Mike Bickle

VCY America Laces Into Dominionism, New Apostolic Reformation

In 2010, Janet Porter lost her radio show on Voice of Christian Youth America (VCY America) due to concerns of her increasing embrace of dominion theology and self-proclaimed apostles and prophets. VCY America hosted a program at the time on why it considers the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), which believes that its leaders are modern day prophets, and dominionism to be heretical.

Leaders affiliated with NAR and the dominionist movement helped organize Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally and work with many Religious Right and Republican figures.

Earlier this week, host Vic Eliason interviewed Reverend Keith Gibson of Kansas City, where many NAR groups such as the International House of Prayer are based, about his new book, “Wandering Stars: Contending for the Faith with the New Apostles and Prophets.”

Eliason alluded to Porter’s dismissal for her attachment to Seven Mountains Dominionism, which Gibson explained believes in “taking dominion over all of the institutions of this world and Jesus cannot return until the church does that.”

Gibson also noted that false prophets in the Old Testament were stoned to death:

NAR leader Rick Joyner of MorningStar Ministries, Gibson notes, believes that his writings are “higher than the level of the authority he gives to than the New Testament epistles” and that Jesus Christ was only “a man for a time.”

Gibson also criticized Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer and his role in the Toronto Blessing, which included “manifestations of barking and roaring and rolling on the floor and animal activities,” along with “apostle” C. Peter Wagner and “prophet” Cindy Jacobs.

In case you’re not familiar, here is video of the Toronto Blessing, for your enjoyment:

New York Times Investigates Relationship Between American Dominionists and Uganda

Earlier this week, The New York Times posted an excerpt from a new Roger Ross Williams documentary on how the Religious Right in the U.S. is shaping anti-gay activism in African countries like Uganda. The documentary includes interviews with International House of Prayer (IHOP) leaders Lou Engle and Mike Bickle, whom we have followed closely here at Right Wing Watch, along with footage of IHOP missionaries at work in Uganda.

Engle organizes the anti-choice and anti-gay The Call rallies, which regularly feature Republican and Religious Right leaders. In 2010, he brought The Call to Uganda to help promote the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would have made homosexuality a capital offense. (He later backpedaled after facing scrutiny.)

IHOP, including many The Call figures, helped to organize Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2011 The Response prayer rally, which Bickle emceed.

In the film, Episcopal priest Kapya Kaoma makes a reference to Seven Mountains Dominionism, the belief that fundamentalist Christians have a mandate to take control of the seven major spheres of society: government, business, education, media, arts and entertainment, the family and the church. As Engle explains, there are “seven mountains of influence” that right-wing Christians must “reclaim” in order to win over society.

Engle and Bickle are also key players in the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement of self-appointed prophets and apostles who believe they are spokesmen for God on Earth. Bickle has claimed that gay people are the targets of “flaming missiles” from Satan and has warned that the “gay marriage agenda” is a sign of the End Times as it is “rooted in the depths of Hell.” At one IHOP service, Bickle also claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist:

In 2008, Engle held massive rallies to encourage Californians to pass Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality, arguing that legalizing same-sex marriage “will unleash a spirit more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy, and sexual insanity will be unleashed unto the earth.” His rallies have focused on creating a “movement” of ex-gays to stop a Satanichomosexual tornado” that will “destroy America.” (He specifically targeted Ellen DeGeneres for “conversion.”) In addition, he has warned that the separation of the separation of church and state and gay rights are putting the U.S. on the path to Nazism:

While Engle and Bickle have extended their influence to nations like Uganda in order to export their anti-gay politics, they have continued to increase their clout in America’s Religious Right.

FRC's Deepening Embrace of the New Apostolic Reformation

Over the last year or so, we have been noting how the Family Research Council was slowly becoming more and more intertwined with various leaders within the New Apostolic Reformation movement, the collection of modern-day "prophets" and "apostles" who believe they posses the same miracle working abilities as Jesus. 

NAR's public political activism has cooled since leaders had their coming-out at Rick Perry's massive prayer rally last summer, but obviously efforts to work its way into the larger Religious Right political movement continue. 

Case in point, today we received an email from the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, the organization run by John Benefiel, who thinks that Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol, revealing that leaders from the organization. along with "50 other intercessors," had been gathered at FRC's headquarters earlier this week, just the day before the recent shooting

HAPN was represented at this meeting, according to the email, by Jon Hamill, who runs an organization called Lamplighter Ministries and which has deep ties to wide variety of NAR leaders, including Cindy Jacobs and Mike Bickel:

Ordained by James Goll, they are aligned apostolically with Global Spheres International ... In addition to work with Lamplighter, Jon and Jolene serve as MD coordinators and Mid-Atlantic coordinators of the Reformation Prayer Network, founded by Dr. Cindy Jacobs, and the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, founded by Dr. John Benefiel.

Jon and Jolene are also honored to be among the “emerging leaders” of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. For more than a decade, the ACPE has been convened by Dr. C. Peter Wagner and Cindy Jacobs to seek the Lord and share corporate insights for times ahead.

Jon and Jolene reside in metro Washington DC. Jon was formerly on staff with Generals International, founded by Cindy Jacobs, and the International House of Prayer, founded by Mike Bickle. Jolene served for many years in the mortgage industry.

