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In yesterday's post--which I refer to as "The Big List, California Edition"--I recommended that people specifically not give to a number of "charity fronts" linked with the Assemblies of God.  Not only does the group have a history of coercive tactics (look throughout this diary for examples) but are also pretty explicitly dominionist.

There is another reason not to give money, though, even if the legacy of the walking wounded of "Joel's Army" and worries about dominionism aren't enough--it turns out that, even after the hate group "Watchmen On The Walls" was exposed--their Northwest regional head (who's called for all non-dominionists to be stripped of citizenship) has given them his official blessing...and this is, by far, not unusual at all for the Assemblies.

In other words, you may well want to add "I don't wish to support a hate group" to your list of reasons not to donate to the Bad Guys...

The strange case of Joseph Fuiten (or why it's especially bad that he's defending the "Watchmen")

Joseph Fuiten is beginning to get a rather disturbingly frequent mention in this journal, even compared to other Assemblies of God leaders.  Hence it's rather important, IMHO, to give a little bit of backgrounder on this to explain where I'm coming from.

Fuiten is a pastor of a rather smallish Assemblies of God church called Cedar Park Church--Cedar Park is a prototypical example of what I refer to as a "stealth Assemblies congregation" (in that it does not openly advertise itself as an Assemblies of God church and one must look in its statement of faith or in Assemblies directories to discover its actual denominational affiliation).

For being relatively small for an Assemblies congregation (and honestly, it is--it's only in the low 100s as far as American Assemblies churches go with a little over 1400 members as of 2004 (to compare, Phoenix First Assembly--Ted Haggard's home church--is the biggest Assemblies church in the US has over 9,500 members as of 2004, and the church I walked away from (number seven on the list) is close to 4800 members as of 2004)--it's quite influential.

Cedar Park, in many ways, is essentially the headquarters of the dominionist movement in Washington State.  Among other things, Fuiten was a founding chairman and CEO of a dominionist group called Faith and Freedom Network; FFN is one of the very, very few groups that actually acknowledges its official role as an Assemblies lobbying wing:

On November 17, 1993, after prayer and discussion, the Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government (WERG) was formed. The original members of the association were CRISTA MINISTRIES, CHRISTIAN FAITH CENTER, NORTHWEST UNIVERSITY, COVENANT CELEBRATION CHURCH, the N.W. DISTRICT OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD, LIVING FAITH FELLOWSHIP and KENNETH I. TOBEY, INC.
. . .
In July of 2005, WERG changed its name to Faith and Freedom Network to better express their action to defend faith and freedom. They then merged the new organization with Faith and Freedom Educational Foundation, founded by Gary Randall in 2004. Gary Randall was named President and Executive Director of the new Faith and Freedom Network and Foundation. Faith and Freedom Educational Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization. Faith and Freedom Network is a 501(c)4.

Bizarrely, FFN's website has no mention (in its staff) of its chairman, but it seems that's largely because he's now left the board of that group to found two other dominionist lobbying organisations:

I just got a recorded call from Joseph Fuiten, pastor of Ceder Park Church in Bothell and chairman and CEO of the Faith & Freedom Network.

(UPDATE: Fuiten e-mails to say that he is no longer heading Faith & Freedom, but is doing his "overt political work" through two PACS he operates, Committee for Religious Freedom and Committee for Judicial Restraint.)

He was talking too fast for me to take complete notes, but he was urging me to vote for John Groen, Steve Johnson and Jeanette Burrage. He listed several things that he said that if I didn't want, I should vote for his slate. I wrote down three, gay marriage, a judge who left the scene of an accident -- a clear reference to Justice Tom Chambers who's being challenged by Burrage -- and, curiously, driving drunk.

None of the incumbent judges up for election this year have been accused of drunken driving. Justice Bobbe Bridge was, and the Building Industry Association of Washington has attacked Chief Justice Gerry Alexander for saying the court supported Bridge following her arrest.

But Fuiten's message would leave the clear impression to someone not familiar with the court that a justice running this year had faced a charge of driving while drunk. That seems pretty misleading.

The article goes on to discuss Fuiten sending out similar robocalls to much of the Seattle area--at least one of which was transcribed below:

Joe Fuiten here on why your vote matters.

If you believe your property belongs to you and not the government, if you don't want court-imposed gay marriage, if you don't want courts changing the definition of parenthood, if you don't want justices who drive drunk, leave the scene of an accident or don't follow the law, then please vote for John Groen, Stephen Johnson and Jeanette Burrage for the Supreme Court.

They wont legislate from the bench. Groen, Johnson and Burrage are not activist judges. They'll protect the constitution and follow the law,

This message paid for by the Committee for Judicial Restraint. Top contributor, Committee for Religious Freedom.

Fuiten has been a major rallier in Washington State for not only removal of recognition for same-sex partners, but he has pushed DOMA type bills including when he was head of Faith and Freedom Network--this would not only strip protection from LGBT domestic partnerships but could lead to situations such as exist in Virginia where it is technically illegal for two same-sex partners to share an apartment due to it being a "status similar to marriage" (VA also has anti-cohabitation laws).

