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In yesterday's post in this series we gave an intro to the concept of the dominionist "parallel economy"--a massive "alternate universe" of businesses and business relationships set up by dominionists both as a method of funding and as a method of dominionists not having to do business with the rest of us.

Today, we are going to focus on four particular dominionist companies that are major players in the dominionist "parallel economy"--AmWay/Quixtar, Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and U.S. Plastics.  All four are major corporate sponsors of dominionism, and also explicitly incorporate themselves as dominionist-friendly companies.

In this, we show just how MUCH money is in fact being funneled into dominionism by the four largest explicitly dominionist companies in the US.  The links tie into everything from urban legends to promotion of genocide to kids to (of all things) the infamous Blackwater mercenaries.  More after the cut...

Much has been made of dominionist corporate sponsorship by neoconservative groups like the Scaife and Coors foundations--there are some major dominionist corporate sponsors that are themselves dominionists and major players in the "parallel economy", though.

Amway aka Quixtar

AmWay--it's a dominionist funding group, it's a major recruitment front for dominionist churches, it's a coercive group in and of itself, it's all of the above!

Minor snark aside, AmWay is probably the one of the biggest funders of dominionism, and does a fair amount of promotion of dominionism (among its worst offenses).

AmWay--or more properly, its "Amway Business Motivational Organisations" used in "downlines" of the company--is frequently cited as a prototypical example of a "coercive business group"--that is, a business organisation that operates much like a coercive religious group. Multiple "exit counselors" and researchers into coercive groups have expressed grave concern regarding Amway BMO's and particular downlines.  Steven Hassan, a professional "exit counselor" who operates the Freedom of Mind Institute, has listed the Amway BMOs as coercive groups according to the BITE model of "abusiveness" of groups; other groups that have expressed concern include FACTnet, Cult Awareness Information Centre, and Rick Ross Institute.  (It is not an exaggeration to state that the only groups more universally considered abusive are Scientology and the Moonies.)  In fact, at least one major "danger sign" already exists--a specific org called amquix.info exists re AmWay's history of abuse, and a very good book called Merchants of Deception exists detailing both the abuse and the extensive promotion of dominionism within AmWay.

And believe you me, Amway promotes dominionism like it was going out of style.

Many AmWay downlines--in particular the Dexter Yager downline--are known to promote specific types of dominion theology popular in neopentecostal circles, in particular within the Assemblies of God.  This should probably not be shocking; quite a lot of Diamonds in AmWay are known to be members of the Assemblies of God and/or the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International.  Notable Assemblies Diamond-level AmWay members include John Ashcroft and Doug Wead, both of whom have had very close links with George W. Bush; Wead in particular largely coached Bush in regards to "learning to speak dominionist-ese" and largely introduced Bush to dominionist leaders.  (Of particular note, Ashcroft is very influential in Assemblies of God circles; his father is founder of Chi Alpha, an Assemblies "fraternity front" targeting college-age students.)  

Multiple persons who have left AmWay have reported heavy pressure to convert to dominionist and specifically neopentecostal forms of faith in Business Motivational Organisations; in other words, there is a very strong possibility that AmWay may in and of itself be used as a front to recruit people into dominionist churches.  Likewise, there is considerable evidence that AmWay in large part may be promoted as a type of "MLM affinity fraud" within Assemblies of God churches in particular--hence the two groups are essentially acting as "co-recruiters", the Assemblies recruiting from AmWay downlines and AmWay recruiting from Assemblies churches.  (It is of note that AmWay is often promoted by FGBMFI members as a "Christian Business Opportunity" to audiences in dominionist churches and is very, very actively promoted as part of the "parallel economy"--specifically as a "Christian alternative" to Proctor and Gamble, as noted below.)  It is of particular note that often Diamonds linked with neopentecostal dominionist groups are quite high up in the hierarchies of both church and AmWay (for example, Diamonds who are deacons or even assistant ministers in churches).

In addition, AmWay motivational seminars (in particular, within the Dexter Yager downline) have promoted specific deceptive methods of recruitment into religious groups--specifically, a tactic known as "servant evangelism", "stealth evangelism", or "bait and switch evangelism".  The concept in general involves striking up a business relationship, false friendship, etc. for the explicit purpose of gaining enough trust to begin religious hard-sells to the target person--with the explicit knowledge that the target will be unaware until it is too late that the entire purpose of the relationship was to gain a convert.

One of the big bits of dominion theology AmWay has promoted is the concept known alternately as "Name It And Claim It", "Blab It And Grab It", "Confess and Possess", or "Prosperity Gospel".  ("Prosperity Gospel" is actually based on a variation of dominion theology that teaches that Satan "stole dominion" over the world upon the fall of Adam and Christ was tortured (or, in some versions, wrestled the devil) for three days in Hell; it is also explicitly taught that the Saved or Elect are "God's Army" (or "Joel's Army") and that they are literally on a mission from God to "reclaim dominion" over all things physical and spiritual.  "Prosperity Gospel" is essentially a subset that teaches that one must "name and claim" what one desires to "claim dominion" over it and seize it.)  In particular, AmWay motivational seminars have been known to promote the works of specific authors well known in the "Prosperity Gospel" and "Word-Faith" circuits (including E. W. Kenyon, Robert Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale and Don Gossett) and have been known to quote Bible verses out of context (a practice known as "scripture twisting") in identical manner to "Prosperity Gospel" churches.

AmWay is also known to promote concepts relating to neopentecostal concepts of "deliverance ministry" and in particular concepts relating to "Serpent Seed" theology--the concept that all humans are either literal sons of God or literal sons of Satan (persons refusing to buy from AmWay are described as the latter and as being used as "tools of Satan" to oppress AmWay salespersons).

One of the most infamous urban legends around--the claim that Proctor and Gamble's "man in the moon" symbol is a Satanic symbol and/or that the head of P&G is a practicing devil worshipper--may well have gotten its start within the neopentecostal AmWay member community.  The "P&G man in the moon is a Satanic sign" urban legend has had currency within Assemblies of God circles since at least the mid-seventies; snopes.com dates this (from outside of the neopentecostal community) from approximately 1980, indicating the urban legend may have both been developed to hurt P&G's profits within neopente circles and to promote AmWay specifically as the "Godly alternative".  (Of note, Proctor and Gamble have recently won damage settlements against AmWay distributors promoting this urban legend.  The book Merchants of Deception has detailed similar smear campaigns targeted at the Clinton family which were actively promoted in AmWay business motivational meetings.

If that weren't enough, AmWay's founder is probably the biggest corporate funder of dominionism in the US.

Funding of dominionist groups occurs through the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation as well as the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation; Media Transparency has written on several of the groups funded.  A partial list of groups known to be specifically funded include the Coalition for National Policy, Focus on the Family, Traditional Values Coalition, Foundation for Traditional Values, Campus Crusade for Christ, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Gospel Communications (in fact, DeVos is co-owner along with Salem Communications), Assemblies of God televangelist Luis Palau, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services (a dominionist-run "mental health" facility), Ave Maria School of Law (a dominionist law school founded by the former Domino's CEO Tom Monaghan), and Coral Ridge Ministries (links here and here for all the gory details).  Media sources have noted that the DeVos Foundation is probably one of the top two corporate funders of Focus on the Family (along with Truett Cathy of Chick-Fil-A); Rolling Stone has noted that the DeVos foundations contributed over (US) $5 million annually to dominionist groups as of 2005.

According to multiple media reports, Richard DeVos himself is a member of the Coalition for National Policy; the CNP is a group that is invitation-only and largely operates as a "five year planning committee" between dominionist and purely political neoconservative groups.  Multiple sources have stated that the DeVos foundations are one of the primary funding sources for the CNP.

Richard DeVos has close links in particular with Coral Ridge Ministries, a virulently dominionist group run by James Kennedy (including grants of $5 million annually in similar fashion to Focus on the Family funding) and which formerly ran a "Center for Reclaiming America" that also explicitly promoted Christian Reconstructionism.  Many Focus on the Family affiliated groups tend to get heavy funding--possibly due to Elsa Prince's position in Focus (see below).

As noted, DeVos himself also has very close links with dominionist groups due to the "co-promoting" of AmWay and dominionist (and specifically Assemblies) churches with each other; several Diamonds are very politically influential or have been in past, and Dick DeVos recently attempted an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in Michigan running on a dominionist platform.

