On Friday, news reports started coming out to the effect that Hillary Clinton may be a member of a cell-church group run by the secretive "Family" nee "Fellowship" org; as the import of this is underappreciated by most (even by some researchers into dominionism), I posted a diagram of how cell groups work in "The Family".
There are actually a number of reasons--besides the obvious--why it should be a matter of concern that Hillary Clinton would appear to have been recruited into a religious pyramid scheme with strong political aspirations. One reason I am gravely concerned for her right now is info I've dug up on the other reported members of her "cell church"--almost all of whom have strong history with dominionists...and it doesn't help that Hillary has also made some statements that point to her possible involvement in something very dangerous.
(An aside: For those unfamiliar with "cell church" groups--religious pyramid schemes that also have a very unhealthy tendency towards "Big Brother" activities that are used as a major tool in both recruitment and setting up "cuckoo congregations" in mainstream churches and political groups--please see my previous article on "The Family" and articles I've done in past on cell churches in practice.)
Hillary's fellow travellers in "The Family"--something to be concerned about
A glimpse on just why the concept of Hillary Clinton being in an actual Family "cell" (rather than merely attending the National Prayer Breakfast) is deeply concerning can be had in an article Jeff Sharlet has written for Mother Jones which may have been the first to report on the cell group in question:
When Clinton first came to Washington in 1993, one of her first steps was to join a Bible study group. For the next eight years, she regularly met with a Christian "cell" whose members included Susan Baker, wife of Bush consigliere James Baker; Joanne Kemp, wife of conservative icon Jack Kemp; Eileen Bakke, wife of Dennis Bakke, a leader in the anti-union Christian management movement; and Grace Nelson, the wife of Senator Bill Nelson, a conservative Florida Democrat.
Here's a brief dossier on each of the members:
Susan Baker may not be all that familiar a name to modern audiences, but those of us following anti-censorship initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s remember her quite well--Susan Baker and Tipper Gore were the co-founders of the infamous Parent's Music Resource Council, a pro-censorship group that actively tried to get the entire musical libraries of certain artists banned. (Few people remember the PMRC wasn't originally pushing for the infamous "Tipper Stickers"--they wanted a ban, a complete ban, on distribution of certain artists and even after "Tipper Stickers" were widely adopted by the music industry attempted to have laws passed banning sales of "Tipper Stickered" albums to under-18s. "Tipper Stickers" actually came about as a compromise.)
Folks who are children of the 80s may well remember the PMRC ranting against Twisted Sister and 2 Live Crew. Less remembered, save among anti-censorship activists--and considerably less reported--is the fact that the PMRC was a major promoter of "Satanic Panic" and even funneled kids (who were unlucky enough to have censorious parents discover their collection of Metallica or Mötley Crüe albums) to one of the earlier and more infamous "Bible boot camps" in the dominionist "parallel economy" to legit mental health services (and in fact, the latter-day version of the infamous Love In Action/Refuge center recently shut down in Tennessee).
PMRC would often claim that "shock rock" artists such as Alice Cooper were active Satanists (amusing, since it's now widely known that Cooper is a Sunday school teacher at a Presbyterian church); as part of their promotion of "Satanic Panic", PMRC would actively promote a highly abusive "Bible boot camp" run by "deliverance ministry" promoter Bob Larson--the infamous "Back In Control Training Center"--in fact, rather extensively promoted, as documented in Dave Marsh's "Fifty Ways to Fight Censorship", documentation from the anti-censorship group Rock Out Censorship, and none less than Jello Biafra who was a very frequent target of the PMRC's wrath:
O for occult. Who is going to define what that is? In his first spoken word album, No More Cocoons, Eric Reed Boucher (who I will refer to by his stage name, Jello Biafra) notes one of the groups endorsed by the PMRC, called the Back in Control training center. This group was run by several Orange County based police officers, who among other things, published the Punk and Heavy Metal Handbook, which was sent out to police departments & parents alike. Among their list of occult related items and symbols were the following: black t-shirts, eagles (our national symbol), graffiti placed under bridges & in flood wash channels (in order to be closer to Hell and the devil), the Ozzy logo, the peace symbol (on the grounds that it is an upside down crucifix with arms broken to mock Christianity), and one of the most disturbing parts of this list, the Jewish Star of David. There is also a clip on Youtube titled "An Inconvenient Douche" from the early 90's when both Jello Biafra and Tipper Gore appeared on Oprah, where Biafra points these out as well.
