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New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry Message Board › Police-endorsed (!) mega-exorcism (!)

Police-endorsed (!) mega-exorcism (!) in Newark, NJ (and many other cities around the world)

Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 354
Here's a disturbing article about a major church/state mix (involving cops, among other government officials) happening now in Newark, NJ (and in many other cities around the world):

Movement Behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Bill Organizing in Newark by Bruce Wilson, Talk to Action, Thu Jan 21, 2010:

Some excerpts:

Endorsed by Newark's liberal mayor, PrayforNewark would seem a blessing for any city. What could be wrong with prayer ?"

...

"PrayforNewark is led by Rev. Bernard Wilks, whose Dominion Fellowship Ministries newsletters for PrayforNewark have repeatedly called for "enemy identification" and a document on the official PrayforNewark web site touts the "Seven Mountains" program which calls upon born-again, charismatic Christians to take dominion over key societal sectors such as business, government, media and education."

...

PrayforNewark was founded by Newark suburb resident Lloyd Turner, who in October 2008 spoke at an Argentina conference of the International Transformation Network (ITN), whose CEO Ed Silvoso wrote, in his 2007 book, Transformation: Change the Marketplace and You Change the World, that homosexuality is caused by demon possession and that HIV and AIDS can be cured through faith healing and prayer. According to Silvoso, the entire national police force of the Philippines is being indoctrinated in this ideology.

...

"Lloyd Turner and Bernard Wilks are active leaders in the international "Transformation" movement, which holds an eliminationalist agenda and holds up Uganda, close to legislating execution by hanging of an entire segment of Ugandan society, as a shining model of "transformation.""
­
...

"In cities, towns and even nations around the globe, ITN is working
to integrate government and police with church efforts to achieve dominion over all sectors of society. In Orlando, Florida, and Peoria, Illinois, church initiatives are coordinating their prayer walking campaigns, billed as reducing crime, with local police departments. Orlando's transformation effort, dubbed "Operation Armor-All," was in fact initiated by the head chaplain of Orlando's police department. As stated in a story by Teri Arndt first posted at the web site of Orlando's First Presbyterian church, describing the birth of Operation Armor-All, "[Police] Chaplain Wade spoke to the Chaplain Corps and together they came up with the plan. The Chaplains contacted up to 22 churches.""

P.S.: For more information about the "New Apostolic Reformation," the larger independent Charismatic Christian network of which the above is one part, see Palin's Churches and the New Apostolic Reformation by Bruce Wilson, Fri Sep 05, 2008, and Resource Directory for the New Apostolic Reformation by Rachel Tabachnick,Wed Jan 20, 2010, on Talk to Action.

Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 372
New on Talk to Action: The dark underside of the Latter Rain -- a walkaway's view by Christian Dem in NC, Thu Jan 28, 2010. The Latter Rain was a movement within Pentecostalism, back in the late 1940's, which was declared heretical by the Assemblies of God but has subsequently flourished under various other names and has strongly influenced the New Apostolic Reformation.

See also the following separate thread in this forum: Witchhunts here in the U.S.A. today (literal witchhunts, I mean).
Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 393
The Pray for Newark website says, on its front page:
People have been praying for Newark since its founding in 1666, and it is a Covenant City. The Founders of Newark moved from Connecticut to establish a “city on the hill”, in which business and government were based on biblical principles. For this reason it makes good sense for Newarkers – and others who care about Newark – to pray for the well-being of this great city.
In the menu at the top of the page, hovering the mouse over "Additional links" pops up another menu including Newark History and Early Settlers, about the founding of Newark as a theocracy back in the 1660's.

So it would appear that the folks who run Prayer for Newark believe that theocracy (a "covenant city") is a good idea. Obviously they aren't going to succeed in attaining outright theocracy under the U.S. Constitution. But it seems likely that they will push as far as they can in that direction.


Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 394
Looking further at the Talk to Action blog post Movement Behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Bill Organizing in Newark:

The ecumenical coalition behind PrayforNewark is led by Rev. Bernard Wilks, whose Dominion Fellowship Ministries newsletters for PrayforNewark have repeatedly called for "enemy identification" and a document on the official PrayforNewark web site touts the "Seven Mountains" program which calls upon born-again, charismatic Christians to take dominion over key societal sectors such as business, government, media and education.