Mike Bickle Warns that Homosexuality 'Opens the Door to the Demonic Realm'

The International House of Prayer’s Mike Bickle, who emceed Rick Perry’s prayer rally The Response, claims that Christians who are gay are opening themselves up to attacks from Satan. Bickle, who is best known for claiming that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist and arguing that the “gay marriage agenda” is “rooted in the depths of Hell,” recently said in an interview about homosexuality that gays and lesbians must “declare war” against their sexual orientation or will face “flaming missiles of the Evil One.” He warned that gays and lesbians, along with heterosexuals who have sex before marriage, who “give up and give in” will ultimately begin “denying the faith,” which “opens the door to the demonic realm to touch them.”

Watch:

Rick Perry Still Refuses To Denounce His Radical Allies

When Rick Perry announced that he would be holding a massive prayer rally in Houston this summer, conveniently timed to coincide with the launch of his presidential campaign, Right Wing Watch started chronicling the litany of extremists who were endorsing, organizing, bankrolling and speaking at the event. Prominent among these was Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, the church that lent its organizational muscle to The Response, who emceed the latter portion of the rally. Bickle, we reported, had previously claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist and that gay marriage is literally from “the depths of Hell.”

At The Response, Bickle gave a rousing speech about how “in the name of tolerance, even in the name of love, we are redefining love that’s not on God’s term.” He also attacked non-Christian faiths — no surprise, since The Response also included a speaker who called for attendees to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity and for God to send a Christian revival to Israel.

Joining Bickle at The Response was controversial pastor John Hagee, whose endorsement Perry openly courted. John McCain was forced to reject Hagee’s endorsement in 2008 after the pastor’s statements that God sent Adolf Hitler to be a “hunter” of Jews came to light.

Now, Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action has compiled a video of excerpts of past Bickle sermons making similar claims about Hitler’s supposedly providential role as a “hunter.” In the sermons, Bickle alleges that by refusing “the chance to respond to the fishermen” and “grace” of God, the Jews were given up to a hunter—Hitler. Wilson’s video also includes Bickle’s prediction that, according to his interpretation of Scripture, the Jews will be persecuted in the End Times. In fact, as we’ve reported, IHOP has frequently called for Jews to convert to Christianity in order to fulfill the Second Coming.

As Perry has been silent about Hagee and the many other radical supporters of The Response, it is no surprise that Perry’s campaign refuses to comment on Bickle.

Right Wing Round-Up

Meet Rick Perry's Radical Leadership Team Co-Chair

Before heading to this week’s Presidency 5 conference in Orlando, Rick Perry named two Religious Right leaders to his Florida Presidency 5 campaign leadership team: John Stemberger and Pam Olsen. While Stemberger’s anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-Muslim activism is well known, Olsen is a far more obscure figure, but no less extreme. Olsen has said that same-sex marriage will lead to God’s judgment, preached Seven Mountains dominionism, and even claims that she, as a prophet, will have the power to raise the dead in the End Times.

Olsen heads the Tallahassee branch of the International House of Prayer, whose members helped organize and preached at Perry’s The Response prayer rally in August. The Response emcee Mike Bickle, who once claimed that Oprah is the harbinger of the Antichrist and that gay marriage is “rooted in the depths of hell,” is the founder and director of IHOP. As reported by Sarah Posner, Olsen was inspired to found IHOP Tallahassee after extremist self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs prophesied over her.

In July, Olsen warned that God’s increasingly severe judgments will come on the church and America for legalizing same-sex marriage in the form of natural disasters:

We are under judgment. Do you know how many of the denominations now are suddenly saying, ‘Oh ok we think it’s ok now to have gay marriage, we think it’s ok to have gay preachers, we think it’s ok.’ Whole denominations! The Episcopalians fell off the planet, they think it’s ok to have gay priests. We’ve got other groups, one of the Presbyterians, they’re looking at voting, we’ve got other ones, they’re all of the sudden going, ‘Oh in the name of tolerance,’ and they’re forgetting God’s word completely in whole denominations. You know what, God is not one that’s gonna wink at sin, He will come and shake at everything that can be shaken. God is a God of judgment, He is. If we think we’re not gonna be judged…He judged Israel? Are we better than that? And sometimes I think we think we are, but we’re not. And God is shaking. If anybody looks at the news and has just seen what’s been happening recently with the floods, the fires, the tornadoes, God is shaking. Yeah I think you have God shaking, sure you have the Enemy shaking, you have both and I don’t want to say oh that’s the judgment of God or that’s the Enemy. But the reality is God is judging us, and I think it’s going to get worse.

In an April service, Olsen preached Seven Mountains dominionism, the radical theology that demands fundamentalist Christians take control over the seven critical spheres of society: government, business, media, arts and entertainment, family, media, education, and religion. Towards the end of the service, Olsen also states that in the End Times she will be capable of raising the dead:

We talk a lot about the seven centers of power or the seven mountains, asking God to come. If you are ever in any intercession set here at the house of prayer, you will find us often crying out God move on the hearts of the family; awaken the church in the West, in this city awaken the church; we cry out for the government, we’re in capital city and we better be crying out to the government; pray for the campuses and the youth to be moved; that God will move and change the media’s heart that He would begin to cause them to speak truth; that He would come and move in the marketplace and awaken and bring His people the finances to literally fund the Kingdom of God; that He come and move in every area in arts and entertainment. Those are the seven mountains of influence that God would begin to move, and we cry out for that because God wants to come, the Holy Spirit wants to come and it is like hot molten lava that He would literally sweep over every area.



Man I tell you what, we better know God’s word in this hour with what’s coming, we better know God’s word, and we better be saying, God I want to partner with your heart, whatever’s coming I want to be prepared as an End Time messenger who has walked in the fire and knows You and knows how to say, God that person needs to be raised from the dead and I’m gonna say, in Jesus’ name rise up and walk, and I’m gonna pray that in and see the dead raised!