"Back In Control" promised to "de-metal" and "de-rap" kids (just as "reparative therapy" groups promise to "de-gay" kids) and used almost identical tactics; Larson's facility promoted things like the claim that peace signs were "satanic symbols" and was a major promoter of the "Satanic Panic" which ended up ruining hundreds of people's lives due to false claims of "satanic abuse". An article from Kerr Cuhulain's "Witch Hunts" series (which is an expose of promoters of "Satanic Panic") details some of the FUD that "Back In Control" used to promote whilst in operation:
Another of the disturbing themes of America's Best Kept Secret is the idea that only Christian law enforcement personnel should be investigating "occult crime." "The law enforcement system in general is neither prepared nor equipped to handle the increasing amount of Satanic and occult-related crime in the US," Frattarola warns us, "Aside from Darlyne Pettinicchio, Sandi Gallanta (sic) in San Francisco, Dale Griffisss (sic) in Tiffin, Ohio, and an handful of other police officers around the country, law enforcement officials are frantically playing catch up."(47) Frattarola then quotes Sergeant Randy Emon extensively.
Frattarola's report was written before Emon re-examined the evidence and publicly recanted. Pettinichio, a deputy probation officer, is the founder of the Back In Control Training Center in Orange, California. She and her partner Greg Bodenhammer teach that heavy metal music turns juveniles into suicidal Satanists. Griffis is a retired police officer who set himself up as an "occult crime expert" and is a major disseminator of urban legends concerning Satanic crime. Sandy Gallant definitely has an interest in this subject but is well aware of the difference between Pagans and Satanists. Frattarola drops Gallant's name in America's Best Kept Secret but does not quote her or otherwise mention her. That Frattarola has misspelled Gallant's name is an indication that he doesn't know her very well. I have no concerns about Gallant or Emon.
Much of the rest of America's Best Kept Secret is a rant bemoaning the lack of evidence and support for Frattarola's beliefs.
The last two pages of the "Special Report" express the view of the Calvary Chapel that "The United States as a nation, has turned its back on God and as a result, has opened the door to, and even encourages Satanic activity by acting in bold defiance to the ways of God, dabbling in a practising things God's Word expressly forbids."(48) This is a common theme in works of this sort which exposes the purpose of such literature. It is intended to create the impression that Satanic cults are a widespread problem and responsible for many of the ills of society. At the same time it offers membership in the Church and persecution of non-Christian beliefs as viable solutions to this "problem".
(The latter is in reference to a "Special Report" given to police departments claiming that hundreds of secretive diabolist cabals have been found in the US and were operating large-scale murder and child-rape rings. No reliable evidence of this has ever been found; in fact, the only reliable evidence of any form of systematic, organised religiously motivated child abuse of any sort has to a whole been centered in the dominionist community.)
Another example of "Back In Control" FUD is here:
Some suggest that they should be "de-punked" and "de-metaled" before it's too late. More than 150 parents, teachers, probation officers, psychiatrists and police turned out for an all-day conference in Pasadena earlier this month to discuss the potentially evil effects of the punk and heavy metal culture. Punk and heavy metal paraphenalia was passed around. Chilling stories were told, like the one about the 15-year old "heavy metaler" who smashed all the furniture in his parents' house and beat his mother about the face. A videotape called "Spikes and Studs" was also played showing young women tearing away their clothes and offering theirbodies to the musicians. (Ed. note: As far as the women offering their bodies goes, remember, they did that to Frank Sinatra, too.)
Titled "Sound and Fury," the conference--one of the first to be held on the punk-metal phenomenon--was sponsored by the Back In Control Training Center in Fullerton, which was started up recently by two former Orange County probabation officers to teach parents what to look for and how to get tough with their children. For center directors Greg Bodenhamer and Darlyne Pettinicchio, punk and heavy metal--particularly metal--is public enemy number 1. They maintain there is a direct link between the aggressive music and lifestyle, and teenage suicide, homicide and self-inflected wounds. "These kids have been totally brainwashed by this stuff. They've got to be de-punked and de-metalized," Bodenhamer said.
