Palin, TrooperGate, RapeKitGate...and Joel'sArmyGate
Over the past few weeks, folks on the Internet have turned up an impressive amount of info re Sarah Palin's questionable judgements--including scandals involving the Alaska State Police (now known as "TrooperGate") and similar hijinks with the Wasilla PD, info re Palin trying to make rape victims pay for their own evidence collection kits (which led to the state stepping in), and Palin's disturbing connections with "Joel's Army" neopentecostal dominionists.
What has not been publicised so far is that the first two scandals have direct connections to the third--and, even worse, there's the most damning evidence yet that the very "Joel's Army" folks Palin is linked to may have been grooming her explicitly as a "stealth candidate".
Dominionist connections to TrooperGate
Most know about the questionable firing practices Palin did as Alaskan governor--what has not been widely publicised so far is that almost identical purges may have occured with the Wasilla PD--and in both cases due to the desire to get dominionist-friendly candidates in power.
Interestingly, it also appears that some of TrooperGate may have been related to dominionist connections of the replacement:
But Gov. Palin did not promote a socially conservative agenda during her first two years as governor and some Alaska right-wing commentators called her an economic liberal. Send us a sign, national fundamentalist Christian leaders seemingly said, that proves your credentials. In firing Monegan and hiring Kopp, Palin would have gained a controversial measure of revenge in a family dispute and established her standing as a Christian conservative politician.
Kenai City Police Chief Chuck Kopp was a rising star in Alaska's Christian conservative movement. He was a frequent speaker at local religious and patriotic gatherings. He was school board president of Cook Inlet Academy, the fundamentalist Christian high school in Soldotna his missionary-educator father founded. Kopp also was on the board of Port Alsworth's Tanailan Bible Camp, also founded by his father.
Through Samaritan's Place, Franklin Graham has been the chief benefactor of the Tanailan Bible Camp building and rebuilding a church and meeting hall and guest cabins. The evangelical scion of Alaska, Rev. Jerry Prevo of the Anchorage Baptist Temple, is on Samaritan Purse's Board of Directors, so there's a clear connection between Graham, Prevo and Kopp.
Ah, yes, Samaritan's Purse. Frank Graham, alas, has been quite a bit more openly dominionist than his daddy Billy Graham; Samaritan's Purse itself is quite the nasty bit of work. In the latest rendition of the List of Good and Bad Charities, Samaritan's Purse gets its own dedicated section as to why they're listed as "bad guys":
Samaritan's Purse (Billy/Franklin Graham's charity group. Both Billy and Franklin Graham have been known to espouse dominionist statements in past, Franklin especially so. Per a report from someone who has sought employment with them. non-dominionists are not considered for employment and employees are required to have a reference from a pastor as well as a "testimonial of faith" on resumes for employment. Also is working with known dominionist group Traditional Values Coalition in promoting a "refugee adoption" scheme that requires statements of faith from both participating churches and refugees. Numerous reports of forced evangelism, in particular targeting children; a major part of Samaritan's Purse's operation in fact focuses on "convert or starve" targeting of children, including "sheep-stealing" from children who are attendees of mainstream Christian churches (extensive information in this Dark Christianity post--a full discussion would require a dedicated post on DailyKos). Frank Graham has been noted as promoting concept of Hurricane Katrina being God's retribution on New Orleans. Is known to have explicitly partnered with FGBMFI (an Assemblies of God frontgroup known infamously for interference in Latin American and US politics) in the FGBMFI's attempts to interfere in the inner affairs of nations on a worldwide basis. Has promoted Iraqi War and Israeli bombing of Hizbillah sites in Lebanon as "God softening the hearts" of Iraqis. Has promoted the attempted genocide of the Kurdish people (during Gulf War I) as a missionary opportunity. Maintains links to dominionist "parallel economy" alternatives to mainstream medicine (including the "Christian Medical and Dental Association", written about here.)
(Note to non-regular readers: FGBMFI is the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, an Assemblies frontgroup which has worked at promotion of the neopente version of "Christian nationalism" for decades, particularly in Latin America. FGBMFI is intimately connected with the Iran-Contra Scandal (Oliver North is a regular speaker at FGBMFI events and FGBMFI itself was used as a funding-front for the Contras) as well as the genocidal regime of Gen. Efrain Rios Montt in Guatemala, and is also a major conduit for the spread of "Third Wave" theology (the basis of "Joel's Army" theology) via Paul Yonggi Cho.)