DeVos was a major funder of efforts to fight Michael Schiavo in court (in Mr. Schiavo's efforts to discontinue life support for Terri Schiavo) per bioethics.net.  (So, ironically, DeVos is also indirectly responsible for TerriPAC, dedicated to making sure nobody else is put through that hell again.)

Richard DeVos is in fact surprisingly influential in regards to political dominionism; an ACLU Washington article largely attributes organisation of the modern dominionist movement to DeVos and to Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ (this dating back to the early 70's, the beginnings of the modern dominionist movement outside of the Assemblies).

And the dominionist funding doesn't stop there.

Reportedly, Dexter Yager (operator of one of the four major "downlines" of AmWay) is a major contributor towards dominionist causes including Liberty University.  In addition to known links with Assemblies and AmWay-affiliated leaders John Ashcroft and Doug Wead, there is evidence that the Dexter Yager downline was explicitly used for electioneering to promote the candidacy of George W. Bush.  AmWay is known to have contributed at least $1.3 million to Republican presidential campaigns in the 2000 election, with an additional $760,000 donated by Dexter Yager.

Of particular note to political dominionism and links with the administration, the DeVos family has close links with Elsa Prince (specifically, as an in-law); Mrs. Prince is also a major contributor to dominionist groups and is a standing board member for Focus on the Family.  Elsa Prince has apparently also been a board member for the Family Research Council and is also a known CNP member; her son (and Betsy DeVos's brother) Erik Prince is co-founder of the Blackwater mercenary squad.  (Blackwater has been accused of, among other things, gross human rights abuses and possible war crimes as well as wartime profiteering.  The group was the subject of the critical movie Iraq For Sale.)

Sadly, just avoiding AmWay's products may not be enough--the DeVos family also owns controlling stock in the Orlando Magic NBA team (so every time you watch a game featuring that team, you could well be supporting dominionism).

Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A may have some of the best-known links to dominionism, in part because of their extensive promotion of dominionists in things as simple as children's meals.

One of the tactics Chick-Fil-A is infamous for is stealth evangelism targeting kids--via use of both Veggietales and via giving out Focus on the Family audio programs as children's meal incentives.

"Veggietales" was originally created by Paxson Communications (owner of PAX-TV and a major player in the dominionist "alternate media")  as an alternative to PBS programming for families in the dominionist "parallel economy"; according to the very creators of the show, they apparently think Sesame Street promotes the "homosexual agenda" and hence the creators made the "parallel economy" alternative.

Veggietales is, by the explicit admission of the creator, designed to recruit kids into dominionism as early as the toddler age; disturbingly, Veggietales has been used to recruit kids into "revivals" held by Assemblies "name it and claim it" preacher Luis Palau and in a flyer distributed in a public school trying to recruit kids into a "Jesus Camp" type summer camp affair.

Of disturbing note, the creator of Veggietales is linked to one of the early dominionist "Joel's Army" groups, Maranatha (FACTnet, a group dedicated to exposing coercive and abusive groups, has more info here).  Maranatha was so spiritually abusive it was banned on multiple state campuses; it has since reinvented itself under the names "Morning Star International" and "Every Nation".

Chick-Fil-A has distributed CDs of the dominionist program Adventures in Odyssey; this show has been described as a Radio "Jesus Camp", and is broadcast on radio stations that are part of the dominionist "alternate media".  Show topics have included promotion of assistance to the Contras (under the guise of "evangelisation" of the Miskitu first nation--a very common method FGBMFI-linked groups used to funnel aid to the Contras which made the Miskitu targets of both the Contras and Sandanistas as a result; the Miskitu had been Christianised since the early 1800s and actually had a European style of government by the 1850s, and were in fact largely Protestant well before the dominionists came with their Contra funding-fronts).  Other fun radio topics include the wholescale genocide of a people simply because they were pagans and a story on how it is permissible to steal and destroy roleplaying games belonging to another person to prevent them from being "demonised".

Chick-Fil-A has also been associated with the promotion of "dad's groups" linked to Campus Crusade for Christ (which has been noted as being coercive on a number of campuses) and promotes the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation--a group that has promoted "bait and switch" evangelism, is a major funding source for dominionist groups, and is most known for having famous sports figures (including, formerly, NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon) promoting an explicitly dominionist version of the New Testament.

Truett Cathy, the head of Chick-Fil-A, claims to >use "Biblical principles" in running Chick-Fil-A--often this is a code-word often used in the dominionist community to flag a business as "dominionist friendly".

Hawking dominionist "kid's meals" is bad enough.  That's far from the only support Chick-Fil-A gives to dominionists, though.

Among other things, Chick-Fil-A is a major sponsor of National Bible Week--a dominionist-operated scheme to get state legislatures to pass resolutions declaring a week of Bible study and which was started by a proto-dominionist group in 1940 called the "National Coalition for Religious Recovery" (which felt the Great Depression occured because people "got away from the church"); is one of the largest corporate funders of Focus on the Family (and FotF has lauded him back in past--after all, he does drop those CDs encouraging the genocide of the entire pagan population into kid's meals); apparently publishes books on "Christian business" popular in the dominionist community; and operates a fairly extensive group of facilities targeting kids and adults.

And when I say "Winshape" is extensive, I mean extensive; the network includes a "parallel economy" alternative to Outward Bound, a "training group" for collegiate dominionists, a network of foster-care homes, a own "Jesus Camp" type affair, an explicit missionary corps a la Youth With A Mission to train "future Christian leaders" (presumably to start dominionist movements in their own countries), a religious retreat (which is affiliated with a college which started out as a conservative Bible college and missionary school (and is still technically a Protestant college, though they do allow non-Protestants to attend), and finally a marriage counseling retreat.

In regards to that "retreat"--it includes seminars from a dominionst "marriage counseling" service (which has a bibolatrous statement of faith); the counseling service has links to Salem-controlled groups as well as a plethora of dominionist sponsored links.  (As noted, Salem Communications is a big player in dominionist radio.) The Winshape marriage seminars also include links to a second "Christian counseling" service which is explicitly dominionists-only; in fact, it's associated with an "ministerial mill" with close links with steeplejacked congregations and dominionist churches--as revealed in the staff page. Folks associated with Intimate Care Ministries (one of the groups linked to the second group) have been associated with Bill Gothard et al; Bill Gothard is a known promoter of dominionist "deliverance ministry", including operation of dominionist "character city" stealth-evangelism programs aimed at public schools and promoting the rather bizarre idea that "Cabbage Patch Kids" dolls were demonically possessed and caused infertility, and at least one exit-counseling group considers his work potentially abusive.

Rather disturbingly, it also has programs that could potentially put spouses at danger (there is no communication with the outside world, and at least some of the tracks deal with spouses who are physically abusive to their spouses--a situation where it is far more appropriate for the spouses to separate and the abused spouse to protect him/herself)).

Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby may have the most egregrious links of all (aside from AmWay)--as we will see below, Hobby Lobby is a de facto funding front for one of the most infamous of dominionist denominations.

Hobby Lobby originally came under scrutiny because of things like playing only "Christian contemporary" music in its stores, closing on Sundays, and funding of some religious charities--these would be seen merely as "evangelical quirks" (similar to In-N-Out or Focus 21 putting Bible verses on their bags) were it not for some deeper investigation.

Firstly, Hobby Lobby actually has two divisions that deal with dominionist concerns:
   * Mardel (a chain of Christian bookstores)
   * Bearing Fruit Communications (an advertising and production company which deals heavily in promotion of dominionist media)

This is in addition to the other parts of a rather substantial empire:
   * Hobby Lobby Creative Centers (the main craft store chain)
   * Hemispheres (a home decor design company)
   * Crafts Etc.! (an online and wholesale retailer of craft supplies)
   * H. L. Construction (a construction company responsible for building Hobby Lobby stores)
   * Hong Kong Connection (an import/export company dealing in Chinese goods)
   * Greco Frame and Supply

There were already a few warning signs, though.  Among other things, there had been a few reports of explicit religious discrimination, both against employees and against lesbian shoppers; previous research had also found that one of the "charities" being funded was none other than Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

There were also a number of reports of things generally seen as "not quite legal"--things like making employees sign statements they won't sue Hobby Lobby as a condition of hire (in an attempt to stave off EEOC lawsuits) and firing employees for refusing to fudge tax statements.

The incident that really got research started was a post on Dark Christianity where an astute reader noticed a 4th of July ad that was in fact co-sponsored by the group Wallbuilders...and further research showed Wallbuilders has been partnering explicitly with Hobby Lobby for some time.