He and Pettinicchio point to some well-publicized cases over the past year: Last October, 14 year-old Jennifer Newton was sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing and bludgeoning her mother to death in Fullerton. Prosecutors said Newton and her boyfriend were absorbed with heavy metal music. Last August, two teenage San Bernadino boys, described by authorities as "into the heavy metal scene," were accused of murdering a 15-year old boy who was shackled to a heavy milk crate near his home. In January, one 14 year-old boy was found by his parents bleeding in his Santa Monica bedroom after he sliced his knuckles and scrawled a giant "A" for anarchy on the wall. He survived.
Not everyone shares the somewhat alarming position that surfaced at the Pasadena conference. "I really don't think they're any big threat," Los Angeles Police Detective Harry Andrews said. "Sure, we arrest a few of them for dangerous weopons like attaching spikes on their hands. But, really, you know, people thought we were crazy too (in the 60's)."
(Yes, in certain households, it could actually be dangerous to be a metalhead--you risked being sent to a coercive center which practiced thought-reform tactics, a literal "Jesus gulag", if they found your music stash. I got very, very good at hiding my record and tape collection, needless to say!)
Much of the propoganda used for involuntary internment of metal fans to "Back In Control's" facility is almost, word-for-word, identical to the hate speech used nowadays against LGBT people. The book "Sound Of The Beast" (a history of heavy metal in the US, including the attempts to censor metal in the 80s), also has a few interesting details:
Through the feeding cycle of misinformation, heavy metal became targeted as a problem, and broadly inaccurate propoganda soon became probable cause to detain and search any high-schooler in a Ratt T-shirt. Companies like the Back In Control Training Center explicitly advertised their expertise in cult deprogramming techniques (not legit exit counseling--dogemperor) to "de-punk" or "de-metal" troubled teens and bring them in line with fundamentalist Christian beliefs. "Once kids become part of the heavy metal or punk culture," said Back In Control's founder in the book The Satan Hunter, "there is an attitude they frequently pass on to the parents: 'I'm going to do what I want, the hell with you, leave me alone,' and with the metallers, in particular, better than 90 percent are involved with drugs."
(Of note, the series "Witch Hunts" has an extensive debunking of "The Satan Hunter".)
As it turns out, I'm not the only one who sees the resemblance to "de-gaying" (and, for that matter, the entire coercive "Bible boot-camp" industry, which largely got its start with "de-metaling" and "de-punking" centers). No less than the book "Taboo Tunes" (a history of attempts at censorship of music due to "moral panics") also made that direct comparison:
...in an approach similar to that employed by those who have established treatment programs in order to "cure" homosexuals by retraining them, various organizations (like the Back In Control Training Center based in Orange, CA) were founded as "de-punking/de-metalizing" brainwashing centers in the 1980s.
In fact, Susan Baker was effectively the dominionist liason for PMRC in practice--and throughout Baker's term as PMRC co-leader (the group is now operated by Barbara Wyatt), the PMRC not only actively partnered with dominionist groups but became increasingly dominionist in and of itself:
Also disturbing are their connections with the Religious Right and other blatantly pro-censorship forces. For example, Susan Baker has said that "God calls me to be his instrument," and frequently arranges prayer meetings for the Washington power elite, commenting that her goal in life is to "live out the gospel." She also sits on the board of James Dobson's Focus On The Family, which openly favors censorship, going so far as to denounce Calvin Klein ads as "explicit and deviant."
It's also come out that Tipper Gore has, on at least one occasion, been invited to speak at an Eagle Forum dinner. The Eagle Forum, created by Phyllis Schlafly, is one of the largest anti-feminist, pro-life, anti-gay and ultimately anti-free speech organizations in America, which makes one wonder about Tipper's portrayal as a progressive, pro-choice feminist.
Oh, yes, there's that, too--Susan Baker was a known FotF board member as of 1992 (the date of the Rock Out Censorship article in question), though she isn't listed as of 2005. But during its period of maximum influence, the PMRC effectively operated as a frontgroup of none other than Focus On The Family--who did a lot of their early recruitment through PMRC newsletters.
Joanne Kemp also tends to lean dominionist (subtly noting that the only people she really considers to be "Christian" are "born-again Christians"--code in dominionist circles for fellow dominionists):
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: How would you describe the role of religion in your lives now?
