Sarah Palin’s Churches and The Third Wave


Talk to Action produced the above mini-documentary on Sarah Palin’s churches, with the video later being removed by YouTube. Talk to Action writes:

Sarah Palin was baptized at Wasilla Assembly of God and attended the church for over two and a half decades, and she has been publicly blessed by a number of pastors and religious leaders employed by and associated with that church.

Last Sunday our research team released a video, a ten-minute mini-documentary, focusing on the Wasilla Assemblies of God and the video seemed on the verge of a massive “viral” breakthrough when YouTube pulled it down, citing “inappropriate content”.

At the point the video was censored by YouTube it had been viewed by almost 160,000 people. The short of it is that YouTube has censored a video documentary that appeared to be close to having an effect on a hard fought and contentious American presidential election.

Two days ago I contacted YouTube asking what in the video was deemed “inappropriate” but I haven’t received a reply. Meanwhile, YouTube has allowed someone else to post our video in full, but it is no longer in our control and so we no longer are able to update information we had included with our original video, including links to our articles which provide sourcing and documentation on our video.

The video was part of a wider effort by our research team, which has written several articles and released two short videos documenting religious beliefs espoused at Sarah Palin’s Alaska churches – especially the Wasilla Assemblies of God, the Juneau Christian Center and the Church On The Rock. Our team has over a decade’s aggregate experience in researching political and theological beliefs of the American Christian conservative right and has been researching for several years the particular religious movement and doctrines these churches promote.

Our video had climbed, the day before YouTube censored it, to the #10 ‘viral video of the day’ spot according to a website that tracks viral videos. Moreover the video, and our attached stories explaining the “Third Wave” theology associated with at least three of four of Palin’s Alaska churches, were being posted on web sites associated with conservative Christians.

Our research has already impacted the current presidential election, as evidenced by the three-minute and forty second “God Sent Hitler” video that was shown around the world and forced John McCain to renounce the political endorsement of pastor John Hagee (according to according to the New York Times and a wide range of other media including the LA Times, The Wall Street Journal, AP, the Dallas Morning News, CNN and MSNBC). The video featured an excerpt, from a late 2005 sermon, broadcast internationally and sold by Hagee’s ministry as a DVD, in which Hagee stated that “God sent a hunter – Hitler was a hunter” and suggested the divinely appointed mission was to drive Europe’s Jews to Palestine because that was, according to Hagee, “God’s top priority”. Hagee’s beliefs have also been targeted more frequently by his fellow conservative Christians than by the Roman Catholic and Jewish communities that he attacks in his sermons.

If Sarah Palin may hold apocalyptic end-time beliefs or believes that she has a divine mandate to initiate an end-time conflict, American voters have the right to know about the doctrines taught in Palin’s Alaska churches. These churches are closely associated with a movement, called the Third Wave or New Apostolic Reformation, which holds views that are highly controversial, particularly among other conservative Christians who are most aware of this fast growing international phenomenon.  The activities of the movement have been condemned as heresy by the General Council of the Assemblies of God, to which two of Palin’s churches currently belong.  Accusations even stronger than `heresy’, decrying the “Third Wave” religious movement, have been launched from Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christian groups.

Our focus on Palin’s churches does not “bash religion” and has been praised by conservative Christians for its academic rigor. We are examining the religious views promoted at Palin’s churches because the Third Wave / New Apostolic Reformation movement rejects pluralism and its followers believe they have been anointed by God to lead a unified superchurch into the final age – both of which have public policy implications.

Sarah Palin has every right to hold whatever religious views she chooses but, by the same token, the American people have every right to know what Palin’s religious beliefs are – especially to the extent that they may include the view that all other religious and philosophical views but her own are under the influence of demonic powers and that believing Christians must conquer the Earth and cleanse it of evil in this final generation.

Our primary focus is not with the hyper-charismatic manifestations, `outpourings’, associated with the “Third Wave” movement in which those ‘slain’, ‘washed’ or ‘soaking’ in the spirit  bark, howl and shriek, shake spasmodically, laugh or sob, crawl about on all fours, bang their heads on walls, and fall into stupors – all which the participants seem to enjoy.  Neither is our main focus on problematic healing sessions, in which demons are expelled, that sometimes involve patients being kicked or head butted. Our focus is on beliefs behind these manifestations – such as the idea that these outpourings indicate that the participants are part of an “army of God” and comprise the final generation before the end times.  Also problematic is that these healings and supernatural works are seen not as “divine intervention” by God but as the result of supernatural gifts imparted to those humans “anointed” to participant in ridding the world of evil.

