Palin, dominionist intimidation, and *actual* witch-hunters
A few days ago, I had reported on Palin's linkages to "Bible-based cult" promoter Bill Gothard...and, sadly, followup info proves that this may be far from her only links to religiously motivated abuse.
It turns out that Palin--and Wasilla A/G--are intimately connected with "Joel's Army" promoters directly responsible for not only harassment of critics, but also a little-reported and growing humanitarian crisis in sub-Saharan Africa: namely, the growth of "Joel's Army" "exorcists" and people--including young children--fleeing for their lives from a literal "God Warrior" progrom.
Palin's links to Thomas Muthee, Witchfinder General
I have written in past re Palin's connections with "Joel's Army" promoters of deliverance ministry--a concept in neopente dominionist circles, including in the Assemblies of God, that anything and anyone outside the group can be demonised or "open doorways to Satan" in exactly the same way that Scientologists refer to "body thetans", "suppressive persons", and "enturbulation".
The past few days have been spent on gathering some of the most damning and disturbing info on this yet--namely, Palin's linkages to Thomas Muthee, head pastor of the neopente dominionist Word of Faith Church of Nairobi, Kenya.
And, per posts in the Wild Hunt Blog (a neopagan site that also has a major watchdog project focusing on promoters of "deliverance ministry") has noted based on Bruce Wilson's initial expose of Wasilla A/G, this includes a frank endorsement from Muthee:
As for Palin herself, she spoke approvingly of being personally prayed over by Thomas Muthee just before winning governorship of Alaska. Muthee is a popular figure among Third Wavers for driving out the "spirit of witchcraft" that resided in Kiambu, Kenya.
"He and his wife committed to six months of prayer with various types of fasting before ever entering Kiambu. Their goal in prayer and fasting was to ask God to reveal the name of the demonic principality ruling over Kiambu and keeping the city under such oppression. God revealed through a vision that a spirit of witchcraft was the ruling principality there and that a number of other demonic spirits were functioning under the headship of witchcraft. An effective strategy for conquest would be to topple the spirit of witchcraft first and thus bring the coalition of evil spirits into disarray and drive them from the city."
An article in the Times Online gives more info:
In video footage of the speech, she is seen saying: “As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying “Lord make a way, Lord make a way.”
“And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”
She then adds: “So, again, very very powerful, coming from this church,” before the presiding pastor comments on the “prophetic power” of the event.
This is disturbing on multiple levels.
For starters, Muthee is a rising star in "Joel's Army" circles--especially being promoted as being a God Warrior in Darkest Africa. For seconds, as Bruce Wilson noted, it appears he was a regular at a Joel's Army revival at Wasilla A/G during the exact period Palin was running for governor--and proving even more of a lie to her statement to have quit the church:
Mike Rose, senior pastor of Juneau Christian Center has a long relationship with Rodney Howard-Browne, credited with being the instigator of the outbreak of 'Holy Laughter' around the world, including the Toronto Airport Revival. Thomas Muthee visited Wasilla Assembly of God and gave 10 consecutive sermons at the church, from October 11-16 2005. As both Palin and Wasilla AoG Head Pastor Ed Kalnins have attested, Thomas Muthee 'prayed over' Sarah Palin and entreated God to "make a way" prior to Palin's successful bid for the Alaska governorship. Muthee made a return visit to the Wasilla Assembly of God in late 2008. Thomas Muthee's Word of Faith Church is featured in the "Transformations" video which details an account on how Muthee drove "the spirit of witchcraft" out of Kiambu, Kenya, liberating the town from its territorial demonic possession and enabling a miraculous societal transformation. The "Transformations" video set is used as an argument for social improvement through spiritual instead of human means, and as the best method for fighting corruption, crime, drugs and even environmental degradation.
Bruce Wilson has the video up of the conference (and I would encourage wide mirroring, as there is apparently an astroturf campaign by Wasilla A/G to get the vids yanked from YouTube) and extensive documentation of the Joel's Army/Third Wave linkages of all of the neopente dominionist churches she's attended--for those who aren't easily triggered, it's worth a look just to get a good gander on the "private face" of Joel's Army".
Oh, as for that "method" of purification? It involves something that most people thought was dead with Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General...but which still has a very dark and terrible life in neopente dominionist circles.
Namely, this involves literal calls to round up suspected "witches".
