Friday, September 05, 2008
American Theocracy Part III
Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 12:51:59 PM PDT
A few days ago, I wrote one of the first articles out there regarding Sarah Palin's VP nomination as a "stealth dominionist"--a "stealther" with extensive Assemblies connections (and to particularly scary segments of the Assemblies as well as a particularly nasty "Assemblies daughter", as we'll get into) as well as dominionist orgs like Campus Crusade frontgroups and deceptive "feminist" anti-reproductive-healthcare groups.
The thing is, I may have just scratched the surface.
Much has been made of the recent revelation that Sarah Palin may be connected to the "Alaska Independence Party", but not revealed is its connection to the far-right Constitution Party--and she not only has attempted censorious campaigns in office, but was also apparently put in the GOP vice-presidential spot by none other than the kingmakers of the dominionist movement in the US.
- dogemperor's diary :: ::
New information re Palin's church...and what it could mean for you
In my original post, I noted Sarah Palin's membership in a "stealth Assemblies" congregation, Juneau Christian Center--that is, an Assemblies of God church that tries very hard to hide the fact from outsiders that it is, in fact, an Assemblies of God church. This is pretty much a danger sign in and of itself, especially to those of us familiar with the Assemblies and its increasingly strident calls from district leaders for literal holy war with the rest of America.
However, a recent Harper's Magazine article reveals just WHY she shouldn't be near a borough dogcatcher position, much less a literal heartbeat away from the office of President.
For starters, JCC maintains very close relations with John Hagee's "Christians United For Israel". I've written on Hagee in past--ironically, Hagee was one of two "Joel's Army"-connected pastors McCain formerly used as "spiritual advisors" in an attempt to curry favour with the dominionist wing of the GOP.
And this relationship is troubling, to say the least, because Hagee and CUFI have a real love of seeing Israel as a literal "Armageddon pawn" to make the Rapture hurry the hell up and get here--including destroying the Dome on the Rock to build the Third Temple, if necessary (and yes, they've done Photoshopped images of just this). This is also the same lovely fellow, of note, who also essentially termed the nuking of the East Coast as a divine pimp-slapping.
And it'd appear that Mike Rose of Juneau Christian Center shares remarkably similar sentiments:
From an April 27, 2008 sermon: "If you really want to know where you came from and happen to believe the word of God that you are not a descendant of a chimpanzee, this is what the word of God says. I believe this version."
From a July 8, 2007 sermon: "Those that die without Christ have a horrible, horrible surprise."
From a July 28, 2007 sermon: "Do you believe we’re in the last days? After listening to Newt Gingrich and the prime minister of Israel and a number of others at our gathering, I became convinced, and I have been convinced for some time. We are living in the last days. These are incredible times to live in."
The sad thing is, this may actually be less extreme than her former congregation. Between her membership at Wasilla A/G and JCC, she apparently attended another neopente church--Church on the Rock, a neopente "Assemblies daughter" (and pretty much the solitary church in this list that is not technically Assemblies, at least based on the official A/G directory). Like JCC, it promotes cell-churches and the usual other claptrap--and also a healthy dose of Armageddonism and "Joel's Army" War On America:
From an November 25, 2007 sermon: "The purpose for the United States is... to glorify God. This nation is a Christian nation."
From an October 28, 2007 sermon: "God will not be mocked. I don’t care what the ACLU says. God will not be mocked. I don’t care what atheists say. God will not be mocked. I don’t care what’s going on in the nation today with so much horrific rebellion and sin and things that take place. God will not be mocked. Judgment Day is coming. Where do you stand?"
From an October 28, 2007 sermon: "Just giving in a little bit is a disastrous thing...You can’t serve both man and God. It is one or the other."
Disturbingly, it would appear that Sarah Palin may have been expressing "God Warrior" sentiments as early as her membership in Wasilla A/G, literally proclaiming that the US Armed Forces in Iraq were on a literal holy crusade:
Speaking before the Pentecostal church, Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord.
"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."
This is not entirely surprising, hearing some of the sermons at Wasilla A/G:
The church runs a number of ministries providing help to poor neighborhoods, care for children in need, and general community services. But Pastor Kalnins has also preached that critics of President Bush will be banished to hell; questioned whether people who voted for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 would be accepted to heaven; charged that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and war in Iraq were part of a war "contending for your faith;" and said that Jesus "operated from that position of war mode."
. . .
