Sunday, August 21, 2011

I know what I did this summer

[Definitely click to embiggen and read.]

Besides melting, boy-maintaining, reading, drinking iced-tea, eating watermelon, and playing with Photoshop, I was able to get in some high-quality sleeping, although I did have a few nightmares, most of them brought on by daytime musing on the prospect of a right-wing religious ideologue winning the presidency next year.

These nightmares intensified when I learned more about NAR, the New Apostolic Reformation movement, and its far-reaching involvement in American society, culture, and politics. NAR is the force behind newly-announced presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry. From the Texas Observer (emphasis mine):
Unlike other radical religious groups, the New Apostles believe political activism is part of their divine mission. “Whereas their spiritual forefathers in the Pentecostal movement would have eschewed involvement in politics, the New Apostles believe they have a divine mandate to rescue a decaying American society,” said Margaret Poloma, a practicing Pentecostal and professor of sociology at the University of Akron. “Their apostolic vision is to usher in the Kingdom of God.”

“Where does God stop and they begin?” she asks. “I don't think they know the difference.”

Poloma is one of the few academics who has closely studied the apostolic movement. It’s largely escaped notice, in part, because it lacks the traditional structures of either politics or religion, says Rachel Tabachnick, a researcher who has covered the movement extensively for, a left-leaning site that covers the religious right.

“It’s fairly recent and it just doesn’t fit into people’s pre-conceived notions,” she says. “They can’t get their head around something that isn’t denominational.”

The movement operates through a loose but interlocking array of churches, ministries, councils and seminaries—many of them in Texas. But mostly it holds together through the friendships and alliances of its prophets and apostles.

The Response itself seems patterned on TheCall, day-long worship and prayer rallies usually laced with anti-gay and anti-abortion messages. TheCall—also the name of a Kansas City-based organization—is led by Lou Engle, an apostle who looks a bit like Mr. Magoo and has the unnerving habit of rocking back and forth while shouting at his audience in a raspy voice. (Engle is also closely associated with the International House of Prayer—, Mike Bickle’s 24/7 prayer center in Kansas City.) Engle frequently mobilizes his followers in the service of earthly causes, holding raucous prayer events in California to help pass Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative, and making an appearance in Uganda last year to lend aid to those trying to pass a law that would have imposed the death penalty on homosexuals. But Engle's larger aim is Christian control of government.

“The church’s vocation is to rule history with God,” he has said. “We are called into the very image of the Trinity himself, that we are to be His friends and partners for world dominion.”

“It sounds so fringe but yet it’s not fringe,” Tabachnick says. “They’ve been working with Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Sam Brownback, and now Rick Perry. ... They are becoming much more politically noticeable.” [...]

The New Apostles talk about taking dominion over American society in pastoral terms. They refer to the “Seven Mountains” of society: family, religion, arts and entertainment, media, government, education, and business. These are the nerve centers of society that God (or his people) must control.
I plan to keep close tabs on these worrisome gentlefolk. NARWatch makes it easy--bookmarked and done (thanks, Rachel!) (To really stay up-to-the-minute, be sure to like NARWatch on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.)

Sorry, fundies, you may have succeeded in passing anti-women laws like mandatory ultrasounds in Florida, but I'm not ready to change my name to OfRobert and give up reading books. Not just yet.