spiritual Mapping ] One of the practices promoted by Cleansing Stream Ministries is the casting out, from Christian believers, of demons allegedly invited in by sexual "sins" such as homosexuality.
The exorcism of gay demons and the Jack Hayford-endorsed sex-with-demons economic theory are part of a new evangelical paradigm promoted in the 1990's and into the next decade from Ted Haggard's Colorado Springs New Life Church that centers around practices known as "Spiritual Warfare" and "Spiritual Mapping", in which believers seek to geographically map out and then expel demon spirits held to cause sickness and death, murder and violent crime, lack of church attendance, and traffic accidents, economic fluctuations and even environmental degradation.
As described in my recent Talk To Action story Jack Hayford Introduces Peter Wagner Talk On Spiritual Mapping, pastor Hayford has been a leading promoter of "Spiritual Warfare" and "Spiritual Mapping." Prior to the late 1980's, the former term had precedent within Christianity, but the latter, "Spiritual Mapping", was coined quite recently, in the late 1980's, by George Otis, Jr. and refers to a set of practices pioneered by C. Peter Wagner, George Otis, Jr., Cindy Jacobs, Ed Silvoso, Harold Caballeros, and other Christian evangelists during the 1980's and 1990's.
The ideological vision of creating a Christian theocratic earthly utopia by driving out demon spirits was for over a decade exported from Ted Haggard's New Life megachurch. During the late 1990's, Haggard's church sent a team to Africa to 'anoint', or spray down with cooking oil, entire cities in Mali such as Timbuktu in an effort to ward off demon infestations.
In the late 1990's Haggard's church sent teams of church members to walk the streets of Colorado Springs, to do what Ted Haggard dubbed "Grid Praying." Some teams prayed for city residents, others mapped out and tried to expel demon spirits allegedly infesting the city. In the 1997 This American Life radio segment #77, "Pray", public radio journalist Alix Spiegel described New Life Church's Prayer Walking and demon-expulsion program. Spiegel characterized the underlying outlook as "medieval."
Prayer Walking has gained wide popular culture traction even to an extent on the American left. But it is the pleasant, Jekyll-sided face of a wider agenda, a demon expulsion program. Prayer-walkers pray for unknown city residents and they are also encouraged to map and and take notes on alleged ideological enemies, who are held to be under demon influence. Together with Ted Haggard, Jack Hayford co-edited the 1997 book Loving Your City Into The Kingdom: City Reaching Strategies For 21st Century Revival (Regal books), which presented a soft PR face to the demon the Spiritual Mapping / Spiritual Warfare paradigm, which effectively demonizes everyone on Earth who does not subscribe to Haggard's and Hayford's form of evangelical Christianity.
Components of the Prayer Walking and demon deliverance ideology are being incorporated into the police practices of Orlando, Florida and Peoria, Illinois, in novel and factually-challenged efforts that partner local Christian churches with police departments of those cities; teams of church members, with police backup for safety, walk high-crime areas and try to pray down violent crime and murder rates.
[note: this is an abbreviated version of the expanded, full version of this story]
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