In fact, the info is so extensive as to why "Shepherd's Purse" is Bad News that there's pretty much a one-stop shop commentary on it on Dark Christianity--look through the comments.
It also appears that Palin herself has some connections to Graham, via the National Prayer Breakfast--a frontgroup of a secretive dominionist org called "The Fellowship" or "The Family" that increasingly has had links to neopente dominionists. Jeff Sharlet, a walkaway from "The Family", has written the definitive book on the subject; the article detailing the Samaritan's Purse/TrooperGate linkage gives some more info:
Palin's connection to what Jeff Sharlett has called "elite fundamentalism" is of interest now that she is an election and a heartbeat away from the presidency. Franklin Graham has been the keynote speaker for the Alaska Governor's Prayer Breakfast the past two years. According to their Web site, the organizers believe, "God directs the affairs of Man and is the ultimate authority over human events." The Alaska Governor's Prayer Breakfast is connected to the National Prayer Breakfast sponsored by The Fellowship Foundation, also known as "The Family," which espouses similar beliefs. The Family is headed by Doug Coe, one of the most influential evangelicals in Washington, D.C. Coe's group tends to operate behind the scenes organizing small cells attended by the power elite, mostly Republicans. George Bush was saved in such a cell while in Texas.
(This may in fact be some of the first confirmation of something I've speculated on before in this blog--the likelihood that George W. Bush is a member of a cell-church group and was thus recruited to at least some sympathies with neopentecostal dominionists.)
And the linkage still does not stop there. One of the groups trying to derail the investigation into TrooperGate is a dominionist legal group called Liberty Legal Institute:
On September 16th ABC News reported, "A group of Alaska Republican lawmakers, with the support of a Texas-based conservative legal group, has filed suit to stop the Alaska Legislature's "Troopergate" probe into Gov. Sarah Palin." The ABC coverage was not untypical of mainstream media coverage generally and is not being singled out for scrutiny.
This "Texas-based conservative legal group" is generally referred to as LLI (Liberty Legal Institute). Their website, which is very open and honest, may be found here.
To describe the LLI as a "conservative legal group" is like describing O. J. Simpson as a "well-dressed African-American". Both are true, as far as they go.
LLI describes themselves as, "a 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 1997 to protect religious freedoms and First Amendment rights for individuals, groups and churches." This self-description is from the front page of their website. The site also quickly makes clear that the First Amendment Rights they defend are those of the religious right. The banner of one page proudly displays this quote, "Group is the flip side to ACLU. [sic]" - Dallas Morning News
A quick click on the "Cases" tab reveals 14 cases under the headline of "Recent Cases". Briefly looking through the summaries, 11 are plainly related to religion. In the other three cases a connection to religion is unclear. One has to do with a high school student's political tee shirt, one has to do with a political contribution and one has to do with the wording on a town monument. All case were based in Texas.
LLI is in turn connected to one of the most secretive dominionist groups in existence, even moreso than the Council for National Policy--a group termed the Arlington Group, essentially a "who's who" of dominionist leaders of which very little public info is available.
It's worth taking some time to dig into LLI's leader--whose primary experience has been with the Rutherford Institute, another dominionist legal group:
Before founding Liberty Legal Institute, Mr. Shackelford was the Regional Coordinator for the Southwest and Mid-America regions of the Rutherford Institute (1993-1997) and the Director of Texas Rutherford (1989-1992). In addition, he has been sought out as an Advisor by the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives and serves as Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas Law School teaching religious liberties (1994-present).
The Senior Attorneys aren't much better--and then there's the matter of their internship program with what amounts to the modern "big guns" of dominionist "parallel economy" alternatives to the ACLU et al:
Liberty Legal offers an internship program, in coordination with the Blackstone Fellowship and the Alliance Defense Fund, each summer that gives six of the top law students from across the country an opportunity to take action on current cases. Working in conjunction with our attorneys, the interns research and develop proposals on existing cases that attack our constitutional freedoms. Eventually, these men and women will become lawyers or judges and have a better understanding of constitutional freedoms and laws. The investment we make in their lives advances their leadership and commitment to making a difference.
Yes, this *would* in fact be the same Alliance Defense Fund that is encouraging dominionist churches to explicitly violate laws against electioneering from the pulpit in hopes of making a federal case out of it.
