These people sound insane to me, and normally I wouldn’t be bothered discussing them because of that. Normally, other Pagan bloggers wouldn’t raise much of a fuss either. But there is something rather frightening about this group that is demanding the attention of many Pagans and adherents of other non-mainstream religions.
The New Apostolic Reformation is an ultra-conservative Protestant Pentecostal movement. It didn’t have much prominence in mainstream American thought until the past few years, when Sarah Palin came into the limelight. She is, or was, one of the more public members of NAR. The group does not seem to have a website, so tracking down information on exactly what they are and what they want is a little more difficult. We I could find out is that they have some of the same goals as most other right-wing conservatives, but go about it in a rather different way. NAR wants to dominate government and all aspects of mainstream culture. At the core of their activities and beliefs seems to be the concepts of spiritual warfare and their “rightful” dominion over others. They believe that the government should be run only by Christians–and by Christian, of course they mean their own version of Christian. There is one truth and only one, and some members have hosted events at which they have burned Native art, travel brochures, and condemned anyone not of their faith as demonic or related to pornography, drugs, or illegal activities.
Why is this group receiving the attention that is has? Most groups of this nature might be in the news for a few weeks, but slowly they fade away. NAR, on the other hand, has only gained steam over the years. This is because the movement is actually being successful at inserting itself into government. While not all Tea Party members are a part of the NAR, it’s undeniable that some of the most influential and most public of them are, such as Sarah Palin. In addition, the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, seems to actively participate with groups such as the NAR. This is why the NAR is rather frightening–they are gaining political power, which means they are gaining influence over the government and thus the nation. And burning art or other items belonging to other religions and wrathfully condemning others as demonic reminds me of the beginning stages of witch hunts–where “witch hunting” here applies to anyone not of the NAR movement, which is quite a number of potential victims.
The New Apostolic Reformation is going to stay in the news for the next few months and probably beyond because of the upcoming event called DC 40. The event is supposed to be hundreds of thousands of faithful praying for forty days that America will be a Christian nation, run by a Republican president (yeah, because the recent debt debates really cast Republicans in a good light), and government run by their brand of Christian. The event is apparently run by Cindy Jacobs–you’ve probably heard of her–and John Benefiel. Prayer warriors from all the capitals of the states will pray that DC will become the District of Christ as Benefiel has named it–the name of “District of Columbia” is a connection to a pseudo-goddess, Columbia, who is not a Roman goddess or really even a goddess at all, but a sort of 300-year-old invented mythological figure. So, what a shocker, the NAR has their information wrong, as Columbia isn’t historically a deity–rather, she is now a personification or representation of the ideas of freedom, liberty, democracy, and justice.
The campaign is a grand total of 51 days–40 days in DC and 11 in Philadelphia. Each day the capital of a different state is supposed to take the prayer lead, culminating in DC. DC40 is due to begin on October 3, 2011 and go until November 11, 2011. There will be prayer rallies, speakers, events, and I believe the group is even planning some kind of response to the Pagan drumming circle that takes place at the Jefferson Memorial in DC on Samhain every year. That should be pleasant. *note sarcasm*
DC40 and NAR are catching the attention of not only Pagans but also non-Pagans. Thankfully, some sanity still exists in the world–we Pagans aren’t the only ones who think NAR is crazy. We aren’t the only ones put on edge by their growth to power. As The Pagan Princess blog pointed out, “Every dangerous regime in history was once a group of f***tards that nobody thought would amount to anything because they were too insane to be taken seriously.” But it’s true. We need to continue to keep tabs on the NAR and DC40 event and do our best to combat their influence. Those of us who live in or near DC, or probably any of the capitals, need to find a way to either block or turn aside the energy that will be raised by DC40. That energy will be malicious–it’s not called warfare for nothing, and they are engaging in spiritual warfare. They hate us, truthfully and strongly, and that much energy raised by frothing-at-the-mouth faithful adherents will most likely be very strong. My personal opinion: the energy raised at this event, if it turns out to be as large as we think it will be, is going to be strong and will have an influence if it’s allowed to take hold without opposition.
I would hate to see this issue turn into a Pagan-vs.-Christian thing. That is not what this is. Not only Pagans are against this group or this event, and these NAR people do not define all, or (I hope) even most, Christians. We do not need to push away all Abrahamic believers, as not all of them are against Paganism. If we come together and work together to dispel the lies and the harm that groups like NAR spread, we will be that much stronger and that much more successful for the alliance. Please, do not allow the hate of NAR and like-minded groups to poison your mind or your heart when it comes to the subject of their spiritual warfare. It’s OK to be angry, that is a natural emotion and response to something like this, but embracing hate will only make us like them.
I will discuss ways to combat the DC40 event in my next post on the subject.
For more about NAR and DC40, read the following articles:
- Rick Perry and the New Apostolic Reformation, RD Magazine
- The New Apostolic Reformation Movement, Unreasonable Faith
- …40 Days of Sound and Light Over Washington, DC (the District of Christ, that is), God Discussion
For more opinions and updates on the DC40 event, check out these other blogs and commentators:
- Wild Hunt: What’s the Big Deal with the New Apostolic Reformation?; Pagan Reactions to the DC40 Prayer War; What Spiritual Warfare Looks Like
- The Pagan Princesses: Do You Believe in Magick? (A Call to Wands) Part 1; Responding to The Response
- Hecate: This Time, It’s Personal; Framing the Issue on the District of Columbia
- Literata: Supporting Columbia; More on DC40; Ways to Support Columbia; Framing and Giving Energy: How We Work Against DC40 Matters