A look into a neopente dominionist witch-hunt
Bruce Wilson's article notes:
In the video, producer George Otis declares that after Thomas Muthee and his followers banished the "spirit of witchcraft" from the town, the crime rate in Kiambu dropped almost to zero, along with the rate of alcoholism, and according to Otis most of the residents of the town joined churches. The "Transformations" video has helped spark a network of 'Transformation' ministries and mission organizations and 'transformation' has become a buzz word for change based on supernatural instead of human efforts.
Unfortunately not noted is pretty much how most of the people were convinced to convert.
There are now multiple YouTube videos up discussing the matter, but it would appear (based on multiple reports) that this involved a coordinated campaign of harassment of the likes not seen since the days of the Salem Witch Trials of the execution of Jeane Panne in Belgium in the 1600s:
Sarah Palin has been linked to a witch hunt. No, not a figurative witch hunt, the kind in which people are made to feel pressured and discriminated against. I’m talking about a real witch hunt, in which a woman is accused of witchcraft by someone seeking political power, and the woman is forced to flee her home in fear of her life.
That’s what one of Sarah Palin’s favorite preachers, Pastor Thomas Muthee, has done.
sarah palin thomas muthee witch hunt video podcastMuthee wanted to get control over the town of Kiambu, Kenya - a place just outside of Nairobi. Not content to set up a church and slowly gain the trust of the local inhabitants, Muthee decided to get publicity and gain political power through a piece of cruel theater.
Muthee chose a local woman named Mama Jane who happened to work as a fortune teller. Mama Jane had never caused much trouble before, but she was an important target for Muthee, because she was a close associate of town’s leaders. Muthee accused Mama Jane of being a sorceress - a witch who was engaging in spiritual warfare to curse to town of Kiambu.
Muthee’s proof of Mama Jane’s witchcraft? There had been three car accidents in the neighborhood of the clinic where Mama Jane worked. That, said Muthee, was sure evidence that Mamma Jane was a witch. So, Muthee got the local population in a panic, and sent three police officers into Mamma Jane’s. They fired their guns, killing one of Mama Jane’s pets.
Then, they arrested Mama Jane and threw her into jail. Muthee made his demand: “Mama Jane either gets saved and serves the Lord or she leaves town!”
Yes, you are reading this right--a woman was targeted simply for being a fortune teller, recruited the local cops, and arrested her simply for refusing to convert to "Joel's Army" spirituality.
An article in the Christian Science Monitor dating from 1999, and discussing the "Joel's Army" practice of "spiritual mapping"--that is, systematically mapping out which areas are supposedly "demonised" and targeting them for "spiritual warfare"--goes into more detail on Muthee's purge and the targeting of Mamma Jane:
In 1988, he and his wife, Margaret, were "called by God to Kiambu," a notorious, violence-ridden suburb of Nairobi and a "ministry graveyard" for churches for years. They began six months of fervent prayer and research.
Pondering the message of Eph.6:12 ("For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world..."), they prayed to identify the source of Kiambu's spiritual oppression, Mr. Muthee says. Their answer: the spirit of witchcraft.
Their research into the community revealed that a woman called "Mama Jane" ran a "divination clinic" frequented by the town's most powerful people.
After months of prayer, Muthee held a crusade that "brought about 200 people to Christ." Their church in the basement of a grocery store was dubbed "The Prayer Cave," as members set up round-the-clock intercession. Mama Jane counterattacked, he says, but eventually "the demonic influence - the 'principality' over Kiambu - was broken," and she left town.
Not so much discussed is what tends to happen in these meetings--typically what goes on are literal imprecatory prayers against "targets", that they either convert--or be forced to leave or die.
Ironically, it's a Joel's Army site promoting Muthee that goes into detail on the harassment of Mama Jane--and on tactics used:
Pastor Muthee said, "When we began to recognize who - or what - Mama Jane really was, my wife Margaret and I set ourselves to pray. Our aim was to break the power of witchcraft over the town -- a power that was preventing people from turning to the Lord. It was a struggle that involved much groaning in our spirits. In time, however, we felt the burden lift. The dark cloud we had seen covering the town drifted away, and we felt supernatural joy inside. We knew things were going to change.
. . .