JOANNE KEMP: I would say our faith is very important to me and to all of our family, which is, you know, it's a great joy to see our grown children putting faith central in their lives as well. And so we have a very faith-based family.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Are you a born again Christian?
JOANNE KEMP: Well, I consider that to be like stuttering. I'm Christian. That's like if you say born again, that's a Christian.
(And you better believe this is code. Generally, dominionists--especially neopentecostal dominionists and members of steeplejacked churches--don't consider Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or even members of a lot of mainstream churches truly "born again". In fact, in neopente circles, "born again" has a very specific meaning--namely, someone who has received "baptism in the Holy Spirit" and is speaking in tongues or otherwise "manifesting".)
In fact, Mrs. Kemp "leans dominionist" so much that she is on the board of directors of one of the major promoters of "faith-based coercion" in our prison system--Chuck Colson's "Prison Fellowship Ministries", recently banned from use in state prisons throughout the state of Iowa.
And yes, there's a very specific reason the US District Court roughly 140 pages of "No, you can't set up a neopentecostal tent revival in the prison system with taxpayer funds. Not Yours", too.
Stunts like this:
While these universal, civic values can logically be separated from the biblical context in which they are presented, the intensive, indoctrinating Christian language and practice that makes up the InnerChange program effectively precludes non-Evangelical Christian inmates from participating.Plaintiff-inmate Jerry Dean Ashburn ("Ashburn"), a self-described Reorganized Latter Day Saint, testified that, based on the reading of some of InnerChange's materials, he would not be comfortable joining the program. Plaintiff-inmate Bilal Shukr (a.k.a. Bobby Shelton) ("Shukr"), a Sunni Muslim, also read portions of the InnerChange curriculum and visited with the ISP chaplain to investigate whether InnerChange would be appropriate for him. The chaplain, a Dept. of Corrections employee, informed Shukr that the curriculum was strictly Christian-based and there were no opportunities for interfaith study in the program because there was no interfaith curriculum. Shukr testified that, as a Muslim, the teaching of the Bible was very important. What he could not countenance, as a Muslim, was that he would be in groups in which prayers would be offered to Jesus Christ as a deity, as God's son--something the strictly monotheistic religion of Islam would abhor. Shukr put it this way:
[T]here was no possibility for me, as a Sunni Muslim, to partake in that program without desecrating my faith, without me blaspheming God. We believe there's only one God, and he doesn't have any sons or daughters or partners. He's the supreme ruler over all mankind, and we are all brothers and sisters under one God. For me to embrace any type of curriculum contrary to that, I would be desecrating my faith.
Trial Tr. at 163. There are no similar community-based programs like InnerChange based on an Islamic model. For instance, while the Dept. of Corrections allows individual Muslim inmates to observe aspects of the holy season of Ramadan, there are no communal observations of Ramadan.
This fact, along with his other post-9/11 experiences of racial prejudice, Shukr testified, "just added fuel to the fire, mak[ing] it appear as though the state of Iowa has a partiality toward Christian-based programs, and not faiths of different sorts." Trial Tr. at 166. Inmate Troy Dewayne Redd ("Redd"), also a Sunni Muslim, keeps his faith through praying five times a day, making regular fasts, and attending Friday evening prayer service. For Redd, the act of joining InnerChange would be blasphemy--to do so a person "would have committed a sin against Allah, God." Trial Tr. at 292. InnerChange's own materials cast aspersions on non-Evangelical Christian faith groups.31 The Court found very credible Kevin Watson's testimony when he stated that, as a member of the Nation of Islam, he could not join InnerChange without compromising his faith. Indeed, Watson's Dept. of Corrections counselor informed Watson that InnerChange would probably not be for him.32
Likewise, Dept. of Corrections inmate Glendale More, Jr. ("More"), a member of the Lubavitch Jewish faith, practices his faith by not shaving his beard, wearing a yarmulke (although not yet allowed at the Newton Facility), performing mitzvahs, and staying kosher during high holy days (he pays for all his own kosher meals), praying, and staying in contact with his rabbis. To join a group praying to and worshiping Jesus Christ, as required by InnerChange, would violate his religious faith. The Court found credible the testimony of witnesses who stated that non-religious persons were often characterized by InnerChange staff as "unsaved," "lost," "pagan," those "who served the flesh," "of Satan," "sinful," and "of darkness." Native American inmates who enroll in InnerChange face obstacles as well. Benjamin Burens, a Native American Dept. of Corrections inmate, characterized his religious life as living the sweat lodge ways everyday. He does not believe Jesus Christ is God and does not use the Bible. Like many Native American prisoners, Burens participates in the sweat lodge ceremony on a regular basis. The costs of the sweat lodge materials--rocks, wood, etc.