If the church had a political alignment, it would almost surely be conservative. In his sermons, Kalnins did not hide his affections for certain national politicians.
During the 2004 election season, he praised President Bush's performance during a debate with Sen. John Kerry, then offered a not-so-subtle message about his personal candidate preferences. "I'm not going tell you who to vote for, but if you vote for this particular person, I question your salvation. I'm sorry." Kalnins added: "If every Christian will vote righteously, it would be a landslide every time."
Months after hinting at possible damnation for Kerry supporters, Kalnins bristled at the treatment President Bush was receiving over the federal government's handling of Hurricane Katrina. "I hate criticisms towards the President," he said, "because it's like criticisms towards the pastor -- it's almost like, it's not going to get you anywhere, you know, except for hell. That's what it'll get you."
Much of his support for the current administration has come in the realm of foreign affairs. Kalnins has preached that the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq were part of a "world war" over the Christian faith, one in which Jesus Christ had called upon believers to be willing to sacrifice their lives.
What you see in a terrorist -- that's called the invisible enemy. There has always been an invisible enemy. What you see in Iraq, basically, is a manifestation of what's going on in this unseen world called the spirit world. ... We need to think like Jesus thinks. We are in a time and a season of war, and we need to think like that. We need to develop that instinct. We need to develop as believers the instinct that we are at war, and that war is contending for your faith. ... Jesus called us to die. You're worried about getting hurt? He's called us to die. Listen, you know we can't even follow him unless you are willing to give up your life. ... I believe that Jesus himself operated from that position of war mode. Everyone say "war mode." Now you say, wait a minute Ed, he's like the good shepherd, he's loving all the time and he's kind all the time. Oh yes he is -- but I also believe that he had a part of his thoughts that knew that he was in a war.
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."
For those of you who had doubts about my initial claim that she attended "Joel's Army" churches that wanted to establish a theocracy by hook or by crook...consider the question answered.
Palin tries to strongarm book censorship
According to a recent Time Magazine article, it would appear Palin was almost singlehandedly responsible for bringing nasty state-level GOP-style politics to Alaska's "Bible Belt", and that she pretty much ran as a dominionist-friendly candidate to get that mayoral position:
One thing all sides agree on is that the valley was in flux. The old libertarian pioneer ethos was giving way to a rising Christian conservatism. By shrewdly invoking issues that mattered to the ascendant majority, Palin won the mayor's race. But while she may have been a new face, says Naegele, she was no maverick — not yet. "The state party gave her the mechanism to get into that office," says Naegele. "As soon as she was confident enough to brush them off, she did. But she wasn't an outsider to start with. She very much had to kowtow to them."
Once in office, one of her very first acts was an attempt to strongarm book censorship in--even threatening to fire officials unwilling to toe the line and putting a "muzzle order" on all city officials to prevent press leaks:
At some point in those fractious first days, Palin told the department heads they needed her permission to talk to reporters. "She put a gag order on those people, something that you'd expect to find in the big city, not here," says Naegele. "She flew in there like a big-city gal, which she's not. It was a strange time, and [the Frontiersman] came out very harshly against her."
Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.
This should not be entirely surprising, however...as we'll soon see.
Palin's links with the Constitution Party
When I had heard the initial info re Sarah Palin's speeches and former membership in the Alaskan Independence Party, I had a few alarm bells ringing--among other things, the group does have known links to the Christian Reconstructionist and neo-Confederate group "Christian Exodus" as well as racist neo-Confederates "League Of The South" (see referral links at their home site), and a number of Constitution Party state affiliates also use similar names.
Today, it appears, none other than Fredrick Clarkson has confirmed my suspicions:
But what has not been reported as far as I can tell, is that the AIP is the Alaska affiliate of the Constitution Party, founded by Howard Phillips, and has been the political home to leading theocratic Christian Reconstructionism such as John Lofton, Otto Scott, Joe Morecraft and movement founder R.J. Rushdoony himself. It has also been the party of some of the most militant anti-abortion activists in the U.S. such as Matthew Trewhella and Ralph Ovadal of Missionaries to the Preborn and for many years Randall Terry -- until he decided to run (unsuccessfully) in a primary challenge to an incumbent Republican State Senator Jim King (who had stood up to the Religious Right during the Terri Schiavo episode.) More recently perennial GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes unsuccessfully sought the Constitution Party nomination. Currently the third largest political party in the U.S. in terms of membership, it is usually on the ballot in about 35 states.