For those of you unfamiliar with Wallbuilders...well, let's just say they're Bad News.  

Wallbuilders is a hardline dominionist group (and in fact has been considered a Christian Reconstructionist group); its head, David Barton, was head of the Texas GOP when that state convention was thoroughly steeplejacked by dominionists (and Wallbuilders has been bankrolled by the RNC after the latter's wholescale steeplejacking by dominionists, he runs a separate group called "Providence Foundation" which is also Christian Reconstructionist, actively partnered with Shrub to get out the dominionist vote, and is promoted by charming bastards who promote religious harassment manuals for teens.  In fact, Wallbuilders is damn near at the core intersection of "Joel's Army" neopente dominionists and traditional Christian Reconstructionists; Wallbuilders also has connections with the Army of God domestic terrorist network through Summit Ministries.  Seriously, this is about as damning as it gets).  Wallbuilders has links with the highly abusive Bible-based cult Maranantha, the "Christian Patriot" and racist-linked Constitution Party,

Oh, and they also happen to be the major promoters of the "America Is A Christian Nation" canard that is so very popular in dominionist circles.  Its leader only has honorary degrees from Oral Roberts University and Pensacola Christian College (the later is unaccredited, publishers of the bunk "A Beka" curriculum, and also have been noted as being a "Bible-based cult"); historians and even the Seventh-Day Adventists (a very conservative Christian denomination) have debunked many of Wallbuilders' claims and quotes, some of which involve falsified quotations from the Founding Fathers.  It is not in fact exaggeration to describe the work of Wallbuilders as wholescale historical revisionism.

Like I said...Bad News.

So further research was begun posthaste on Hobby Lobby's connections to dominionist groups, especially in those charities and media groups it funds.

It turns out that Hobby Lobby's founder, David Green, actually runs a tract-handling industry called "Every Home for Christ" as well as funneling money into a religious movie business his son operates operating under the name "Bearing Fruit Communications" (and on Hobby Lobby's page, actively promotes movies his kid makes).  

Oh, about those movies. Probably the best term for them is "Injun Exploitation"--the two movies produced by his son are "End Of The Spear" and "Beyond The Gates of Splendor", both of which focus on the religious conversion of the Waorani people of Ecuador.  Sadly, the Waorani people are often used as a sort of "Wild Man of the Amazon" type show by dominionists (you know, the sort that went out of fashion at carnival sideshows back in the 40's) where they are pimped as "The Most Violent People In The World"; Ron Luce's "Teen Mania" group actually used the movie "End Of The Spear" as a lead-in for one of his "Wild Man of the Amazon" shows with a converted Waorani.  (The truth about the Waorani people is far sadder.  The Waorani are among the most endangered indigenous peoples on the planet, in large part due to missionaries invading their lands often in conjunction with oil companies; their population has declined rapidly, from 25,000 people in the 1950s (when originally contacted by missionaries and when they fought to remain uncontacted (outsiders are literally seen as cannibals by the Waorani)--the subject of the "Injun Exploitation" films) to only 2000 today.) Much of the efforts of Bearing Fruit Communications are aimed squarely at youth recruitment.

At least one member of Bearing Fruit's board of directors (T. Ray Grandstaff) is a former Senior VP for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. FCA has been linked to dominionism in numerous ways; they are well known for "bait and switch" evangelism (in fact, they and Athletes in Action are among the two groups most frequently banned from public school campuses due to bait-and-switch "altar calls" marketed as anti-drug talks to the school administration).  More info here.  (Such tactics are a favourite of dominionist groups explicitly targeting youth.) It's also well known (and, apparently, explicitly by design) that Fellowship of Christian Athletes rather aggressively "dominionist-ises" any team they are let into (this tends to be bad even within the NFL, but even more so within FCA groups run in colleges and high schools).

Of particular note, FCA has close links with the US Air Force Academy religious coercion controversies, and the ACLU has had to fight them since the 60's because of religious coercion (in particular, Jewish people tend to be targeted, according to the anti-cult group Rick Ross Foundation); in addition, it is explicitly supported by dominionist groups, and explicitly partners with other dominionist groups targeting youth (including Chi Alpha (an Assemblies of God frontgroup), Campus Crusade for Christ, and even scarier groups like "See You At The Pole" (infamous for, among other things, nailing people's names to crosses and "praying" over them to essentially curse people in the name of Christ to convert or suffer) and Council for National Policy).  

A second member of the board (Bill Hane Sr.) is a former VP of advertising for Hobby Lobby (and reportedly directs the "ministry" efforts); a third member of the board of directors (Mike Galloway) was the former senior graphic designer for Lifechurch.tv (Lifechurch.tv is a large multi-campus, multi-state church that is nominally part of the Evangelical Covenant Church but in practice is a neopentecostal megachurch; of note, it has attempted prosyletisation in the online game "Second Life", is particularly aggressive in regards to prosyletising and missionary activity via the Internet, and has close connections with Ron Luce's "BattleCry" group).

There are still other groups they support that promote dominionism:

*Mardel Bookstore is a "Christian and education" bookstore which is run by Mart Green (who is also CEO of Bearing Fruit Communications, above); as noted above, Mardel Bookstore and Bearing Fruit Communications are both officially seen as divisions of Hobby Lobby.  Mardel Bookstores explicitly sell dominionist curricula packages including Bob Jones University's package.  (BJU's curriculum, among several others, has been ruled as educationally insufficient by the University of California at Berkeley and students solely educated on BJU will not receive high school credit for courses in biology or history.)

*1-800-NEED-HIM is a dial-a-conversion, "dial-a-prayer" and referral service to dominionist churches.

In fact, Hobby Lobby seems to fund an entire plethora of dominionist causes including a "behaviour modification" facility called Harbor House for "at risk" youth (thus funding the dominionist "mental health parallel economy"--very disturbingly, the facility seems to be run by a dominionist church operating under the name "Church of the Harvest" which uses "cell churches"; the church itself is a neopentecostal dominionist group that explicitly promotes "name it and claim it" in its bibolatrous statement of faith), and is pretty explicitly a Joel's Army church operating under the name ("Church of the Harvest" is a MAJOR code-phrase for "Third Wave" neopente and Joel's Army churches; their history page where they talk about the "prophetic generation for the last days revival" is pure Joel's Army stuff if I ever heard it)).

In addition to the other stuff he funds a neopente mission group that explicitly targets kids in Roman Catholic countries (Latin America is among the last places I'd call "unchurched"--in a danger sign, they apparently started out in the 70's in Beirut where a lot of "Christian Zionist" groups linked with the Assemblies of God were illegally setting up shop to beam "messianic Jewish" programming down to Israel as an end-run against Israeli laws prohibiting missionary activity aimed at Jewish people).

That in itself was enough to ping my "dominionist-dar" (along with the use of the term Affect Destiny for one of their groups ("Destiny" tends to be a major codeword for Assemblies-linked churches in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa)--as it turns out, Book of Hope turned out to be a frontgroup of the very denomination that pretty much invented dominion theology.

The operator of Book of Hope, Bob Hoskins, is also president of Life Publishers International (which is a publishing front company of the Assemblies of God by its own admission--they are, among other things, primary publisher for Paul Yonggi Cho (yes, the same Paul Yonggi Cho I've written about before; the same one with links to dominionist genocidal scumbags in Guatemala). Book of Hope is essentially an Assemblies front as well, and Hoskins is apparently one of the Assemblies of God's major missionaries in the Middle East in particular.  Book of Hope has actively worked with Teen Challenge (a second Assemblies of God front group targeting teens; you'd honestly be amazed to find out just how many Assemblies frontgroups exist) to set up "stealth evangelism" programs promoted falsely as anti-drug groups (similar to the operations of the Seven Project, yet another Assemblies operated "youth ministry" disguising itself as a program for at-risk teens and actively promoted within public schools).

Of note, Life Publishing International publishes a specific Assemblies-authored Bible version promoted to youth.  This is based on the "Life In The Spirit Study Bible", an official Assemblies study bible produced in NIV and KJV versions.  (As we'll note in part 6, the NIV is the preferred "modern English" translation of the Assemblies, in part because of deliberate skewing of translations towards dominionist viewpoints.)

Reportedly Book of Hope receives some of the largest funding out of the groups funded explicitly by Hobby Lobby.  This should probably not be too surprising--as it turns out, David Green is an Assemblies member and actively consults with his pastor re business practices.