RapeKit-Gate and its connections with Palin's anti-abortion politicking
And the article also gives some tantalising info to suggest that the now-infamous info regarding Palin's refusal to allow Wasilla's government to pay for "rape kits" was also directly related to dominionism:
5. The LLI wants to pervert justice to perpetuate the strongest anti-abortion candidate ever. A candidate bold enough to strike rape kits from her city's budget because they contain emergency contraception (the equivalent to a "morning after pill").
And yes, more evidence is pointing to exactly *that* as the problem that Palin had. As I've noted before, many dominionists use a definition of the start of pregnancy that is *not* widely accepted in the medical community--defining pregnancy as beginning at conception rather than implantation. (Yes, those of you who had sex, had eggs meet sperm, but never implant are abortionists according to these folks.)
A claim that pregnancy starts at conception also allows these groups to claim, via some *very* interesting mental gymnastics, that practically all birth control outside of "natural" family planning is potentially abortifacient--even barrier methods (because they typically require the use of spermicide). And yes, this is one reason why increasingly dominionists are targeting pharmacies for infiltration.
And as it turns out, one of the "pro-life" groups Palin is connected to--the misnamed "Feminists for Life"--admits to promoting this bogosity. In fact, there's quite a bit of dogwhistling in their "Pro Life Answers" that they do in fact oppose hormonal contraception:
What about contraception?
Since FFL’s mission is based on life beginning at conception, there is no FFL policy on contraception except when it presents a threat to a woman’s health. Some FFL members support the use of contraception as long as there is no abortifacient effect, while others oppose it. Some oppose all or some forms of contraception for health reasons, others for religious reasons; others prefer natural methods to plan a
family; and still others want to incorporate new medical technologies that track a woman’s fertility to be used in conjunction with natural family planning methods. FFL’s mission begins at conception, not before.
And now, the explanaition.
Typically in dominionist literature, non-"natural family planning" methods are condemned as potentially abortifacient. "The Pill" and Plan B are claimed to prevent implantation (thus causing "abortion") as is the IUD; nonoxynol-9 and other spermicides commonly used in barrier methods (such as condoms and diaphragms) are claimed to be "uterine irritants" and thus potentially causing failure of implantation (and "abortions").
Did I mention that there are some very interesting mental gymnastics these groups go through?
It gets worse. It would appear that when Palin became the mayor of Wasilla, she was actively engaging in "clinic blocking" and a dominionist attempt to steeplejack the main community hospital serving Wasilla:
Soon after the book controversy, Bess found himself again at odds with Palin and her fellow evangelicals. In 1996, evangelical churches mounted a vigorous campaign to take over the local hospital's community board and ban abortion from the valley. When they succeeded, Bess and Dr. Susan Lemagie, a Palmer OB-GYN, fought back, filing suit on behalf of a local woman who had been forced to travel to Seattle for an abortion. The case was finally decided by the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled that the hospital must provide valley women with the abortion option.
At one point during the hospital battle, passions ran so hot that local antiabortion activists organized a boisterous picket line outside Dr. Lemagie's office, in an unassuming professional building across from Palmer's Little League field. According to Bess and another community activist, among the protesters trying to disrupt the physician's practice that day was Sarah Palin.
And yes, the same Wasilla PD that charged people for their rape kits...is also the same Wasilla PD that may be extensively infiltrated by Wasilla A/G to such an extent that critics are afraid to speak out in literal fear of their lives.
Yes, this *would* in fact be the same Wasilla A/G that Palin has kept a relationship with even after claiming she left in 2002--and the same Wasilla A/G that led not only the protest against the clinic providing abortion services but book-ban initiatives--including attempts to go around the existing book-challenge policy of Wasilla Public Library..
In fact, there's evidence to suggest that the policy began shortly after the purge of Chief Stambaugh and the replacement by Chief Fannon...
...thereby linking TrooperGate (or, more properly, CopGate in general--there seem to be different incidents both on the state and town level), RapeKitGate...and the ever-growing "Joel's Army-Gate" Palin is hip-deep in.
Oh, and speaking of "Joel's Army-Gate"...that, *too*, has gotten more interesting with some truly damning info indicating Palin was explicitly promoted by none other than Thomas Muthee (whom we just wrote about) as being a dominionist stealth candidate as early as 2005.
New info re Palin and her "exorcist" friend...and her stealth candidacy
Just two days after writing about Muthee (who is connected with a Kenyan Joel's Army church literally linked to running a woman out of town--and who is part of a large and relatively unknown humanitarian crisis where literally thousands of children have been forced out of their homes as "witches" in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in what amounts to a massive "deliverance ministry"-based renewal of the Burning Times), some disturbing new info has come out re Muthee and his relationship with Palin.
