At Church with Palin

Various reporters and bloggers have been delving into Sarah Palin’s religious affiliations and backgrounds. From Harper’s:

Since becoming governor in 2006, Palin has attended the Juneau Christian Center, where Mike Rose serves as senior pastor. Her previous pastor was David Pepper of the Church on the Rock in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla — a church that “was kind of a foundation for her.”

Harper’s notes that Rose is a Creationist who believes that evolutionary biologists are of the opinion that humans are descended from chimpanzees, and that “these are the last days”. He also has links with CUFI. Pepper, meanwhile, rails against the ACLU and warns that “Judgement Day is coming”. However, finding a few quotes along these lines in a conservative evangelical church is hardly a shocking revelation, and such themes do not appear to be major obsessions of the two pastors.

And in any case, John Allen at the National Catholic Reporter is rightly cautious about identifying Palin too closely with particular churches:

Palin was briefly touted as the first Pentecostal to run on a major party ticket. A spokesperson, however, told the Associated Press yesterday that although the 44-year-old mother of five grew up in the Assemblies of God, the largest organized Pentecostal denomination in the world with an estimated 57 million members, she does not consider herself a “Pentecostal.”… Palin appears to be part of that rapidly expanding galaxy of “post-denominational” Christianity, where elements of Evangelical and Pentecostal styles of faith and worship fuse into a myriad of unique local combinations, and where old denominational loyalties are essentially dead.

Meanwhile, there’s a very good round-up resources concerning Palin’s religious and church-state views at Religion Clause. Possible past links to Pat Buchanan are also coming under scrutiny. And for a round-up of religious right enthusiasm for Palin, see this piece by Frederick Clarkson.

UPDATE: The Huffington Post notes Palin’s past links with Wasilla Assembly of God. In 2004 the pastor there, Ed Kalnins, warned congregants against voting for John Kerry with the threat of damnation, and in 2005 he said that hell awaited those who criticised George Bush’s response to the Katrina crisis, since criticising the President is like criticising a pastor. He also holds the belief that in the “Last Days” Alaska will become a refuge for “hundreds of thousands” of people. Kalnins also saw Palin’s election as governor in supernatural context:

As for his former congregant and current vice presidential candidate, Kalnins has asserted that Palin’s election as governor was the result of a “prophetic call” by another pastor at the church who prayed for her victory. “[He made] a prophetic declaration and then unfolds the kingdom of God, you know.”

Even Palin expressed surprise at that pastor’s advocacy for her candidacy. “He was praying over me,” she said in June. “He’s praying, ‘Lord make a way, Lord make a way…’ And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m gonna do, he doesn’t know what my plans are, and he’s praying not, ‘Oh Lord, if it be your will may she become governor,’ or whatever. No, he just prayed for it. He said, ‘Lord, make a way, and let her do this next step.’ And that’s exactly what happened. So, again, very very powerful coming from this church.”

Kalnin’s sermons have now been removed from the church’s website, and there is instead a notice:

…We do know that Gov Palin is a woman of integrity.  She is a servant of the people, she is a strong leader.  As for her personal beliefs, Governor Palin is well able to speak for herself on those issues.

As Alaskans we are excited about our Governor being selected as the nominee for Vice President.  As residents of Wasilla, we are ecstatic about one of our own being thrust to the national forefront.  However, as a church, it is not appropriate for us to endorse any one candidate over another.  As believers, we are reminded in 2 Peter 2.13 that we are to submit to those in authority.  1 Timothy 2.1-2 tells us pray for those in authority.  This we will do no matter who is elected.  We wish the best to Governor Palin, and Senator McCain, as well as to Senator Obama and Senator Biden.

Sea of Galilee Drying Up

The Independent reports on an environmental disaster in Galilee:

The waters of the Sea of Galilee are now at their lowest on record and, officials say, are set to fall even lower. The crisis is both natural and man-made…Attempts by the Israeli government to bring in strict restrictions on water usage would, analysts say, be politically suicidal with an election on the horizon. No party would be willing to put forward such proposals against the powerful farming lobby.