U.S. Plastics

The investigation of U.S. Plastics' links with dominionism began with a post from a Dark Christianity poster who experienced religious discrimination in the hiring process.

As it turns out, the CEO has explicitly written books on "business as missionary work", has known links to dominionist historical revisionism groups (specifically with some group called the Christian History Institute which is hosted by Salem's Gospelcom network; as we'll discuss later, Salem Communications is a major player in the dominionist "alternate media"), a fellow dominionist businessman gives him heavy props, and is also given props by a Christian Reconstructionist with links to the Constitution Party (possibly the most misnamed party in existence; the Constitution Party is what was formerly known as the US Taxpayer's Party, is a de facto Christian Reconstructionist political party, and gets a lot of support from "Christian Patriot" mafia groups as well as flat out racist groups like the Klan, neo-Nazis, and Christian Identity practitioners)--in fact, the guy giving Tam props is the VP candidate for the Constitution Party in their most recent presidential bid.

In addition to that, he actually sells books on setting up "Christian businesses" as a form of bait-and-switch on the corporate website as well as a book on "name it and claim it", conducts motivational talks for dominionist groups, and--perhaps most damningly in regards to U.S. Plastics potentially being a front--reportedly Tam officially made God the CEO (as in listed in the incorporation document) and uses much of the profits of the company to set up missions in third-world nations (a lot of neopente missionary groups as well as Southern Baptist affiliated missionary groups have been connected with frank religious coercion).  

Reportedly Tam is closely linked with a church belonging to the Christian and Missionary Alliance (a church which has steadily become a neopentecostal denomination and is now specifically linked to religious coercion in regards to Boxing Day Tsunami relief--in fact, the Assemblies of God are essentially a CMA "daughter denomination" and seem to have steeplejacked their own parent), and in particular funds a group called OMS International.  OMS International has a bibolatrous statement of faith and is an aggressive missionary group which is part of a missionary association including most of the dominionist groups worldwide conducting missionary activity (including the Assemblies, individual "missions" of Assemblies pastors like Luis Palau, "Assemblies daughter" churches like Foursquare, and similar dominionist groups like Campus Crusade).  (In fact, this association has been around for some time and includes practically all of the groups that are aggressively "steeplejacking" congregations in Latin America as well as engaging in fullscale "sheep-stealing".)  OMS International, of note, does have a history of setting up health care facilities and similar setups as forms of "bait and switch" evangelism (including, notably, hospitals in Haiti).

Further info from the readers here have noted that U.S. Plastics is in many ways the very model of a dominionist company; among other things, the company does direct prosyletisation at work by a huge banner and cross with "CHRIST IS THE ANSWER" on it and tracts at work, and even has conversion solicitations on its website.

Tomorrow, we cover the dominionist parallel medical economy, featuring the American College of Pediatricians, a dominionist pediatrician's clinic in Washington, and the real risk that the dominionist "parallel economy" starts to present to kids.

Originally posted to dogemperor on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 06:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips? (42+ / 0-)

    Even if you don't tip or recommend, I would appreciate pointers going out to this--especially in relation to the Hobby Lobby and US Plastics stuff and the AmWay/Blackwater connections.

  •  excellent work (9+ / 0-)

    i missed your first diary on Dominionist economy, so am off to read it now.

  •  wow..... (7+ / 0-)

    amazing diary, dogemporer.  My brother worked for Hobby Lobby for many years, and indeed his boss was an extreme Catholic and often tried to get the bro to go on operation rescue type anti-choice protests that included chaining themselves to clinic doors.

    Really interesting (scary) diary and I'll be hotlisting so I can read all the links.

    •  What is "extreme Catholic"? (3+ / 0-)

      I have heard there is a fundamentalist catholicism. Where do I go to get information on it? (I suspect a member of my family is involved in this.)

      A society of sheep must beget in time a government of wolves. Bertrand de Jouvenel

      by Little Red Hen on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 06:53:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here is one of them (5+ / 0-)

        Hillary must be stopped at all costs.

        by voltayre on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 07:51:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  EWTN Radio ... Argentina's overthrow of democracy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Little Red Hen, mamamedusa

          More subtle and insidious is EWTN Radio.

          Not all of their programming is explicitly political, but at election time their politicking goes through the roof.

          Right-wing Catholicism played a major role in the murderous military dictatorship (and the overthrow of democracy) in Argentina, 1976-1983.

          The military allied with Argentina's armaments industry and Right-wing Roman Catholic bishops and fringe groups prior to the overthrow of Argentina's democracy.

          During the dictatorship, thousands of political "Leftists" were disappeared.  Their children were redistributed to military elite families.  The Bishops of Buenos Aires participated in this "redistribution" and kept lists of the "adoptions."  To this day, these Bishops refuse to hand over the lists and account for the children, who are now grown.

          If you listen to EWTN (try a sample of "The World Over, Live," for example, or "Al Kresta In The Afternoon"), you can hear an affinity with fascism.

      •  Opus Die... Scalia, Thomas are rumored to be in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Little Red Hen, Pandoras Box

        this cult of catholicism.  

        Of course, the fact the Catholics have now installed an ex-Nazi Pope, Benedict #16 (aka Ratzinger) indicates where the Church is heading.  Ratzinger, as you may recall, also interfered in our 2004 elections with his letter to Bishops to deny communion to Politicians who support a womans choice to their bodies and lives.  Of course, war mongers like Bush, and his supporters of death and destruction,, had no such prohibitions issued against them.  Recently, he issued some proclamation reaffirming that the Catholic church is the only true church, or something like that.

        Save the embryo, zygot, fetus at all costs; fuck the living, breathing, birthed, formed, human!  Typical.

        Here's a good site on Opus Dei and its crap, BTW.

        The meek shall inherit the earth.... six feet under!! Liberals and progressives, stop being meek!

        by FightTheFuture on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 09:22:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Missed the 1st installment (6+ / 0-)

    glad I found this one.

    A little sidebar on US Plastics

    http://www.cwsm.org/...

    I was annoyed when I learned of their background, as they are a convenient source for plastics stuff if you live in smaller cities or towns.

    I once worked at a company where the company president was of some such background, although perhaps not so extreme. He'd been overheard giving lessons to people on how to tell if those interviewing for employment were "our kind of people" through the use of code phrases that weren't likely to trip anti-discrimination laws.  I'm been happy to hear that while he had the drive and skills to make the company successful, those he handpicked don't seem to and the company has gone downhill since his health-related retirement.

  •  Amazing amount of research (8+ / 0-)

    and, to me at least, it's mostly new information.
    I knew a little about AmWay but this really opens my eyes.
    Thanks.  I'm going to bookmark this diary as a reference.

  •  Recommended, (5+ / 0-)

    hotlisted, and read with great interest. Thank you so much for all of the work you put into this.

    IGTNT: Our war dead. Their stories. Read "I Got the News Today."

    by monkeybiz on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 06:44:11 AM PDT

  •  Amway (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronxdem, Pandoras Box, Unbozo, mamamedusa

      Hasn't it always been a superficially disguised "legal" Ponzi scheme?

  •  Terrific diary (4+ / 0-)

    Are there any books that pull all this "parallel economy" stuff together in one place?

    •  Might I suggest (3+ / 0-)

      ...that this be added to the rescue list? I'm awed.

      It occurs to me that my monstrous, incredible apathy about other people's personal lives can be interpreted as tolerance. - Moody Loner

      by MBNYC on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 07:56:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  second MBNYC (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box

      and, if it's any help, i haven't seen any books on Christian Dominionism (although i haven't looked), but first learned about it on - ahem - farming and survivalist forums.

      it was quite the topic of debate in the run up to the invasion and shortly thereafter.

      survivalists are extremely interested in it because of its connections to PNAC - and, of course, the mythical New World Order (!!!).

      •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Runs With Scissors

        I'm actually rather surprised that there's talk in the survivalist community re dominionists--as it is, a lot of the militia community (which has infiltrated heavily into non-dominionist, non-militia survivalist groups) has very close connections with dominionists, either as members of "Christian Patriot" militia groups or as members of other militia groups with very close ties to dominionism.

        As it is, there is an amazing amount of "New World Order" paranoia from the dominionist end of things, too (particularly with the Joel's Army folks; in fact, "New World Order" paranoia, especially concerning Russia and/or the UN, has been a major part of Assemblies-style dominion theology since its beginnings, and a fair number of people calling for the US to pull out of the UN are in fact the kind of folks reading the "Left Behind" books and thinking that the Antichrist will use the UN to take over the world).  It's probably through that crossover that they attempted infiltration of survivalist communities, and I'm glad that people are waking up there.

