Christian Right “Spiritual Warfare” Rhetoric at Fever Pitch

A new email newsletter from James Hutchens and his “Jerusalem Connection” Christian Zionist outfit directs me to “A Prophetic Warning” from Pastor Steve Foss. Foss (a protégé of Morris Cerullo) apparently received a message from God in 2000 that George Bush would just about scrape home for his first term, and that there would be an economic crash at the end of his second term. Now that it’s all come true Foss has chosen to tell the world what God revealed to him, including what’s in store next:

God spoke to me that after George W. Bush, America would elect its most ungodly president ever.

That is, unless Christians intercede in some unspecified way – like, for example, voting against a particular candidate:

…I had a vision earlier this year. I saw Barack Obama in this vision. He was speaking to a large crowd and being broadcast on television. He was speaking incredible words of unity, peace, and bringing all sides together; the words were elegant, the words were comforting, and the words were inspiring.

But while he was speaking I saw all a powerful spirit of violence coming out of his spirit feeding into the spirits of those that were hearing him. That spirit of violence was directed at anybody who opposed what he was saying. Those who heard his words and received it had the spirit of violence being implanted inside of them. It was a rage like I have not seen before.

It was the rage that would be unleashed against those who oppose and stand in the way of Barack Obama’s agenda. We are already seeing the beginnings of this spirit manifested here in America. The vicious attacks against Sarah Palin have been unlike anything we have ever seen before. The sheer hate for this woman from people who knew nothing about her, and who claim to stand up and protect the little people, and women, has been shocking.

The demon-possessed hordes also have it in for Joe the Plumber:

These people who are under the influence of this demon spirit of rage desire to completely destroy this man because he dared to question Barack Obama.

This is just the latest evidence that Obama is using occult powers against his foes – as I blogged the other day, American missionaries in Kenya recently revealed that Obama’s grandmother has been killing chickens with the result that John McCain now looks “confused and like and idiot”.

Foss is not alone in his call for a fightback- neo-Pentecostal leader Dutch Sheets recently called for spiritual warfare to win the election:

In 2000 we actually lost the popular vote and won the election-talk about grace! Please pray for this grace to be released again…

(Perhaps “God’s grace” explains those dodgy voting machines in West Virginia?)

…In August of this year I predicted that September would mark a shift in momentum for these elections. This happened with the appointment of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential nominee (who is a true Esther in our generation), but when the economy began its meltdown and the media ramped up their unprecedented attacks on Palin, that momentum wasn’t sustained.

Please understand what I am saying: if we engage in this battle and do what I am asking-in mass-we will win; if we do not, we will lose. I, for one, don’t intend to allow the latter. I am in Washington , D.C. now (October 20-22) with Lou Engle and a team of prayer leaders from around the nation to war for this election. Join us! Lose some sleep, miss some meals-pray! Pray like never before for these elections. And as you do, involve yourself not only in petitioning prayer but also in spiritual warfare. Use your God- given authority over the plans and strategies of satan’s kingdom. Bind all witchcraft that is working to control the outcome, including occultic powers that are suppressing truth. Release Christ’s Kingdom rule in every way the Holy Spirit leads you.

“Occultic powers that are suppressing truth”: maybe “Chief Editor Korir” could try that one rather than blaming Fox News.

Nigerian Governor Declares Himself to be “Religious Hero” over Shariah Implementation

A hilarious quote from Ibrahim Shekarau, governor of Kano state in Nigeria:

“Other religious heroes and reformers that came before me were equally mocked and ridiculed, so this is not a new phenomenon.”

Shekarau was praising his own efforts in establishing Shariah law in Kano, and he offered unlimited resources to his religious police force, known as the “Hisbah”:

“Anything you need, inform me. We can spend any amount on the activities of the Hisbah. We would not mind spending the whole treasury to ensure the success of Shariah in the state”.