"Our services became very oppressed. People would try to sing, but they just couldn't." Praying 24 hours a day, Thomas Muthee and his members did what they could to counteract the demonic attacks. But the power of evil invaded the church to the point that they could hardly pray. One day it got so bad they started a worship song and were never able to finish it! They went outside and found the remains of fresh sacrifices and rituals left behind by Momma Jane.
"Finally we decided we had had enough. The whole congregation raised their hands towards the Emmanuel Clinic. We asked God to either save this woman or remove her from Kiambu.
. . .
In plain terms, Thomas Muthee challenged Momma Jane to a power encounter, much as Elijah challenged the priests of Baal.
By now word had spread to the city officials that Momma Jane did not seem to have the power she once had. Her clients were embarrassing her by openly burning fetishes and renouncing curses. Some began pointing out that it could be no coincidence that her clinic was right next to the area where the serious accidents were occurring. "
Pastor Muthee continued, "Do you know what happened? A few days later, three children were killed outside her clinic. The people were furious because they suspected that Mama Jane's witchcraft was linked to the accident. Some were clamoring that she be stoned. When the police were called in to quell the uprising, they found one of the largest pythons they had ever seen in one of the clinic rooms. Startled, the officers drew their weapons and shot
it. That promptly ended the spiritual battle. Mama Jane was questioned by the police, releases, and moved to another town. Interesting, the same `bloodless accidents began happening there. [This was about 1992.] "We have not had a single accident since. In fact, since that woman moved out of Kiambu, the entire atmosphere has changed. Whereas people used to be afraid to go out at night, now we enjoy one of the lowest crime rates in Kenya.
The Times Online article also reveals some choice info on the specific forms of harassment:
According to accounts of the witchhunt circulated on evangelical websites such as Prayer Links Ministries, after Pastor Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon.
And some of the most damning info is also at another Joel's Army site--largely a repeat of the first site, but also talking about specific organisation of not just prayer-gangs but targeted recruitment of officials to harass Mama Jane.
Sadly, incidents like this are part of a growing humanitarian crisis, especially in Nigeria and Kenya. And--even more tragic--often the targets are the youngest of all.
Bringing a terrible new meaning to "suffer the children"
Neopentecostal dominionism has grown explosively in sub-Saharan Africa, partly due to extremely aggressive targeting of the region by neopentecostal dominionists starting in the 1940s and partly because one of the main conduits of promotion has been "word-faith theology"--the same "name it and claim it" that Creflo Dollar et al promote on TBN and other dominionist networks. (Ironically, they are targeted much for the same reason Jewish people are targeted for conversion--many neopente dominionist end-time scenarios explicitly call for communities of "God Warriors" to be established in every nation and/or ethnic group before Jesus can come back and Rapture the lot of them off.)
And with "name it and claim it" tends to come "deliverance ministry"...and in Africa, "deliverance ministry" tends to breed "God Warrior" progroms, some of which even manage to put the actions of neopente dominionist hate-group "Watchmen At The Walls" to shame.
One example is with the destruction of traditional places of worship:
Born to a family of traditional priests, Ibe Nwigwe converted to Christianity as a boy. Under the sway of born-again fervor as a man, he gathered the paraphernalia of ancestral worship — a centuries-old stool, a metal staff with a wooden handle and the carved figure of a god — and burned them as his pastor watched.
"I had experienced a series of misfortunes and my pastor told me it was because I had not completely broken the covenant with my ancestral idols," the 52-year-old Nwigwe said of the bonfire three years ago. "Now that I have done that, I hope I will be truly liberated."
In addition, it's not just the recently converted burning this stuff, but apparently temples are actually being raided for the African equivalent of Assemblies-style book burnings:
As poverty deepened in Nigeria from the mid-1980s, Pentecostal Christian church membership surged. The new faithful found comfort in preachers like evangelist Uma Ukpai who promised material success was next to godliness. He has boasted of overseeing the destruction of more than 100 shrines in one district in December 2005 alone.
Achina is typical of towns and villages in the ethnic Igbo-dominated Christian belt of southeastern Nigeria where this new Christian fundamentalism is evident. The old gods are being linked to the devil, and preachers are urging not only their rejection, but their destruction.
The Ezeokolo, the main shrine of Achina — a community of mainly farmers and traders in Nigeria's rain forest belt — has been repeatedly looted of its carved god figures. While no one has been caught, suspects range from people acting on Christian impulses to treasure thieves.