Porter's Israel Coalition Promotes Claim That September 11 Attacks Represented God's Judgment

While right now Janet Porter is focused on using spiritual warfare to persuade the Ohio State Senate to pass her anti-choice ‘Heartbeat bill,’ she continues to lead the Christian Zionist group ‘Israel: You’re Not Alone.’ Porter was able to bring together an impressive list of supporters including well known conservative leaders Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, Mat Staver, and Tim Wildmon, and during the group’s introductory press conference accused President Obama of carrying out “ethnic cleansing.”

On September 11th the organization released a statement calling for “repentance of the sin pervading the Earth and its inhabitants” and a plea for “media outlets to consider the material presented in a 10-minute video and to present this to their viewers, listeners, or readers in some format.”

The graphic video Porter’s group advertises was made by preacher Carl Gallups and depicts the September 11th attacks as a “biblical sign of judgment” and calls out politicians for the “arrogance of defiance” which is “the highest insult against the Most High God”:

“The eight harbingers of judgment pronounced on Israel,” Gallups claims, “are identically pronounced on the United States of America and have been acted out by our own nation’s leaders.” Gallups concludes:

It was in New York City where America began as a nation, it was where this nation was started, and it was there that the warning of the judgment of God was given on September 11, 2001. America on its day of birth of a nation was dedicated to God at the corner of a plot of land now known by a more ominous name, now known as Ground Zero. Ground Zero is the mystery place of American history; it was right there at the corner of Ground Zero that our nation’s first government knelt and prayed and it was there on September 11th where God spoke again. What happens to America, and probably soon, will depend upon whether America is willing to repent and turn back to God, or not.

Along with Huckabee, other Religious Right activists that signed onto her coalition include James Robison, Lou Sheldon, Jerry Boykin, Rick Scarborough, Rob Schenck, Paul Blair, Don Feder, Bill Federer, Gordon Klingenschmitt, and E.W. Jackson, and New Apostolic Reformation figures Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, Che Ahn, Don Finto, Robert Stearns and Chuck Pierce. The signatories also included the Messianic Jewish Alliance and Toward Jerusalem Council II, which both work to convert Jews to Christianity.

While partnering with an extremist like Porter should’ve been alarming enough, do Mike Huckabee and the countless other conservative leaders want to continue their partnership with a group that endorses the claim that the September 11th attacks were a “biblical sign of judgment”?

Conservatives Worried That The Rise of Dominionism Is "A Strange Turn Of Events" For The Religious Right

Janet Mefferd, one of the leading Christian conservative radio talk show hosts in the country, dedicated part of her show yesterday to discussing the rise of dominionism in conservative politics. Along with her guest, “Christian apologist” Robert Bowman of the Institute for Religious Research, Mefferd expressed her grave concerns about the growing influence of dominionists and their participation in Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally. They defined dominionism as the belief that fundamentalist Christians should have control over positions of political power and administer law according to Biblical precepts.

The whole program is worth listening to, as Bowman and Mefferd discuss the New Apostolic Reformation, the Seven Mountains mandate, and Christian Reconstructionism from a conservative point of view.

As we’ve previously noted, many of the leading critics of dominionism are in fact social conservative Christians. But according to Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, dominionism is a liberal conspiracy theory akin to Holocaust denial, and even mainstream journalists have dismissed dominionism as nothing but a left-wing scare tactic used against religious politicians.

Throughout the program, Bowman notes that many in the Religious Right have embraced dominion theology even if they don’t refer to themselves as dominionists and Mefferd was concerned about how “longtime, reputable evangelical leaders” have joined forces with avowed dominionists because of their shared panic that they are losing the fight on social issues like marriage and abortion.

Mefferd specifically pointed to The Response as a prayer rally where dominionists were “mainstreamed,” as traditional Religious Right leaders like James Dobson, Don Wildmon and Tony Perkins shared the stage with New Apostolic Reformation leaders like Mike Bickle and Alice Patterson, and the rally’s official endorses included NAR figures C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Che Ahn and John Benefiel.

The two both warned Religious Right against partnering with figures associated with the “off-kilter” dominionist movement, which Mefferd called “a strange turn of events” for the movement:

Mefferd: It seems to me from what I’ve read about the New Apostolic Reformation and dominion theology this is a little bit off-kilter to me. What’s interesting to a lot of evangelicals is seeing this sort of thought being mainstreamed, now you’re seeing gathering with longtime, reputable evangelical leaders, who are not necessarily Pentecostal or subscribe to dominion theology, but they’re joining hands with some of these people to achieve political ends which seems like a strange turn of events.



Mefferd: So if Christians go for instance to a prayer rally and there are a lot of dominionist people there, people who are interested in this theology and ascribe to this theology, is there any particular problem with those who don’t subscribe to dominionist theology joining hands, and having a big get together, theologically, if they have a prayer rally together, is there any sort of problem with that?

Bowman: Boy you’re gonna get me in trouble here. First of all, I gotta say that mature and well-meaning Christians can have different point of view on this thing. But my own personal opinion is that I do think it’s a problem. If you’re a Christian who does not subscribe to these neo-Pentecostal, fringe ideas about apostles and prophets being restored to the Church in the Last Days to establish a Kingdom of God movement before the Second Coming of Christ, mixed in with all the Word of Faith, health-and-wealth gospel stuff.