I blogged on the Hisbah back in 2006 – it has been accused of persecuting Shiite muslims, and it put a good deal of effort into preventing women from riding on taxi mopeds.

Shekarau was largely responsible for fanning an anti-polio vaccine conspiracy in 2004 which (to the dismay of Nigerian Muslim scientists who declared the vaccine to be safe) scuppered efforts to eradicate the disease.

Spiritual Warfare on Wall Street

Wonkette takes a baffled look at a bit of spiritual warfare in Wall Street:

Apparently the idea came from neo-Pentecostal leader Cindy Jacobs. As she explains:

During a January worship service, the Lord spoke to me, “Cindy, the strongman over America doesn’t live in Washington D.C.—the strongman lives in New York City! Call together my people to pray for the economy.”

The Lord said: “October 29 was Black Tuesday, the day the stock market crashed, and Satan wants to do it again!”—the economy will crash without effective, fervent intercession.

Shaken to the core at this word from the Lord, I knew that I must call the people of God to converge in New York City the week of October 29 for an emergency prayer rally to cry out against economic collapse in the midst of shaking.

During the week of October 29, some of the finest apostolic prayer leaders from across the country will come together for several days of on-site prayer strikes at key locations throughout New York City, including Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, Mercantile Exchange, Federal Reserve, and the United Nations.

I haven’t been able to find any reference to the January divine tipstering older than anything published a few weeks ago, although back in February she wrote vaguely of “the possibility of a serious economic recession or something more hopeless around 2009 or 2010”.

Jacobs believes that the USA is being punished by God for its “stance towards Israel” and for approving gay marriage, and that the stock exchange fall of 777 points on 29 September (the Jewish New Year) was of spiritual significance. But she has a recovery plan:

“We are going to intercede at the site of the statue of the bull on Wall Street to ask God to begin a shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the ‘Lion’s Market,’ or God’s control over the economic systems,” she said.  “While we do not have the full revelation of all this will entail, we do know that without intercession, economies will crumble.”

Jacobs is close to C. Peter Wagner, and this kind of symbolic “spiritual warfare” is central to the practice of his “Apostolic Reformation” strand of neo-Pentecostalism; for example, members of the movement have in the past climbed Mount Everest in order to battle the “Queen of Heaven”. This is also Sarah Palin’s religious background; perhaps we can look forward to Jacobs as Treasury Secretary should Palin win in 2012 (as Palin is now planning for).

Of course, praying in front of a golden-coloured statue of a bull has some unfortunate connotations, which mockers and scoffers have not been slow to have fun with. Rev. BigDumbChimp has the most acid comment on the photo: “Ten Commandments Fail”, although a commentator at Boing Boing cautions, correctly, that it’s really the “equivalent of a vegetarian caught red-handed eating a veggie burger that looks a little bit like a hamburger .

(Hat tip: Pharyngula)

Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group Meet in Saudi

“The role of Russia has grown noticeably … This will certainly positively affect the influence of the Islamic factor on world politics”

UN to discuss Saudi interfaith plan

The Arab News reports on the recent “Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group” meeting in Jeddah:

Russia renewed its commitment to stronger ties with the Muslim world, vowing respect for religious values and a stronger voice for Islamic nations on the global stage at a forum with Muslim leaders here yesterday.

Russia was represented mainly by Mintimer Shaimiyev, the President of Tatarstan:

“One can say that Russia has clearly defined its strategic path in the Muslim East. It has become a natural partner of the Muslim world…During the years of Perestroika, Russia’s positions in the Islamic world considerably weakened. Now the role of Russia has grown noticeably … This will certainly positively affect the influence of the Islamic factor on world politics.”

The buzzwords of the conference appear to be “multipolar world” and “dialogue”. All sounds very nice, but what does that mean? Din Syamsuddin, General Chairman of Muhammadiyah and Indonesia’s representative, gives us an idea, as reported by ANTARA:

Din Syamsuddin…said that the world deterioration was inseparable from secular system which neglected and negated religious values. The deterioration could happen just because of application of liberalism, liberal democracy and culture.

