The DeVos Doctrine II: Mission ala D. James Kennedy

by Hector Salon

In “The Doctrine of Dick DeVos” some of the elements of the DeVos Doctrine were listed. However, in order to understand any doctrine the founding principles and philosophy (in this case better described as a strangely twisted “theology”) need to be thoroughly examined and explored.

While the real objectives of the DeVos Doctrine are basically simple self-enrichment and profit, the Doctrine and Dick DeVos for Governor campaign in Michigan are infused with a special sort of Christian Fundamentalist rhetoric and the ambitions of political power using organizations within the Christian Right, many of which were setup and financed directly by the DeVos Family for their select purposes and coordinated with other groups with likeminded agendas and goals. They form a cooperative network of burrowing idealogues and market fundelmentalists.

A major source of mission and vision statements behind the DeVos Doctrine finds its roots in the writings of D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries.


Tithes That Bind
On both sides of the family of Dick and Betsy DeVos, through Dick’s parents Richard and Helen and their Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, business partner Jay Van Andel, and Betsy’s parents Edgar and Elsa Prince (also mother of Erik Prince CEO of Blackwater LLC) there are very close personal and financial relationships and connections to D. James Kennedy and his cultural “civil war” or “Christian Crusade” on behalf of “Christian Nationalism”, “Christian Reconstructionist” or “Christian Dominionist” objectives.

The basic components of Dick DeVos for Governor campaign machine have been built up over decades and much of it was set in place by Dick’s father, Richard H. DeVos and behind it all is the DeVos funded the Council on National Policy.

At the core of the theocons and the DeVos political machine is the Foundation for Traditional Value (FTV) and the Citizens for Traditional Values (CTV) that are financed and control by Dick and Betsy DeVos. While there are a numbers of other organizations within a long list of other movements such as abortion, gay-marriage, religious education and vouchers, and anti-flag burning patriotism, just to name a few of which are mentioned in the “Doctrine of Dick DeVos“.

Who is D. James Kennedy? Why care?
D. James Kennedy is a close personal associate and spiritual advisor to of several members of the DeVos family. Amway/DeVoses have provided millions to the funding of Coral Ridge. They have also funded other associated organizations.

Kennedy was the very first speaker at the Foundation of Traditional Values (FTV), as pointed out by the President James E. Muffet, who received a Coral Ridge scholarship and training:

“By the grace of God, Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries agreed to be the First Annual Banquet speaker for FTV in 1993, and this became the catalyst that helped launch the organization.”

Kennedy has already long ago given his blessing to his friend Rich’s son, Dick:

“In this timely volume [the book “Rediscovering American Values”], Dick DeVos builds his argument for the maintenance of freedom in the United States upon the uncontested foundation of moral righteousness. The values which he so clearly delineates- by means of carefully selected real-life examples- echo the scriptural premise that `where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ Every concerned citizen would profit by reading and reapplying this catalog of values as elucidated by one of America’s most outstanding Christian businessmen.”

Generally Kennedy is a low profile personality outside politicized Christian right circles and organizations. He rarely is seen in the MSM. His recent appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, like those in the past, talked about recent events in Lebanon in terms of their relationship to “Armageddon” and the “End Times” are the exception. However, he has a firm position in the leadership of the conservative Christian movement.

In an excellent piece on D. James Kennedy and the history of his activities by Rob Boston “D. James Kennedy: Who Is He And What Does He Want?” the following is revealed:

“Born on Nov. 3, 1930, in Augusta, Ga., Kennedy is a one-time Arthur Murray Studios dance instructor who turned to the ministry. He [D. James Kennedy] graduated with honors from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1959 and assumed the pastorate that same year of Ft. Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, a congregation affiliated with the ultraconservative Presbyterian Church in America. (Kennedy holds a number of other degrees as well, including a Ph.D. from New York University.)”

Kennedy’s reach is also described in Bill Berkowitz in “James Kennedy’s Christian Crusade: TV Evangelist’s ministerial and media empire claim US a ‘Christian nation’, don’t believe in the separation of church and state, and aims to extend political reach”:

“Although he may not be as well known as other Christian right leaders, Dr. Kennedy has been involved in multiple projects with his radical right colleagues. He was a member of the first board of directors of the Moral Majority. He also served on the initial executive board of the Coalition for Religious Freedom (CRF), an organization established by Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church while Rev. Moon was in prison in 1984. According to Sara Diamond, “the organization was financed primarily by the Unification Church, which gave an initial donation of $500,000.” The CRF’s executive board included Jerry Falwell, James Robison, Rex Humbard, Jimmy Swaggart, Kennedy and Tim LaHaye, the co-author of the popular ‘Left Behind’ series of books” (Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right, South End Press, 1989).”