If you don’t agree with that, and of course I don’t, then participating in rallies and conferences and conventions where these teachers and leaders of that movement play a prominent role, I’m not just saying they happen to be there along with other people, but if they are playing a prominent role in one of these activities, then I think participating in that lends credence and support to that particular movement. And I find that personally troubling, I wouldn’t want to do that.

Mefferd: I think that’s very well stated and I think it’s very fair. You ought to know what you’re getting into. I think no matter what you’re joining in, if you’re going to a conference, going to a revival meeting, going to a prayer rally, I think it always benefits you to know exactly who the organizer is, what they believe, and then you can discern whether or not it’s something you really want to participate in.

Engle: Perry's Presidential Announcement May Have Alleviated Texas' Drought

Leading up to The Call: Detroit on November 11, Lou Engle has detailed his plan to use the rally to convert gays and Muslims and is promoting his work with various prophets, apostles, and even the Second Coming of Moses. During a conference call with Ministry Today, Engle described the beginnings of The Call by recounting a dream that convinced him to “target false ideologies.” He later received a dream “of two tornadoes coming to destroy America, they had the letters ‘HA’ ‘HA’ on them,” that represented the “homosexual agenda and the abortion issue.” He called them two “spiritual powers that were coming to sweep this nation” rooted in the “spiritual powers of death, the gates of hell”:

Engle also discussed The Response, as The Call was the model for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally, and many of Engle’s close associates at the International House of Prayer like Mike Bickle were Response speakers and organizers. He said that The Response was a “historic prayer gathering” and that he briefly spoke to Perry and “felt the genuineness of his own heart and life.” Engle even suggested that Perry’s announcement for president may have led to rain in Texas to alleviate the state’s severe drought which Perry tried to end with prayer.

I heard that actually the day that Governor Perry announced that he’s running for president, and this is not an endorsement I’m giving here, it simply it rained I believe he said for five hours, it poured. And people think that that could’ve been a sign, I don’t know. I think that was a historic prayer gathering for a governor to call a true Joel:2 solemn assembly. You don’t always see an immediate answer to these kinds of prayers but God does, God sees and responds and I believe we’ll look back at that gathering as a historic moment in American history and that’s what I’ve got to believe.

...

He read Joel chapter 2 and said this is his prescription in times of trouble, it was phenomenal and then he prayed, and in reality really prayed to Jesus, using the name of Jesus. Now people could say it’s a political ploy, listen, I think the church should actually rejoice that someone had the courage, he is in one sense risking political suicide but basically his purpose is, ‘hey I just know I’m not going to succumb to political pressure on this thing, I know we need God.’ Of course Texas is in such a bad state with the drought, the fire, the difficulties. Well the whole nation is and I believe that what he called was very significant for the nation, I was privileged to speak to him just for a few moments and felt the genuineness of his own heart.

Bakker And Jacobs Claim To Have Prophesied September 11th Attacks

During the The Jim Bakker Show on August 12, Jim Bakker and self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs both claimed to have prophesied the September 11th terrorist attacks. Jacobs added that her Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders, which is composed of leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, and colleague Mike Bickle also prophesied the attacks. Bickle, the founder and director of the International House of Prayer, was an emcee and organizer of Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally (which Jacobs also endorsed). He previously prophesied that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist.

Bakker, the founder of PTL Club who is best known for his financial and sex scandals, said that he prophesied the September 11th terrorist attacks in 1999 and claimed that the attacks were God’s judgment on America because God “let his hand down of protection for those planes to come in to hit those buildings.”

Watch:

Mike Bickle: Exercising Dominion By Casting Out Demons

As we noted in our post-event write up of Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally, a large portion of the event was run by Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer:

A major chunk of the day was given over to Mike Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement, which recruits young people into “radical” devotion to prayer and fasting. Yes, he’s the guy who said that Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist. Bickle’s associate Lou Engle has organized a series of stadium events pushing prayer, fasting, and politics under the banner of “The Call,” which provided the model for “The Response.” Bickle and Engle are hard-core dominionists who believe they are ushering in a new Christian church which will take its rightful place of dominion over every aspect of government and society.

Today, we were watching part of a message delivered by Bickle entitled "Authority of the Believer, Exercising Our Dominion in Christ" in which he explained that part of exercising dominion is the ability to cast out demons which, Bickle stated, he has had to do several times in his life when he has personally been attacked: 

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

Casual viewers of “The Response,” including some political reporters who don’t pay a lot of attention to the Religious Right, may have watched Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally on Saturday and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Most of the time was taken up with prayer and praise music.  Few of the speakers seemed overtly political.  Nobody used the occasion to endorse Perry’s pending presidential bid.

But context is everything, and the context for this event was remarkable: a governor launching a presidential bid by teaming up with some of the nation’s most divisive extremists to hold a Christians-only prayer rally that suggested Americans are helpless to solve the country’s problems without divine intervention. Some media coverage is missing the boat: the issue wasn’t whether it was ok for a politician to pray, or the size of the audience, but the purposes of the event’s planners and their disturbing vision for America.

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that “The Response” was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast, and organizations like the Family Research Council, whose president was among the speakers, are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building.  They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

By calling for this rally, and partnering with the far right of the evangelical world, Perry aligned himself with all these troubling strategies.  When he drew criticism for the event and the extremism of its sponsors, Perry suggested his critics were intolerant of Christians.  Speakers returned to the theme, with one of them declaring that “there is an attack on the name of Jesus.” Such claims of anti-Christian persecution are a tried-and-true strategy of the Religious Right for rousing conservative Christians to political activism.  And for those who actually believe that Christianity is on the verge of being criminalized in America, Perry’s event defined him as a defiant and courageous defender of the faith. 