        •  they have been talking about it for a long time (0+ / 0-)

          despite the hefty End Times contingent.

          but, in fact, it was farming and survivalist forums where i first learned about all of this back in the run up to the invasion.

          needless to say, i couldn't believe my eyes but the more i read, the more it made sense. and certainly, given the events of recent years, it's been an extremely useful context for understanding some of what otherwise would have made no sense whatsoever to me.

    •  Not that I'm aware of. (0+ / 0-)

      Pretty much, to my knowledge, there ARE no formal books yet on the subject of the dominionist parallel economy.  (In fact, pretty much to my knowledge no formal work has really been written on the subject of the dominionist "parallel economy"; there are books like Sara Diamond's "Spiritual Warfare" that have touched on aspects of the parallel economy, but no consolidated work on the subject.)

      I think this is in part because until recently the role of the dominionist "parallel economy" was not realised by even most researchers into dominionism (this is a subject you really only learn about if you are a walkaway or have had contact with part of the "parallel economy").

      It's my hope that my initial posts on the subject will be the foundation for further research and info.

  •  Good collection of links (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    I saved it to my hard drive. Thanks.

  •  FGBMFI? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    I actually googled it, but you might want to explain this particular term.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 07:49:16 AM PDT

    •  FGBMFI stuff (0+ / 0-)

      FGBMFI is the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International--I've written before on the subject, but thanks for the reminder that people are not always familiar with acronyms (and may in fact be jumping into this series in the middle!).

  •  Wow. (5+ / 0-)

    I've read a lot about dominionism, mainly offline, and this is one of the best pieces I've ever seen. You might consider seeking a book publisher or submitting this to a magazine like Rolling Stone.

    Truly excellent work.

    It occurs to me that my monstrous, incredible apathy about other people's personal lives can be interpreted as tolerance. - Moody Loner

    by MBNYC on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 07:55:12 AM PDT

    •  On book deals :3 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC

      I'm impressed you think I'm good enough for Rolling Stone (laughs...great, now I have that damned song in my head :D)  Wouldn't know how to work on getting articles submitted to them, though.

      As for books, I am finally beginning work on a book (or two) on the subject (due to people requesting over and over that I write one and finally finding an author-friend who can actually help with pointers, publishing companies, editing, etc.).  Can't say when it will be published, but you all have kicked my arse in gear over this.  Thanks.  :3

  •  Please recommend this diary -- amazing work (4+ / 0-)

    Dominionism is a topic that ought to be visible daily on Kos.

    Soon it will be visible daily in your lives, if you remain in the United States.

    Kudos for this diary.  More research and work in this diary than most diaries, including mine.  I am schooled.

  •  Phenomenal amount of work (3+ / 0-)

    here, Dogemperor.  

    Thanks

  •  Great work (5+ / 0-)

    You've managed to provide a densely researched & attributed diary that's very readable. I look forward to your future diaries.

    I've been following related stuff online for several years now. A mainstay of the so-called Constitution Party is Howard Phillips whose son is Doug Phillips, CEO of Vision Forum, a major purveyor of "family friendly" and "faith-promoting" products. It in turn obviously serves as a financial mainstay for Vision Forum Ministries, a major dominionist organization that pushes the Christian nation viewpoint, and has not-so-hidden ties to the Christian white supremacy crowd (i.e., two of the big heroes for VF are Dabney & Rushdoony - nuff said).

  •  Christianistas!! Souless business + Christians (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    a very ironic and dangerous combination.  You have the absolutists views of religion asshattery with sociopathic creatures known as corporations.  Very scary shit!!

    The age a reason is, and has been under attack, by this crap since its inception.  This is the latest, most organized effort.  A good justification for removing all human rights form corporations and taxing churches!!  They can offset their tax obligations to society by accounting for the good works they do to the poor and those in need, w/o discrimination, which no credit should then be allowed for!

    The coin of Religion may be the savior of some of mankind; yet, its opposite side cna slo be its destroyer!!

    The meek shall inherit the earth.... six feet under!! Liberals and progressives, stop being meek!

    by FightTheFuture on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 09:10:27 AM PDT

  •  Amway is as Hypocritical as Vittner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    Was involved for a few years many years ago. They use mantras like 'don't be a sheep, don't follow the crowd of all those who just have jobs'. However, if you want to do something different than your 'upline' thinks you should do, you are warned that if you want to continue to be different you may not receive any help, and are effectively isolated. So much for innovation in capitalism.

    AND of course, if you don't get right with god, well, you just may not be serious about the business either, so then you're isolated as well.

    Excellent diary. Rec'd.

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

    by Boisepoet on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 09:11:49 AM PDT

  •  Needless to say, my town in GA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, Runs With Scissors

    has both a  Hobby Lobby and two Chick-Fil-A stores.  I avoid both.  Hobby Lobby gives me the creeps. I've heard stories on Wiccan lists that they have been known to follow around anyone wearing a pentacle, apparently certain we'll shoplift. Ihaven't gone in since I got my gold pentacle (silver tends to give me hives the longer I wer it).My very fundy (but still kind and decent in spite of it) MiL shops there all th time--and can't understand why we'll drive to Michael's and deal with mall traffic to avoid Hobby Lobby.

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

    by irishwitch on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 09:32:27 AM PDT

    •  I can believe it. (0+ / 0-)

      Oh, I can definitely believe it--I have good friends who can't quite grasp just WHY I refuse to shop at Hobby Lobby or Chick-Fil-A (not quite realising that money I spend at these stores does go to fund dominionism, and damnit, I don't want my hard-earned money going to the Assemblies or Focus on the Family).

      And as for the stalking in the stores, I can definitely believe this--though the concern is possibly less of "will they shoplift" and more of "what the hell are these witches doing in our store".  (As I noted above, LGBT people have literally been refused service at Hobby Lobby stores, and I'd not be shocked to find reports of people wearing pagan jewelry also refused service.)

      •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Coherent Viewpoint

        I DO think the pentacle plays a role. Most people here know what it means--Laura Mallory has been all over the papers on Harry Potter, after all.  ANd hte preachers love to screech about the EEEEE-Villlls of the OH-Kult.  I think  hey ASSUME non-Christians are mroe likely to steal than their pals.

        I am none too fond of dominionists--did my own series on t em a while back .   I learned about them 25 years ago, when most people barely knew about the Moral Majority as somethign other than a joke.  My niece and at least one sis-in-law (she's gone Southern Baptist again, but used to be Chirch of Christ), tried to force my MiL to throw us out 0hsuband's a student, I an't get a job because I am not Christian and I am overqualified)  because of our faith.  And the MiL demanded we not practice our faith at all anywhere while we lvie here. I did that for a year. I finally decided it was wrong of her, and now we do our rituals onholidays quietly and after she is sound alseep.

        I HATE these folks.

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

        by irishwitch on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 08:38:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am blown away by this diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Runs With Scissors

    Great research - a fascinating, if frightening, subject. Off to read your first diary.

    Recommended - HIGHLY!

    You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

    by Pandoras Box on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 09:45:39 AM PDT

  •  Wow! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Runs With Scissors

    I grew up in a household run by a Presbyterian father/ navy chaplain.  We went through some periods of evangelism and attended pente churches from the mid 70s to the early 80s.  Religion itself never made much sense to me and all the dogmatism related with these pentes, as well as things I did or said as a result of the inculcation (yes, even though it made no sense it was hard to believe it was not true since it was all I knew), finally pushed me over the edge.

    As you have said, it was a fairly simple lie that pushed you out.  I escaped attendance by developing migraines every Sunday on our way to the church, vomiting, etc.  These were real (albeit psychosomatic) migraine episodes and, of course, they did the laying on of hands, prayer call outs, etc.  My mother finally stepped up and told my father, in church, we had to go and that we weren't going anymore because of my clear problem in going (she always gave me crossword and logic problems to do during services because I didn't pay direct attention - although I took it all in).  We were chased out by the pastor offering even more prayers if we stayed, a very specific prayer dedication for the whole church to focus on me, and finally offered condemnations when she saw we weren't turned.

    What finally pushed me out was a three-step thing: learning geometry, hearing attacks on music I enjoyed, and two girls (in any event, a whole other diary would be involved were I to explicate but let's say our push out was tangentially related).

