[Note: a related story, from Religion Dispatches editor Sarah Posner, covers Samuel Rodriguez' appearance at the Republican National Convention from outside the frame of his participation in C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation]
On Tuesday, the opening night of the Republican National Convention was brought to a close with a prayer from a "stealth" apostle who along with Sarah Palin (whom he calls a "kindred spirit") is part of a rising radical politicized charismatic Christian tendency that one of the architects of the modern religious right warns is on the verge of becoming a "Christian Jihad."
Top leaders of that "stealth" apostle's movement, as I described in a 2011 story,
"have repeatedly emphasized in their writings the need for believers to 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.)"
In his book Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America, recommended by significant Christian theologians and released May 2012, Colonel V. Doner, who pioneered distributing voter guides in churches and helped mobilize the religious right to reelect Ronald Reagan in 1984, writes,
I realized that the main difference between "our people" and "their people" (Islamic fundamentalists) was that ours (with the notable exception of bombing abortion clinics and assassinating doctors) had not (yet) resorted to violence.
In his book, Doner also identifies one particular Christian tendency as leading the vanguard of such potentially jihadist Christians: the New Apostolic Reformation -- a theologically, ideologically, and politically radical movement that is reshaping large swaths of global Christianity and which includes, notably, the apostles and prophets brought together during the last decade under C. Peter Wagner.
Blessing the convention was National Hispanic Leadership Conference President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who has served as an apostle in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles and has extensive ties to Wagner's movement.
[Video, below: Rev. Samuel Rodriguez gives a prayer at the 2012 Republican National Convention]
Rodriguez also has ties to policy advisers on faith who are influential within the Democratic National Committee and has appeared in public with First Lady Michelle Obama, leading evangelical Christians and secular critics to accuse Rodriguez of leading a double life (as well as possibly exaggerating the size of his NHCLC coalition's membership).
In 2010 Rodriguez co-led a political initiative which promoted a video speech from (Ret.) Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, in which Boykin claimed that a provision in the health care reform legislation signed by President Obama was "laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America" -- a force Boykin compared to Hitler's brownshirts.
While Rodriguez's public speech before secular audiences is typically moderate, when addressing movement audiences a very different Samuel Rodriguez can emerge. In 2006, the Rev. Rodriguez told members of a Utah church,
"We have radical Muslims. Radical homosexuals. Radical abortionists. We need radical, born again, spirit filled Christians to arise ! Do you follow me ? We don't need any sissy Christians, Oprah Winfrey Christians. We need prophetic, devil stomping, demon rebuking, blood washed, Bible believing, free-from-sin Christians !"
In 2010, at an Oak Initiative event speech, Rev. Rodriguez compared legal abortion to genocide, called for political candidates who shared a "Biblical worldview," and stated,
The Tea Party, God bless you, CPAC, Council on National Policy, look at your audience! If your audience is 99.9 percent white, no te vista, que no va! The election is not going to happen at a national level. You need to go beyond that--enlarge your tent. Get it off the party platform and put it into practice, in the name of Jesus, and then you will see something happen in your party. This message was sponsored by the Oak Initiative.
The secretive Council On National Policy, founded by the Rev. Tim LaHaye, author of the "Left Behind" series, is considered one of the most influential leadership groupings on the theocratic Christian right.
In 2009, a San Francisco Chronicle story billed Rodriguez as one of seven top leaders in an emergent tendency of "new evangelicals," but the same year Rodriguez also co-founded The Oak Initiative, a political organizing effort which fused Wagner's NAR movement with Tea Party politics.
Wagner's movement came to public attention in 2011, because of a nationally publicized prayer rally, dominated by C. Peter Wagner's apostles, that kicked off the 2012 election presidential bid of Texas governor Rick Perry -- who had been anointed in 2009 by one of Wagner's apostles, as reported by Texas Observer journalist Forrest Wilder, in Rick Perry's Army of God.
Perry is far from the only nationally prominent politician with ties to Wagner's movement. Kansas governor Sam Brownback once shared a Washington D.C. condominium with The Call founder and head Lou Engle and has appeared at numerous events held by Engle's ministry The Call.
Engle serves as one of the prophets in Wagner's Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE), currently headed by Cindy Jacobs; ACPE channels "prophetic" messages directly from God, messages that can have within Wagner's movement the force of papal edicts. Sam Brownback has also appeared at numerous events held by Engle's The Call.
In 2011, ACPE head Cindy Jacobs gained widespread attention from her claim that flocks of blackbird were dropping dead because of the Obama Administration's decision to repeal the U.S. military "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policies covering gays in the military. Samuel Rodriguez, who calls Jacobs "mama Cindy" has appeared with Jacobs at numerous NAR events.
In May 2010, ACPE prophet Engle staged and spoke at a The Call event in Kampala, Uganda which was widely accused of being held in support of Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill, which threatened to impose a death sentence on active homosexuals in Uganda. One of the authors, and top supporters, of the bill was a Wagner apostle, the Ugandan evangelist Julius Oyet.
In 2007, The Call head Engle released a "prophetic" doctrine on "The Shedding of Innocent Blood," which declared that God demanded blood be shed to avenge legal abortion, and shortly before the assassination of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, Engle, on his personal website, compared Tiller to a guard at the Nazi Auschwitz death camp.
But one of the most prominent politicians closely tied to C. Peter Wagner's apostles has been Sarah Palin, identified by Charisma magazine as a longtime personal friend to Wagner apostle and prophet (serving in ACPE along with Lou Engle) Mary Glazier, who has reported that Palin joined Glazier's personal prayer group when the future McCain vice presidential pick was in her twenties.
In 2005, as Wagner confirmed to Fresh Air host Terry Gross in an October 3, 2011 interview, shortly before her successful 2005 bid to become Alaska governor Sarah Palin was blessed, in an elaborate church ceremony, by an apostle, colleague, and friend of C. Peter Wagner's, Kenyan evangelist Thomas Muthee, who called upon God to protect Palin from "every spirit of witchcraft". Along with Mary Glazier, Muthee is one of two personal friends and associates of Palin's who claims to have led successful witch hunts.
During his speech, Muthee called on believers to carry out the "Seven Mountain" mandate, a dominionist vision in which charismatic neo-fundamentalist Christians would achieve control of seven "mountains" of society: business, media, education, arts and entertainment, religion, the family, and government. Muthee urged his listeners to "infiltrate" these sectors of society.
One astonishing case of of such "infiltration" may have even given America the two-term presidency of George W. Bush.
In an account published by Charisma magazine prior to the 2006 election, the founder and publisher of Charisma magazine Stephen Strang, who was then serving as an apostle in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles, described the "pivotal" role that then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris played in shutting down the Florida vote recount in the 2006 election, and claimed Harris as a movement member.
"The 2000 presidential election was decided in Florida by only 537 votes, which put George W. Bush into the White House over Al Gore. Little did we know at the time that within a year our country would be at war against terrorism and that the outcome of the election would be crucial to the future of our country.
The election thrust Katherine Harris, the little-known Florida secretary of state, into the national spotlight. Her role in the election proved to be pivotal.
Few people are aware that Harris was impacted in 1966 by an intercessor in Bartow, Florida, who sparked the interest in government that led to Harris' running for public office years later. The intercessor was her fourth-grade teacher, a godly woman who prayed for all her students and tried to instill in them a love for their country and a sense of duty.
The reason I know this story is that the intercessor also prayed for me. She is my mother, Amy Strang, a powerful prayer warrior.
The point is that 35 years ago God set in motion events that would later help accomplish His purposes in the political arena."
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