One of the documents linked above is the four-page Urban Convocation Newsletter, Fall 2008. On page 3 is a box containing the following:

Dominion Fellowship Ministries Statement of Purpose

To unite ministers committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ with service providers, government entities, and businesses, for the enhancement of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of persons within the urban setting.

Sounds benevolent, but, alas, entangling "ministers committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ with service providers, government entities, and businesses" is likely to result in harassment of non-Christians -- especially when the ministers in question happen to believe that theocracy would be a good idea.

On page 2, "enemy identification" is part of a 7-point program which includes: (1) Mission Visualization, (2) Team Mobilization, (3) Enemy Identification, (4) Economic Equalization, (5) Word Saturation, (6) Holy Day Observation , (7) Marriage and Family Stability.

"Marriage and Family Stability" sounds good, but, unfortunately, it's likely to translate into anti-gay activism.

Progressives among us will like the part about "Economic Equalization." And no doubt this aspect of the program will greatly enhance its appeal to people in the "inner city." However, the "Dominion" movement does include plenty of right-wingers (e.g. Sarah Palin) as well as economic left-wingers. Many religious right wingers promote "Biblical capitalism," as discussed, for example, in the Talk To Action post Biblical Capitalism - The Sacralizing of Political and Economic Issues by Rachel Tabachnick, Wed. Feb. 10, 2010. Rachel Tabachnick also has this to say about the apparently left wing sentiments voiced by some "New Apostolic Reformation" folks:

The Apostles and Prophets of the NAR are a challenge to progressives because they use the lingo of progressivism and appear to represent a return to "social gospel." However, there approach to combating AIDS, poverty, corruption, and even environmental degradation is not progressive. They believe societal issues will be miraculously cured when their brand of Christianity gains "dominion" over all government and social entities. This "dominion" involves the expulsion of "demons" and those they claim are working with demonic forces. The literal demonization of liberals is becoming more overt and militant. At some youth events, there have been calls for martyrs.

Anyhow, it seems to me that economic issues are not a point of unity among Christians of the "New Apostolic Reformation" stripe. Alas, anti-gay attitudes are a point of unity among the vast majority of them, as also is the belief that all non-Christian religions are of the Devil.

On page 4 of the Urban Convocation Newsletter, near the bottom, it says:

What happens when you adopt a street?

When you adopt a street, you invite the spirit of adoption into the neighborhood. The spirit of adoption takes the place of the spirit of bondage and abandonment. The result it that the spiritual climate of Newark is changed -- one street at a time.

"Adopting" a street means making a commitment to "prayer walking" that street.

To the casual reader, the stuff about the "spirit of adoption" vs. the "spirit of bondage and abandonment" will seem purely metaphorical. However, these folks do have a belief in literal spiritual warfare. The PrayForNewark FAQ recommends Ed Silvoso's book Prayer Evangelism, a classic of the "spiritual warfare" movement. PrayForNewark is, in turn, endorsed by Ed Silvoso on his Harvest Evangelism site.
Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 395
A document on the Pray For Newark website, Benchmarks and Vision 2008: Guidelines for Prayer and Plan for Expediting Street Adoptions contains the following, on page 15:

In Ed Silvoso’s first book on city reaching and prayer evangelism, he defines 6 steps to Reaching a City for Christ:
Step One: Establish God’s Perimeter in the City
Step Two: Secure God’s Perimeter in the City
Step Three: Expand God’s perimeter in the City
Step Four: Infiltrate Satan’s Perimeter
Step Five: Attach and Destroy Satan’s Perimeter
Step Six: Establish God’s New Perimeter Where Satan’s Once Existed

(Emphasis mine.)

Of course, "Satan" embodies the composite of everything they might disapprove of, including all non-Christian religions.

Page 4 of this document says:

PrayForNewark is co-sponsored by Dominion Fellowship ministries, the organizers of the MLK Convocation held annually on MLK Jr Day in January. The Convocation has focused on the “Nehemiah” model to approach the rebuilding of the city.

The “Nehemiah model” is apparently the seven-point program mentioned earlier, involving "(1) Mission Visualization, (2) Team Mobilization, (3) Enemy Identification, (4) Economic Equalization, (5) Word Saturation, (6) Holy Day Observation, and (7) Marriage and Family Stability."