--are paid by those inmates who participate. While InnerChange has provided permission to the few Native American participants in the program to practice the sweat lodge ceremony, InnerChange makes clear that a non-Christian religious observance is not considered part of the InnerChange treatment program and may only be done at InnerChange's discretion. The Court found credible Burens' testimony that, during one-onone sessions with an InnerChange teacher, Burens was asked whether he was saved, whether he was a Christian, and whether he believed in Jesus. Trial Tr. at 758-59. Burens was also asked "what was I doing going out there to the sweat lodge ceremony." Id. at 759. Burens was told the sweat lodge ceremony was basically a form of witchcraft, against the Bible, sorcery, and worship of false idols. The InnerChange Field Guide in use during the time Burens was in the program stated: "As you are transformed into the image of Christ, you have more and more integrity." Pls.' Ex. 74. Not surprisingly, Burens did not last in the InnerChange program. The listed reasons for Burens' expulsion from InnerChange were that, because Burens received a visitor on a Friday, he missed a Friday revival by twenty minutes; that Burens was not growing spiritually; and that he did not "step up" in the community meetings, i.e., he did not fully participate in the services, instead remaining seated while others shows their involvement by singing songs, standing, and raising hands. Trial Tr. at 762-63.
One factor was definitely the promotion of Scientology-esque deliverance ministry, up to and including distributing the "deliverance ministry" manual "Bondage Breaker" as required reading.
Another factor was the fact prisoners had to attend mandatory revival meetings in order to be considered "participating"--and could not only have privileges removed (Prison Fellowship Ministries participants were given preferential housing and privs) but subject to sanctions for failure to complete a drug treatment plan--and, alas, Prison Fellowship Ministries' "InnerChange" (which had been promoted falsely to the Department of Corrections as ecumenical) was the only "drug treatment plan" available (no Rational Recovery, no visits by imams or rebbes or Native American traditional religious authorities).
Oh, and another major factor why it was shut down--a study by the court found the program didn't work and actually had worse recidivism than no treatment at all.
Eileen Bakke is not as familiar as a name to most folks--Bakke (and her husband) are best known now for "charter school" initiatives, but both parties are also the heads of a dominionist grant program known as the Mustard Seed Foundation.
As amazing as it sounds, the very name of the org is a codeword--specifically, the name comes from a very selective quoting of Mark 4 (the story in which Jesus exhorts people to listen, comparing good words of God to tiny mustard seeds that grow into big things), specifically Mark 4:30-32:
 And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?
 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;
 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."
(Revised Standard Version)
A much more common "selective quoting" involving mustard seeds--and one which is backhandedly referred to on the main website for Mustard Seed Foundation--is used in "name it and claim it" circles, where it's claimed that God's blessing is to be given to people who "have faith as a mustard seed" (and in fact it has been known, as a method of soliciting funds above and beyond normal tithes of ten percent, to distribute mustard seeds in neopentecostal dominionist churches--in fact, the actual term "seed faith offering" for "tithes" of thirty to fifty percent of pre-tax income comes directly from this misuse of the parable of the mustard seed).
Mustard Seed Foundation is almost entirely a grant program targeted at neopentecostal dominionist churches (including a "Messianic Jewish" congregation); there is also apparently a scholarship program in place for students attending dominionist colleges.
As for their finances, they do seem to be more open, but even their disclosure gives much reason to worry--a good portion of their efforts are primarily aimed at conversion of other "people of the book" (including not only Jewish and Moslem people, but mainstream Christians (especially Roman Catholics) as well), and practically all of the grants and grant programs they have participated in have been for neopente dominionist church programs (including multiple grants to Assemblies and "Assemblies daughter" churches worldwide, so much that "Mustard Seed Foundation" can be genuinely seen as a funding-front for the Assemblies in unusually blatant manner). Their "theological grants" are given entirely to international "ordination mills"--not one organisation in North America or Western Europe are grant recipients (probably because of strict legal requirements).