Fuiten has, among other things, organised large GOTV drives including voter registration for dominionists (of note, the article relies on Fuiten's claim of 5,000 members of the church in 2004; Assemblies churches are known to greatly exaggerate their membership in their external advertising, as the Assemblies' own records for 2004 show only about 1,400 regular members and it is not uncommon in "outside advertising" to list attendance figures during revivals); Fuiten has also led re-election campaigns for George W. Bush in the state of Washington.

Fuiten's most recent political dominionist foray is with Family Policy Institute of Washington, a Focus on the Family state affiliate where he is presently a board member; among other things, he is calling for a major GOTV campaign for dominionists due to the 2006 win by Democrats (he blames it in large part on neopentes not voting).

It's not just politics where Fuiten is influential, though--it can literally be stated that he in large part steers the policies of the entire denomination.

. . .

In this same article, Fuiten is (along with being quoted as claiming Hollywood was ultimately responsible for the 11 September attacks) noted as being part of a multigenerational family of Assemblies preachers:

Fuiten grew up the youngest of four siblings to parents who were both Assemblies of God ministers.

For years, the family lived in the parsonage attached to a church in Butte Falls, Ore., the boys' bedroom separated from classrooms by a curtain. They said prayers before each meal and held a half-hour family devotional each evening.

The article notes the fact Fuiten has been known to engage in politics from the pulpit:

Still, there are those who say Fuiten's political involvement this year may cross an ethical and even legal line.

Though federal laws don't prohibit pastors from talking about issues and whom they plan to vote for — which Fuiten does unabashedly — churches that actively participate in partisan politics could lose their federal income tax-exempt status.

Berendt, the state Democratic Party chairman, contends there's no way Fuiten could persuade thousands of conservative Christians to register to vote without getting evangelical pastors to push a partisan message.

"You can't register 60,000 people and not be aggressive," said Berendt. "The only way evangelicals can do that is by getting right in the churches and being political in a way that crosses the line, both legally and ethically, in my view."

This...could be especially problematic in Fuiten's own case, seeing as he's a regional head of the Assemblies of God and has served on multiple Assemblies steering committees--at least if his bio at Cedar Park's website is to be believed:

In 1972, Joe entered formal church ministry as a Youth Evangelist and thereafter as a Youth Pastor.  He has served as an Associate Pastor in Aloha, Oregon with Rev. John Fuiten and as Associate Pastor with Dr. Fulton Buntain at Life Center in Tacoma, Washington.

In 1979, he was elected Director of Christian Education for the Northwest District Council of the Assemblies of God, with responsibilities in Church Growth, Christian Schools, and Sunday Schools for the 370 churches of the Northwest District Council.
. . .
Joe earned his Doctor of Ministry Degree from Northwest Graduate School of the Ministry in 1995.  He has served as a faculty member of the Graduate School, now called Bakke University, and as an adjunct faculty member for Northwest University.  Joe is a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies.  He has served the denomination on the Ministerial Enrichment Committee, US Missions Committee, and other committees of the General Council. He is an Executive Presbyter of the Northwest District Council of the Assemblies of God and a General Presbyter for the General Council of the Assemblies of God.  He is also the immediate past president of the Eastside Pastor’s Association.

To give you a better idea here of just the regional scale of things--the Northwest District Council covers all of Idaho and Washington.  In other words, at least two states are his personal fiefdom.

Not only that, he's been directly influential in their seminary program, several major denomination-wide initiatives, and is technically in the "line of succession" if present Assemblies president Thomas Trask retires.

As an aside, it should be noted that the Assemblies is not a small denomination.  No, it's not the size of the SBC; however, an accurate estimation of five or six million members in the US is not unlikely (the Assemblies had a claimed membership of over 2,500,000 people in 1998, of which Washington state was in the top ten in both numbers of Assemblies members and percentages of Assemblies members as part of the total population; a bit of math based on a recent Pew Forum survey and July 2007 population figures of 301,139,947 gives a rough estimate of 6,022,790 based on roughly two percent of the population being admitted Assemblies members in the US).

Of note, part of his influence has been in an official Assemblies seminary course on setting up front groups as "ministries".  The Assemblies' website describes the telecourse:

Fuiten detailed Cedar Parks’ network of ministries (including a thrift store, an auto mechanics ministry and a counseling center) all of which have developed in unconventional ways and in a variety of locations.

The basic premise of multi-site ministry is that growing one large group is not always the optimal method for connecting with a community. Multi-site leaders believe in moving the church closer to the community by creating several smaller services in different locations and/or several styles of worship in one or more locations.

All of the presenters encouraged the 100 participants to think in Kingdom terms about the local congregation. Joe Fuiten, for example, explained his "Cathedral Church" concept as meaning that the church is not based on his vision so much as on helping people to realize God’s vision in their lives. "If you can do that, you are doing God’s good purposes...If you can do that, you’re a great pastor."

(Side note: "Kingdom terms" relates to dominion theology and essentially promoting the development of not only theocracy but "Joel's Army" theology in general.)

The Assemblies has even promoted the spectacle of Fuiten literally leading fertility prayers in its Pentecostal Evangel magazine (the official magazine of the denomination):

A decade ago, Pastor Joseph Fuiten and Cedar Park Assembly of God in Bothell, Wash., began dedicating a Sunday to pray for couples desiring children. Since then more than 100 couples have seen God answer their prayers, and some have experienced undeniable miracles.

