Amarillo's Army of God
Back in January, we made a passing mention of a group that was urging a boycott of Houston, Texas due to the election of its openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker.
The group behind the boycott is called Repent Amarillo, a militant right-wing group that has been actively targeting those in considers to be engaged in sin for months, beginning with a small group of local swingers, as The Texas Observer reports:
A little over a year ago, Amarillo’s swingers geared up for their New Year’s Eve party at Route 66 Party and Event Rental, a downtown business owned by a prominent couple, Mac and Monica Mead. Few in this conservative, church-heavy city knew about the weekend parties, and the swingers liked it that way. “Everybody in the lifestyle has to be very, very discreet,” says Mac, a leather-skinned truck driver with a shaved head, piercing blue eyes and an earring.
The Meads enforced strict rules at the members-only club: no drugs, no single men, no audio-visual equipment. Most couples, even ones who had been in “the lifestyle” for years, are on a first-name basis only. The location of the club is (or was) “to be kept strictly private.” So imagine the swingers’ surprise when they arrived at their New Year’s Eve bash to find two dozen protesters, local media in tow, holding signs and singing songs. This was a most unwelcome coming-out party.
Some protesters, mostly young men in their teens and earrely 20s, wore black hoodies and military fatigues. The men, Amarillo would soon learn, were foot soldiers of Repent Amarillo, a new, militant evangelical group that advertises itself as “the Special Forces of spiritual warfare.” Their leader, David Grisham, a security guard at nuclear-bomb facility Pantex who moonlights as a pastor, explained the action. “We’re here to shine the light on this darkness,” Grisham told the be. “I don’t think Amarillo knew about this place. This is adultery. This is wrong. There’s no telling how many venereal diseases get spread, how many abortions.” The goal, Grisham says, was not just to save the swingers’ souls, but to shut the club down.
Perhaps the most insidious tactic Repent uses is trying to destroy the reputation of the swingers. In Amarillo, people can be ostracized over a whiff of impropriety. On one tape, Grisham directs followers to get the license-plate numbers in the Route 66 parking lot. “A new couple can be here three or four hours,” says Mac. “Whenever they leave, the Repent Amarillo group will call them by first and last name, know where they live, know where they work, just within a very few hours.”
Randall Sammons says he was fired from his job of 13 years in August after his boss learned Sammons was a swinger from another employee, a Repent member. He believes he’s now as good as blacklisted in Amarillo. “I’m screwed at finding a job,” Sammons says. Russell Grisham, David’s 20-year-old son who has a conviction on his record for hacking the computer system at his high school, has posted the names, photos and workplaces of swingers on the Internet, including one man whose wife works for a school district. (“Family-wise, it will kill both of us,” the man says.) In at least two instances, Repent members called swingers’ employers.
Thanks to Repent's constant harrassment, the swingers club is now up for sale ... and so Repent Amarillo is branching out:
What’s next for Repent? They’ve posted a “Warfare Map” on the group’s Web site. The map includes establishments like gay bars, strip clubs and porn shops, but also the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center. Repent believes the 600-acre prairie park’s Walmart-funded “Earth Circle,” used for lectures, is a Mecca for witches and pagans. Also on the list are the 806 coffeehouse (a hangout for artists and counterculture types), the Islamic Center of Amarillo (“Allah is a false god”), and “compromised churches” like Polk Street Methodist (gay-friendly).
And to demonstrate just how militant the organization is, consider the fact that they literally consider themselves to be soldiers in an "Army of God":
I am a soldier in the army of my God. The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer. The Holy Bible is my code of conduct. Faith, Prayer, and the Word are my weapons of warfare. I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity, and tested by fire. I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity. I will either retire in this army at the Rapture or I will die in this army. But I will not get out, sell out, be talked out or pushed out. I am faithful, reliable, capable and dependable. If my God needs me, I am there. If He needs me in the Sunday School, to teach the children, work with the youth, help adults or just sit and learn, He can use me because I am there! I am a soldier. I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up. I am a soldier. No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me or lure me. I am a soldier. I am not a wimp. I am in place, saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name and building His kingdom! No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards or candy or give me handouts. I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for or catered to. I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around. I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside. I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit. When Jesus called me into this army, I had nothing. If I end up with nothing I will still come out ahead. I will win. My God has and will continue to supply all my needs. I am more than a conqueror. I will always triumph. I can do all things through Christ. The devil cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather cannot weary me. Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments cannot silence me, and hell cannot handle me. I am a soldier. Even death cannot destroy me. For when my Commanding officer calls me from His battlefield, He will promote me to captain and then allow me to rule with Him. I am a soldier in this army, and I'm marching claiming victory. I will not give up. I will not turn around. I am a soldier, marching Heavenbound. Here I stand! Will you stand with me?
You can see Repent Amarillo's "spiritual warfare map" here.
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