Specifically, Irregular Times has come out with some very interesting new info that should give the most damning info yet regarding Palin's status as a Joel's Army "Manchurian Candidate".
Firstly, there's some new info regarding some of Muthee's sermons, including statements that not only pretty officially prove he's "Joel's Army" but also prove the lie to official "condemnations" of Joel's Army/Third Wave theology in the Assemblies--suggesting it's been rebranded, rather than truly condemned.
Specifically, it appears Thomas Muthee has dropped something I have only heard in Joel's Army circles because only two known English-language Bible versions use it--specifically, a very specific "God Warrior reveille" based on a mistranslation of Matthew 11:12 popular in Joel's Army circles. Per an archive originally coming from Kingsgate Community Church (KCC is a Joel's Army church with close connections with other neopente dominionist churches in the US and UK, and the term "community church" is commonly associated in the UK with neopente dominionist orgs), Muthee explicitly calls for holy war, "Joel's Army" style, at 23:30 in the recording:
The violent take it by force. People that have spiritual backbones are the ones that are going to advance. They are the ones that will move forward.
I thank God for what I see happening in this place. I thank God for the vision, the passion that I can see here. And my word is this: the more violent you become, the more committed you become, the quicker you will see things happen in this region.
Of note, this is a dead giveaway we're dealing with yet more Joel's Army nastiness. This particular phrasing is based on a specific misinterpretation of Matthew 11:12 that only occurs in the New International Version and "God's Word" Bibles--both "modern English" versions commonly used in Joel's Army circles. The phrasing in particular hints at the NIV version being used--itself the basis of a specific pro-"Joel's Army" reference Bible now being used as the official reference Bible by the Assemblies of God and other neopente groups.
For those not familiar with this misinterpretation, and its use in "Joel's Army" circles, a minor explanation is needed. In most versions of the Bible including the KJV, NASB and RSV, Matthew 11:12 is worded something like this:
RSV version, Matthew 11:12:
12. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.
KJV version, Matthew 11:12:
12. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
NASB version, Matthew 11:12:
12. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
Literally every Bible version commonly used with the exception of three versions uses similar wording--denoting Heaven itself being under attack by violent men. Even the "old" Scofield Reference Bible--the source of much of neopente dominionist theology and internal mythology--sticks with this interpretation:
 suffereth violence
It has been much disputed whether the "violence" here is external, as against the kingdom in the persons of John the Baptist and Jesus; or that, considering the opposition of the scribes and Pharisees, only the violently resolute would press into it. Both things are true. The King and His herald suffered violence, and this is the primary and greater meaning, but also, some were resolutely becoming disciples. CF Lk 16:16.
The major outlier ("God's Word" and the International Standard Version are relatively unknown outliers, and even the ISV mentions specifically Heaven being attacked) is the text in the NIV, which is practically opposite of literally every other known English-language Bible version with the exception of one other very obscure Bible translation used primarily in neopente dominionist circles:
NIV version, Matthew 11:12:
12. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
Literally nobody but a solitary, obscure translation uses this wording--they either use wording like in the RSV (heaven being attacked, and violent men trying to storm their way into heaven) or wording similar to the ISV (talking of the forces of Heaven advancing, but being under assault by violent men). (The NIRV, essentially a more modern redux of the NIV, also has this odd translation; even one of the "daughter translations" of the NIV, the TINV, doesn't agree with it.)
And guess what is the most common translation used in "Joel's Army" circles? If you guessed "NIV", you win the jackpot. And much of that popularity, unfortunately, *is* due to the decidedly *unique* translation of Matthew 11:12--"Joel's Army" groups like to use that misinterpretation as a call for "God Warriors" to target people for explicit harassment and worse.
And it gets worse. Per this video (warning: potentially triggering to ex-neopente walkaways) and the transcript at Irregular Times, Muthee pretty much explicitly calls Palin out as a member of Joel's Army, God Warrior SEALS Division:
In a moment, I’ll be asking you that we pray for Sarah, and I’ll tell you the reason why. When we talk about transformation of a community, we are talking about God invading seven areas in our society. Let me repeat that one more time. When we talk about transformation of a society, a community, it’s where we see God’s Kingdom infiltrate, influence seven areas in our society.