Every year the special service has grown and expanded to other churches. Next Sunday more than 20 churches in the area, including Cedar Park Assembly, will hold special services.
. . .
"It started when I set aside a year to follow the life of Christ and use it for my personal devotions, attaching any event that I could to the calendar," Fuiten says. He integrated his findings into his sermons. "On a Sunday night in January, ‘Epiphany Sunday,’ I preached on Jesus’ water baptism and anointing by the Holy Spirit. I invited people to come forward and be anointed with the Holy Spirit like Jesus was. Quite a few people received the baptism in the Holy Spirit that night."

Three weeks later, Fuiten focused on Christ’s presentation by Joseph and Mary at the temple. "I invited couples to come forward to be prayed for concerning issues of infertility," he says. "Two couples came forward and braved the public attention. A few months later, one of the couples came back and said, ‘By the way, we’re pregnant.’"

Since then the number of couples requesting prayer has grown. In 2000, Cedar Park coordinated a multichurch emphasis across Bothell. About 150 couples came to be prayed for; another 150 couples received prayer at other churches in the area.

The article later literally demonises all non-dominionists in claiming that essentially only neopente churches have sympathy for mothers who have miscarried:

Spiritual struggles are a common thread among couples who come forward at Cedar Park, according to Sue Timpe, director of the church’s bereavement ministry, which includes offering ministry support to couples wanting children. Their discouragement in the wake of childless years can overwhelm their faith, she says.

The ministry staff at Cedar Park are personally connected with the pain of childless couples. Fuiten and his wife have four children, but they endured numerous miscarriages early in their marriage. He speaks from experience when he says, "One of the most painful things for a couple is to want to have children but to be unable to." He remembers his own cries to God when he stands before new couples each year and prays, "Lord, I ask You to bless these couples with a child."

"When I miscarried," Timpe says, "I was not allowed to grieve because those around me didn’t acknowledge that child. I grew up in a non-Christian home, and to my family my miscarriage was never a child. So beyond our ministry to couples praying for children, we also want to reach out to those who have lost children. I would like to see an area at churches where people could put a brick or a stepping stone as a remembrance of their child."

This demonisation isn't uncommon at Cedar Park--or in the Assemblies--as we'll soon see.

Assemblies preachers say the darndest things

So we now know Fuiten directs policy and educates pastors in a denomination known for involuntary exorcisms, the birth of modern "Christian nationalist" dominionist movements, and other coercive tactics and practices--one that has something like two percent of the US population as adherents.

That knowledge is plenty disturbing in and of itself--especially if you consider that deacons of much larger Assemblies megachurches have engaged in some pretty frank demonisation and hate speech against LGBT people--but Fuiten as a part of his official role has made some pretty outrageous statements.

Among other things, he's literally blamed 11 September on the motion picture industry:

On Sept. 11: "Hollywood bears as much responsibility for 9-11 as Muslims. They've portrayed us as a degenerate society--as all we're interested in is drugs, sex and violence. In (Muslims') view, they want to restrain American culture, which they view as a Christian culture, from coming to their countries."

He also raises the spectre of the Mussulman Horror in regards to Iraq, describing it in terms of a religious crusade (which is more than a little frightening):

Fuiten believes the Iraq war is part of a larger, longer war between Christianity and Islam, instigated by Muslim extremists. Although not all evangelical preachers would agree with him, he thinks Islam is, in a way, a false religion, since the prophet Mohammed took three of the five central pillars of Islam — prayer, fasting and alms-giving — from Christianity.

He says Hollywood is "bringing the wrath of Islam on America" because it's portraying the country as a degenerate society.

Apparently Fear of Islam is a major, major component of the preaching there (as is the case in most Assemblies churches, where Islam is directly equated with Satan worship and the Antichrist); a recent sermon on the subject gives one an enlightening view on what they're teaching their own.

According to Fuiten, LGBT people should be forcibly converted and "de-gayed":

"Right and wrong will be a part of it. Is this a behavior we ought to protect or we ought to cure? I would say homosexuality is something that ought to be cured."

Fuiten literally equates people calling for Fairness in civil partnerships to anarchists in an interview:

The thousands of same-sex newlyweds who have tied the knot in San Francisco's City Hall in recent days are anarchists, to the mind of Pastor Joseph Fuiten.

"This shows a high disregard for America. When you have leaders of government, as in the mayor of San Francisco, flaunting the law, we call that anarchy. This is really an anarchists' movement," says the 54-year-old senior pastor at Cedar Park Assembly of God Church.

This is still not the most outrageous thing called for in public by Fuiten.  Until very recently, that honour had to go to Fuiten calling for the literal denationalisation of all non-dominionists and their classification as "illegal aliens" on CNN's "God's Warriors" programme:

FUITEN: The secularists always say, you're trying to set up a theocracy. You're trying to put your values on us.

And I say to myself, hey, wait a second here. This is the way it's always been in America. You come along with your secular agenda. You're the ones trying to put your values on America, not me. Our values are native here. It's yours that are foreign. You're the illegal alien here, not me.