The Bakkes also promote dominionist "Christian business" schemes extensively, including at seminars; their fortune has been primarily in the energy market, as Dennis Bakke was a former CEO of major international energy company AES.
As for their charter schools, it would appear the owners have taken great pains to hide...well...*everything* of note that could point to a dominionist origin. The only state Imagine operates charter schools in is Arizona.
However...following the link to Dennis Bakke's homepage starts hitting paydirt. In a remarkably similar manner to how Bill Gothard uses "secularised" versions of his material to recruit folks to the religious (and highly coercive) core group, Bakke uses a somewhat sanitized book called "Joy At Work" to lead people to his religious page.
The excerpts from the "Joy At Work Bible Study Companion" are particularly telling. The excerpts (which are a little extensive for me to extensively quote here, so my apologies for referring you to the page) pretty much state that he actively sees the "Saved" as "God's stewards" or "God's regents"--terminology that has been used in both Christian Reconstructionism and "Joel's Army"/"Joshua Generation" theology; some of the phrasing indicates he may lean towards the "Joel's Army" version, with some subtle references to "fivefold ministry" (and not-so-subtle references to explicitly using the nonprofit sector as a bait-and-switch evangelism front).
The wedding of neoconservative hypercapitalism and dominion theology is so close, in fact, that Dennis Bakke pretty much stated in Christianity Today that God wants people to set up "cell" structures of "covering" in businesses:
A lot of Christians say to me, "This is just a management style." I think giving up power, sharing power, and allowing people to make decisions is just part of how God made us. Obviously, out in the secular world, it's an option. But I don't think we as Christians have an option. We do not have an option to control everybody's life. We do not have an option to take over all the important decisions. At least that's how I read the Parable of the Talents. And in Genesis I read that bosses were not supposed to be the ones making all the decisions. In fact, I don't think management is a really good thing. You manage systems and you manage money, but people ought to be led.
(He also explicitly refers to the Parable of the Talents elsewhere as apparently being a Biblical mandate for bosses to delegate duties; in truth, the Parable of the Talents was an admonition to not squander one's gifts but to grow them.)
In the same article, he advocates not only setting up front businesses for charity (rather than having them be run directly by a church) but also advocates having dominionist churches explicitly target CEOs and the like:
What should be the local church's relationship to the business world?
We prize lifestyle and workplace evangelism as being very important, which they are. But God cares just as much about the economics. When was the last time your church prayed to commission the carpenter or an executive?
I don't think churches should run social services or businesses. They shouldn't own clothing stores to serve the community or run food pantries. Churches are usually terrible at running them. They're not economically sustainable, and they don't really help the poor as much as if you just had a really good business. Churches should send their people out to start businesses to serve people's needs.
The church does not pay much attention to the mission we have to steward resources and to meet needs in the world and, along the way, meet our own needs. The pastor ought to be figuring out how we are going to equip somebody to go be the president of AES or the secretary at AES. And how you're equipping them is not teaching them the skills. Your mission is just like Daniel's mission and Joseph's mission, and you ought to be doing it as unto the Lord. This is not primarily for evangelism, but for delivering services to others. You are there to do the stewardship mission, the Genesis mission. As a church, we're all called to both discipleship and stewardship.
Of particular interest--the "sanitized" book is promoted both by Bill Clinton and by Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries, possibly giving a bit of a clue as to whom may be the "shepherd" in the cell.
Grace Nelson is probably the only notable cypher as far as dominionist connections go in that list--I expect she, like Hillary, may well be in the process of being "shepherded".
And quite interestingly, Mrs. Nelson was also the only person in the cell willing to give a statement regarding what goes on there.
Sharlet's article notes Mrs. Nelson's commentary:
We contacted all of Clinton's Fellowship cell mates, but only one agreed to speak—though she stressed that there's much she's not "at liberty" to reveal. Grace Nelson used to be the organizer of the Florida Governor's Prayer Breakfast, which makes her a piety broker in Florida politics—she would decide who could share the head table with Jeb Bush. Clinton's prayer cell was tight-knit, according to Nelson, who recalled that one of her conservative prayer partners was at first loath to pray for the first lady, but learned to "love Hillary as much as any of us love Hillary." Cells like these, Nelson added, exist in "parliaments all over the world," with all welcome so long as they submit to "the person of Jesus" as the source of their power.
