Deja Vu All Over Again, or A Gathering Storm in Newark

To quote that great American wit Yogi Berra (not to be confused with Yogi Bear, although they “bear” some resemblance), it’s “deja vu all over again.” Or, it’s the strange twisted sisters and brothers of Christian fundamentalism, that part of America that can’t claim a life of its own unless its in the fictional bosom of Jesus, infiltrating itself as a new fifth column into American life, desperately trying to declare every sperm sacred, kill a queer for Jesus, and join forces with any antifeminist, antigay factions they can scrounge up outside of Osama Ben Laden.

This is wonderfully exposed in a recent piece in Out In Jersey, “A Gathering Storm From Kampala to Newark,” written by Taylor Siluwe. Here is the article in its entirety, and my comments after it:

“A Gathering Storm From Kampala to Newark”
Taylor Siluwe

Are American evangelicals seeking to ‘Transform’ the world?
PrayForNewark seems innocent enough; so outwardly innocent that even Newark Mayor Cory Booker, possibly unaware of its ideological roots, gave it his blessing. But those roots have been exposed by Bruce Wilson (co-founder of Talk2Action.org), and PrayForNewark’s squads of church members. They are blanketing the streets “block by block” in prayer and are directly tied to the International Transformation Network (ITN.)
According to Wilson, “ITN is one of several global efforts, operating under the ‘transformation’ brand that are re-engineering along theocratic lines cities and even entire nations. For the Transformation movement, which claims homosexuals are possessed by demons and that prayer and faith healing have cured thousands of HIV and AIDS cases in the nation, Uganda is a prototype.” David Bahati (who drafted Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill) along with Ugandan First Lady Janet Musveni, have attended ITN conferences. Lloyd Turner, founder of PrayForNewark, spoke at ITN’s 2009 conference stating that the city of Newark is “97% adopted” and has seen a reduction in crime rates.

But the issues raised go much deeper. Rev. Bernard Wilks of Dominion Fellowship Ministries, a leader of the coalition behind PrayForNewark, is a member of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA). According to their website, their mission is “… the fulfillment of Jesus’ great commission to make disciples of all nations.” One of Wilks’ fellow apostles is Jim Ammerman, the 83-year-old founder of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches (CFGC), an organization in charge of endorsing 270 chaplains and chaplain candidates for the armed services. Ammerman worked with an evangelical group based in Arkansas, the International Missions Network Center, to distribute the Bibles through the efforts of his 40 active-duty chaplains in Iraq. According to a Newsweek piece, Ammerman called Islam “a killer religion” and Muslims “the devil.”

A watchdog’s role requires constant vigilance. So states the website of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. When asked for a comment about President Obama recommitting himself to repealing the U.S. Milatary’s anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, Michael Weinstein, founder of the MRFF, succinctly said, “You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight.” While Weinstein expressed annoyance that the president hasn’t put a stop-loss in place to end the discharges of dedicated personnel while congress deliberates, he went on to point out other troubling aspects which insinuate a greater problem − what he described as the military’s “virulent” misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
The National Organization for Marriage produced an infamous fear-mongering ad on the dangers of same-sex marriage. It was titled ‘The Gathering Storm’, its words rang hollow and baseless to the ears of those fighting for marriage equality. However, The Gathering Storm’s often parodied opening − There’s a storm gathering, the clouds are dark and the winds are strong. And I am afraid − in the broader sense, inadvertently rings true. Because from the streets of Kampala, the largest city in Uganda, to the streets of Newark, the largest city in New Jersey, many see the creeping influence of fundamentalist Christian apocalyptic ideology creeping into the US government and our armed forces and are extremely afraid.
The MRFF describes itself as a “national movement to restore the wall separating church and state in the most technologically lethal organization ever created by man; the United States armed forces.” With military contractor Trijicon engraving scripture onto rifle sights (which Weinstein reported to ABC who broke the story); with the Family Research Council lamenting that “gay behavior” should be completely outlawed in America; with Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality bill reportedly not only tied to The Family (the secretive group of political elites responsible for the annual National Prayer Breakfast) but also with International Transformation Network, a disturbing picture of a growing fundamentalist Christian Taliban is emerging. It is seeking to transform global culture, through government and the military they say, for the glory of Jesus.

Should Americans brush off Pat Robertson ignoring his own devilment while also invoking the presence of Satan in Haiti, or when he blames the next hurricane on a gay pride parade. All of this while fleecing his faithful followers at the expense of the LGBT community. A watchdog’s role does require constant vigilance, especially when the enemies of human equality and liberty disguise their bigotry, misogyny, warmongering and lust for dominion behind the innocuous face of the Prince of Peace.
Maybe it’s time the watchdogs began to bite.

[end Out in Jersey piece]

What makes the information in this piece so pertinent to me is that it reflects so much the plot of my novel “The Substance of God, A Spiritual Thriller” in which I talked about powerful networks of “Christian businessmen.” The Christian business network has long been recongized, but most people ignore its real focus: dissolving any distance between church and state; between Christianity as a political power and the rights of people whose morality is not based on Leviticus; and scapegoating anyone who stands between them and this agenda. (Strangely enough, Christ said in one of his most powerful arguments—against the Jewish kosher laws and hypocritical Levitican morality—”It is not what you put into your mouth that is unclean, it is what comes out of your mouth.” Still Christian fundamentalists and their business allies cherrypick from Leviticus, and have come up with a convenient moral package bayonetting whomever they feel they can get away with. Gays and lesbians this week, Moslems the next, abortion providers one week, and anyone—ANYONE—who subscribes to the idea of your bedroom being a private place and birth control being a private choice, in another.

What is happening in Newark is something to watch out for. It is a “perfect storm” of fake morality, race and poverty, crime and the dispossessed, all working together to see who is destroyed in the end.

Hitler, you can smile now. The “Christians” are doing your work.

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