We thought it would be hard for Fuiten to top a call for literally stripping non-dominionists of citizenship, but...unfortunately...we were wrong, and a sad day has come to America.

On October 20th, 2007, Joseph Fuiten--a major Assemblies of God leader and thus effectively representing the denomination--effectively gave its official blessing to hate crimes against LGBT people and frank Holocaust revisionism, and declared war on America...and in this act, finally made it public what the Assemblies of God has been preaching in private for decades.

Fuiten speaks out in defense of poop-flinging, murderous hatemongers...and declares war on these United States

I've written some on the "Watchmen On The Walls"--a neopentecostal hate group (and no, this is not just my opinion; Southern Poverty Law Center has officially announced they will be classified as a bona fide hate organisation, just like the Klan) that has been linked to not just literal poop-flinging but nastier things like beating a gay man to death and promoting Holocaust revisionism that claims that LGBT men were the architects, not victims, of the Holocaust (and that LGBT men are apparently in a grand conspiracy with Moslems to destroy God Fearing Christian Folk--in purple prose that looks to be almost directly cribbed from Mein Kampf and Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion in parts).  "Watchers on the Walls" does have historic links to the Assemblies; the Russian and Latvian churches that are a part of it are essentially Assemblies and "Assemblies daughter" churches planted during two brief periods where missionary activity was allowed, and a number of their supporters have had very close links to the Assemblies.

There was some debate--after a lot of good folks started shining some light on "Watchmen On The Walls"--whether Joseph Fuiten was to attend.

It turned out that he not only did so, but literally declared war on Non-Assemblies America:

One of those rattled was Pastor Joseph Fuiten -- who in the past has argued that non-Christians should be considered illegal aliens -- who in addressing the audience Saturday chose mostly to complain about coverage of the Watchmen and claim that they're just benign Christians standing up for decency:

When Channel 5 reported tonight that you have declared war on homosexuals they are inciting people to violence. Have you declared war? War is violent! Channel 5 accused you of being violent and many will believe their accusation.

How many Russians have been killed over the years by atheists?

Stalin killed at least 20 million in the name of atheism but no one ever says that secular people are violent.

Hitler was a pagan, and apparently a lot more. He killed probably 8 million in his gas chambers and caused the deaths of millions more.

Do they ever object to pagans, occultists, and whatever else?

The "whatever else," in case you're wondering, happens to be homosexuals. One of the key figures in the Watchmen organization on the West Coast (and internationally) is Oregon's Scott Lively, author of a work of Holocaust revisionism titled The Pink Swastika,
which posits that Hitler and other Nazis were secretly homosexuals, and that indeed both the Nazi regime and the Holocaust were products of a homosexual conspiracy. Lively attended the convention in Lynnwood and spoke to reporters outside.

(The "And apparently a lot more" is also a reference to The Pink Swastika and specifically the claim Hitler was gay.  Also of note, Adolf Hitler was not as involved in occultism as other members of the party, and actually saw his anti-semitism as Christian.)

Mind, this is a speech to a group that not only has literally thrown poop at Pride Parades and beaten people marching in them, but also is linked to at least two literal gay-bashings--Mocah Painter and the fatal assault of Satender Singh--here in the States.  Eli Sanders has done a particularly good article in regards to the connection of "Watchmen On The Walls" and neopente Slavic groups with Micah Painter's beating.  (In what is a particularly sad and telling irony, Micah Painter himself was apparently a walkaway from a neopentecostal church (called The Granary Church) in Seattle; he was (among other things) subjected to religiously motivated child abuse for having secular music tapes (something I too experienced and had a fear of as a kid), received little help from social welfare agencies, and eventually had to run away from home permanently for his own protection.  This is, sadly, not an uncommon scenario for gay kids in Assemblies households.)

Fuiten not only called for literal war at the conference, he literally whinged at length about people calling hate what it is--hate--and even trying to stir up hate against the community at large:

I was going to speak on the topic of civic involvement and voter registration. However, once I saw the media lynching of your group I felt I needed to respond to that.

The City of Lynnwood was reported by Channel 5 tonight as not supporting your message.

Your message that marriage is limited to one man and one woman is the law of the land upheld by the State Supreme Court. Does the Mayor of Lynnwood not support that law?

Your message that normal relations between a man and a woman reflects the way we are created is apparently not supported by the Mayor.

The Stranger, Seattle's homosexual newspaper, quoted the Mayor of Lynnwood, Don Gough, as calling you Russian-American citizens "bad guys" and "fairly weird."

. . .

When the Southern Poverty Law Center and homosexual groups accuse, and the Everett Herald amplifies the charge of Christians being violent, how come they never mention the homosexuals or the atheists?

(Perhaps because, last I checked, atheists and LGBT people aren't literally beating the snot out of people just for being neopentes?  The worst I've heard of was with ACT-UP disrupting church services back in the early 80s, and pretty much the entire LGBT community condemned their antics.)

The whingefest and Two-Minute Hate continues:

When Channel 5 reported tonight that you have declared war on homosexuals they are inciting people to violence. Have you declared war? War is violent! Channel 5 accused you of being violent and many will believe their accusation.