Recently, a village civic association volunteered to build a house to keep burglars away from a giant wooden gong decorated with carved male, female and snake figures. The gong in the market square is reputed to be more than 400 years old, and in decades past was sounded in times of emergency.
"We feared it may be stolen or destroyed like so many of our traditional cultural symbols," said Chuma Ezenwa, a Lagos-based lawyer.
And then there are those who bring a new, and all-too-often deadly, meaning to Christ's impunction to "suffer the children".
. . .
Little reported in the US press, but more reported overseas in the UK, is the growing crisis of not only traditional healers and traditional faith communities being targeted for harassment but the crisis of ndoki orphans...children who are literally forced to flee their homes for their lives due to being targeted as "witches" in neopentecostal dominionist "revivals" in even more horrific manner than Mama Jane:
The rainy season is over and the Niger Delta is lush and humid. This southern edge of West Africa, where Nigeria's wealth pumps out of oil and gas fields to bypass millions of its poorest people, is a restless place. In the small delta state of Akwa Ibom, the tension and the poverty has delivered an opportunity for a new and terrible phenomenon that is leading to the abuse and the murder of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children. And it is being done in the name of Christianity.
Almost everyone goes to church here. Driving through the town of Esit Eket, the rust-streaked signs, tarpaulins hung between trees and posters on boulders, advertise a church for every third or fourth house along the road. Such names as New Testament Assembly, Church of God Mission, Mount Zion Gospel, Glory of God, Brotherhood of the Cross, Redeemed, Apostalistic. Behind the smartly painted doors pastors make a living by 'deliverances' - exorcisms - for people beset by witchcraft, something seen to cause anything from divorce, disease, accidents or job losses. With so many churches it's a competitive market, but by local standards a lucrative one.
But an exploitative situation has now grown into something much more sinister as preachers are turning their attentions to children - naming them as witches. In a maddened state of terror, parents and whole villages turn on the child. They are burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush.
Some parents scrape together sums needed to pay for a deliverance - sometimes as much as three or four months' salary for the average working man - although the pastor will explain that the witch might return and a second deliverance will be needed. Even if the parent wants to keep the child, their neighbours may attack it in the street.
This is not just a few cases. This is becoming commonplace. In Esit Eket, up a nameless, puddled-and-potholed path is a concrete shack stuffed to its fetid rafters with roughly made bunk beds. Here, three to a bed like battery chickens, sleep victims of the besuited Christian pastors and their hours-long, late-night services. Ostracised and abandoned, these are the children a whole community believes fervently are witches.
If anything, the practices are essentially the same thing that goes on at neopente "deliverance" services here with an African twist--and have, disturbingly, had the power at times of an entire village and neopente preachers who launch essentially "Joel's Army" fatwas against infants in some cases:
Mary Sudnad, 10, grimaces as her hair is pulled into corn rows by Agnes, 11, but the scalp just above her forehead is bald and blistered. Mary tells her story fast, in staccato, staring fixedly at the ground.
'My youngest brother died. The pastor told my mother it was because I was a witch. Three men came to my house. I didn't know these men. My mother left the house. Left these men. They beat me.' She pushes her fists under her chin to show how her father lay, stretched out on his stomach on the floor of their hut, watching. After the beating there was a trip to the church for 'a deliverance'.
A day later there was a walk in the bush with her mother. They picked poisonous 'asiri' berries that were made into a draught and forced down Mary's throat. If that didn't kill her, her mother warned her, then it would be a barbed-wire hanging. Finally her mother threw boiling water and caustic soda over her head and body, and her father dumped his screaming daughter in a field. Drifting in and out of consciousness, she stayed near the house for a long time before finally slinking off into the bush.Mary was seven. She says she still doesn't feel safe. She says: 'My mother doesn't love me.' And, finally, a tear streaks down her beautiful face.
Gerry was picked out by a 'prophetess' at a prayer night and named as a witch. His mother cursed him, his father siphoned petrol from his motorbike tank and spat it over his eight-year-old face. Gerry's facial blistering is as visible as the trauma in his dull eyes. He asks every adult he sees if they will take him home to his parents: 'It's not them, it's the prophetess, I am scared of her.'