The worst condition is due to the fact that the super power expand the wing of its hegemony to other countries to adopt its liberal systems in the world.

Therefore, according to Din, such a new world movement functioning as an alternative to the deteriorating tendency was required. Otherwise, the world civilization would transform into the worst condition.

Din called for a “middle way”, which would be neither radical nor liberal.

Also present was the ubiquitous Russian Orthdox spokesman, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin:

According to him, the most important thing is that “we share a lot in common in our views on the family and society, as well as the place of religion and good morals in their lives.”

The other strong challenge is an attempt to induce believers, including by means of some models of “interreligious dialogue”, to refuse their identity and traditions, introduce liberal reforms into their beliefs, “privatize” religion and recognize the monopoly of secular values in the social sphere, Fr. Vsevolod said.

“Recently, both Orthodox and Moslems, are being taught and tutored too often: abandon your “superstitions”, recognize the supremacy of the secular right and secular values, and you will be a promoted student of the Western society,” Fr. Vsevolod said.

Also:

Fr. Vsevolod called for mutual support of inter-religious peacemaking initiatives, in particular, the Russian proposal to organize a consultative interreligious council under the auspices of UN, and the initiative of Saudi Arabia’s King to develop the interreligious dialogue, as well as measures to prevent hurting believers’ feelings proposed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Shaimiyev also brought a message from President Medvedev:

“….I am also convinced that the implementation of the Russia-proposed idea of forming a consultative council of religions under the UN aegis will help strengthen the moral principles of world politics, facilitate deeper interconfessional communication and, in a broader context, promote the dialogue of civilizations…The illusion of the unipolar world is becoming a thing of the past in front of our eyes. This strategic forum can contribute significantly to the search for ways to make the situation in the world healthier and to attain a new level of global partnership. I am convinced that Russia’s active interaction with the Islamic world will help build a fairer system of international relations, where the factor of force will finally stop playing the role of a universal instrument to settle all emerging problems.”

It doesn’t require much brains to translate what’s really going on here: “unipolar world” means the USA and the West; “multipolar world” and “dialogue of civilizations” means a Russian-Saudi alliance against it; “measures to prevent hurting believers’ feelings” means a law against blasphemy; “views on the family and society” means opposition to gay rights (and probably women’s rights too).

The conference also announced a special session at the UN:

The United Nations has decided to hold a special session of the General Assembly at the level of world leaders in New York on Nov. 12-13 to discuss the interfaith dialogue initiative taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. This was announced yesterday by Faisal bin Muammar, secretary-general of King Abdul Aziz National Dialogue Center while addressing the Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group at the Jeddah Conference Palace.

…Muammar said cultural and interfaith dialogues were essential in order to promote world peace. “King Abdullah has rejected the idea of a clash of civilizations and urged intellectuals to adopt the principle of dialogue and mutual understanding. He has agreed to establish an international center for cultural dialogue and cooperation in Poland,” he said.

Muammar emphasized the need to promote the values of love, tolerance, moderation, and fight extremism, prejudice and hatred that often lead to conflicts and terrorism. “All religions teach noble values and emphasize love and peace. They insist their followers be trustworthy, tolerant, kind and chaste. All these values shape the behavior of their followers, bringing goodness and peace to other members of society,” he said.

Of course, “love, tolerance and moderation” have long been synonymous with the Wahabi regime in Saudi…

Forbes Pulls Article on Obama as Warrior for “Hidden Imam”

Forbes has thought better of a recent foray into Islamic eschatology, and it has pulled an article by Amir Taheri that began with the sentence:

Is Barack Obama the “promised warrior” coming to help the Hidden Imam of Shiite Muslims conquer the world?