How many Russians have been killed over the years by atheists?

Stalin killed at least 20 million in the name of atheism but no one ever says that secular people are violent.

Hitler was a pagan, and apparently a lot more. He killed probably 8 million in his gas chambers and caused the deaths of millions more.

Do they ever object to pagans, occultists, and whatever else?

Mao killed at least 30 to 35 million in China as an atheist.

The campaign of secularists in China continues against free speech. They don't even want our President to speak to the Dali Lama. I guess I missed the report of the Southern Poverty Law Center on that.

The Moslems have killed millions in the 20th century and show no signs of letting up.

A local Muslim imam from Seattle, writing in the Seattle Times, recently blamed the Holocaust on Christians.

He conveniently forgot that a number of the Muslim nations were aligned with the Nazi's. Did Equal Rights Washington object to that?

(As an aside, Fuiten in this last bit is directly referring to stuff in The Pink Swastika claiming that the Gay Nazis and Moslems were in a partnership to wipe out all Jews and Christians worldwide.  Scott Lively's writings, in fact, have even claimed that the very creation of Islam is part of the "Gay Conspiracy"--no matter that Wahhabist Islam is probably the one religion on the planet even less tolerant of gay men than neopentecostal dominionism!)

It gets better, even--at the end, he literally compares everyone who has protested "Watchmen On The Walls" to the KGB--knowing damn well that many of the people who are members of the org escaped the Soviet Union in its Bad Old Days and do equate the KGB with Satan--even more so, of note, than Assemblies of God theology in general.

Personally, I've seen this stuff promoted in the Assemblies practically my entire life.  I myself can never come out to my parents as a bi man (in a woman's body), for much the same reason Micah Painter could never come out to his parents as being gay--we're both survivors of religiously motivated child abuse, and if we did we'd be subjected to worse abuse, possibly even gaybashing in the physical rather than the metaphorical sense.  We're both walking wounded from what we experienced as is.

Fuiten, and "Watchmen On The Walls", have just finally stated in public what the Assemblies has been saying in private for quite some time now.

Maybe now, people will realise us walkaways aren't making this up.

David Neiwert, of the Orcinus blog, put it best:

"Today, disagreement means hate. If I disagree with you, I hate you. Evidently, God is the biggest hater in the world. The first thing we Christians need to take back is the right to disagree."

Of course, if it were only disagreement -- and not condemnation and eliminationism -- that Hutcherson and the Watchmen on the Walls were proffering this weekend, no one would have minded. But it wasn't.

The odd thing about hearing this kind of lame rationale from Hutcherson is that he is an African American man. As it happens, I've listened to a sermon that used nearly identical logic -- that discrimination isn't about hate if God commands it in the Bible -- at least once before. It was delivered by the late Rev. Richard Butler at an annual Aryan Nations Congress in Hayden Lake, Idaho. And he was talking about black people.

It was realising that sort of thing that was one of the big steps in walking away--and should be something everyone should remember.

All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men not to resist it.

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

--Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor who was eventually interned at Sachsenhausen and Dachau for being a member of the Confessing Church Movement...the Christians in Germany that refused to Nazify the church.

Originally posted to dogemperor on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 01:57 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (28+ / 0-)

    Please disseminate this info widely; tips and recs, as always, are appreciated.

    Also, on a different note, be sure to recommend today's CA Fires Mothership blog--it's useful info for those folks in the line of fire, and may have just set a new world's record for longest continuous liveblog.

    •  Great work, as always! (6+ / 0-)

      One thing though, I like your work, but you are not my emperor!

      ;-P

      If you live in fear, then the worst that can happen to you has already happened. Will You live in fear?

      by Something the Dog Said on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 02:04:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Our local Assemblies congregation... (11+ / 0-)

      went "stealth" a decade or two ago, renaming itself the "Life in Christ Center."  It mushroomed soon thereafter from a struggling little group to one of the three largest churches in town.

      In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.

      by jgilhousen on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 02:07:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  past due to go on the warpath... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, DWG, Neon Vincent

      Great work as always.

      I'm starting to think it's past due to go on the warpath against these people before they can do any more damage.  

      Pull out all the stops:  Investigate each and every one of the leaders, dig up as much dirt as possible on them, and publicize it far & wide.  Gather evidence that they are violating IRS regulations against nonprofits supporting candidates and ballot measures.  Sue the living daylights out of them for every little thing and every big thing and everything in between.  Send the building inspectors after their buildings.  Send the parking patrol out after their people for parking violations next to their buildings especially if others' driveways are blocked or other safety risks are caused.  

      And grill them relentlessly in public, anywhere they appear to speak, and keep asking the tough questions and the embarrassing questions to the point where eventually they lose their cool and blow their tops in public.  

      In general, keep them so tied up in redtape and routine paperwork and responding to various government officials and legal complaints, and tripping over their own words, that they don't have a moment to stir up any more trouble.  

      Ridicule is also a very very effective weapon.  One thing the ultra-dogmatic types can't stand and can't deal with is humor, particularly when it's directed against them.   Even the worst sort of ad-hominem mocking, if done correctly, can undermine their power.  Reductio-ad-absurdams are useful in this regard, for example leading them down a trail about how Halloween involves human sacrifice or some such nonsense.  Non-sequiturs such as random quotes from Monty Python might be useful as well.  Get creative.  Make 'em squirm, blow their stacks, and shoot themselves in the foot.  