Kennedy’s major entry into political organizing and activities are also described by Rob Boston:

“In 1996 Kennedy founded the Center for Reclaiming America as an arm of his TV ministry. Directed by Janet Folger, a former anti-abortion lobbyist from Ohio, the Ft. Lauderdale-based Center says its mission is to provide `non-partisan, inter-denominational information, training, and support to enable Christians to have a positive role in developing a biblical virtues-based culture in their communities and in our nation.'”

God is a Republican?
This model, that of a “non-partisan” “information, training and support” and apparently “tax deductible”, “non-profit” organizations is the same as those of the DeVos controlled political organizations such as the Foundation for Traditional Values (FTV), Citizens for Traditional Values (CTV) and the Student Statesman Institute (SSI), just to name a few.Kennedy describes the FTV:

“Never in America has there been such a need for traditional values and never have they been under such attack. Foundation for Traditional Values is an idea
whose time has come.”

The description of the Foundation for Traditional Values on their own web site:

“Foundation for Traditional Values (FTV) is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to restore and affirm the Judeo-Christian values upon which America was established. Through seminars and others means, FTV seeks to educate citizens about their God-given liberties by informing them of the true historical role these values have played in the founding of America. By so doing, citizens will be better equipped to take a more active part in their communities, helping to restore our spiritual heritage and traditional morality in our schools and other public and private institutions.”

From the FTV/CTV associated site Information Network for Christian Homes (INCH.org), Muffet makes the party of choice clear:

“Let’s say you normally vote Republican because you are conservative on most issues. But this time around you’re going to vote for the Democrat on the ticket either because you know the candidate personally or because of their gender, race, ethnicity, or some other reason. If that person wins, the unintended consequence is that you’ve helped provide his or her party one more seat toward becoming the majority party. Like it or not, you don’t just vote for a candidate, you vote to put a party in the majority. While you may like the individual, he or she is inexorably linked to their party. They must vote theparty line on most issues if they hope to gain any prominence and be successful in politics.So, when you consider the candidates running for office this November, it’s not only important to know where the candidate stands on the issues, it’s equally important to know where his or her party stands on the issues. Where do the party’s stand on the big issues?”

The Conservative Cycle or Circle: It’s Economics, Politics and Profiteering
Organizations like the FTV and CTV are now part of a growing conservative political industry in America. These quasi-Christian organizations are less about charity and caring about the least among us and other Christian values, as they are about political power for the few. DeVos family activities leverage a hybrid business / political / economic model which uses a full cycle of creating, supporting, funding and leveraging of these “Christians values” based organizations to obtain political power and promote personal profit.

In a nut shell, the “full cycle” which Dick and Betsy DeVos and others like them use goes like this: 1) largely tax deductible “donations” are made to political organizing “foundations” and activities, 2) political candidates and campaigns are recruited, targeted and funded, 3) public policy and legislation is created (portions of which are focused on “hot button” issues like abortion, gay marriage, flag burning, etc.) which redirect public funds and tax dollars to “faith-based” organizations and privately held businesses, 4) key individuals with investments in education, healthcare, financial institutions, real estate, insurance, consulting and other services leverage these freed “public funds” to provide revenue to their own interests, and 5) some fraction of the profits are then again “donated” back their “foundations” and the cycle begins anew (more on this later).

Conservative profiteers, like Dick DeVos have only one true objective: the harvesting of public funding and tax revenues from governments and tax programs, as well as related non-governmental organizations (NGOs) they pretend to hate. These organizations are not primarily formed to promote their religious views and agenda, which are secondary goals; they are formed to sustain and maintain a constant flow of public funds from public projects and programs to support their own enterprises and projects for personal power and profit.

Mission Statement ala D. James Kennedy
In the information and primary source materials on D. James Kennedy and that of his narrowly defined denomination made up of what he calls the “real Christians”, the basics of his theology and political ideology leading to an “American Theocracy” or “Christian Nation” are found. From these materials, one sermon delivered in 2000 and reprinted across the Christian dominionist and associated political “grassroots” movements, has been selected.

“Why Reclaim America?” appears in the book “Tipping the Scales: Restoring Righteousness to a Nation in the Balance”, published by Coral Ridge with direct support of DeVos funding. In this book Kennedy writes the forward and the first chapter.

These are direct quotes of D. James Kennedy below are taken from “Why Reclaim America?” in the same order that they appear in the sermon and have not been modified [however, some emphasis (bold and underlining) have been added].

[From the Introduction]

“…this nation started out as a Christian nation and was the work of Christians in the beginning. Therefore, we have every right to reclaim it.””In fact, if you go all the way back to the very beginning, you see that there was the influence of Christ. Columbus declares in his dairy that it was the Holy Spirit moving in his heart… to take the Gospel of Christ to the New World.”