Nwaeka is about 16. She sits by herself in the mud, her eyes rolling, scratching at her stick-thin arms. The other children are surprisingly patient with her. The wound on her head where a nail was driven in looks to be healing well. Nine- year-old Etido had nails, too, five of them across the crown of his downy head. Its hard to tell what damage has been done. Udo, now 12, was beaten and abandoned by his mother. He nearly lost his arm after villagers, finding him foraging for food by the roadside, saw him as a witch and hacked at him with machetes.
Magrose is seven. Her mother dug a pit in the wood and tried to bury her alive. Michael was found by a farmer clearing a ditch, starving and unable to stand on legs that had been flogged raw.
Ekemini Abia has the look of someone in a deep state of shock. Both ankles are circled with gruesome wounds and she moves at a painful hobble. Named as a witch, her father and elders from the church tied her to a tree, the rope cutting her to the bone, and left the 13-year-old there alone for more than a week.
There are sibling groups such as Prince, four, and Rita, nine. Rita told her mum she had dreamt of a lovely party where there was lots to eat and to drink. The belief is that a witch flies away to the coven at night while the body sleeps, so Rita's sweet dream was proof enough: she was a witch and because she had shared food with her sibling - the way witchcraft is spread - both were abandoned. Victoria, cheeky and funny, aged four, and her seven-year-old sister Helen, a serene little girl. Left by their parents in the shell of an old shack, the girls didn't dare move from where they had been abandoned and ate leaves and grass.
The youngest here is a baby. The older girls take it in turn to sling her on their skinny hips and Ikpe-Itauma has named her Amelia, after his grandmother. He estimates around 5,000 children have been abandoned in this area since 1998 and says many bodies have turned up in the rivers or in the forest. Many more are never found. 'The more children the pastor declares witches, the more famous he gets and the more money he can make,' he says. 'The parents are asked for so much money that they will pay in instalments or perhaps sell their property. This is not what churches should be doing.'
5000 kids abandoned--a conservative estimate--in *one* area of Nigeria yearly. The problem of "ndoki orphans" is prevalent throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa--Kenya is a hotspot, as is Ghana, as is Nigeria, as is the Congo, as is South Africa.
The problem is in fact severe enough that it's being actively exported--the United Kingdom has done much coverage of "deliverance ministry"-related child abuse, in part, because it's becoming a rather serious problem thanks to neopente dominionists in African emigre communities there. The BBC was one of the first mainstream news agencies to report on this form of religiously motivated child abuse due to a number of rather infamous cases of "deliverance ministry"-related abuse in the UK, which led to the discovery of at least thirty cases and the setup of a dedicated division of Scotland Yard to investigate; even now, UK social services groups are given instructions on how to spot "deliverance ministry"-related child abuse and are among the very few groups taking an aggressive stand against it including via research and educational efforts.
And sadly, deaths occur not just of children but adults too. The Nigerian Tribune reports that the Burning Times have come to Africa as people accused of being witches--typically in neopentecostal dominionist "deliverance services"--are literally being burnt at the stake in scenes more closely resembling the Spanish Inquisition than the 21st century:
Let’s take for instance, the belief in witchcraft. Most Africans believe that witches exist and are real.
That witches cause diseases. accidents, death and business failures. Incidentally,. there is no evidence of witchcraft or the activities associated with witches.But because of the misconceptions associated with witchcraft, those accused of being witches are attacked, tortured, maltreated and killed in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In May, at least 11 people alleged to be witches were burnt to death in Kenya. Those who masterminded this heinous act said they had ‘evidence’ that they were witches. There have been other cases of witch hunt in Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa , Uganda, etc.
. . .
Critical thought should also be applied to the teachings of all religions including those of Christianity and Islam. Many paranormal beliefs continue to exist in Africa beeause Christianity and Islam promote and sanction them. They include the belief in witches, ghost, after life, faith healing, divine revelation, communication with spirit, etc. The two world religions -Christianity and Islam- introduced and control formal education in modern Africa.
One of the few other groups trying to help kids in this situation is RISE International--whom has contributed to efforts to help "ndoki orphans".