      These people are as bad as Wahhabists or possibly worse, and if we don't stop them while they're stoppable, we'll be regretting it if they become unstoppable.  

      •  That's pretty much what I've been saying :3 (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lefty Mama, eastmt, DWG, Neon Vincent

        Agreed--we actually have plenty of things we can nail them on (and take back our country thereby) if only they'd be enforced.

        Starting some very high profile revocations of 501(c)3 statuses of dominionist orgs and denominations--and seizing funds and property--would be a good start, IMHO.  (After all, they did finally get Al Capone on tax evasion...)

      •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

        My God, are you wack?

        "as bad as Wahhabists or possibly worse," and yet the U.S. public has been played like a tool by genuine Wahhabist propaganda while you imagine these people are going to be led by the silken thread of Monty Python sketches?

        Coherence, man. Screw the head on straight. Meet some of these people. You'll find they'd find such tactics a source of bemusement.

        I was once associated with the Assemblies myself. The notion that there's any kind of a unitary ideology, and that the apparent independence of a lot of congregations is just a front for sinister conspiracy, is mind-blowingly paranoid.

        Get a grip. Geez.

  •  Every time I read about a Dominionist... (9+ / 0-)

    ...or other authoritarian whining about "liberal hypocrisy," I think "do you really believe leaving your projector on is such a good idea?"

    Great diary--recced and tipped.

  •  Clarification of terms... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, eastmt, Neon Vincent

    I understood "dominionist" to refer to certain ultra-conservative Christians who believe in replacing our Constitution with the Bible, or who wish to establish their Christian beliefs as the state religion (changing the Constitution as necessary to make the Bible the foundation of our laws).  I also understood that dominionists do not believe (as do many Evangelical Christians) that we are in the end-times (that the Rapture or the Tribulation are nigh upon us).  That is, the dominionists believe that it is our (Christians') responsibility to use the legal system and the government to make this country, and the world, Christian.  This is in contrast to those Christians ("dispensationalists") who believe this exercise is entirely futile, that all Christians can do is evangelize as many of the unsaved as possible before the end-times boom is lowered.  The dominionists instead believe that Revelations was fulfilled in the first century CE with the destruction of the Temple and the replacement of Judaism (in the eyes of God) with Christianity.

    I also understood that pentacostalists such as the Assemblies of God churches tend to be in the "we're in the end-times" crowd.  So while they might want to ban homosexuality, etc, they're not really dominionists in the sense they do not see it as their mission to create a theocratic USA (a mission they would regard as useless or futile).

    http://www.ag.org/...

    •  In regards to dominionism and definitions (7+ / 0-)

      FWIW, there is some confusion in terms, I'll agree.  At any rate, I'll discuss a bit on what I mean here:

      Dominionism, as I am using the term, is in essence a synonym for "Christian nationalism", and neopentecostal dominionism is a subset of dominionism (based in general on the concept of "dominion theology" that originated within pentecostal circles in the 1920s and 1930s that were ancestral to modern neopentecostals).

      As I've noted, there are three separate "strains" of Christian nationalism in the US:

      a) "Christian Reconstructionism" (which is postmillenial and is based on theology in "Independent Fundamentalist Baptist" churches for the most part); some people consider this dominionism sensu stricto, although it is actually more properly applied to b) below.

      b) Neopentecostal dominionism (which has been referred to by a plethora of names including dominion theology, "Joel's Army" theology, etc.; there is not even a generally recognised term for the movement even within it) (typically premillenial or quasi-premillenial, has its origins within "dominion theology" originating within the Latter Rain movement, and has probably the best historical claim to being dominionism sensu stricto)

      c) Ultramontaine Catholicism, which is based on far-right movements within the Catholic church (Opus Dei would be a model "ultramontaine" movement).

      (As a side note, only a few researchers of dominionism use a sensu stricto definition and use the term more as a synonym for "Christian nationalism"--in part as an explicit effort to distance mainstream Christianity from nationalist groups.  The term "Christianist" is also receiving increased popularity as a general synonym for "Christian nationalist" movements, but--as we'll note below--the term "dominionism" is particularly appropriate for neopente dominionist groups.)

      All three do cross-pollinate to an extent, and there is a considerable amount of cross-pollination in recent years between Christian Reconstructionism and neopente dominionism, but they do have differing theological bases.

      In regards to neopentecostal dominionism, such as is practiced in the Assemblies of God (and the rest of this discussion will focus primarily on dominionism in that denomination), the base theology behind dominionism/"Christian nationalism" is, in essence, an extension of the concepts of "deliverance ministry" and word-faith theology.  (More on deliverance ministry here--it is in fact a core part of Assemblies theology.)  