However, while this opening has obviously been calculated to provoke another “Obama is a Muslim fanatic” scare, Taheri in fact purports to be reporting on a view from Iran:

The question has made the rounds in Iran since last month, when a pro-government Web site published a Hadith (or tradition) from a Shiite text of the 17th century. The tradition comes from Bahar al-Anvar (meaning Oceans of Light) by Mullah Majlisi, a magnum opus in 132 volumes and the basis of modern Shiite Islam.

According to the tradition, Imam Ali Ibn Abi-Talib (the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law) prophesied that at the End of Times and just before the return of the Mahdi, the Ultimate Saviour, a “tall black man will assume the reins of government in the West.” Commanding “the strongest army on earth,” the new ruler in the West will carry “a clear sign” from the third imam, whose name was Hussein Ibn Ali. The tradition concludes: “Shiites should have no doubt that he is with us.”

This is followed by a critique of Obama’s Iran policy.

Alas, Taheri does not give us any reference for the quote, either to the Iranian website or to the relevant passage from the original text, which is better-known as the Bahir al-Anwar. I’ve looked all over the net for a clue, but there is nothing (at least in English) on-line, including available via Google Books. Apparently only one volume of the text has been translated into English (vol. 51), and although it deals in eschatological issues around the Mahdi there is no passage that fits the above. The volume can be seen here.

It may be of relevance to note that Taheri was responsible for a 2006 story about a plan by Iran to force Jews to wear yellow insignia; the story turned out to be untrue. Other doubts about his veracity have also been aired. He has one fan, though, in Joel Richardson, who tells us he is a “trustworthy writer”. You know, like Walid Shoebat.

UPDATE: Richardson has now rejected Taheri’s article, and he provides a link to a short article by Timothy Furnish:

According to my contacts in Iran, including Professor Abolfazl Nurmuhammadpour at the Bright Future Institute–dedicated to teaching the world about the coming of the Mahdi, and the organization which sponsored the Mahdism Conference which I attended this past August in Tehran and Qom–and other ranking clerics at the Dar al-Hadith in Qom, this hadith is NOT authentic.

Moscow Patriarch Visits Belarus

Roving Russian ambassador and Moscow Patriarch Alexy II has been having a love-in with comb-overed Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko:

“There is no doubt that Belarus is an Orthodox nation. We shall strictly follow the chosen line because the people want it,” Lukashenko told Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II in Minsk on Friday…”A great merit of the Church is that there is no inter-faith enmity in Belarus,” he said.

It’s a laugh to see Lukashenko talk about what the people supposedly want. Interfax has further details of Alexy’s meeting:

“I hope for the unity between Russian and Byelorussian people. We need to keep the unity of the holy Orthodoxy,” the primate of the Russian Church told journalists in Minsk.

“Unity will allow us to find common features and solve problems and difficulties the world has faced in time of the economic crisis.”

Also:

“Spiritual unity remains a cornerstone of mutual understanding [between the peoples of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine]. I believe it will not exhaust, and no circumstances can undermine this spiritual bond,”

This need for unity is in order to oppose both “the secular world and unorthodoxy”. Apparently the visit included “a round-table conference on Christianity in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus”.

The background, of course, is that with democracy and nationalism in Ukraine there is now a strong Orthodox church there which does not want to be linked to Moscow; a pro-Russian strongman in Minsk means that a similar situation will not occur in Belarus.  In 2002, Alexy awarded Lukashenko the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh “for strengthening unity of Slav peoples”; the year before that, it was a prize from the “International Foundation for Unity of the Orthodox Peoples”.

Alexey also praised the development of Minsk:

He said that the Belarusian capital city had changed much since his last visit six years ago. “It has changed much, decorated with new significant buildings and the magnificent National Library.” “Its numerous visitors are a sign that people still love books and are not vanishing in the virtual world,” he said.

A recent report in the Irish Times takes a more jaundiced view of this:

Extraordinary buildings keep appearing around Minsk – such as a new national library that looks like it has just landed from Mars – despite the country’s deepening debt to Moscow and fears for the future of the cheap Russian oil and gas that have fuelled Belarus’ steady economic growth.