    My father pulled me aside at the age of 12 and said that he couldn't force me to believe anything that it was up to me to decide and that he had done what he thought was right and I was free to pursue what I thought of as truth.  Well, of course, being brought up in that milieu, I had a hard time and tried multiple churches until the age of 16.  When I finally left my last church, an AoG in Virginia Beach, I was condemned pointedly by name, according to a friend, for being an agent of Satan.  Later, when one of their kids got busted for drug use and possession, one of the girls became pregnant, and another kid left the church, it ALL fell to my name.

    I never looked back and have known happiness (and more than my share of heartbreak... so I am told) that I never knew then and that I never saw in those around me then.

    In any event, while I was brought up in a world-news intensive family and paid one hell of a lot of attention to world and national news from a very young age, I was never too terribly political until...

    the 1988 campaigns.  This is about 5 years after I left that church stuff and I kept seeing the ties develop closer and closer in the intervening years between the religious right and the GOP.  This set off my alarm bells and I campaigned for Dole as a means of trying to drive out the fundies who were deep in the support of Bush (whom I was always against but not with this much fervor).  I was alert and aware and following everything with despair as the GOP executive continued.  In 1993, during the first months of Clinton's presidency, I relaxed and stopped paying too much attention except to develop my feelings of support for Clinton and, although I thought the change of leadership in Congress was a good thing whether I liked the actors or not, began to defend the guy against fundie and what were then still fringe attacks against him.

    I stepped away from US politics for the most part except to vote along the way.  However, in 1999, when W was on the ascendant, I argued vociferously that he should not even be up for consideration stating things like he would make his father seem like a good choice all those years back and that he would win because of the inscrutable machine behind him which had the support of daddy's friends.  I also argued that I would happily take McCain (who looked a fairly clear bet over the idiot runt within the GOP) over Gore if only to ensure W would not be president because of the unmistakably clear fundie reference code words Bush had started to take up.

    IOW, I am most adamantly political when the fundies rise.  And, although I would be more than happy to live overseas again and enjoy the whole world, I feel I cannot rest until this beast is contained yet again... they are more frightening than people know and they are closer now to the trigger than they have ever been... afraid is a smart position especially now that they have their backs against the wall and have been taking multiple hits from both inside and out.

    Keep writing, emperor!  Keep fighting!

    Give me ten lines from a good man and I'll find something in there to hang him. - Cardinal Richelieu

    by lgrooney on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 09:55:10 AM PDT

    •  On various stuff (0+ / 0-)

      I'll admit that when Shrub ran the first time, much less in 2004, I fought like hell to keep him from getting in office.  (As it is, in 2004 when Shrub was "re-elected", I literally had panic attacks from all the dominionist code-phrasing he was using in his acceptance speeches.)

      As for the listing of you as an Evil Influence (tm) in the Assemblies church you escaped, I'm not at all shocked.  In fact, this sort of thing is disturbingly routine in the Assemblies (walkaways being specifically called out as agents of Satan--this comes from a variation of "Serpent Seed" theology popular in neopente churches wherein people who criticise the church are seen as the literal children of the devil spiritually).

      •  Funny thing is (0+ / 0-)

        that I was still a virgin and had never touched drugs or alcohol at that point; yet, I was held responsible for getting the girl pregnant and introducing the other kid to drugs.  My friend in the church, knowing this and thus seeing their lies and avarice, soon left himself and was essentially banished from his family upon completing high school.

        Give me ten lines from a good man and I'll find something in there to hang him. - Cardinal Richelieu

        by lgrooney on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 10:57:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and (0+ / 0-)

        I was willing to give W the benefit of the doubt at first, even though I did see the SCOTUS decision as part of the machinery backing the Bush family.  He lost that benefit within the first 2-3 weeks of assumption with, I think, it was the Kyoto Protocol decision.

        Give me ten lines from a good man and I'll find something in there to hang him. - Cardinal Richelieu

        by lgrooney on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 10:58:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Amway (0+ / 0-)

    As a secular progressive, a psychologist/socialogist and an Amway IBO I have to take exception with quite a bit of this diary.

    First of all, virtually every "link" you gave is about only one organization that works with the Amway concept - the Yager organization and it's offshoots, particularly that lead by Bill Britt. I've listened to a number of recording of theirs and they unquestionably promote a right-wing evangelical christian viewpoint. However - and this is the point most folk miss - Amway Independent Business Owners (formerly distributors) are not Amway. They operate they're own independent "franchises" if you will. When folk report on what they heard at an "Amway meeting" then they're nearly always reporting on what they heard at a meeting organized and run by some Amway IBO - not Amway.

    Amway itself actually has rules against the promotion of particular religious and political viewpoints in conjunction with the business, however it's legally very difficult for them to enforce those rules. If you listen to folk like Bill Britt, his "spoken word" etc type of approach would be, and has been, predictable very effective with the religious heartland. So it gets reinforced because as they build their network, it attracts more folk of the same viewpoint.

    But you wouldn't find me within a mile of it. I'm a militant atheist!

    Fortunately you also find Amway IBOs that are not militant evangelicals - and they run their businesses in a different manner. No religion, no politics - it's a business. And they attract others with similar philosophies, such as myself. As a business, the model is brilliant and actually quite "socialist" - it's open to anyone, no matter what their background.

    These groups of course operate "under the radar" since they're not pissing people off, they're not promoting particular political or religious idealogies, they're just getting on with it.

    But, as has happened here, we're all lumped in as "Amway". You have to realise that in the US alone there are around a million folk registered as Amway IBOs. There's dozens of folk who have built business similar in size to that of Britt and Yager - but you won't find a website about them, or lawsuits, or TV shows. They just get on with it as a business.

    Unfortunately, folk like Rick Ross and Steven Hassan have jumped on the anti-amway bandwagon, again, primarily addressing only one "line of sponsorship" within Amway. Hassan and Ross are self-promotors of the highest order. What they don't tell you is that the psychological models they espouse, such as Hassan's BITE model, is based on theories developed primarily by Margaret Singer, and Singer's theories have been explicitly disavowed by the American Psychological Association. Yet Hassan and Ross and some others have successfully promoted themselves, particularly on the internet, as "experts". Real experts will tell you their stuff is hogwash.

    Regarding the "domininionism" claims per se, this whole field seems to have had it's origins in an old Rolling Stones article. Amway got linked in to it primarly because of the family link with Erik Prince and Blackwater - however when you look in to it you discover the Amway families are actually quite modest typical Dutch Presbyterians. I've listened to and read many materials produced by the DeVos's and Van Andels and it has virtually no religious agenda at all. Indeed, their philosophies gel very nicely with a secular humanist like myself. They are christian and make no secret of that fact, and they are Republicans and also make no secret of that fact, but in 10 years involvement with the Amway Corporation I have never once felt uncomfortable as an atheist and a progressive.

    If I'd been introduced somewhere in the Britt/Yager organization, then it's likely that experience would have been somewhat different. What does this tell us? It's not Amway or the Amway families promoting these ideologies. So don't mix them up, and don't believe everything you read on the 'net - most if it makes the exact same "sampling errors" and errors of association that have been made in this diary.

    Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

    by icerat on Sat Jul 28, 2007 at 07:59:26 AM PDT

    •  I figured an apologist would make their way in :D (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, but I stand by my contentions:

      a) There are multiple, multiple reports of funding of dominionist causes by the DeVos Foundation--in fact, pretty much any group that has looked at dominionist corporate funding (including Media Matters for America) has found the DeVos Foundation consistently as a major funder of dominionism.

      For that matter, DeVos and leaders of three of the four major uplines in AmWay are co-owners with Salem Communications of Gospelcom.net and also operate a dominionist media company.

      b) It's not just Britt or Yager--in fact, no less than three of the four major uplines of AmWay are known to be heavily used as recruitment fronts for the Assemblies and other groups and are also known to heavily promote dominionism internally.  (I do acknowledge the possibility you may have been in the fourth upstream where there is less available evidence of promotion of dominionism.

      c) Multiple exit counselors have expressed grave concerns about the operation of AmWay BMOs in practice; in particular, Steven Hassan's BITE evaluation of Amway Motivational Organisations in general is particularly damning.  (Of note, Steven Hassan has acted as an exit counselor for multiple walkaways from Amway BMOs who were members of most of the major uplines.)

      d) Actually, Singer's methodology has not been completely disavowed by the APA.  There has been controversy (inspired in part by people who disagreed with the entire concept of thought reform)--however, more and more mainstream psychiatrists and psychologists are recognising that not only does thought reform exist, but it is potentially harmful.  (Nowadays, the reality of groups being abusive IS in general recognised; where psychiatrists and psychologists quibble is in the details of how it's harmful.)