As journalist Dave Weigel writes, “That's the brilliance of what Perry has done here…He doesn't need to talk about politics, or do anything besides be here and understand this event. The religion is the politics. These worshippers understand that if they can bring ‘the kingdom of God’ to Earth, economic problems, even macroeconomic problems, will sort themselves out.”

A major chunk of the day was given over to Mike Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement, which recruits young people into “radical” devotion to prayer and fasting. Yes, he’s the guy who said that Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist. Bickle’s associate Lou Engle has organized a series of stadium events pushing prayer, fasting, and politics under the banner of “The Call,” which provided the model for “The Response.”  Bickle and Engle are hard-core dominionists who believe they are ushering in a new Christian church which will take its rightful place of dominion over every aspect of government and society.  But in spite of their well-documented extremism, they are embraced by Republican leaders.  Engle, for example, took part in a Family Research Council prayer-a-thon against health care reform, at which he introduced Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Christian-nation crowd, like Response speaker David Barton and AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who says the First Amendment protects only Christians’ religious liberty, shares a certain vision for America’s future.  Some of the political goals of “The Response” sponsors were brutally clear at the rally; a series of speakers prayed for an end to legal abortion.  While rhetorical gay-bashing was surprisingly absent at an event whose sponsors include the most vehemently anti-gay groups in America (including the AFA, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), it is clear that in the America envisioned by “The Response” planners, same-sex couples would have no chance at legal recognition or protection for their families.  Shortly before the event, Perry himself was forced to walk back from his very brief flirtation with a states’ rights defense of New Yorkers’ decision to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples -- and to vow his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would strip married same-sex couples of their rights and make sure that in the future gay couples could not get married anywhere in the U.S.
And lest anyone think that Perry’s religious agenda is limited to social issues, he made clear that a rigid conservative economic agenda was central to his spiritual mission. Just days before the rally, on “The 700 Club,” Perry said he’d be praying for “our country’s economic prosperity. There just so many people that can’t take care of their family because government’s over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated, it caused roadblocks to economic prosperity.” Those words echo the theology of activists like Barton, who have preached that the Bible condemns progressive taxation, the minimum wage and collective bargaining.
 
Perry is clearly positioning himself to enter the Republican presidential primary as a political savior to right-wing activists who are underwhelmed with their choices so far.  Yet, oddly for someone who wants to be president, he insists that America’s problems are beyond human ability to fix. (Sadly, that may only be true to the extent that enough legislators believe that God, like Grover Norquist, is opposed to any tax increases.)

Perry’s worldview and that of “The Response” organizers seems to see no useful role for non-Christian Americans, whose religious beliefs were denigrated at “The Response.”  When Perry told Americans on Saturday that we, “as a nation,” must return to God, it’s clear he meant God as understood by the event’s organizers.  Jim Garlow, who organized anti-marriage equality pastors in California before being hired by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, told journalist Sarah Posner on Saturday that “The Response” was “not about whether Perry becomes president, it’s about making Jesus king.” Perry used the event to let right-wing religious voters and churches nationwide know that for those who see politics as spiritual warfare, he is the warrior they have been waiting for.

Perkins Tries And Fails To Downplay The Extreme Views Of 'The Response' Organizers

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews on Friday to discuss The Response. During the show, Matthews played a number of videos, first posted on Right Wing Watch, of Response organizers Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church, and John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network.

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Lynn said Perry’s links to such extreme figures don’t represent “guilt by association” but “guilt by construction.” Perkins, on the other hand, tried to distance the import of Bryan Fischer, saying, “Look, he has a talk show on the American Family Association.”

While Perkins may be trying to downplay Fischer’s role at the AFA, he knows full well that Fischer isn’t just some radio talk show host but is in fact the public face of the American Family Association. In fact, his official bio lists him as the “spokesman for AFA.” He represented the AFA at Perkins’ Values Voters Summit and had a prime speaking slot, although as Kyle notes Fischer is not a listed speaker this year. Fischer is the group’s Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy, hosts AFA’s flagship radio program Focal Point and is the go-to voice of the AFA for inquiring journalists. Perkins himself co-hosted Today’s Issues with Fischer on AFA radio.

Perkins acknowledged that he knew the background of Fischer and other organizers, commenting, “Look, I don’t, as I said before, not everybody that’s on that platform agrees with what others have said or what they hold to believe.”

But no one has suggested that Rick Perry agrees with Bryan Fischer’s argument that gays and lesbians should be banned from holding public office, Mike Bickle’s claim that Oprah is the harbinger of the Antichrist or John Benefiel’s belief that the Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol. The problem is that a sitting governor and likely presidential candidate is effectively endorsing and promoting individuals and organizations with such far-right and extreme views in an exclusively fundamentalist Christian prayer rally.

While Perkins attempted to give Perry cover about the extreme views of the prayer rally organizers, The Response represented the extent Republican leaders and Religious Right groups will go to jockey for the support of even the most fringe figures and elevate their voices.

The Response: Bickle Rails Against "Redefining Love" And False Religions

Organizers of "The Response" were abundantly clear that people of all faiths were invited to attend and participate in the event ... so long as they agreed to worship Jesus.

So it was no surprise to see IHOP's Mike Bickle, who believes that Oprah is a forerunner to the Antichrist, take to the stage and rail against those who are "redefining love" against the teaching of the Bible while declaring repeatedly that regardless of what other religions say, "there is no other God besides Jesus" nor any other standard of truth:

Fact Sheet: Gov. Rick Perry’s Extremist Allies

Updated 8/5/2011

On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host The Response, a “prayer rally” in Houston, along with the extremist American Family Association and a cohort of Religious Right leaders with far-right political ties. While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians and non-Christians, into American politics.