These landmarks are monuments to Mr Lukashenko’s power, self-aggrandising gifts from “Batka” [“Father”] to a nation that is allowed no say in how he spends their money, or on whether someone else would do it better.

(Above: banned cartoon of Lukashenko)

National Black Republican Association: Obama’s “Startling Confession” of Being an Arab

Francis Rice, chairman of the National Black Republican Association, decides it’s a good idea to make people afraid of Obama on ethnic grounds:

Where did the claim that Sen. Barack Obama is an Arab originate?  It came from Obama himself.  That’s right.  Obama made this startling confession in his book “Dream From My Father” that can be viewed on the Internet

A “startling confession” of being an Arab? Here’s the quote – prepare to be underwhelmed:

“What did Marcus call you just now? Some African name, wasn’t it?”
“Barack.”
“I thought your name was Barry.”
“Barack’s my given name. My father’s name. He was Kenyan.”
“Does it mean something?”
“It means ‘Blessed.’ In Arabic. My grandfather was a Muslim.”
Regina repeated the name to herself, testing out the sound. “Barack. It’s beautiful.” She leaned forward across the table. “So why does everybody call you Barry?”
“Habit, I guess. My father used it when he arrived in the States. I don’t know whether that was his idea or somebody else’s. He probably used Barry because it was easier to pronounce.”

Rice pounces on this:

Although Obama confesses in his book that his name, Barack, is Arabic, on the campaign trial, he is telling the American people that his name comes from the African language known as Swahili.

Why is Obama being so dishonest?  Why is he trying to hide his Muslim roots from the American people?

She then goes on to quote apocalyptic Christian fundamentalist Walid Shoebat as further evidence that Obama is “really” a Muslim.

OK, so to risk stating the obvious: (1) in the quote from the book provided by Rice Obama does not in fact claim to be an Arab (let alone “confess” to such a “startling” thing); (2) an Arabic name does not denote Arab ethnicity; (3) the word “Barack” is derived from Arabic via Swahili; (4) the fact that Obama has a partly Muslim family background has not been “hidden” by anyone; (4) the fact that Obama says “My grandfather was a Muslim” implies strongly that he does not identify himself as such.

Hutchens: Obama is a “Bomb Looking for a Place to Explode”

The latest pensées of James Hutchens, of the Jerusalem Connection:

Senator Barack Obama has declared that, if elected, he would be willing to sit down and talk to Iran “without preconditions.” What a contrast between Obama and Iran!  Not only is Obama politically naive but he is a walking security time-bomb looking for a place to explode.

I brought this to the attention of Richard Silverstein, who asks:

But how is it possible that this group retains its 501c3?  Just because they don’t explicitly say “Vote McCain” they’re slid in under the tag and are home free?  If so, isn’t there something wrong with IRS regulations?  The truth is that this is flagrant political partisanship, something prohibited under non-profit guidelines.  Will the IRS make such an organization pay the price?  Don’t hold your breath.

I noted a previous example of this kind of thing from Hutchens’ website here.

“Official” Swinton Circle Holds Joint Event with Springbok Club

A few days ago I blogged once again on Alan Harvey and the London Swinton Circle. Harvey has apparently been suspended as chairman and member of group due to what he claims are the machinations of extremists. Harvey writes:

As you are probably aware, a quite scurrilous attack has been made against me in the so-called London Swinton Circle Members Circular No.69, which contained many factual errors…The question before you therefore is whether you wish the LSC to become a mere appendage of the BNP – or whether like me you wish it to remain loyal to true Conservative and Unionist principles. I trust that I can rely upon your support.