The Benchmarks and Vision 2008 document goes on to say:

Nehemiah approached the city by inspecting its gates. Ancient Jerusalem had physical gates that had stopped functioning in their in intended manner to protect the city. The walls of protection had been broken down. Gateway streets are the main highways and large roads that come into the city. The other use of the term gates is to see them as the main area of influence in the city. Ed Silvoso of Harvest Evangelism uses the term “Marketplace” to refer to Business, Education and Government and then speaks of the role of the Church. Others have used the “seven mountains” terminology coined by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ and Loren Cunningham of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) and looked at the roles of Media, Arts, Religion, Family, Business, Government, and Education. We will apply these ideas to our city.

In other words, they want "the Church" to have as much worldly power as possible, in various spheres including government.

A major focus of the prayers seems to be on reducing crime, e.g. prayer "That no murder, shootings or deadly accidents would occur on this street" and "That no weapons, drugs or people with evil intent would come into the city through this gateway." Certainly there's nothing wrong with praying for a reduction in crime. However, the focus on crime reduction becomes a basis for cozying up to the police and then, eventually, using the power of the police to harass perceived enemies.

The "Transformation" movement's alliance with the police has gone as far in Newark as in many other parts of the world. In other countries, such as Uganda, Guatemala, Brazil, and the Philippines, major human rights violations are known to have resulted, including "death squads" (extra-judicial killings by police), as detailed in the Talk to Action post Movement Behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Bill Organizing in Newark by Bruce Wilson, Thu Jan 21, 2010. Even here in the U.S.A., there is worrisome potential for harassment and coercion, though not to as extreme a degree as in other countries.


Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 396
In the above-refereced Talk to Action post, the police connection of Pray For Newark is described as follows:

A PrayforNewark Adopt a Street program brochure features, prominently, a photograph of "Guest speaker Sgt. Leslie Jones, Jr.... a longtime member of the Newark Police Department" who is "Senior Pastor at Charity Baptist Church in Newark. He is also on the leadership team for the Pastors Clergy Council."

So far, apparently, not quite as extensive a police connection as a similar movement in Orlando, Florida:

In Orlando, Florida a church initiative is coordinating its prayer walking campaigns, billed as reducing crime, with the local police departments. Orlando's transformation effort, dubbed "Operation Armor-All," was in fact initiated by the head chaplain of Orlando's police department. As stated in a story by Teri Arndt first posted at the web site of Orlando's First Presbyterian church, describing the birth of Operation Armor-All, "[Police] Chaplain Wade spoke to the Chaplain Corps and together they came up with the plan. The Chaplains contacted up to 22 churches." Operation Armor-All is associated with Vision Orlando, a heavily politically connected, city-wide effort in Orlando listed as a Transformation ministry under George Otis, Jr.'s Sentinel Group.

The Talk to Action post does mention that Pray For Newark has gotten an enthusiastic endorsement from Newark's mayor, Cory Booker -- who is apparently not an actual member of the movement and probably not aware of its ideological roots.

Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 397
About the coercive nature of the "Transformations" movement in other countries, and about the U.S.A. branch's enthusiastic approval of said coercion, Bruce Wilson gives the following information in his Talk to Action blog post:

Ed Silvoso, who pioneered the "prayer walking" technique in Argentina, is quoted as having bragged, at a recent conference of the International Transformation Network (ITN) in San Francisco:

"... 58 high ranking army officers in the Philippines were introduced to a Transformation teaching based on the Purpose Driven... ah.... Purpose Driven Life book. Seventeen generals received the Lord. And one of those generals who received the Lord in April was appointed the National Chief of Police in September. That's just a few months later. And one of the first orders that he signed was that the 184,000 police officers in the Philippines, that's the entire police officer [force] of the nation, should undergo Transformation training within six months or be fired."

In other words, if the above is true, Filipino police officers are receiving NAR religious indoctrination as a condition of their employment.

Even worse, in Brazil, Bruce Wilson says the following:

As the trailer for "A Force For Change," a new feature-length documentary produced by the Sentinel Group, a "Transformations" video production entity, states, "God wants to use the [Sao Paulo] police force to leverage transformation of our society." According to the producer of the documentary, George Otis, Jr., Sao Paulo's police themselves are engaged in the process of "spiritually mapping" out alleged enemy forces within their city. A newly released December 6, 2009 Human Rights Watch report accuses Sao Paulo police of extra-judicial killings, and the rise in such killings detailed in the report closely tracks the rise of Sao Paulo's Christian police association, founded in 2003 among Sao Paulo's over 100,000-strong police force, that is celebrated in Otis, Jr.'s video.

