Yesterday, for 6 and a half hours, I subjected not only myself to the entire broadcast of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “The Response” tent revival in Houston, Texas – but my entire household, including pets. All parties looked at me pleading with their eyes that I move on to something different. I am sure a neighbor or two may have benefited from the broadcast as well. It was quite a Show.
A friend and fellow researcher was actually at The Response in person, Dr. Anthea Butler of the University of Pennsylvania, professor of theology, along with Sarah Posner – both of whom write for Religion Dispatches. Dr. Butler actually received her doctorate from studies – unlike the parade of “Dr.s” that graced that stage and endorsed this event. (EVERY one and his brother is an honorary “Dr.” in the world of Dominionist entertainment).
As I watched it live on God TV (and yes that really IS the name of the station) I live tweeted with Dr. Butler as she watched it in person. Made for a very interesting perspective on what was transpiring. I will share the highlights from our observations. Right Wing Watch did a great job of condensing the whole video performance.
Much has been written about it today, but what I am not seeing are reports about some of the more subtle details that took place, rather the focus is on how few people actually attended the event. Today’s estimates put the numbers around 22,000 people. Yes, the stadium holds 70+ thousand, but the fact that they had over 20 thousand in attendance is not a huge comfort to me or my fellow researchers.
You see, these attendees are devout! Kool-ade drinking devout. Every single one of them will cast their vote in 2012 and you can bet it will be for a Dominionist candidate. Not one of these folks will vote for a Mormon ar a Catholic even those who are running as Republicans. It just won’t happen. So that leaves an uncertain Perry, Palin, Bachmann field to choose from.
Why does this scare the hell out of me? Well, so many reasons really – not the least of which is the growing absurdity coming from the fringe Left trying to get support for their idea to run a Primary candidate against President Obama. As I just said, these zealots vote. Progressives – better at pontificating than voting. So as it stands, a second term for Obama is threatened already and the last thing we need are Civics-101-challenged disgruntled “lefties” trying to fracture a voter bloc that already can’t find the motivation to vote most of the time.
Here are some of the notable moments in Perry’s Altar Cult yesterday:
From the first utterance we were off in a Dominionist world of sounding the Shofars and calling all good Christians to action in a prayer and fast sort of way (there were food vendors there). The first to speak was Dr. James Dobson, former head of Focus on the Family before it ran amok financially – dwindling into a nearly non-existent entity – where once it reigned in this world. Then his wife Shirley, the Chair of the National Day of Prayer...well, she prayed of course. And the show was off and running!
They repeatedly laid out the 7 Mountains Mandate to “reclaim” – Family – Religion – Education – Government/Military – Arts & Entertainment/Sports – Media – (and their favorite lately) Education. The 7 Mountain agenda was repeated by the majority of their performers including Perry himself.
They voiced their alliance with Messianic Jews, those that accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. If the others don’t convert they will face the same fate as the rest of us who do not share the Dominionist theology. As I said in one tweet when John Hagee was speaking, a known anti-Semite and faux preacher from Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas that is heavily influential in the Republican Party – “They love, love LOVE Israel! Jews – not so much….”
We witnessed Perry’s Anointing! Yep they actually anointed their King David right there on the stage for the world to see. Sarah Palin went through this at her church years ago (As Queen Esther, though – not King David). As the emcee of the moment called for all in attendance to embrace their nearest pastor/preacher/leader, Perry returned to the stage and was embraced by top gun clergy as they called for a “Fresh Anointing”.
In addition to repeating the 7 Mountains goals of capturing and dominating those 7 secular areas of culture, they repeatedly referred to themselves as King Davids. King Solomons and Queen Esthers. Their references are not casual, but speak to the mindset that these Dominionist leaders have wherein rules apply to everyone else – just not to them. Take C Street for example, and notice that Sam Brownback was there in person – a regular ol’ C Street frat boy in the flesh.
This is significant. It goes hand-in-hand with their belief that they are “The Chosen” – “The Elect”. God has spoken directly to them (they claim) to lead their people out of the abyss of immorality and to “reclaim” America for the one true God. This of course is the whole “we were founded as a Christian Nation claim that they spew to all their Sheeples. They clearly know what is best for ALL of us! Just ask them!
They proudly stood in company with political strategists such as Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, while claiming that this was an “apolitical event”. The entire Show contained non-stop political rhetoric! But as Professor Butler pointed out, they do not have a care in the world about violating the separation of church and state laws as long as the courts are controlled by Dominionists.
They referred to the Great Commission in which God has commanded them to go and make converts of all peoples and nations. Their version of proselytizing is extreme and aggressive, we are seeing their methods as they use 3rd world countries as their own Petri dishes to test their plans.
Codespeak! The day was riddled with it. Here are just some of the terms they repeated:
Outpouring, Spiritual Mapping, Market Place ministries, Authority, beloved, Awakening, 3rd Wave, the mantle, transform, after your hearts, intercession, anointing, “fall away” – just to name a few. Where are we hearing this talk? Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann use them frequently.
Of course, no event like this would be complete without the performances of Lou Engle‘s entertainers from his travelling Road Show titled, “The Call”. (By the way, Palin spoke to Engle just before making her national debut on stage at the GOP Convention in 2008 by cell phone…just sayin’). Their focus is on abortion and they wail and cry out, tears rolling down their cheeks, as they point to this as evidence that America has gone to the Dark Side. (You could see them actually working themselves up emotionally waiting for their turn to take the mic.)
And yes, there was the requisite non-stop Christian rock music playing at varying decibel levels for the entire time. Most “songs” contained 6 to 8 (and often times 7) words that were repeated over and over and over and over….with a purposeful hypnotic rhythm playing that never stopped. This background of music and repeated refrains that ebbed and flowed throughout the entire performance was orchestrated and intentional – just like everything else they produce.
For those who actually watched any of this yesterday, what is important to understand is that this is their gig. They perform at events like this weekly and sometimes more often than that. Their crowds swell to 100,000 in some parts of the world and the United States. Hell, even their mega-church congregations range in the 10 – 20,000 range on a weekly basis! So while some are minimizing the numbers who attended “The Response” – let’s not get cocky.
The rocking, the waving of hands in the air, the outstretched palms are a trademark behavior of these audiences. (I have to tell you that a chill ran through me watching thousands in a trance with outstretched right arms in a salute that was all too reminiscent of the Nazi salute.) They are lured and lulled into this very hypnotically. Fear of damnation and lost salvation consume them mixed with an inflated sense of superior exceptionalism as “true” followers and believers in Jesus Christ. And that means apart from all of us who are “not the right kind of Christian” (meaning we can’t produce a born again birth certificate attesting to our status as one of the “saved”).
Those of us who research and follow this know that there are approximately 80 million followers in our country alone. Dominionists proudly tout that the number is 104 million. And not to beat a dead horse – but I have to repeat – THEY VOTE!
Oh! And before I forget, we will await the announcement that this anointed King David will be running for president of the United States…any moment now. Let the battle of “The Chosen” begin!