To say that this is a Bad, Bad, Bad Thing is quite possibly the understatement of this century.
For those who are new to this diary series, the Constitution Party is a political party that back in the 1980s used to be known as the US Taxpayer's Party. It actually manages to make the Texas GOP (probably the most thoroughly hijacked-by-dominionists GOP convention in the US) look downright moderate in its viewpoints; it has also historically been a political wing of the branch of the far-right most historically linked to domestic terrorism in the US.
And this "Happy Family" in the Constitution Party, of note, has included not only racist and neo-Confederates but literal bombers and assassins and "Christian Patriot" militia members. Some of the supporters of the Constitution Party in past--including that Matthew Trewhella mentioned above--have literally called for armed insurrection against the United States and passed around petitions claiming that Army of God domestic terrorist attacks and assassinations of women's clinic workers were "justifiable homicide". Mr. Trewhella himself kept his own hitlist:
Rev. Matthew Trewhella --USTP National Committee, Wisconsin. A signer of Paul Hill's Defensive Action statement, Trewhella leads the anti-abortion group Missionaries to the Pre-Born. At the USTP Wisconsin state convention, he called for the formation of armed militias, such as the one he leads through his church. Newsweek reports that one member of the Missionaries who lived in Trewhella's basement for five months in 1990) kept a journal which included apparent plans for a guerrilla campaign of clinic
bombings and assassinations of doctors. What's more, a 100 page guerrilla army manual was sold by the USTP of Wisconsin at their May convention. Among the manual's justifications for armed resistance to the federal government is legalized abortion.
In part because of some bang-up investigative work on the US Taxpayers Party's more unsavory connections (including to Christian Identity groups gunning for "racial holy war", the usual "God Warriors With Guns And Bombs", links to the "tax protester" movement claiming that the Sixteenth Amendment was never ratified and that people given citizenship under the Thirteenth and Twentieth Amendments were untermenschen and just "subjects" but all white male landowners were Real Honest-To-God Citizens not bound to most laws, etc.) they changed their name in 1992 to the Constitution Party--hoping to throw off some of that bad press.
In fact, the Constitution Party (under its prior name, the US Taxpayer's Party) ended up listed as a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center and was subjected to "dead-agenting"--character assassination--by a state head of the party. The listing as a hate org was only consolidated in the late 90s, when Michael Peroutka (a recent Constitution Party presidential candidate) became a member of the racist League of the South.
Yes, you are reading this right, folks; from 1992 to 1996, Sarah Palin was a card-carrying member of what is the political wing of far-right domestic terrorist networks, including the most extreme branches of "Joel's Army" groups, in the US.
And finally, info from the horse's mouth
And--as has been suspected by many of us--info is now filtering out to suggest she was specifically proffered up by the dominionist wing of the party, and specifically by a secretive group long known as dominionist "kingmakers".
Max Blumenthal, who has spent quite some time watching the group known as the Council for National Policy--a secretive, invitation-only group that essentially acts as the "five year planning committee" for political dominionist and neoconservative groups--has confirmed through his sources that Palin has received the CNP's official blessing in possibly the most enthusiastic greeting of a pro-dominionist candidate since Reagan:
I learned of the get-together only through an online commentary by one of its attendees, top Dobson/Focus on the Family flack Tom Minnery. (Watch it here) Minnery described the mood as CNP members watched Palin accept her selection as John McCain's Vice Presidential pick. "I was standing in the back of a ballroom filled with largely Republicans who were hoping against hope that something would put excitement back into this campaign," Minnery said. "And I have to tell you, that speech by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin -- people were on their seats applauding, cheering, yelling... That room in Minneapolis watching on the television screen was electrified. I have not seen anything like it in a long time."
. . .
The members of the Council for National Policy are the hidden hand behind McCain's Palin pick. With her selection, the Republican nominee is suddenly -- and unexpectedly -- assured of the support of a movement that once opposed his candidacy with all its might. Case in point: while Dobson once said he could "never" vote for McCain, he issued a statement last week hailing Palin as an "outstanding" choice. If Dobson's enthusiasm for Palin is any indication, he may soon emerge from his bunker in Colorado Springs to endorse McCain, providing the Republican nominee with the backing of the Christian right's single most influential figure.
Combined with what else we know, this is incredibly frightening--especially considering that, if McCain gets elected, Palin may literally be but a heartbeat away from the Presidency and the Big Red Button.
This is too important to let this remain stealthed...it's time to shed some light on the subject.