“Historians tell us that in 1776, 98 percent of the people in America professed themselves to be Protestant Christians. (break) I don’t know of any other nation founded by such a huge percentage of one religion. Somebody in the press said not long ago that the very idea of one religion being predominant in America was un-American. Little did he know the real nature of the founding of this country and that it was as a Christian nation, upon Christian principles

[Boxed Highlight in original publication]

Separation of church and state is not found in the Constitution of the United States, but it is, as I’ve said, found in the Constitution of the Soviet Union.”

[Under the subtitle “What we want“]

What We Want… to bring this nation back to God, back to those things we wish America was like….””Historians are discovering that it was the Bible, even more perhaps then [SIC] the Constitution, that was the founding document of this country.”

“A responsibility to elect Christians – Someone once said that in this Christian nation God has given us, it behooves Christians, and it is their responsibility, to prefer and elect Christians to rule over them.”

The first Chief Justice [John Jay] said it was a Christian nation. May I point out to you, it is not possible to elect Christians to rule over you if Christians aren’t running for office, is it? Some of you ought to put yourselves on the line.”

[Under the subtitle “The Most Effective Political Action“]

“The Most Effective Political Action… winning people to Christ.””When people become real Christians , and I don’t mean just simply professing Christians – real Christians — the Christ, who lives in their heart, will guide in whatever they ought to do and how they ought to vote.”

“Unfortunately, in our day a great many of those who profess… are nominal Christians – Christians in name only… merely church people – nominal Christians. There are millions of people like that in this country.”

“Folks, that’s where the Cultural Mandate is so very important. We need to get Christians registered and voting.”

“… for many people this is startling. I have never voted in an election for anything for myself. Never. I have voted for what I thought was best for the United States of America and what was best for the kingdom of God.”

We need to vote for what is good for America and what is going to be good for the kingdom of God and the morality, the virtue and the godliness for this nation.”

The scripture provided by Kennedy comes from Proverbs 29:2 [New King James Version]

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”

[Under the subtitle “A Shift is Comming“]

“A shift is coming… I want to tell you, one of these days, when we reach that critical mass and the teeter-totter shifts from ungodliness to godliness, from immorality to morality, the secular godless world of people are going to get the biggest shock of their lives. Dear friends, be a part of it. Make it happen. Become a witness for Christ. Get your church to train your lay people to witness for Jesus Christ.”

The same language and mission of D. James Kennedy permeates both the FTV and CTV. Just one examplein the words of Muffet:

“As you know, this nation was founded on Biblical principles largely by Christian men and women. Those ideals are under attack in our generation and must be promoted and defended in the marketplace of ideas. CTV exists to work on behalf of Michigan families such as yours to preserve those traditional and conservative values in Michigan…”

Right next to Muffet’s statements is a letter from Dick DeVos on home schooling.

“As your next Governor, I will not rest until every child in Michigan is given equal access to a quality education, whether that comes in the form of a public school, non-public school, charter or home school. The bottom line is that we must offer a wide range of options and let the parents decide what’s best for their children.I am grateful for your support and I hope you will join me on the campaign trail. To make a difference please visit www.DeVosforGovernor.com and sign up as a volunteer today!

Thank you for your commitment and sacrifice. I applaud the great work you do everyday to teach Michigan’s children.

Blessings,

Dick DeVos”

Examine and explore more of these connections for yourself, there is plenty more to find for those who choose to be informed.Disclaimer: The presenting of this information should not be construed as an attack on people of “faith”, of any Christian denomination or creed. Faith and personal spiritually are important to any public servant or official. Individuals should be allowed to hold their own beliefs, a principleon which our Republic was founded. However, those of Christian and other faiths should examine carefully the doctrine of D. James Kennedy and his descriptions of “real” vs. “nominal” Christians and make their own conclusions.

The question is whether or not within our Republic that any one single religious denomination, sect or faction should use their own form of “faith” as a vehicle to political power and personal enrichment. The careful parsing of the term “Christian”–attaching a set of beliefs–amounts a branding of the term Christian for specific narrow purposes and objectives.

It’s a question of whether or not within our Republic any one single religious denomination, sect or faction should use their own form of “faith” as a vehicle to political power and personal enrichment to the exclusion of all others and domination of all others.. Do they have the right to dominate the public square? Do they have the right to declare other Christians, not of their ilk, unbelievers and unworthy to hold public office?

In the words of Thomas Jefferson:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”
— Thomas Jefferson (Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, January 1, 1802)

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Interrobanger says:

    Hector, brilliant post. Glad to see these getting play outside DKos too.

    For anyone who’s reading this that might be in Michigan, YOUR PARTY NEEDS YOU! Please call the Dem HQ for your area and ask how you can help. They can surely use it. If you don’t know the number, you can find it on this page.

    Go Granholm!

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Hector “stopped by” a while ago and offered these posts. I originally planned to run them last week but got distracted by the attacks on Kerry. Instead I thought this would make good election-eve reading material. Two more installments in Hector’s series, plus an additional article on DeVos, are already scheduled for today.

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