When John F. Kennedy ran for President in 1960, concerns were raised that the Pope would have undue influence over the affairs of the United States Government, since Kennedy was Catholic. When Joe Lieberman ran as Al Gore’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2000, some questioned whether the country was ready for a Jew as potential president, should Gore die in office. Now we have, not a hypothetical concern about religious influence on the Presidency, we have a candidate currently running for office, Rick Perry, as a candidate explicitly representing the New Apostolic Reformation Dominion evangelical movement.
Perry’s first official action as he was about to announce his candidacy for the presidency, was to organize, lend his support to, and address a New Apostolic Reformation religious rally on August 6th titled, The Response at the Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas, which was actually organized and run by several New Apostolic Reformation clergymen, i.e. “prophets”. Among the participants at Rick Perry’s Response Rally whom he apparently hold in very high esteem were:
— John Hagee, a San Antonio evangelist whose endorsement was rejected by John McCain in 2008 because of Hagee’s anti-Catholic statements.
— Mike Bickle, a founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo., who has called Oprah Winfrey a “pastor of the harlot of Babylon.”
— Alice Patterson, founder of Justice at the Gate, in San Antonio, who has written that there is “a demonic structure behind the Democratic Party.”
— John Benefiel, head of the Oklahoma-based Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, who once said about the Statue of Liberty: “You know where we got it from? French Freemasons. Listen, folks, that is an idol, a demonic idol right there in the middle of New York Harbor.”
The NAR Movement is a radical Evangelical Christian sect that seeks to take dominion (i.e. control) over politics, business and culture in preparation for the end times and the return of Jesus, seeking to play a major role in selecting the next President of the United States. We need not speculate about what their motives are, because they have explicitly stated that their goal is to direct the affairs of the United States of America in seven major spheres of life, regardless of the U.S. Constitution.
The leaders who are considered apostles and prophets, claim to be gifted by God for this role. They take themselves very seriously. Peter Wagner, one of the founding NAR prophets, writes that "the majority of the new apostolic churches", such as his, observe "active ministries of... spiritual warfare". As an example of members' "supernatural" abilities (as he calls them) he claims that God acted through him to end Mad Cow Disease in Germany. One of their leading prophets, Cindy Jacobs, claims to have prophesied the Japan Tsunami and said that it happened because the Japanese hadn’t sufficiently come to Christianity.
Rachel Tabachnick, who is an independent researcher specializing in Christian Zionism and its impact on Israel, Jews, and interfaith relations has tracked The New Apostolic Reformation’s influence and connections in the political world in all 50 states. "They teach quite literally that these seven 'mountains' (arts and entertainment; business; family; government; media; religion; and education) have fallen under the control of demonic influences in society," says Tabachnick. "And therefore, they must reclaim them for God in order to bring about the kingdom of God on Earth. ... The apostles teach what's called 'strategic level spiritual warfare' [because they believe that the] reason why there is sin and corruption and poverty on the Earth is because the Earth is controlled by a hierarchy of demons under the authority of Satan.
So they teach not just evangelizing souls one by one, as we're accustomed to hearing about. They teach that they will go into a geographic region or a people group and conduct spiritual-warfare activities in order to remove the demons from the entire population. This is what they're doing that's quite fundamentally different than other evangelical groups." [See Wilder, Forrest (2 August 2011). "Rick Perry's Army of God". Texas Observer. Retrieved 15 August 2011].
You might wonder who these New Apostolic Prophets are, and whether, perhaps, you could become one. I think the answer is, “yes,” as long as you were willing to sign a deal with a bunch of fanatical whakos and attend one of their workshops for a sizable fee.
"In an editorial in the last issue of The Quarterly Journal, by G. Richard Fisher explored the world of tabloid prognosticators and how an undiscerning world is all too quick to “run after psychics and psychic predictions.” He also pointed out that an attraction for prophecy and future-telling, a longtime staple within Charismatic camps, has made inroads into Evangelical circles as well. Self-appointed prophets are cropping up everywhere. There is even a “National School of the Prophets Conference,” where for $175 you can be trained in the art of “propheteering.” C. Peter Wagner, Dutch Sheets, Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle, Ted Haggard and others can train us to be “prophets” (Charisma magazine, Dec. 1998).” [Personal Freedom Outreach is a Christian organization that opposes religious cults and publishes The Quarterly Journal]
So the long and short of it is that Rick Perry is running for President representing a highly unorthodox religious group that not only rejects the US Constitution Amendment I “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’’ but actively seeks to assert religious control over all aspects of the government of the United States of America, as well as control over all aspects of civil society, including education, health, human services, the business world and personal family life. Their aim, explained the Forrest Wilder in The Texas Observer, is "to infiltrate government, and Rick Perry might be their man."
You might suspect Perry had grown up in a family of Pentacostals or Holy Ghost People, but not at all. He grew up conventional Methodist family, belonging to the mainline tradition that counts both George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton among its members. For years, starting in the 1990s, Perry and his family attended the same affluent Austin-area United Methodist church that Bush 43 did. He has spoken fondly of the denomination, of which he’s still a member, with its liturgy, and its “comfort in tradition and stability.” Yet, in recent years, Perry has chosen to spend most Sundays attending services at an evangelical mega-church where worship is decidedly flashier—featuring rock music and stadium-style seating. Maybe it reminds him of his Aggies days, but it also smacks a bit of political opportunism.
I wouldn’t ordinarily devote so much space to a political candidate’s religious beliefs, which are his/her own business, but in Perry’s case, these beliefs seem to be the explicit basis for his planned political actions should he become President of the United States, and they are very alarming beliefs and portend disturbing plans. As a result, they become all of our business.
On the other hand Perry isn’t very bright. He attended Texas A&M University where he was one of A&M's five male cheerleaders (on the right, pictured below). Perry graduated in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. According to Perry's university transcript, he rarely earned anything above a C in his courses -- earning a C in U.S. History, a D in the principles of economics and D and F in organic chemistry, no surprise he’s no fan of science. In total he earned 20 B's, 27 C's, and 9 D's and a few A's and F's. Perry was placed on academic probation for his poor performance in school. Not much basis for government service, except maybe in the Texas Department of Agriculture, though he didn’t do so well in Animal breeding either.
Perry related in a 1989 interview: “I was probably a bit of a free spirit, not particularly structured real well for life outside of a military regime, I would have not lasted at Texas Tech or the University of Texas. I would have hit the fraternity scene and lasted about one semester.” Perry likes to boast about serving in the Armed Forces and often has political photos shot in a leather flight jacket, while giving Barrack Obama the back of his hand.
Upon cadet graduation, he was commissioned in the Air Force, completed pilot training, and flew C-130 tactical airlift cargo planes in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe until 1977, which involved airborne transportation of supplies and equipment. The C-130 is widely used for hauling civilian freight, weather and fire fighting reconnaissance, so Rick Perry was hauling freight for the Air Force. Not exactly daredevil stuff, but he did do his time nonetheless. After his time in the air force Perry returned to Texas, and went into business farming cotton with his father.
Perry began his career as a (Democratic) member of the Texas House of Representatives (1985-1991). He then went on to become Texas’s commissioner of agriculture (1991-1999) and lieutenant governor (1999-2000) before succeeding George W. Bush as Republican governor, a role he’s held for more than 10 years. Now that you know a bit about the man, we’ll consider Perry’s political accomplishments (or lack thereof) next time.