Throughout her time at the White House, Clinton writes in Living History, she took solace from "daily scriptures" sent to her by her Fellowship prayer cell, along with Coe's assurances that she was right where God wanted her. (Clinton's sense of divine guidance has been noted by others: Bishop Richard Wilke, who presided over the United Methodist Church of Arkansas during her years in Little Rock, told us, "If I asked Hillary, 'What does the Lord want you to do?' she would say, 'I think I'm called by the Lord to be in public service at whatever level he wants me.'")
In other words, even Mrs. Nelson has (more subtle) dominionist connections--with the Florida equivalent of the "National Prayer Breakfast", specifically picking who'd get recruited on as "Family" state contacts.
And possible signs of influence--or why I'm worried about what Hillary's gotten into
Another thing notable in the Jeff Sharlet article is a particular bit of phrasing from Clinton that is ringing major alarm bells for me in regard to her potential level of involvement--and what may well be going on in her "cell group":
After a glancing shot at Republican "pharisees," Clinton explained that, of course, her "very serious" grounding in faith had helped her weather the affair. But she had also relied on the "extended faith family" that came to her aid, "people whom I knew who were literally praying for me in prayer chains, who were prayer warriors for me."
This could be bad. Very bad.
For one, I have never, never ever ever, heard the phrases "prayer warriors" or "prayer chains" outside of a neopentecostal dominionist context. You don't even hear that stuff in SBC churches unless they are under heavy neopente influence.
In fact, there's only one place I've ever heard the term "prayer warrior"--within Joel's Army/Joshua Generation circles.
Lest I be accused of paranoia, I did a Google search for "prayer warrior" as a reality check just to be sure the PTSD wasn't flaring.
I'm afraid it wasn't just the PTSD. Link after link after link after link in the Google search goes to various "Joel's Army" promoters--with one of the very few exceptions being a link to books published by the SBC's Lifeway; the SBC itself is becoming positively infested with "Joel's Army" promotion, sadly, so this doesn't really make it mainstream. The search for "Prayer chain" (which is just a linked network of "prayer warriors") was a little less worrying, but not by much.
One of the more disturbing links--and I think this should be a telling summary of the entire concept--is a link to the website of the infamous "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" game (a Starcraft-esque tactical RPG fictionalisation of Joel's Army/Joshua Generation endtime theology where you get points both for converting people--and for killing "sinners" who won't convert); apparently there is a "prayer warrior" class in the game that gives bonuses for conversion.
Another telling link as to the reality of "prayer warriors" is the story of a walkaway and survivor of involuntary exorcism who eventually had to break off almost all relations with his family (who are neopentecostal dominionists) after daring to come out as a gay man.
The very term "prayer warrior" seems to have been invented by Joel's Army promoter C. Peter Wagner (who publishes books on not only "prayer warrioring" but "prayer shields" as well)--it is a very specific terminology, and--in neopentecostal dominionist circles--it is explicitly and tactitly known that "prayer warrior" activities can include not only prayers to bless but to curse.
Yes, imprecatory prayer is alive and well in these circles. In fact, Ken Hutcherson--yes, the same one linked with the violent Joel's Army hategroup "Watchmen At The Walls", actually called up his network of "prayer chains" of "prayer warriors" to do imprecatory prayers against the participants in the Day of Silence. More examples of imprecatory prayers are presented in this online submission for "prayer warriors" to do "prayer chains"--including a request for imprecatory prayers against "occult enemies", multiple requests for imprecatory prayers against non-dominionist relatives including a particularly disturbing request for imprecatory prayer against a daughter who came out as gay, an imprecatory prayer request against someone named "Martha", a request for imprecatory prayer against all opponents of the coercive Assemblies frontgroup Teen Challenge--and that's just in the first few. (And yes, this sort of thing is so common as to be the norm in these groups.)