      Of note, the supposed "rejection" of Singer's research also occured in an era where "recovered memory therapy" was fairly widely practiced by a subset of psychiatrists; it is now almost universally recognised that RMT is harmful (and it is now considered an ethics violation), and the RMT fiasco was a major wake-up call to the psychiatric community that coercive practices described in papers on "thought reform" were in fact possible.

      The level of sea change is in part indicated by discussions in regards to the next version of the Diagnostic Standard Manual (the very book of diagnoses that psychiatrists use); DSM-V is likely to include an entry for complex post-traumatic stress disorder, which by definition can be caused by both childhood abuse and involvement in coercive groups.  The very recognition of complex PTSD has been from psychiatrists and psychologists who have worked with walkaways from abusive groups.

      I rather doubt that a condition whose definition explicitly notes that it can be caused by involvement in abusive groups would be considered for inclusion in the DSM-V if there were major controversies over whether groups can be abusive :D

      Now, I'm not surprised that an AmWay apologist posted on here.  I actually rather expected it; I've had apologists for the "Left Behind" game (which promoted Joel's Army theology) respond to critical posts of mine on Talk to Action.  I'm also familiar with many of the points used to attack exit counseling groups; the Assemblies of God has in fact used many of these same arguments to avoid payouts to victims of involuntary exorcisms in court, as has Scientology.  I'd not be posting this info were it not peer reviewed. :3

      •  and the predictable "apologist" ad hominem ... (0+ / 0-)

        There's nothing to be an "apologist" for when the thesis is wrong in fact.

        For a start I believe there is 8 to 12 Amway "uplines". If I've got the history right, 8 from when Amway was formed in '59 and 4 more from when they finally bought out the rest of Nutrilite in the 70s.

        Who are the "four major uplines" regarding Gospel Communications? Yager/Britt/Wead for example, who've I've seen mentioned with regards Dominionism, are all part of the same line of sponsorship.

        So I suspect you don't even have your facts re "three out of four" straight.

        As it happens I'm a psychologist/sociologist. Singer's theories are rubbish. Hassan's BITE model is so indiscriminatory it can be applied to virtually any organization, and as such is useless. Even so, it doesn't apply very well to Amway as I've experienced it in multiple countries for nearly a decade. Could it apply to some groups within Amway? Sure - but then we'd be talking about those groups wouldn't we, not Amway.

        1.Regulation of individual's physical reality

        This is the step that mainstream researchers believe is necessary for true coercion rather than mere social influence. Even Hassan admits it doesn't apply to Amway.

        2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals

        Like what? I meet with my team once a week for a couple of hours to plan what we're doing. Not exactly a "major time committment" is it?

        3. Need to ask permission for major decisions

        Utter BS. Are some folk trying to operate that way? Perhaps. But that's them, not Amway. It certainly nothing DeVos or Van Andel ever promoted. I've never asked permission to decide anything. Never been told I should, and never told my downline I should.

        And the organization I work with is now the largest single Amway-affiliated organization in the world

        4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors

        Uh, yeah. We recommend getting advice. "Report"? Garbage. The examples he gives are so far from my experience as to be in orbit around Jupiter.

        5. Rewards and punishments

        Never heard of punishments. As for rewards - Duh. We create more business we make more money. Guilty as charged.

        6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails

        Again, complete BS. We're always looking for ways to improve what we do, and we are constantly improving. Got a good idea? I want to hear it.

        7.Rigid rules and regulations

        Having a business contract makes us a cult? Gimme a break. As for the "cardinal rules", again, they don't exist, at least in my decade-long experience working with Amway in multiple countries. There's some recommendations which make perfect business sense, but apart from the Amway contract, you do as you please. And that's exactly what the great majority do.

        8.Need for obedience and dependency

        Which refers back to the earlier point already debunked.

        Now, look at the BITE model and evaluate a sporting team, or a corporate environment, or even the university work environment I used to work in. All of them fit the BITE model much better than Amway does. Indeed, all of them fit the BITE model rather well! It's a useless model as it has virtually no discriminatory power. It allows anyone to decide that anything is a cult, purely on their own interpretation. It's crap in other words - and that's why few people in the field take it seriously.

        Wikipedia has a pretty good article on how the mainstream sees Singers theories (link)

        As for "complex PTSD" and "coercive groups" from what I've read it requires far far more immersion in a group environment than typically happens with Amway. We're talking relative isolation communes (ala Koresh) or at the very least an upbringing in similar such an environment.

        Finally on DeVos funding, anything I've ever read on that seems to be echo chamber stuff - the same things being repeated round and round and then everything being connected in a self-confirming conspiracy of assocation. Much like you're doing here - stating Amway is a coercive group. Backing it up because Steve Hassan says it's a coerceive group.  DSM-V may include a condition involving coerceive groups. Therefore Hassan's assertions are correct and Amway is a coercive group?

        It's false circular thinking which completely ignores the reality that there isn't "an Amway group". It's way way more heterogeneous than that. Are there groups that promote "word theology"? Sure. There's also Hindu groups and Muslim groups and Secular groups. Amway corporation does not impose any particular belief system on IBOs, and to do so is explicitly against the rules. Have they poorly policed that? Absolutely. But your thesis makes as much sense as saying the NFL is a dominionist front because lots of domionionsts go to the football.

        Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

        by icerat on Mon Jul 30, 2007 at 08:36:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In regards to your points. (0+ / 0-)

          a) It actually takes in some cases only a few months in an abusive environment (including an abusive AmWay BMO or coercive religious group) to start showing signs of complex PTSD--the one thing that is required is repeated incidents of abuse.  (Some of what our soldiers are going through now is both PTSD and complex PTSD.)

          b) AmWay uplines linked with dominionism include the very head.  As I have noted, DeVos himself is a major funder of dominionist causes, has run as a dominionist candidate, and this is documentable in many separate resources including by a former AmWay diamond and independent research by parties fighting dominionism; in addition, Media Transparency, Yurica Report and its report on the CNP, bioethics.net (in regards to the Terri Schiavo fiasco--turns out DeVos was a major funder of the dominionist groups opposed to Michael Schiavo), the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (in fact, they consider his role central to the modern dominionist movement), the  "original" anti-dominionist group Institute for First Amendment Studies (active in the 90's and dating far before the Rolling Stone article in question), an evangelical Christian critic of dominionist causes (which is also where the info on the Princes comes from), and so on.

          Sorry, but I'm seeing a lot of smoke, and where there's smoke...

          Three specific uplines and leaders linked to dominionism include Yager, Harteis, and Iboai (which cover a non-negligible part of AmWay's business operations).

          Even conservative evangelical Christians have expressed grave concern in regards to promotion of dominionism in AmWay BMOs; another site reports that no less than Focus on the Family has specifically promoted AmWay due to the latter's support of dominionist causes.  Even AmWay's Wikipedia page (which is the subject of almost constant "edit wars" between Amway supporters and critics) mentions the involvement of Amway's leaders in dominionist causes.

          Now, I realise I am probably not going to convince you. You're already in it, you're probably receiving a lot of the spin.  (I learned that particular lesson about not banging my head against a brick wall dealing with my own mother the God Warrior. :D)  I know I'm not going to convince everyone.  I'm okay with this.  I'm at peace with this.

          What I am saying--and sorry if this hurts your sales and all, but I do feel I have a moral duty on this--is that people should frankly be aware on what the hell their money is ultimately going towards when they buy products from AmWay.  Most of the uplines in the US are abusive, and AmWay (both on an upline level and at a corporate level--let me emphasize that last part) is a heavy funder of dominionist causes.  I think people should have the right to choose not to do business with corporate sponsors of dominionism. Caveat emptor and all that. :3

          At any rate, I bid you peace, and I'll continue with my series on the dominionist parallel economy.

          •  oh dear .... (0+ / 0-)

            (a) are you seriously suggesting that attending a few meetings, perhaps 10 hours or so a month is equivalent to what soldiers go through in a war zone? Are you insane?

            (b) You don't even have your facts right here. Scheibler is not a Former Amway Diamond, he's a former Emerald. As for all the DeVos dominionist funding stuff - (1) all of those articles repeat the same things, it's not separate research and (2) even if true so what? He doesn't impose his beliefs on Amway IBOs.