Unless something drastic is done, the lake risks over-salination and becoming unsustainable. Fish stocks are already very low.

Perhaps it’s just as well that Israeli lawyer Ron Major’s 1999 plan for the lake apparently never came to fruition:

The idea that struck Ron on Highway One was to build a submerged hydraulic platform in the Sea of Galilee which, from August, will allow visitors to walk on the water, in the footsteps of Jesus, for about 10 shekels (roughly pounds 1.50) a time…Major expects his “Walk on the Water Experience” will be able to carry 50 tourists at once.

Major got as far as building a temporary platform, which was used by Swedish pop singer Charlotte Nielsen as publicity for the Eurovision song contest, but there are no subsequent reports.

Bible scholar Jerome Murphy-O’Connor was unamused by the idea:

He said: “This is bloody ridiculous. It is an absurd theme park gimmick. I suppose some idiots would want to get themselves photographed walking on the water, but what kind of pilgrim would play this silly game?”

An Important Distinction from Joel Richardson

A hilarious clarification, from Christian fundamentalist blogger Joel Richardson:

Now, please do not get me wrong, I am not comparing Barack Obama to Satan. I’m comparing him to Hitler.

Glad we’ve got that straight, otherwise we might have thought that Richardson was someone who perhaps should not be taken particularly seriously:

After comparing the design of Obama’s podium to the Pergamum Altar, it is clear that the two are nearly identical. While some are claiming that Obama’s Temple is modeled after the Russian Kazan Cathedral, it is clear that Obama’s Temple bears a much closer resemblance to the Pergamum Altar.

Fair enough. OK, so the kitschy Obama podium has some (naff) backlit windows, while the Altar doesn’t; the podium has only eight or so columns across its main part against the Altar’s dozen or so; the podium has Doric capitals while the Altar has Ionic capitals – oh, and the podium appears to curve – but other than that it’s nearly exactly the same! Amazing!

But so what? Well, the “Pergamum Altar” (also known as the “Pergamon Altar”) is a significant piece of Classical architecture, but for the author of the Biblical Book of Revelation it was also the “Throne of Satan”. And, as Richardson points out, it provided the model for Albert Speer’s Zeppelintribüne! Just two reasons why Obama is like Hitler:

They both found it appropriate to model their respective power-podiums after Greek Temples dedicated to the “gods”. Both have chosen to give perhaps the most important political speeches of their lives in replica Greek Temples, under the lights, in an open field, to the masses of their cheering fans.

This is, of course, a new spin on old conspiracy theories about how the neo-Classical architecture of  Washington D.C. is soem sort of occult plot. Perhaps McCain would be advised to go for a Gothic theme.

I last encountered Richardson – co-author of Why We Left Islamhere.

Swinton Circle Spat Sequel

Last week I did a posting on the London Swinton Circle and the Springbok Club, giving a bit of background to a diary piece in the Guardian. The piece’s author, Hugh Muir, now has a bit more:

Regrettable that there is continuing fratricide in the Swinton Circle…Discussion forums glow hot, and some of it touches on our diary item on Tuesday, chronicling the personality clashes and hatreds that make its meetings so unmissable…It seems that Alan Harvey, the Circle’s London chairman and a former NF activist, is the object of most ire among the Swinton types. (“Alan Harvey is a grubby bloop,” posts one incisive supporter. “A monumental embarrassment,” complains another.) But it was he who warned the forum that their group risks excommunication from the Tory party unless it stops flirting with unsavoury neofascists. “All Tory MPs have been instructed to have no further dealings with the organisation accordingly,” he posted darkly last week.

The discussion forums that Muir cites can be seen here and here; they are somewhat esoteric unless one is familiar with the UK radical right “scene” and its various branches, but it is clear that Harvey’s main antagonists are Gregory Lauder-Frost and Mike Keith-Smith of the Conservative Democratic Alliance; the current spat flared up when Harvey objected to Lauder-Frost’s presence at a Swinton Circle meeting.