Hillary, Hillary, Hillary...just what the devil have you gotten yourself into? :(
Secondly, Hillary Clinton is in an unusually vulnerable area as far as recruitment into cell groups go--she's had a rather extensive history growing up under authoritarian groups. Her pastor when she was growing up (a pastor of a mainstream United Methodist Church) has noted she had interest in conservative theological writing even as a teen and that her high school history teacher was "to the right of the John Birchers"; Hillary's grandmother Hannah Jones Rodham (even by Mrs. Clinton's own acknowledgement in her autobiography) was also infamously authoritarian, being known locally in the Scranton area as more than a bit of a holy terror. At least one DailyKos writer has written rather extensively on Hillary's relationship with Hannah Jones Rodham--including notes that Hillary apparently quite admired her grandmother.
Even more disturbingly, it looks like Clinton may be in the process of being graduated to a formal "member" (which, in "Family"-speak, is actually closer to being an initiate into the "inner circle"), per Sharlet's article:
These days, Clinton has graduated from the political wives' group into what may be Coe's most elite cell, the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast. Though weighted Republican, the breakfast—regularly attended by about 40 members—is a bipartisan opportunity for politicians to burnish their reputations, giving Clinton the chance to profess her faith with men such as Brownback as well as the twin terrors of Oklahoma, James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, and, until recently, former Senator George Allen (R-Va.). Democrats in the group include Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, who told us that the separation of church and state has gone too far; Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is also a regular.
There is also a note earlier in the article that also strongly indicates Hillary is being actively groomed towards "Membership", if she's not nearly there already:
Clinton, says Schenck, has become a regular visitor to Coe's Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, a former convent where Coe provides members of Congress with sex-segregated housing and spiritual guidance.
"Schenck" here is Robert Schenck, who is an Assemblies of God pastor (in fact, pastor of the National Community Church, a large Assemblies megachurch which John Ashcroft has been an attendee of) and who is a former head of the infamous anti-choice group Operation Rescue. Schenck promotes his Jewish origins and claims to have converted in Assemblies "missions" targeting the Jewish population; he is also an extremely well politically-connected preacher, not only running a national de facto political action committee of dominionist preachers (largely Assemblies of God) which can literally be said to comprise some of the "worst of the worst" in the Assemblies, but also is partnered with and/or runs numerous dominionist political initiatives nationwide (including a frontgroup of the largely-Assemblies-dominated "National Clergy Council" called "Faith and Action" which has been known to engage in illegal electioneering).
Schenck is rather infamous for, among other things, sneaking into the Senate chambers and "annointing" the seats in cooking oil to "name and claim" the Senators in an bizarre imprecatory prayer attempt to hex them into voting for Samuel Alito during the hearings on whether Alito should become a Supreme Court Justice; Schenck also quite explicitly cursed the families of the Sago, West Virginia mine disaster and claimed that "God would rebuke them" for a statement made by a family member of "...you wonder if there is such a thing as a God anymore" (for those who don't remember, initial reports had indicated only one of the 12 miners had died, and this was thought to be a miracle; sadly, reports were corrected and it turned out only one miner had survived).
To say that Schenck would know whether or not anyone is being inducted into the inner workings of "The Family" is an understatement--if there is a dominionist initiative in Washington, Schenck or an associate certainly has his finger in the pie at some level.
There's also some disturbing evidence that Clinton may have been initially recruited--and that other politicians are being targeted across both major parties--specifically for the opportunities involved in working with the Oval Office on things like legislation. "The Family" expressly considers itself "kingmakers for God", and the Sharlet article also notes this explicitly:
Coe has been an intimate of every president since Ford, but he rarely imposes on chief executives, who see him as a slightly mystical but apolitical figure. Rather, Coe uses his access to the Oval Office as currency with lesser leaders. "If Doug Coe can get you some face time with the President of the United States," one official told the author of a Princeton study of the National Prayer Breakfast last year, "then you will take his call and seek his friendship. That's power."
"If you're going to do religion in public life," concurs Schenck, a Jewish convert to fundamentalist Christianity who's retained his sense of irony, Coe's friendship is a kind of "kosher...seal of approval."
In other words...if she's not a "Member" yet, she is almost certainly being groomed towards that end, and by people who make the "Washington Wives" seem like a Sunday brunch in comparison. Even more disturbingly, she may have been recruited under pretences that may have seemed like a political necessity.
Based on this information, I think it is especially important that Hillary--and for that matter, all politicians--come clean regarding their relationships with "The Family".
Not just because we worry about "The Family", mind. We're worried about them, too.