In fact, a spokesman for The Response has said that while non-Christians will be welcomed at the rally, they will be urged to “seek out the living Christ.” Allan Parker, a right-wing activist who participated in an organizing conference call for the event, declared in an email bearing the official Response logo that including non-Christians in the event "would be idolatry of the worst sort."

Perry told James Dobson that the rally was necessary because Americans have “turned away from God.

The following is an introduction to the groups and individuals who Gov. Perry has allied himself with in planning this event.

The American Family Association

The American Family Association is the driving force behind The Response. Founded by the Rev. Don Wildmon in 1977, the organization is based is best known for its various boycott campaigns, promotion of art censorship, and political advocacy against women’s rights and LGBT equality. The organization also controls the vast American Family Radio and an online news service, in addition to sponsoring various conferences frequented by Republican leaders, including the Values Voter Summit and Rediscovering God in America. The AFA today is led by Tim Wildmon, Don’s son, and its chief spokesperson is Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy and host of its flagship radio show Focal Point.

Fischer routinely expresses support for some of the most bigoted and shocking ideas found in the Religious Right today. He has:

Other AFA leaders and activists are just as radical:

  • AFA President Tim Wildmon claims that by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell President Obama shows he “doesn’t give a rip about the Marines or the Army” and “just wants to force homosexuality into every place that he can.”
  • AFA Vice President Buddy Smith, who is on the leadership council of The Response, said that gays and lesbians are “in the clasp of Satan.”
  • The head of the AFA’s women’s group led a boycott against Glee because she accused it of indoctrinating children in homosexuality and idolatry.The editor of AFA Journal Ed Vitagliano said that gay pride months are an affront to the Founding Fathers and will usher in “a return to pagan sexuality.”
  • A columnist for the AFA demanded Christians stop practicing yoga because it was inspired by the “evil” religions of Buddhism and Hinduism.

International House of Prayer

The Response’s leadership team includes five senior staff members of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a large, highly political Pentecostal organization built on preparing participants for the return of Jesus Christ. In a recent video, IHOP encouraged supporters to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity in order to bring about the Second Coming. IHOP is closely associated with Lou Engle, a Religious Right leader whose anti-gay, anti-choice extremism hasn’t stopped him from hobnobbing with Republican leaders including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee. Engle is the founder of The Call, day-long rallies against abortion rights and gay marriage, which Engle says are meant to break Satan’s control over the U.S. government. One recent Call event featured “prophet” Cindy Jacobs calling for repentance for the “girl-on-girl kissing” of Britney Spears and Madonna. Perry's The Response event is clearly built upon Engle's The Call model.

Engle has a long history of pushing extreme right-wing views and advocating for a conservative theocracy in America. Engle:

IHOP’s founder and executive director, Mike Bickle, who is an official endorser of The Response, like Engle pushes radical End Times prophesies. In one sermon, he declared that Oprah Winfrey is a precursor to the Antichrist.

The International House of Prayer, incidentally, remains locked in a copyright infringement lawsuit with the International House of Pancakes.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a co-chairman of The Response. At the FRC, Perkins has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, often relying on false claims about gay people to push his agenda. He:

Jim Garlow

One of the most prominent members of The Response’s leadership team is pastor Jim Garlow. The pastor for a San Diego megachurch, Garlow has been intimately involved in political battles, especially the campaign to pass Proposition 8. Garlow invited and housed Lou Engle to lead The Call rallies around California for six months to sway voters to support Proposition 8, which would repeal the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married. He claims Satan is behind the “attack on marriage” and credits the prayer rallies for the passage of Prop 8. He said that during a massive The Call rally in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium “something had snapped in the Heavenlies” and “God had moved” to deliver Prop 8 to victory.

Most importantly, Garlow is a close spiritual adviser to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and leads Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership (ReAL). Garlow is a principal advocate of Seven Mountains Dominionism, and wants to “bring armies of people” to bring Religious Right leaders into public office and defeat their political opponents.

Garlow has a long record of extreme rhetoric. He:

John Hagee

While Senator John McCain rejected John Hagee’s endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign for his “deeply offensive and indefensible” remarks, Perry invited Hagee to join The Response. Hagee leads a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, and is a purveyor of End Times prophesies. Like members of the International House of Prayer, Hagee utilizes language of spiritual warfare and says he is part of “the army of the living God.” He runs the prominent group Christians United For Israel, which believes that eventually a cataclysmic war in the Middle East will bring about the Rapture.

John McCain was forced to disavow Hagee for a reason as the Texas pastor:

James Dobson


James Dobson, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent figures in the Religious Right. Founder of both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council , Dobson has been instrumental in bringing the priorities of the Religious Right to Republican politics, including campaigning hard for President George W. Bush. But many of the views that Dobson pushes are hardly mainstream. Dobson:

  • is no fan of the women’s movement, writing that women are just “waiting for their husbands to assume leadership” ;
  • claims that marriage equality will “destroy the Earth”;
  • insists that the Religious Right’s fight against Planned Parenthood is “very similar” to that of abolitionists who fought against the slave trade.
  • Asked if God had withdrawn his hand from America after 9/11, Dobson responded: “Christians have made arguments on both sides of this question. I certainly believe that God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. However, rather than trying to forge a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the terrorist attacks and America's abandonment of biblical principles, which I think is wrong, we need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. "The wages of sin is death," as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”

David Barton


David Barton, an official endorser of The Response, is a self-proclaimed historian known for his twisting of American History and the Bible to justify right-wing political positions. Barton’s strategy is twofold: he first works to find Biblical bases for right-wing policy initiatives, and then argues that the Founding Fathers wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, so obviously wanted whatever policy he has just found a flimsy Biblical basis for. Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Opponents who disagree about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.