. . .
So we go to the third area, it’s in the area of politics. Tell your neighbor, “politics.” Do you know what I discovered? This is funny. The people who actually split churches, they have the gift of politics, but they are exercising it in the wrong place. That’s what I came to know. There are people who are wired to politics because God wants to take the political, you know, dimension of our societies. And those people should be prayed for. That’s why I was, you know, I was so glad to see Sarah here. We should pray for her, we should back her up. And, you know, come the day of voting, we should be there, not just praying, we should be there. And I’m saying this because that’s what I’m telling our church. I’m telling them that we need this in Parliament. In here is what you call Congressmen, you know, you know, the, the Governors, we need the bretheren right inside there. Is anybody hearing me?
You know, because who will change the laws of the lands? The problem is do we just pray, but we do nothing about it. If the believers had not done something in this country, your president would not be in office today. Yes or no? Am I right?
. . .
And the last area is in the area of government. Hello? We need believers there. We need men and women of integrity. You know, as the Secretaries of State. We need them right there. People that are born again, spirit filled, people who know God, and people who are serious with God.
So in a moment if you do not mind, I’ll ask, you know, even before I go to do this thing, you know, I’ll ask Sarah, would you mind to come please? Would you mind? Come, please. Let’s all stand up, and let’s hold hands all over this house. Come, Pastor, come.
[Sarah Palin comes to the stage in front of the congregation. Sarah Palin bows her head stretches her forearms forward and places the palms of her hands upward. Thomas Muthee lays hands on Sarah Palin’s head. Pastor Ed Kalnin and unidentifed man lay hands on Sarah Palin’s shoulders.]
Thank you, Jesus. Let’s all pray. Let’s pray for Sarah. Hallelujah! Come on, hold your hands up and raise them. Hold them and raise them up here! Come on, talk to God about this woman! Come on, talk to God about this woman we declare favor from today. We say favor, favor, favor! We say praise my God! We say grace to be rained upon her in the name of Jesus. My God, you make your judgement, you make room. You make ways in the desert, and I’m asking you today, we are asking you as the body of Christ in this valley, make a way for Sarah, even in the [inaudible]. Make her way my God. Bring finances her way, even in the campaign in the name of Jesus, and above all give her the personnel, give her men and women that will back her up in the name of Jesus. We want righteousness in this state. We want righteousness in this nation. Because you say [inaudible] in the name of Jesus. Our Father, use her to turn this nation the other way around. Use her to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers so that the curse that has been there long can be broken. In the name of Jesus. Father, we thank you today. We come in the hindrance of the enemy, standing in her way to there. In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus! Every form of witchcraft, it will be rebuked in the name of Jesus. Father, make her way now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(Emphasis mine; note the reference to national and generational curses near the end. I would recommend wide archival and distribution of the video (as Wasilla A/G will almost inevitably try to get it pulled from Youtube via bogus "inappropriate content" claims, similar to how Bruce Wilson's videos on Wasilla A/G and Juneau Christian Center have been targeted) and for folks to read the whole transcript--it is a very rare look at what kinds of sermons are done in Joel's Army churches internally, and pretty much lays out the "fifty-year plan" of neopente dominionist nationalism. A diary at Philip Munger's DailyKos account gives a bit more explanation re the video.)
It's worth noting that there's also a very subtle coded message here. Seven specific spheres of influence are noted, typically referred to as seven mountains in Joel's Army-speak, and researcher Bruce Wilson has video of Joel's Army promoter Lance Wallnau going on about this.
Those "seven mountains" are the exact spheres that Muthee is talking about neopente dominionists targeting, per the first link:
What are the Seven Mountains?
The seven mountains are seven spheres of influence that make up the mind molders that control Nations. He who occupies these mountains controls the harvest. As Satan gains power over these mountains he increases his capacity for “Mind Control.” That’s the spiritual force that inclines whole people groups to think along the same pathway. It is the phenomenon that explains sudden trends in fashion or music. It works to turn whole continents against each other and will be used to facilitate global wars. Mind Control will increase as the Last Days speeds toward a conclusion.
Here are the Seven Mountains or Mind Molders:
1. Spirituality and Church
4. Government and Law
5. Media and Communication
6. Arts and Entertainment
7. Business and Finance
The rest of the link is quite a bit of distilled Joel's Army crazy in and of itself. Per the link, LGBT people are in a conspiracy to control the media and to destroy families by taking over the "Media" and "Family" "mountains"; Europe is apparently in a major conspiracy with Islam to take over government and finances; and apparently everyone is pissed at George W. Bush because he's a "praying president" rather than the fact he's a reverse Midas. It reads like a twisted version of the game "Illuminati" and would be hilarious if they weren't so serious.