      Rather than "taking dominion" in order to bring the Kingdom to pass (as is the emphasis in Christian Reconstructionist groups), neopente dominionists promote Christian nationalism as a form of "spiritual warfare"--a method of, in essence, national exorcism (of the sort generally promoted on a more personal level), a method of driving out "Territorial spirits" and "demonic spirits" that are oppressing the nation as a whole.  It is also rather specifically taught that if the nation is not "named and claimed" that all manner of horrific destruction--and the loss of the nation--can result; neopentecostals and Jews are seen as the "two chosen nations of God" and examples of divine smackdowns of Israel (when it has strayed) are very frequently used in Assemblies circles to justify explicit politicking.

      In other words--Christian Reconstructionists see themselves as a "Corporate Christ" bringing in the Kingdom, whereas neopentes see themselves as the Chosen Sons of God and needing to "name and claim" the country lest God remove his protection and let it be destroyed.

      The "Joel's Army" movement within the Assemblies (which can be argued to be a modern-day resurrection of Latter Rain theology) goes even further on this--it's taught that the generation of youth today are the "last generation" and have an explicit purpose as a "chosen nation of God" to do a last "naming and claiming" by sweeping the nation like locusts--a "last harvest", so to speak, before the Rapture and Tribulation.

      In other words, the "Joel's Army" folks also not only fear God removing his "covering" over the United States (if they permit gays, pagans, etc. to exist), they not only fear that allowing sin "opens doorways for Satan" in the US, but they also explicitly feel this is their one last chance to recruit as many people as possible for the ass-kicking party at the end of the Tribulation (as depicted in particularly bloody fashion in the final book of the "Left Behind" series, "Glorious Appearing").

      Neopentecostal dominionism also has a decided aspect of converting the country to a theocracy as part of an act of national repentance--again, this plays much into the concept of "US and Israel as Chosen Nations" in Assemblies circles, and is even rather explicitly documented in Assemblies reference bibles including the "we must convert the country and perform a national exorcism lest we be destroyed" aspect.

      Incidentially, above I noted the term "quasi-premillenialist" as well as premillenialist per se.  The specific reason I have done so is because many neopente dominionist groups--including the Assemblies--are officially premillenialist (and have Rapture theory as a major portion of their own theology) but also have major pre-Rapture theology that is similar to Christian Reconstructionist concepts about the "corporate Christ".  (The most extreme example of this is with the "Joel's Army" and "Joshua Generation" movement and the "Third Wave" in general; it's rather explicitly taught that this is part of an "end times revival" to gain as much "Territory" in the form of human souls as possible.)

      Hopefully this clears things up a bit.

      •  speaking of "Left Behind" (6+ / 0-)

        Did you ever notice the coincidence with the name of the program "No Child Left Behind"...?

        What I see there is another (and really blatant) example of how the righties in politics use "code phrases" that the dominionists and their followers will recognize and relate to.  No Child Left Behind = all children "saved" in time for the rapture.  

        Creepy as hell (no pun intended).  

      •  There has always been a tension in (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dogemperor, ER Doc, DWG, Neon Vincent

        Evangelical thinking (Evangelical and Pentecostal thinking) between the imperative to save souls and to be involved in politics.  On one level, the USA apparently does not play a role in Biblical prophecy.  The implication is that the USA will either be destroyed or irrelevant in the end-times scenario—or else will be part of the Anti-Christ's empire.  Either way, the notion of the USA as a chosen nation (alongside or instead of Israel) makes little sense.  The tension is of course between that and the notion that the USA is a nation under God (as the unbelievable number of license plates on Indiana cars these days attests), a Protestant nation that is a beacon of religious liberty and a source of missionaries for the entire world.  Thus once I heard a radio show with Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth, the best selling book of the entire 1970s) explaining why Christians needed to support Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars"), so that the USA could play its role in the destruction of the Anti-Christ's empire (the reborn Roman Empire).

        •  Re "chosen nation" stuff (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc, eastmt, Neon Vincent

          As it is, I'd see it as making little sense myself--had I not heard it from Assemblies pastors myself (and multiple Assemblies pastors)--of note, it has tended to be worse in the groups especially embracing "Joel's Army" and "Brownsville" stuff.  (The term "Brownsville" is a misnomer, by the way--there were groups promoting this stuff, and where Paul Yonggi Cho was trying to foment "revivals", a good thirty years before Brownsville.  I am a survivor of such a church.)

          One of the more decidedly disturbing things I've read about recently is that pastors who have been speaking up against getting excessively entangled in politics--and who have been speaking up about religious abuse--have been getting run out of the Assemblies (Time for Truth is a website of a pastor who was run out of the Assemblies for just this--and has documented this from the inside; apparently it's gotten much worse within the past thirty years or so).

        •  Also, an additional note (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc, OHdog, eastmt, Dimetrodon, Neon Vincent

          In the Assemblies church I later walked away from, the birth of the pentecostal movement in the US--and the existence of neopentecostal revival movements--was seen in and of itself as proof that God had "chosen the US as a chosen nation"--their viewpoint being they were the first branch of Christianity to have "gotten it right" since Paul, and the "proof in the pudding" was the masses of people getting "slain in the spirit" and having "miraculous healings" and whatnot.

          Again, "Joel's Army" groups take it even further--they contend that each of the "three waves" of pentecostal revivalism have been to prepare for a final "mass harvest" of souls, and that the US is a "chosen nation" based on all these revivals taking place (I never stated there wasn't a lot of circular reasoning going on here...).  