The problem, alas, isn't just restricted to Nigeria. As a major researcher on Joel's Army and the "Third Wave" on Talk to Action reports, it's not just sub-Saharan Africa, and "independent" neopente dominionist groups are promoting this worldwide--including via a Guatemalan church linked with a literal coup-de-etat:
The last city segment features Almolonga, Guatemala. Otis begins this segment by claiming that Almolongo is now 80% born again after the transformation of this town of about 19,000. Again he tells of a town in the grip of demonic strongholds, this time the demons of folk deities and syncretism. He states that previously the gospel could not take hold and evangelical Christians were a despised minority. Again a group of intercessors prayed and "after many signs and wonders and deliverances from demonic possession" the town was transformed. Otis then catalogs the miraculous changes in this once poor town plagued with crime and alcoholism. He claims that all four jails have been closed as there is no longer crime. Two dozen evangelical churches have replaced 36 bars and cantinas. The streets and buildings have been renamed after biblical places. But more remarkably Otis claims that this spiritual transformation has healed the land and revived the agricultural economy. Harold Cabelleros, founder of El Shaddai Church in Guatemala City, claims that Almolonga farmers now have three harvest per year, and that once God came to town, the harvest time for a radish dropped from 60 days to 40, and then 25.
. . .
Cabelleros also contributed to Wagner's 1993 book, Breaking Strongholds in Your City. Mell Winger was the director of the Bible Institute at El Shaddai Church in Guatemala City and later served with Ted Haggard at New Life Church, which shares the campus of the World Prayer Center. See Richard Bartholomew's Notes on Religion.
The involvement of El Shaddai is extremely disturbing for a special reason. Not only does El Shaddai have close links with Mell Winger (and by extension, Tedd Haggard at New Life Church--at least until Haggard was outed as gay, that is) but it is linked with the one dominionist group explicitly linked in a court of law with genocide and crimes against humanity. Specifically, El Shaddai is a member of a group of "Assemblies daughters" known as Verbo Ministries and a frontgroup of Verbo, Global Outreach Ministries...and two of the most infamous members of Verbo Ministries are Efrain Rios Montt and Jorge Serrano Elias.
Serrano Elias is particularly noteworthy here, as he was not only a protege of Rios Montt (and a protector of Montt's slaughter of upwards of possibly 200,000 Mayans (we aren't for sure how high it goes; they're still finding the bodies over 25 years later) and over a million displaced persons) but apparently was also a member of El Shaddai--not just a member, but apparently a minister and one of those establishing the initial benchhead for the closest thing the world has known to Nehemiah Scudder's regime in Heinlein's "If This Goes On...":
In 1976 he collaborated with various American Protestant churches to help the population recover from the devastating earthquake that had afflicted the country. He then published a document describing the miserable conditions under which the indigenous population lived, which resulted in his receiving threats. He went into exile in the US, only returning in 1982, to work in the government of fellow evangelist General Efraín Ríos Montt as Vice President of the Advisory Board to the government.
As soon as the church started building, government archaeologists leaped to the defense of the pre-Colombian site. But before the church's laborers stopped, they are said to have dug up the head of a snake carved in stone. The leaders of El Shaddai Church interpreted the suddenly revealed archaeology of their new location as a sign: the Lord had brought them face to face with his vision for Guatemala.
Three hundred years before Christ, Pastor Haroldo Caballeros announced, the serpent mound had been built to dedicate the entire country to Satan. Ever since that offering to the plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl, Guatemala and all of Latin America had been cursed. Why else would a continent so rich in resources and faith be among the poorest and most indebted of the earth? Why else would a country so green and blessed by God be so afflicted with violence and poverty? But now this curse of centuries could be lifted, Caballeros said. It is probably no coincidence that the name of his church, El Shaddai, means "The Almighty" in Hebrew; this was a vision not just for saving souls, but for seizing a country's destiny. Caballeros preached like a polished courtroom advocate--his former profession--and was attracting influential people to El Shaddai, including a man about to be elected president of the country.
Funded by a well-heeled congregation, Caballeros mounted a national prayer campaign to take the vision for overcoming the serpent's curse to every evangelical pastor in the country. Fifty thousand prayer warriors were needed to battle the territorial demons controlling Guatemala, Caballeros declared. God wanted to open up the skies and rain down his blessings. He wanted to bring a revival with so many signs, prodigies, and wonders that every tongue would confess that Jesus is Lord of Guatemala. Uplifted by an army of prayer, the church would rise up like a giant. It would prophesy over Guatemala, liberate it, and turn the curse into a blessing.