Writer "Ruth" on Talk to Action notes how Joel's Army promoters are essentially the "extreme of the extreme" and how they aren't content to wait for Rapture--and may be even *more* dangerous than the Christian Reconstructionists most folks are familiar with:
While Pentecostal churches have always celebrated a restoration of the church, this has been tempered with Rapture theology. As churches embrace this Apostolic revolution they are moving away from the traditions of Assemblies of God and other denominations and are adopting a view of the end time that includes the triumph and perfection of the church as opposed to escaping in the Rapture from an evil world descending into the apocalypse. They see the imminent end times as a time of great glory for the restored true Apostolic church greater than the one of New Testament times, and a time when the foot soldiers of this church will be imparted with supernatural powers. This outpouring of powers will allow them to crush evil with a "rod of iron" and deliver a purified church to Jesus when he returns. Their schedule is even more pressing than many in other Dominionist groups because their hybrid mixture of end time beliefs maintains the urgency of an imminent return of Jesus. The writer whose title I borrowed for this article states, "This growing army of delivered, discipled and deployed Christians are now prepared to become active participants in the cosmic battle for every area of God's terra-firma."
. . .
Regardless of how the end time narrative is altered to allow for this triumphant army of God, these warriors believe they have a mandate to take control of all earthly spheres. They teach that Jesus is waiting for humans to accomplish this task before coming to meet his Bride, the purified and perfected church. This purification of the church will take place through a restructuring of Christendom under the Fivefold ministry. This means a revamping of the governments of the church and the earth primarily under the authority of Apostles and Prophets who are anointed by God as defined by the anointed belivers in the movement.
. . .
Ed Kalnins of Wasilla Assembly of God is actively preaching and teaching theology which comes directly from the leadership of the New Apostolic Reformation/Third Wave. Kalnins has stated in sermons his desire that his church be Apostolic. This is Kingdom theology and Kalnins is quite open and blatant about the need for his church to take control for the Kingdom, starting with Wasilla and Alaska.
While it is very true that Palin's churches may officially still retain mention of the Rapture in some form, there is absolutely nothing in these sermons, associations and activities to indicate that they are waiting around to be snatched from the earth. Conversely, they are intent on taking control of society and government in the here and now.
And there's quite a bit of spin--and intimidation--being brought against critics. Along with the expected astroturfing, writer Max Blumenthal reports his own experiences at Wasilla A/G where he describes the damage control being done by the church:
Since Palin was nominated as vice president, Wasilla Assembly of God has taken a draconian line with reporters. The church now forbids members of the media from filming, taking notes, or bringing voice recorders to its services. I was able to record Muthee's recent sermons only by deploying an array of tiny cameras and hidden microphones. Though the quality and comprehensiveness of my footage was severely compromised by the church's closed door policy to the press, I was not going to be deterred.
By the end of the second day of Muthee's sermons, the church had been tipped off about me, the liberal media member in its midst. An associate pastor told me he had received an email from an anonymous source warning him about me. When I tried to interview members of the congregation in the church parking lot, my questions were either met with silence or open hostility. I strongly suspect the McCain campaign has mobilized the Wasilla Assembly of God against perceived threats from the media.
But they hardly needed encouragement. On the first night of services, Muthee implored his audience to wage "spiritual warfare" against "the enemy." As I filmed, a nervous church staffer approached from behind and told me to put my camera away. I acceded to his demand, but as Muthee urged the church to crush "the python spirit" of the unbeliever enemies by stomping on their necks, I pulled out a smaller camera and filmed from a more discreet position. Now, church members were in deep prayer, speaking in tongues and raising their hands. Muthee exclaimed, "We come against the spirit of witchcraft! We come against the python spirits!" Then, a local pastor took the mic from Muthee and added, "We stomp on the heads of the enemy!"
And this is--in a word--quite possibly the most damning evidence of something I noted in my original post--Palin may well have been groomed from the start of her political career as the Great White Hope for "Joel's Army" to get one of their own in the White House.
And this could be, in a word, a very bad thing for children and other living beings--even if the fact dominionists are doing imprecatory prayers for McCain's death should he be elected President isn't considered.