Even worse, in Guatemala, Bruce Wilson says the following about former Guatemalan presidential candidate Harold Caballeros, also a major leader in the New Apostolic Reformation:

Caballeros explains in his book Victorious Warfare that while spiritual warfare involves battling demons, it also refers to any "strongman; literally, a human being who has made a covenant with the devil or with certain demons, and who has been given spiritual dominion over a determined territory." Caballeros has also stated in Guatemalan TV broadcasts that he supports extra judicial killings of criminals in Guatemala by evangelicals in the police force.

"The death squads that still function within the PNC and the Ministry of Government, are a holy enterprise that is organized by agents and personnel from Evangelical churches that know our obligations to society...I must recognize that the story published in the New York Times on March 5 of this year is true; the "social cleansing" that, together with Carlos Vielman as Minister of Government we carried out in the institution, had to be done and must continue, as I understand has been ordered to the new authorities..."

In 2007, Caballeros made a bid for the Guatemalan presidency and, as quoted in the January 2007 issue of Charisma Magazine, International Coalition of Apostles head Peter Wagner stated, concerning Caballeros' campaign,

"Christians in the global South are way ahead of us in this area. The values of the kingdom of God should penetrate every level of society, and they understand that. ... [Caballeros is] doing it right, going right to the top and taking dominion."

Bruce Wilson's post also contains quite a bit of info about ill-treatment of GLBT people in Uganda. Worst of all, Uganda is highly regarded as a "prototype nation" by the NAR folks.

Here in the U.S.A., Mary Glazier, leader of an influential prayer network to which Sarah Palin belongs, is quoted as advocating social cleansing, apparently including outright exile of all non-Christians:

"There is a tipping point, at which, at which time, because of the sin of the land, the people then have to be displaced. But while this measure of wickedness is rising, the measure of faith in the church is rising. God is preparing a people to displace the ones whose sin is rising so that then they tip over and the church goes in - one is removed and the church moves in and takes the territory."

Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 400
These past few days, with help from a few people, I've been struggling to write a press release about our meeting this week Thursday. We came up with the following title:

Evidence of movement toward religious police harassment in Newark uncovered

and the following opening sentence:

On Thursday, February 18, a meeting of local activists against religion-based bigotry will include information uncovered by political researchers about a worldwide, rapidly growing yet little-noticed Christian religious movement which specifically believes in seeking worldly power to "take dominion" over nonbelievers.

Alas, it's really too late to be finishing this. A press release on this topic is EXTREMELY difficult to write -- at least as long this topic is still unfamiliar to many in the mass media.

It will be much easier to write a press release about our next meeting on witchhunts. Everyone already knows, at least, what's wrong with witchhunts, whereas it's not immediately obvious to the casual reader what's wrong with Pray For Newark. On the surface, Pray For Newark just looks like a bunch of people praying for a reduction in violent crime -- what could possibly be wrong with that? It's hard to explain our concerns without looking paranoid, at least to people not already familiar with the ideology and history of the New Apostolic Reformation. Even worse, most people have never even heard of the New Apostolic Reformation, let alone the fact that it's one of the world's fastest-growing religious movements, or that it has theocratic ambitions and a systematic strategy. The fact that so many aspects of the situation are still unfamiliar to most people makes it really tough to write a press release about it without coming across (to the causal reader) sounding like "conspiracy theory."

I can only hope that Bruce Wilson, Chip Berlet, and the other folks at Talk to Action will soon succeed in their own efforts to bring this matter to the attention of journalists. Chip Berlet is a credible political researcher, so they'll probably succeed eventually. It's only a question of how long it will take.

Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 403
More overt similar nuttiness in Australia, this time explicitly targeted at "Wiccans" as the enemy (falsely claiming that Wiccans perform animal sacrifices):

The relevant crazy Christian leader here is Pastor Danny Nalliah, who runs Catch the Fire Ministries. He "claims to have uncovered evidence that a coven of Canberra witches has been making blood sacrifices on a hilltop overlooking the federal Parliamentary triangle, in an attempt to hex the House."

According to the Australian Sex Party press release, Catch the Fire Ministries once received an endorsement from Peter Costello, treasurer of Australia from 1996 to 2007.
Diane
DianeVera
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 426
More about the New Apostolic Reformation:

I hope this starts getting noticed by the mass media soon.
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