          A lot of the "US as Chosen Nation" rhetoric seems to have especially ramped up after World War II, around the time of the beginning of the Cold War (and if you've ever read the Scofield Reference Bible, it's pretty obvious how America could be seen as "God's Chosen Nation" in light of international politics and Scofield's writings about Russia being the home of the Antichrist); an entire internal mythology built up especially in the Cold War regarding the US and Israel being the two "chosen nations of God" and thus the protectors of all that was truly Christian against the "Nations of the Antichrist" (the USSR and Warsaw Bloc in general, as well as the Islamic countries of the Middle East, in particular Iran).  The turmoil in the 60s was pretty much seen as a symptom that the US was "getting away from God" and was going to be clobbered by the USSR as a result, and it was partly this that resulted in the (re)birth of political dominionism in the US.

  •  Ellen Craswell must be part of this (4+ / 0-)

     We'd get legislative mailers from Ellen Craswell which really crossed the church/state line. (Washington State politics)

     She was part of the religious right nuts who swamped the Republican Party and took it over in the 1980s -- she then ran for Governor and lost. But the party faithful voted for her.

     

  •  Sorry, this isn't sinking in (0+ / 0-)

    This entry is freaking me out a bit. To be honest, this is obsessive -- and sometimes paranoid to the point of drawing inferences from thin air -- scrutiny of the Assemblies.

    Sorry, I leave this one shaking my head.

    •  My apologies if this IS freaking you out (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linnen, Lefty Mama, ER Doc, DWG

      ...but to be really honest, I'm more than a little freaked out that the Assemblies as a whole has not called out Joseph Fuiten for pretty much not only defending but holding a presentation for an internationally recognised hate group.

      I'll put it in another way--imagine if a person at a similar level of influence in the Assemblies--someone who had pretty direct influence at the pastoral-education level, and had a history of setting up political lobbying organisations that were actually listed as being founded by his Assemblies regional director--was being found not only attending forums on Holocaust denial being produced by Christian Identity writers but was conducting talks to the tune of "God, it's so awful that the mainstream media is picking on you for telling the truth that Jews didn't die en masse--don't they realise this is war?".

      Now, don't you think that would be a bit...shall we say...disturbing?  You'd expect the home denomination to come down on this just a wee bit, yes?

      Because in essence, this is exactly what Joseph Fuiten has done, except in regards to LGBT people.

      I may be a bit sensitive on this subject, though, I'll admit.  I'm a survivor of the Assemblies myself--namely, seventh largest church in the US, one which has had a pastor  who has promoted The Pink Swastika from the pulpit (and have I noted that we are dealing with a book here that is literal Holocaust revisionism?), and whose deacon actually has not only been the de facto leader of the dominionist movement in my state for 30 years but also has pamphleted neighbourhoods of supporters of anti-discrimination laws that include LGBT people that accuse those supporters of being child molesters (among other things; he's also put in falsified adverts in LGBT mags to make it look like a Fairness supporter was a pedo, has called for pickets of supporters' homes, mailed gay bondage porn to 65,000 homes locally in an attempt to scuttle a Fairness ordinance...oh, and he likes quoting from The Pink Swastika a lot too).

      Have I mentioned that at my old church they've had stunts like kids who happened to be LGBT being "outed" by claiming they had sex a la Larry Craig (aka, in the bathroom) and having an en masse involuntary exorcism performed on them in front of a revival with over 7,000 people attending--after which the pastor went on a vociferously anti-LGBT affair that essentially stated that all gay people should be made to convert or die?

      I pretty much have to be very careful around my folks because I happen to be a bisexual trans-man (needless to say, there is no real way I can get "the operation"; not only would it invalidate my present marriage, it would make things a little obvious to my folks--I'm in that rare position of being able to "pass" right now).  I'll never be able to come out because of the above situation--my parents are still members of that church.

      You could say I've lived with such antics and still do.  Hence, well, I tend to get worried when they are promoted by regional and national reps of the Assemblies to a group that has become more than a bit infamous nationally for kicking a gay man to death.  Megachurches are bad enough, but this guy is saying this to the rough equivalent of racist skinheads in the Slavic neopente community. :P

      And, well...hatred against people just because of whom they are tends to disturb the shit out of me.  You could even say it's one of my "hot buttons".  And I just find it very, very disturbing that Fuiten was allowed to attend at all; if the Assemblies were doing the "right thing", they'd have said something to the effect of "Now, you know we believe gays can change and all that, but these people at the conference are nuts, Fuiten.  You go, you give up your ministerial credentials at the door."  (It isn't like they've done this before to people who have criticised things that went on in the church.)

      One thing I am curious on is when you escaped; especially within the last twenty years or so, the "Joel's Army" faction has solidified its lock on the Assemblies leadership, and things have gotten much worse in conjunction with the embracement of the "Brownsville Revival" and "Third Wave" on an official level.  (Deception In The Church has an awful, awful lot of info on this.)

    •  That should freak you out. (0+ / 0-)

      Non-fundies see very little of this. If you are blessed to live in a rational part of the country, you don't tun into them so often. Here in the South--they're all over the place, and he is NOT exaggerating.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 08:27:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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