Barton uses his shoddy historical and biblical scholarship to push a right-wing political agenda, including:

  • Biblical Capitalism: Barton’s “scholarship” helps to form the basis for far-right economic policies. He claims that “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” that the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax,” and opposed the progressive income tax.
  • Revising Racial History: Barton has traveled the country peddling a documentary he made blaming the Democratic Party for slavery, lynching and Jim Crow…while ignoring more recent history.
  • Opposing Gay Rights: Barton believes the government should regulate gay sex and maintains that countries which “rejected sexual regulation” inevitably collapse.


Other Allies


Among the other far-right figures who have signed on to work with Gov. Perry on The Response are:

  • Rob Schenk, an anti-choice extremist who was once arrested for throwing a fetus in the face of President Clinton, and who allegedly had ties with the murderer of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian.
  • Loren Cunningham, who is working to mobilize support for the rally is a co-founder of the radical “Seven Mountains Dominionist” ideology. Cunningham says that he received the “seven mountains” idea, which holds that evangelical Christians must take hold of all aspects of society in order to pave the way for the Second Coming, in a message directly from God.
  • Doug Stringer, The Response's National Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator, who blamed American secularism and the increased acceptance of homosexuality for the 9/11 attacks, saying “It was our choice to ask God not to be in our every day lives and not to be present in our land.”
  • Cindy Jacobs, self-proclaimed “prophet” and endorser of The Response, who famously insisted that birds were dying in Arkansas earlier this year because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • C. Peter Wagner, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial movement whose followers believe they are prophets and apostles on par with Christ himself (other adherents include Engle, Jacobs and Anh). Wagner has advocated burning Catholic, Mormon and non-Christian religious objects. He blamed the Japanese stock market crash and later the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the country on a traditional ritual in which the emperor supposedly has “sexual intercourse” with the pagan Sun Goddess.
  • Che Ahn, a mentor of John Hagee and official endorser of The Response, who endorses “Seven Mountains” dominionism and compares the fight against gay rights to the fight against slavery.
  • John Benefiel, a self-proclaimed "apostle" and official endorser of The Response, who claims the Statue of Liberty is a "demonic idol" and that homosexuality is a plot cooked up by the Illuminati to control the world's population, and that he renamed the District of Columbia the “District of Christ” because he has “more authority than the U.S. Congress does.”
  • James “Jay” Swallow, official endorser of the rally, who calls himself a “spiritual warrior” and hosts “Strategic Warriors At Training (SWAT): A Christian Military Training Camp for the purpose of dealing with the occult and territorial enemy strong holds in America.”
  • Alice Smith, who advocates "spiritual housecleaning" because demons "sneak into" homes through everyday objects.
  • Willie Wooten, a self-proclaimed “apostle” who claims that God is punishing the African American community for supporting gay rights, reproductive freedom and the Democratic Party.
  • Pastor Stephen Broden – Broden, an endorser of The Response, has repeatedly insisted that a violent overthrow of the U.S. government must remain “on the table.”
  • Timothy F. Johnson – Johnson, a former vice-chairman of the North Carolina GOP, was elected to that post despite two domestic violence convictions and still unresolved questions about his military service and educational record.
  • Alice Patterson – Patterson, a member of The Response's leadership team, insists that the Democratic Party is controlled by a "demonic structure."

 

The Mysterious Case Of The Disappearing Endorsers

For the last several weeks, we have been regularly checking the "Endorsers" page on the website for Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally and doing research on the names listed.  That was how we found out about people like Mike Bickle who believes that Oprah Winfrey is a forerunner to the Antichrist and John Benefiel who believes that the Statue of Liberty is a "demonic idol."

So imagine our dismay when we went to check the list today, only to find that the link to the page has been completely removed from The Response website.

Here is how the page used to look, with a link to the endorsements page right between "leadership" and "FAQ":

But here is the website now, with the link now removed:

Oddly, the endorses page still exists, so it is hard to understand why organizers of the event would remove this link from the website ... unless they are growing concerned about the truly radical nature of some of the participants involved in Gov. Perry's prayer rally and are taking steps designed to make it difficult to find out who he is partnering with.

Rick Perry Ally Bickle Says Marriage Equality Is "Rooted In The Depths Of Hell"

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has turned to organizers from the International House of Prayer (IHOP) to put togetherThe Response prayer rally, of which IHOP founder Mike Bickle is an official endorser. As RWW previously reported, Bickle believes that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist who will help introduce a one-world religion based on the principles of tolerance and justice. In separate speeches at IHOP’s annual Onething conference, which have been posted on GOD TV, Bickle declared that gay rights and marriage equality are signs of the “Last Days.”

Bickle predicts that “the homosexual agenda will become so intense” that marriage will not only be “blurred and defiled” but also become a crime across the world. He also claims that “the gay marriage agenda” is “rooted in the depths of hell” and influenced by “demon spirits,” accelerating the coming of the End Times.

Paul said in the Last Days, in the Last Days they’ll depart from the faith, they’ll listen to demon spirits, and the homosexual agenda will become so intense that before the Lord returns marriage will be outlawed in various parts of the earth. It really will be. Marriage will actually be an illegal institution; they will forbid people to marry because of all the economic and social dimensions. The conflict that’s going to emerge as the homosexual agenda increases on a global level, pay attention, it’s exploding in this hour. All of these signs are happing at a historic level, most of these at the highest point of history and they’re all happening together.