            As for the "three uplines", again you're showing your lack of knowledge. Harteis is downline of Yager - that's one line. The IBOAI is the IBO Association International, pretty much an IBO union. It's elected ever year and the IBO reps. change. It isn't an "upline" of anyone and doesn't promote anything, it represents IBOs with the corporation. No idea where you got that extremely weird claim from.

            Then you quote wikipedia, which in that section all just repeats the same echo chamber stuff as above.

            So everything you claim boils down to only two claims -

            DeVos supports dominionist causes, and from what I read that case is pretty much solely based on past support for Dobson.

            One line of sponsorship (Yager, Harteis, and Scheibeler are all part of the same line) out of 8-12 lines of sponsorship apparently supports dominionism.

            Every single reference I can find refers to that SAME line of sponsorship.

            Yet from that you generalize to the entire of Amway.

            Tenuous to say the least.

            But you know what? By far the majority of profit when somebody buys an Amway product goes to the Independent Business Owners. If you buy Amway products off me or my organization, well, we're mostly secular progressives.

            So if we spend our money on support causes, that's the areas it would go to.

            Finally to address one last comment - "You're already in it, you're probably receiving a lot of the spin."

            Spin about what? In nearly a decade operating in multiple Amway markets I have never heard promotion of ANY religious philosophies from the organization I work with, let alone promotion of Dominionist theory.

            How is something "spun" when it's not even a topic of conversation? This is typical of the response I get from virtually all "critics". I provide facts, I provide my experience, and all they respond with is along the lines of "you're brainwashed".

            I've pointed out numerous absolute errors of fact in your claims and "knowledge". How much is else is wrong?

            Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

            by icerat on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 03:26:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You've not got a clue, but we forgive you anyways (0+ / 0-)
              1. Firstly, people who have reported abusive tactics in Amway uplines note it is far, far more than "just a few meetings a month".
              1. You have still not addressed my original, major point of the post--namely, that not only Richard DeVos but the entire DeVos clan, as well as many of the leaders of AmWay uplines, are in fact dominionists and support dominionist causes.  (And again, this isn't just stuff in "Rolling Stone"--NBC investigative reports and Institute for First Amendment Studies started reporting on this all the way back in the 90's, and Sara Diamond's "Spiritual Warfare" (which covers the history of dominionist movements in the 50's through 90's) also notes it.  In fact, too many separate sources note it.)
              1. If the IBO union is one of the groups promoting dominionism (and again, this has been documented by multiple walkaways from AmWay), this is even more serious.
              1. No offense, but I figure that active support including financial support of a movement whose ultimate goal is to take over the country and convert it to a theocracy--a movement where members regularly talk about committing genocide against LGBT people and non-dominionists when they get the chance to "name and claim" the planet--that, in and of itself, is sufficient reason for me to avoid that company like the plague.

              For that matter, I do not shop at Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby, and do my damndest to avoid companies listed in "Shepherd's Pages" type directories.  Honestly, it's nothing personal. :3

              It's interesting that you complain about AmWay IBOs being considerd as coercive groups without addressing the major thing I was noting on in my post--namely, the extensive corporate sponsorship of AmWay and its leaders of dominionist groups.  (The only rebuttal you gave at all was a claim that an article at Rolling Stone was the original source--something that I've already proven false (the original source was probably Sara Diamond and/or IFAS, both of which predate the Rolling Stone article considerably).  In fact, the fact that Dick DeVos' in-laws are on the board of Focus on the Family isn't even common knowledge among most researchers--I got that info from FotF's own form 990 when doing research on tax irregularities by that group.)

              If the abusive IBOs cleaned up their act re coercive tactics, that would still not change the major problem with AmWay--namely, every time someone joins AmWay or buys stuff from AmWay, they are directly supporting the coffers of the dominionist movement and thus actively funding the destruction of democracy in the US and worldwide.  (You didn't think the US was the only country with dominionist problems, did you?)

              I've documented why I feel AmWay is a corporate sponsor of dominionism (with info from multiple sources, who came at this independently--IFAS actually did the initial research on the Council for National Policy back in the early 90's) with references.  I don't expect you to necessarily believe this; I don't expect people to accept this at face value (which is why I tend to document the living hell out of my posts).  

              At any rate, I'm not sure it's productive continuing this conversation.  I have my opinion (backed up by evidence that I personally consider trustworthy); you have yours.  It's obvious we aren't going to agree on this.  (I will say I have seen this sort of thing in other forums where debates have occured between critics and supporters of potentially coercive groups, but that's neither here nor there.)  I have other stuff to do--namely, finish getting the new J-Pole antenna up and writing on dominionist radio networks; my schedule, unfortunately, does not include a slot for rehashing a debate on whether coercive groups exist at all and whether AmWay IMOs in general qualify (for those who do consider thought reform to exist, most consider the AmWay IBO setups in practice abusive; for those who don't, they of course are going to have quibbles; you've made it rather abundantly obvious you are in the second category, and being a survivor of a coercive group I am firmly in the first, and it's rather obvious we aren't going to agree on this :D).

              At any rate, I do bid you peace.  I will, of course, continue to warn people worried about funding dominionism not to buy from AmWay (sorry, but I don't even drink Coors because of the Coors Foundation's support of the CNP, and they're more on the neocon end than the dominionist end of things--this is completely aside from Coors in general being much like having sex in a canoe, namely, f*cking near water).  I do hope you don't ever have the misfortune of ending up in an abusive IMO.

              •  Are you sure you've read Sara Diamond? (0+ / 0-)

                  1.  Firstly, people who have reported abusive tactics in Amway uplines note it is far, far more than "just a few meetings a month".

                Not in any Amway organization I'm familiar with. It's part-time business remember, most folks have jobs to go to.

                Now, a question for you - you say "people who have reported abusive tactics". By my estimation there have been over 10,000,000 folk involved with Amway over the years in the United States alone.

                What's the percentage of folk who have made such reports?

                How can you extrapolate to all based on such a ridiculous small percentage?

                How can you extrapolate to all based upon such a biased sample?

                I have researched this stuff, and is indicated earlier - virtually every person complaining about such things comes from the same organization - just one of many. Use a bit of basic logic man!

                  2. You have still not addressed my original, major point of the post--namely, that not only Richard DeVos but the entire DeVos clan, as well as many of the leaders of AmWay uplines, are in fact dominionists and support dominionist causes.  (And again, this isn't just stuff in "Rolling Stone"--NBC investigative reports and Institute for First Amendment Studies started reporting on this all the way back in the 90's, and Sara Diamond's "Spiritual Warfare" (which covers the history of dominionist movements in the 50's through 90's) also notes it.  In fact, too many separate sources note it.)

                I haven't seen all of those sources, but when I did investigate these claims I found they were not separate sources. They fed of each other. The only supporting evidence I found was support of Dobson's church, and that's frankly pretty weak evidence.

                  3. If the IBO union is one of the groups promoting dominionism (and again, this has been documented by multiple walkaways from AmWay), this is even more serious.

                Provide some evidence for this please. In a decade I've never heard the IBOAI promote anything much. Well, some books on helping with taxes. Substantiate the claim please.

                 4. No offense, but I figure that active support including financial support of a movement whose ultimate goal is to take over the country and convert it to a theocracy--a movement where members regularly talk about committing genocide against LGBT people and non-dominionists when they get the chance to "name and claim" the planet--that, in and of itself, is sufficient reason for me to avoid that company like the plague.

                Sure, but I don't believe the claim is true. It holds less water than Whitewater.

                Heck, I just found an article by Sara Diamond, whom I hadn't previously read and you claim backs this whole thing. What does she say?

                Liberals' writing about the Christian Right's take-over plans has generally taken the form of conspiracy theory. Instead of analyzing the subtle ways in which political ideas take hold within movements and why, the liberal conspiracy theorists use a guilt-by-association technique that goes like this: We know that a particular Christian Right author or activist has advocated bad ideas, like killing queers or forming armed militias. Then we look to see who else appears in proximity to the offender on organizational letterhead stationary or on the speakers list at movement conferences. This approach may indicate the degree of tolerance of extremist views within a given network of the broader Christian Right movement. But the approach implies that ideas are somehow contagious: If someone serves on a board of advisors with someone else, they must think similarly and therefore be likely to behave similarly. This is the approach the Right has used to red-bait the civil rights movement, the New Left and, recently, the environmental movement.

                (source)

                That article is over a decade old, but it perfectly embodies what you are doing here.

                Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

                by icerat on Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 05:44:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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