El Shaddai is also at the heart of an attempt to make a third go at turning Guatemala into the Republic of Gilead--only bloodier, if Montt's rule is any guide.
The CSM article itself notes other examples of similar "witch hunts", even here in the States:
* In Hemet, Calif., a new pastor began noting on a map sites where what he believed to be negative spiritual influences were located: controversial religious centers, cults, youth gangs, and the West Coast's largest methamphetamine manufacturing facilities.
After years of research and targeted prayer, participants say, drug production has been dramatically reduced and corrupt police have been fired, gang members have converted, the "power of a demonic strongman" was broken, cults left town or were burned out, and Christians are in key leadership positions.
* In Cali, Colombia, home of the infamous drug cartel, pastors carried out a spiritual mapping campaign "gathering intelligence on political, social, and spiritual strongholds" in each of the city's 22 administrative zones. They began holding all-night prayer vigils involving thousands in the soccer stadium.
When vigils were followed by periods without homicides and the arrests of major cartel leaders, "a new openness to the Gospel was felt at all levels of society," and churches began to see "explosive growth."
Interestingly, one of the US churches most consistently linked with this sort of thing is New Life Church in Colorado Springs--former home of Ted Haggard. In Jeff Sharlet's article "Soldiers of Christ"--published May 2005 in Harpers Magazine--targeted harassment of not just critics but of people seen as the Enemy are noted:
He was always on the lookout for spies. At the time, Colorado Springs was a small city split between the Air Force and the New Age, and the latter, Pastor Ted believed, worked for the devil. Pastor Ted soon began upsetting the devil's plans. He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church; his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings. One day, while he was working in his garage, a woman who said she'd been sent by a witches' coven tried to stab Pastor Ted with a five-inch knife she pulled from a leg sheath; Pastor Ted wrestled the blade out of her hand. He let that story get around. He called the evil forces that dominated Colorado Springs—and every other metropolitan area in the country—“Control.”
Sometimes, he says, Control would call him late on Saturday night, threatening to kill him. “Any more impertinence out of you, Ted Haggard,” he claims Control once told him, “and there will be unrelenting pandemonium in this city.” No kidding! Pastor Ted hadn't come to Colorado Springs for his health; he had come to wage “spiritual war.”
He moved the church to a strip mall. There was a bar, a liquor store, New Life Church, a massage parlor. His congregation spilled out and blocked the other businesses. He set up chairs in the alley. He strung up a banner: SIEGE THIS CITY FOR ME, signed JESUS. He assigned everyone in the church names from the phone book they were to pray for. He sent teams to pray in front of the homes of supposed witches—in one month, ten out of fifteen of his targets put their houses on the market. His congregation “prayer-walked” nearly every street of the city.
Population boomed, crime dipped; Pastor Ted believes to this day that New Life helped chase the bad out of town. He thinks like that, a piston: less bad means more good. Church is good, and his church grew, so fast there were times when no one knew how many members to claim. So they stopped talking about “members.” There was just New Life. “Are you New Life?” a person might ask. New Life moved into some corporate office space. Soon they bought the land that had been prophesied, thirty-five acres, and began to build what Pastor Ted promised would be a new Jerusalem.
As disturbing as this is...it also appears that Sarah Palin may have been taking notes from Muthee et al--right down to the use of cops for harassment.
Evidence of subversion of Wasilla government?
Some of the info that has come out re Palin--and regarding her own running of Wasilla's government as well as her stint as governor--give ever more info indicating she essentially is running as the Manchurian Candidate of Joel's Army. And interestingly, a fair amount of this may directly tie into police scandals.
One bit of info includes info on Progressive Alaska indicating Wasilla A/G may have engaged in major infiltration of the Wasilla Police Department and that critics fear retribution:
A blogger told me that he needs to back off the more sensitive Palin information because he's afraid of getting shot by some of the more fanatical, hard-core "Palin-bots." I've been told that when media representatives attempted to speak to several members of Palin's former church, one member wouldn't speak out of fear of his/her life and the other declined out of fear of potential treatment by law enforcement who are also members of the church.
(And now you know why I post pseudonymously and am a bit paranoid on giving my personal info out!)
And tomorrow, we have some explosive new info to point out regarding how Palin is a veritable dominionist Midas--it turns out TrooperGate *and* "RapeKitGate" both have strong dominionist connections.