The website of the Swinton Circle has been slightly updated, and the “Forthcoming Meetings” section now says that “All London Swinton Circle activities have been suspended until further notice”, and that “Right of Admission is reserved”. As well as chairing the Swinton Circle, Harvey also runs the Springbok Club, and that organisation’s website remains the same as ever, including its reproduction of the famous 1980s “Hang Nelson Mandela” poster.

A list of recent meetings at the Swinton Circle includes various Tory, DUP, and UKIP politicians, as well as “The Rev. Dr. Alan Clifford of the Norwich Reformed Church” (best-known for screeds such as “‘Enough of Islam: the Muslim Menace”) and “Mr. Stuart Notholt, Deputy Chairman of the Campaign for an Independent Britain” (an old associate of Gregory Lauder-Frost from Western Goals).

Keith-Smith won an internet libel case back in 2006, and it seems that further writs may be in the air. In a response to one hostile poster on a forum, he tells us that

As you are probably aware I am currently suing an MEP of your very close acquaintance for Breach of Contract and Negligence. I am also negotiating with his solicitors – Messrs. Carter-Ruck – pending the probable issue of Libel proceedings. If either or both cases proceed you will be called as a witness… …together with your good friend Mr Harvey.

Lauder-Frost, meanwhile, warns that

People everywhere should be prepared to take on internet smears and libels. If we don’t clean up the WWW the enemies of common decency will destroy our society…The wheels are turning…

UPDATE: A posting by Keith-Smith on a third discussion board (very sporting seeing as it appears to have been set up for the purpose of attacking him) announces further possible woes for Harvey:

Lauder Frost is a former member of the LSC. He happened to be in London…and wanted to hear the speaker – some retired Naval officer. He phoned me and asked whether I thought it was OK for him to go given H*arvey’s antagonism and the fact that I am suing the man for libel…

Buddhist Rally in South Korea over Claims of Christian Bias

A juicy church-state story from the AP in South Korea:

Tens of thousands of South Korean Buddhists rallied Wednesday against alleged religious discrimination by the government of President Lee Myung-bak, the latest setback for his protest-plagued administration.

Discontent among Buddhists has been brewing for months over Lee’s alleged favoritism toward Christianity. Buddhists have criticized Lee, a Presbyterian, for filling most of his Cabinet and top presidential posts with other Christians.

At the start of last month an editorial in the Dong-a Ilbo editorialised that

Buddhists take these examples: The government neglected to send major Buddhist temples the congratulatory telegram from the president on Buddha’s Birthday this year, which it normally sends, and omitted temple information in the transportation information system created by the Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs, while including church information. They also point to the poster of National Police Agency Commissioner General Eo Cheong-soo and Yoido Full Gospel Church Minister Cho Yong-gi, which makes it look as though the police chief favors a certain religion…As Seoul City Mayor, Lee was criticized by other religions when he said he would offer Seoul to God, and when he became president, he was mired in controversy for discriminating against candidates of different faiths. He must declare that he will exclude any religious factors in his duties from now on and work hard to restore confidence.

According to UCA News,

In a June 25 statement [The Religious Peace Commission] disclosed that Eo Cheong-soo, head of the national police, openly supported Protestant police personnel’s “fasting prayers for the evangelization of all the police”…a photo of Eo, a Catholic, appears on a poster to publicize the prayers along with Reverend Cho Yong-gi of the Full Gospel Church.

David Yonggi Cho is a Pentecostal minister noted for pastoring the world’s largest congregation. The AFP tells us that the rally was sparked after the police stopped and searched the car of Ven. Jigwan, who leads the Jogye order.

The protests have been supported by Roman Catholics, and there is an anti-American aspect based around beef imports. The Dong-a Ilbo, again:

The Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice took to the streets, calling for Lee Myung-bak’s resignation, and Buddhists held a service opposing U.S. beef imports…

Several anti-import activists wanted by the police are apparently staying at Jogyesa temple.

The anti-import protests have included candlelight vigils, against which one government minister, a former pastor, spoke out against forcefully in June:

Choo Bu-ghil, presidential secretary of public relations and planning, was quoted by the Christian media outlet New Power as having told a Presbyterian gathering in Seoul last week to “pray for the nation so that Satans (allegedly referring to the protesters of the candlelit rallies) do not run rampant on earth again.”

…Citing the Gospel of Matthew, the secretary said “no parents (governments) would give their children (people) poison if they asked for bread.”

Choo said, “Misleading claims and fabrication of truth are in full swing in the country. The Lee administration came to be at risk due to the malicious exaggeration of the safety of American beef and the politically motivated protests based on a false belief. We need to think about who’s going to benefit from the fabrication.”

The “Satans” comment (also translated as “a host of Satans”) was not well received. UCA News adds the detail that

The monks also noted that the deputy head of presidential security, a Protestant, said in a newspaper interview that “his dream is to evangelize all government ministries.”

Following the police car search incident, opposition leader Chung Sye-kyun offered a bit a religious advice to Lee of his own:

“President Lee should kneel down and repent.”

(Hat tip: Bulldada Newsblog)

UK “Liberal Hawk” Blog Taken Down After Legal Threat to Webhost

First, it was an Uzbek billionaire. Then, it was a Nigerian homeopath. And now…some left-wing activists have followed suit in dealing with on-line criticism in the UK, not by argument, but by making libel threats against a webhost. The result – as before – is that a blog has been taken down without any actual legal action having taken place, such is the fear around British libel laws.

But also, as before, news of the take-down has travelled widely around the internet. Here’s the story:

Harry’s Place may be removed (or rather have it’s DNS disabled) after a ‘complaint’ to the company that our domain name is registered with.

We assume after threats were made on the weekend that this ‘complaint’ originates from Jenna Delich or her supporters.

Though we have not yet seen the complaint submitted, we assume it runs along the lines that pointing out that Ms Delich linked to the website of a known neo-Nazi figure and former Ku Klux Klan leader is defamatory.

…This is extraordinary since Ms Delich has not denied that she circulated links to David Dukes website. There would be no point since the evidence is in the public domain.

Nevertheless, a malicious complaint has been made to the company hosting our DNS.

The background concerns a message list for members of the University and College Union (UCU), where discussion has been going on for some time over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and whether Israeli academia should be subject to a boycott. Harry’s Place takes a “liberal hawk” line, and its writers are often keen to claim that those who support the boycott idea are motivated by anti-Semitism. Some members of the list have leaked various messages from the list to Harry’s Place, usually from certain pro-boycotters who appear to have written things which do not redound either to their ethical or to their intellectual credit. However, from one posting on the site that I can recall, some of the leaked messages were presented in a way that seemed to me unfair to their authors.

Delich’s message, though, clearly reflects poorly on her:

In support to your link this may be a long but also an interesting reading:

No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves.

Delich apparently pleaded ignorance when what David Duke actually stands for was pointed out to her, but obviously this was an absolute gift to Harry’s Place, which promptly posted a photo of Delich with the caption “Sheffield-based academic, Jenna Delich – links to far right websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan”. This was ungenerous – she only did it the once, and she conceded that she shouldn’t have – but this is not a topic on which opponents are inclined to be generous. Delich showed, at best, incredible lack of discernment in linking to such a source, and the consequences are bound to be harsh. And waving lawyers at webhosts is only going to make it worse.

UPDATE: Ministry of Truth points out that the hyphen in the photo caption may be the crucial issue:

If you’re minded to take the photograph, and its caption, entire out of its original context then you could, at a stretch, argue that the word ‘links’ may be being used as a noun in the sense of indicating an association between Delich and David Duke, rather than as a verb indicating that Delich had made a connection to David Duke’s site by sending UCU members a hyperlink…

It seems to me that there might also be an issue around whether “links to far right websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan” means either (a) it’s her regular habit to make such links; or (b) she did it once recently, and her lack of discernment means she might well do it again. Interpretation “a” is indefensible, but it could be argued that it is no more defamatory than “b”, and hopefully a judge would decline to squash free speech based on such a semantic point anyway. However, we won’t ever know: if Delich (or whoever made the complaint) were serious about court action the HP authors would have been threatened rather than the webhost.

Further details here.

A Far-Right Christian-Muslim Interfaith Group

I’ve devoted a lot of entries on this blog to the subject of Christian Zionism, highlighting certain questionable activities and inflammatory assertions from particular groups. However, one should also keep an eye on the other side as well; UK “liberal hawk” website Harry’s Place draws attention to the “the Crescent and Cross Solidarity Movement”, based in the US and run by Mark Glenn and Hesham Tillawi. According to its website:

Christianity and Islam are not at war with each other…The present conflict between the two religions is an artificial conflict that has been deliberately constructed by a third party who stands to benefit from the two religions wiping each other out. This third party is the Zionist agenda that is using a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy and done with the interests of seeing that in the end the Jewish supremacist agenda reins over the world and its inhabitants…Islam as an organized ideology is the last barrier that is standing steadfastly in the way of this nightmarish apocalyptic agenda being realized.

The page includes an old (possibly Nazi-era?) cartoon of a dragon sitting atop a globe of the world, with a grotesque Jewish head. The organisation has also taken aim at the Pope:

…We (and in particular those of us who are Catholics) completely reject and condemn the latest statements attributed to the crypto-Rabbi who currently sits in the Vatican and who dares to call himself a follower of Jesus Christ. There are a few of us out here who recognize the fact that the Catholic Church was taken over many years ago by the Jewish agenda, and that the recent statements attributed to this modern day Judas are meant to enflame those in the Muslim world and to further the ‘clash of civilizations.’…

Glenn writes for a far-right populist newspaper called the American Free Press, and apparently he runs a ranch in Idaho. He is also the author of Not My Words but Theirs: A Christian American’s defense of Middle Eastern culture and its people. A blurb for this appears on a defunct website:

Not My Words is a collection of essays written by an American Christian concerning the events surrounding September 11, and is a refutation offered against the lies that have been propagated by the Western media surrounding the Middle Eastern culture and its peoples. …if by some miracle the Arab/Muslim world is victorious…and the secular/atheistic influence of the NWO agenda is reduced, it will be necessary to credit the religion of Islam and the Arab world for not buckling under in the face of attempted extermination. And it will be we, the Christian West and Western Civilization, who will be the beneficiaries of “Islamic Extremism.”…The history of murder and calculated genocide that has been waged against the Semitic peoples of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt by a Beast that has no more regard for human life than a beast in the wild would have for its victims is impossible to deny or defend.

One of Glenn’s other books is an attack on Israel entitled No Beauty in the Beast. It’s grimly amusing to see the parallels with fundamentalist forms of Christian Zionism: John Hagee, for instance, also rails against a “New World Order” (NWO), and he believes that the enemy benefits from secular trends in the west. Some Christian Zionists have also begun using the term “Beast” to refer to Islam.

Hesham Tillawi, meanwhile, is based in Louisiana, where he heads a cable show called “Current Issues”. Through this medium, Tillawi has promoted Holocaust deniers and right-wing extremists. The ADL reports:

Former Klansman David Duke has appeared on “Current Issues” three times to peddle his brand of Jew-hatred. Duke warned that there is a “worldwide Jewish extremist media and government [effort]” to corrupt children with violence and promote drug use; to “destroy…the home and the family”; to wipe away “individual cultures and freedoms” and institute “a new age of darkness.”Another guest on Tillawi’s show has alleged that Jews are somehow aligned with demonic forces. “Call it anti-Christ, call it Satan, call it whatever,” Russian-born Jewish covert to Christianity Israel Shamir said on “Current Issues.” “This kind of force tries to defeat Christ, and it is heavily armed with tools of Jews.”

(More on Shamir here) Tillawi believes that Zionists control the US media and government, noting various Jews in public positions. Of course, he doesn’t consider the possibility that public perception may be skewed against Palestinians thanks to the antics of the likes of him, rather than because of some conspiracy.

Last October, the Crescent and Cross Solidarity Movement held a conference called “No More Wars for Israel”, in southern California; apparently it included a video message from Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad. And a few days ago Glenn and Tillawi were at a conference organised by Jamaat al-Muslimeen (JAM), which also featured Ramsey Clark. According to a website run by JAM’s organiser, Kaukab Siddique:

Mark Glenn’s topic was “Islamic ‘extremism’ may Save Western Civilization.” Note that the word ‘extremism’ is within quotes. He said that America has abandoned the original teachings of Jesus [pbuh] and has espoused the most shameful sins of paganism. The stern Islamic resistance to the rampant corruption of America is a blessing for true Christians. Mr. Glenn thinks that very little of genuine Christianity has survived in America owing to the steady attack on Christian values by Zionist-Jewish media. Mr. Glenn is the father of many children and notices with horror the daily attack on family values and on the sacred teachings of Jesus.

Other speakers included Holocaust-deniers such as Mark Weber, Director of the Institute of Historical Research; Siddique also has links with David Irving.

Israel Antiquities Authority Accused of Allowing Damage to Medieval Site

We all know about complaints that the Muslim authorities at the Dome of the Rock have been reckless in damaging Jewish archaeological remains at the site; now it’s the turn of the Israel Antiquities Authority be on the receiving end of a similar charge, from a Christian group. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Last week the High Court of Justice issued a temporary restraining order halting construction work by a Jewish organization in a Franciscan monastery on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion adjacent to the Cenaculum, the Latin term for the room where the Last Supper was held.

…David Bartholdy, spokesman for Tancredi, a Catholic organization that petitioned the High Court, said the construction infringed on Christians’ freedom of worship.

“This is a holy place for Christians of all denominations…Work being done there is causing serious damage to a monastery with important historical and religious value. Construction workers have already uprooted ancient floor tiling, scraped off a layer of plaster from the walls, broken down antique, chiseled doors, and all this under the supervision of the Antiquities Authority.”

“The construction work going on at the site raises the suspicion that someone is trying to Judaize a Catholic site and prevent freedom of religious expression.”

The Catholic Cenaculum is upstairs of a room containing a tomb which is venerated by religious Jews as belonging to King David, and the building is owned by the State of Israel. In 2005 there was a plan for Israel to hand over the Cenaculum to the Vatican in return for a synagogue in Toledo.

Also in 2005, Bartholdy was himself accused of trying to displace a Jewish organization, as was reported in the right-wing Arutz Sheva:

…a man named David Bartholdy has been making plans to build a multi-million dollar Catholic complex on Mt. Zion – displacing a long-time tenant, the Diaspora Yeshiva, in the process. He has lobbied many governmental offices on behalf of the project, which he calls the “Celestial Psalms Track” and which he is confident can earn $5 million a year.

The Yeshiva produced a press release, complaining about Bartholdy’s alleged methods:

According to Rabbi Herman, Senior Director of the Diaspora Yeshiva, the Catholic Church wants more than to acquire the Last Supper room from the State of Israel. While the Vatican has been preparing to take custody of the Last Supper Room, the Order of Franciscan Friars in Jerusalem, which administers the Custody of the Holy Land, plans to take control of the public walkways throughout the Crusader Era Complex. It is rumored that Mr. David Bartholdy of Haifa, has been fronted bribe-money by a Friar Pierre Patista, a top Franciscan official in Jerusalem, to make his way through the Israeli bureaucracy. So far, he has succeeded.

In a November 2 radio interview on Israel National News, Rabbi Herman said, “We know about a lot of envelopes of 10,000 dollars more or less being passed around amongst people. I know two people who’ve come to us and have told us [that] one was offered 300,000 dollars, one more than that, to help try and persuade the Yeshiva to vacate their properties in the King David’s Tomb area so that the Church can totally take over.”

Bartholdy is working with Keresz-Groag, an architectural firm that specializes in revitalizing historic urban sites, and the Israel Lands Authority. The Ministry of Tourism has set its sites on Mount Zion for its lucrative tourist income.

Arutz Sheva makes much of Bartholdy’s emphasis on possible tourist revenue from the site, and the theme of treasure to be gained by control of the area is one that has been around for a while. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor writes in his guidebook The Holy Land (p. 111):

…no one thought of locating [King David’s] tomb there until the very end of the C10 AD. It won little favout among the Crusaders, and both Jews and Muslims remained highly sceptical until the C15 when the legend of treasures buried with the king…gripped the imagination, then it became important to get the Franciscans out of the building which they had restored in the early C14.

Jerome Corsi and the Christian Right

Max Blumenthhal has a profile of Jerome Corsi at the Nation, noting his history of rather unpleasant statements and associations, such as hanging out with “white nationalist” James Edwards and dispensing observations on Free Republic such as:

Isn’t the Democratic Party the official SODOMIZER PROTECTION ASSOCIATION of AMERICA–…RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters–it all goes together,”

One minor point in Blumenthal’s essay is something I wish I had spotted myself:

…as Bush’s popularity waned during his second term, Corsi’s star dimmed. He tried to reignite it by co-authoring a book with “prophecy expert” Michael Evans, Showdown with Nuclear Iran, calling on the United States and Israel to attack Iran “before it’s too late,”…

Mike Evans is a prominent Christian Zionist leader, and he has featured on this blog a number of times in the past, most recently just last month.

Corsi has some other friends on the Christian Right: as well as being a “protégé” of Chuck Colson (albeit in Colson’s pre-“Born Again” days), in 2007 he was at the “Southern California Strategic Perspectives Conference”, as was reported by Koinonia House:

This year’s conference will include insights from a number of fascinating speakers – each with their own unique perspective on what is happening in the world today. Our very own Dr. Chuck Missler, the founder of Koinonia House and Koinonia Institute, will be joined by Tim LaHaye, Joseph Farah, Dr. Jerome Corsi, Walid Shoebat, Ron Matsen, and more!

Missler is perhaps most famous for his argument that the failure of creatures to emerge from a jar of peanut butter refutes evolutionary theory; Matsen is a pastor at Calvary Chapel. LaHaye, Farah, and Shoebat need no introduction. I blogged on a subsequent Koinonia conference here.

(Hat tip: Frederick Clarkson)

When Wagner’s Prophecy Fails

Neo-Pentecostal leader C. Peter Wagner, June 2008:

“This commissioning represents a powerful spiritual transaction taking place in the invisible world. With this in mind, I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to Todd Bentley, your power will increase, your authority will increase, your favor will increase, your influence will increase, your revelation will increase.

“I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry. A new life force will penetrate this move of God. Government will be established to set things in their proper order. God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error. New relationships will surface to open the gates to the future.”

Well, one “new relationship” certainly did “surface”: Todd Bentley’s website, 15 August 2008:

From the Board of Directors

…we have discovered new information revealing that Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff. In light of this new information and in consultation with his leaders and advisors, Todd Bentley has agreed to step down from his position on the Board of Directors and to refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life.

Divorce is also pending.

Stephen Strang, editor of Charisma magazine, adds some commentary:

Many of us who long for revival saw the hungry people coming to Lakeland and witnessed the powerful anointing. We recognize that God can use flawed people (because He uses us!), yet we had major questions about Bentley. But rather than censoring him, we wanted to help correct the problems.

Now is the time for Bentley to be corrected. But it would also be good for Arnott, Ahn and Johnson, as well as other leaders such as Wagner, to issue a statement to the body of Christ to help the tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands who were affected by the outpouring understand what is going on spiritually.

Because all of these men endorsed the revival, it might even be appropriate for them to issue an apology. Some of Bentley’s critics say an apology is necessary.

In fact, Strang was also quite enthusiastic, and his “major questions” seemed more like minor concerns at the time:

I’m concerned when I hear references in Lakeland to the “healing revivals” of the 1940s and 1950s– especially with A.A. Allen and William Branham. That’s because those revivals did not really touch the mainstream of America and in those two instances the ministers fell into disrepute before they died.

The focus of any revival or ministry must be on Jesus and on changed lives, not on revival itself or on the ministries involved. I was glad to hear an emphasis on Jesus when I was in Lakeland. My spirit sensed that there was a genuine flow of the Spirit in the services.

However, criticisms are beginning to come about the revival—not so much from the secular media, but from leaders in the body of Christ who are unwilling to publicly criticize but who feel there are extremes (from their perspective) that could derail the revival.

(Hat tip: Ed Brayton)