I’ll tell you where this thing is going. Marriage will not only be the sanctity of marriage blurred and defiled, marriage in some parts of the earth will be outlawed. Marriage as an institution will be forbidden in parts of the earth as one of the Signs of the Times. The gay marriage agenda, which is rooted in the depths of Hell, this is not about love, this is deception.

Maddow Shines Light On Perry's Extreme Prayer Rally Endorsers

Last night Rachel Maddow looked into the radical views of the preachers and activists that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is partnering with to put on his The Response prayer rally. Utilizing research from People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, Maddow featured video of Mike Bickle, John Hagee, Bryan Fischer, Cindy Jacobs, John Benefiel and C. Peter Wagner, and discussed Perry’s attempts to win support from the Religious Right as he weighs a run for the presidency.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The New York Times profiles Mike Bickle and his International House of Prayer.
  • Ralph Reed is supporting Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally.
  • The Family Leader drops the crazy slavery language from its candidate pledge.
  • The ACLJ's "Ground Zero Mosque" lawsuit has been tossed out of court.
  • Glenn Beck is moving to Texas.  That sounds about right.
  • Apparently conservatives just need to be more militant.
  • Don't tell the Tea Party, but Michele Bachmann used to work for the IRS.
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Mike Bickle Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Thursday 07/25/2013, 11:25am
In 2010, Janet Porter lost her radio show on Voice of Christian Youth America (VCY America) due to concerns of her increasing embrace of dominion theology and self-proclaimed apostles and prophets. VCY America hosted a program at the time on why it considers the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), which believes that its leaders are modern day prophets, and dominionism to be heretical. Leaders affiliated with NAR and the dominionist movement helped organize Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally and work with many Religious Right and Republican figures.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/24/2013, 1:40pm
Earlier this week, The New York Times posted an excerpt from a new Roger Ross Williams documentary on how the Religious Right in the U.S. is shaping anti-gay activism in African countries like Uganda. The documentary includes interviews with International House of Prayer (IHOP) leaders Lou Engle and Mike Bickle, whom we have followed closely here at Right Wing Watch, along with footage of IHOP missionaries at work in Uganda. Engle organizes the anti-choice and anti-gay The Call rallies, which regularly feature Republican and Religious Right leaders. In 2010, he brought The Call to Uganda to... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/16/2012, 3:19pm
Over the last year or so, we have been noting how the Family Research Council was slowly becoming more and more intertwined with various leaders within the New Apostolic Reformation movement, the collection of modern-day "prophets" and "apostles" who believe they posses the same miracle working abilities as Jesus.  NAR's public political activism has cooled since leaders had their coming-out at Rick Perry's massive prayer rally last summer, but obviously efforts to work its way into the larger Religious Right political movement continue.  Case in point, today we... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/03/2012, 3:30pm
The International House of Prayer’s Mike Bickle, who emceed Rick Perry’s prayer rally The Response, claims that Christians who are gay are opening themselves up to attacks from Satan. Bickle, who is best known for claiming that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist and arguing that the “gay marriage agenda” is “rooted in the depths of Hell,” recently said in an interview about homosexuality that gays and lesbians must “declare war” against their sexual orientation or will face “flaming missiles of the Evil One.” He warned... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 10/24/2011, 2:12pm
When Rick Perry announced that he would be holding a massive prayer rally in Houston this summer, conveniently timed to coincide with the launch of his presidential campaign, Right Wing Watch started chronicling the litany of extremists who were endorsing, organizing, bankrolling and speaking at the event. Prominent among these was Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, the church that lent its organizational muscle to The Response, who emceed the latter portion of the rally. Bickle, we reported, had previously claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist and that... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 10/18/2011, 5:44pm
Lynda Waddington @ The Iowa Independent: Iowa Renewal Project plans second 2011 Des Moines faith, politics event.   Towleroad: PA Professor Who Called Lesbian Student 'Disgusting' and 'Abnormal' Told Another Gay Student He Would 'Burn in Hell.'   Bruce Wilson @ Talk To Action: IHOP Head Mike Bickle Predicts Coming "Prison Camps" For Jews.   Steve Benen: Humor is Hard, Redux.   Nick @ Bold Faith Type: Herman Cain and Common Sense Jesus.   Andy Birkey @ Minnesota Independent: Bachmann, Trump:... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/21/2011, 4:42pm
Before heading to this week’s Presidency 5 conference in Orlando, Rick Perry named two Religious Right leaders to his Florida Presidency 5 campaign leadership team: John Stemberger and Pam Olsen. While Stemberger’s anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-Muslim activism is well known, Olsen is a far more obscure figure, but no less extreme. Olsen has said that same-sex marriage will lead to God’s judgment, preached Seven Mountains dominionism, and even claims that she, as a prophet, will have the power to raise the dead in the End Times. Olsen heads the Tallahassee branch of the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 09/16/2011, 10:45am
While right now Janet Porter is focused on using spiritual warfare to persuade the Ohio State Senate to pass her anti-choice ‘Heartbeat bill,’ she continues to lead the Christian Zionist group ‘Israel: You’re Not Alone.’ Porter was able to bring together an impressive list of supporters including well known conservative leaders Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, Mat Staver, and Tim Wildmon, and during the group’s introductory press conference accused President Obama of carrying out “ethnic cleansing.” On September 11th the organization released a... MORE >