Harvey is not going quietly, and it looks as though he maintains control of the Swinton Circle website. He’s also claiming that certain events taking place at the Springbok Club, which he also runs, are in fact “joint” events with the “official wing” of the Swinton Circle. There was one just the other night:

The Springbok Club/ELC staged a special joint meeting with the official wing of the London Swinton Circle in October 2008, at which the guest speaker was Mr. Bob Vinnicombe. Mr. Vinnicombe is a leading NSW official of the Australian One Nation party, and stood as an independent candidate for the Bankstown Municipal Council earlier during the year, receiving a very creditable vote. In his extremely well-received speech Mr. Vinnicombe detailed much about the current Australian political and sociological situation, emphasising specifically the great problems caused by ethnic minorities (particularly Muslim Lebanese)  being allowed to enter Australia. He also laid great stress on the importance of Australia remaining a monarchy, and that links between kith and kin from the core Commonwealth should be strengthened.

Vinnicombe is an odd choice of speaker from someone who wants to contrast “true Conservative and Unionist principles” with the far right, but hardly surprising if you investigate what the Springbok Club really stands for, which is a return for white rule over Africa (see Johann Hari’s article here). The One Nation Party is notorious for its anti-immigrant views, and Vinnicombe has complained in particular about Africans in Australia:

“They are too different to us. The culture they come from is too different to ours. We don’t know their background. They could have diseases. They could have T.B., they could have AIDS. They could have criminal records. They come from war-torn countries,” Vinnicombe said. 

Asked where people like these should go, Vinnicombe says countries where the people are similar to them – other black African countries, for instance.

On the other hand, though, while Harvey is in ardent supporter of the invasion of Iraq and deposing of Saddam Hussein, Vinnicombe is more of a paleo-con:

The truth is we should have left the Sadaam Hussein regime in power. The Sadaam Hessein was a bulwark against islamic fundamentalism. When Hussein was in power, all the fundamentalists were either dead or in jail, he wouldn’t tolerate them. There were no car bombs going off in Baghdad when he was in power. I understand workers weren’t even allowed to take time off during the day for muslim prayers. The Christians in Iraq had freedom to practice their religion.

Previous speakers at the Springbok Club have included “Master of the Black Arts” John Pope-de Locksley, and right-wing sociologist David Marsland. Some other speakers, for whatever reason, are not identified by name on the Springbok website.

Global Peace Festival Reps at Downing Street “Peace Week” Meeting

22 November will see the London “Global Peace Festival“, one of several events that have been held around the world over the past few months. The Festival’s slogan is “One Family Under God”, and it is being organised by the Universal Peace Federation. The UPF, as I’ve noted in the past (and chronicle on my spin-off blog, Ambassadors for Moon), is an initiative of Rev Sun Myung Moon, who considers himself to be the “True Father” of this “One Family”. The UPF has succeeded in tapping into the enthusiasm of groups and persons from a range of religious backgrounds, and it has also sought to gain political credibility by endowing “Ambassador for Peace” awards to various high-profile figures.

The UK Global Peace Festival has an official blog, which explains why one of its representatives was at Downing Street:

They say that “opportunity knocks” and hence it came to be that we were knocking on the door of the Primeminister, Gordon Brown, one very wet and unexpected London evening. GPF Social Impact Project partner, Rev. Canon George Ausah, was invited to attend the Peace Week event at the Primeminister’s residence that same very morning and kindly agreed to meeting up with me there.

Networking events like this are vital to the ongoing process that is Global Peace Festival and it is encouraging to know that individuals, peace activists and NGOs are being invited and recognised at the highest level.

Once again the value of working in partnership is clear!

“George Ausah” is actually Canon George Ansah, a Church of England clergyman based in South London. Apparently he is an “Ambassador for Peace”, which means that he has been given a certificate signed by Rev Moon – a man who believes that Jesus failed and that churches should remove crosses.

Here’s a video from the recent Washington D.C. Festival, including a speech by Rev. Moon’s son:

And just for fun, here’s Rev. Moon’s famous 1997 Washington Times address: