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.


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…