From a standpoint of public policy it is significant that Third Wave doctrine teaches that their leaders are raising a generation of youth who will be imparted with supernatural powers and form a conquering Christian army.  These youth, often referred to as Joel’s Army and as the generation born after 1973, will purge the earth in preparation for Jesus’ return.  The movement features special gatherings of believers to use “spiritual warfare” to purge “territorial demons” and end “generational curses” in order to transform the cities of America and the world. Social reform thus takes place through the expulsion of demons.

Third Wave doctrine is an example of an extreme religious exceptionalism – not only are all other religious and philosophical belief systems on Earth seen as invalid and under satanic influence, but Third Wave theology sees all competing branches, sects and denominations of Christianity, particularly other conservative Christians who refuse to join “the river” of these outpourings, as an obstacle to God’s divine will. Third Wave adherents believe that other Christian churches must drop their competing doctrines, which prevent them from joining this final end-time army, and group together under the new authority of the Apostles and Prophets of this final age.  In other words, true believers will join together, in one triumphant end time church, to do battle against evil in the final generation.  C. Peter Wagner, a central figure in the organization of the movement, believes that this second Apostolic age began in 2001 and that it is “heralding the most radical change in the way of doing church at least since the Protestant Reformation.” He also claims that this international movement under the direction of his Apostles is the only large sector of Christianity growing faster worldwide than Islam.

Wagner and his Apostles monitor their progress through the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs, attached to the New Life church formerly led by Ted Haggard.  Leading Apostles and Prophets with titles such as “Generals of Intercession” go on spiritual warfare ventures with names like “Operation Ice Castle” – to attack the territorial demons which they believe prevent Muslims and Roman Catholics from embracing the true faith.  In one such venture, one of the participants happily testified that she believed their efforts against the demon, “the Queen of Heaven”, may have resulted in the death of Mother Theresa.

The American public has a right to know that Sarah Palin, Alaska governor and now GOP vice presidential candidate, may hold such views. And YouTube, as an evolving Fourth-Estate media institution, has the responsibility of refraining from censoring efforts at informing the American public about Palin’s likely beliefs.

On June 8, 2008 in the Wasilla Assembly of God, her church of over 25 years, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin declared United States military forces in Iraq to be “out on a task that is from God.” Head Pastor of that church, Ed Kalnins, has also made statements indicating that he views the current conflict in Iraq as part of an apocalyptic end-times struggle. Palin recently stated her enthusiasm, in a widely televised interview, for war with Russia – a country that, along with the United States, possesses vast stockpiles of intercontinental nuclear ballistic missiles.  The American public has a right to know if Palin believes, as does the Third Wave movement in which her churches take part, that she has a divine mandate or “anointing” to do battle to purge those she views as evil from the world.

Most Americans do not want an American jihad to conquer the world in the name of God let alone a global nuclear war. Judging from the churches Palin attends and from her public statements we have to take very seriously the prospect of having a Vice President, a heartbeat away from the United States presidency, who holds such apocalyptic goals.

The Bridge

Close Race in Electoral College

The electoral vote projections based upon state polls lag behind the national polls. Therefore, while McCain’s post-convention bounce has ended in the national polls, some electoral college predictions lag behind and show McCain with a slight lead. The above map from Electoral-vote.com shows McCain winning 270 to 268.

Don’t get too worried. Real Clear Politics shows Obama leading 273 to 265. As I mentioned above, these are already out of date. For example, SurveyUSA has Obama picking up three points and McCain losing three points in the past week, giving Obama a four point lead in the state. McCain has a lead of only two points in some of the states where he leads, making them likely to flip as they take the end of his bounce into account.

Just for the sake of discussion, let’s say that the first map is almost correct but add just one correction. There is speculation that Obama will pick up one electoral vote in Nebraska, which can split their vote. We saw in the nomination battle that Obama knows how to play the map to maximize gains within a state.

Flip the one vote in Nebraska to Obama and we have a tie in the electoral college, probably giving the election to Obama in the House. Then what if somehow the Republicans retake the Senate? Do we have Obama for president and Palin for VP? An election year which has already been unusual might bring even bigger surprises.

Obama Ad Challenges McCain’s Lack of Honor

Barack Obama summarizes many of John McCain’s recent lies in the above ad. A thirty second spot such as this will not change the race by its own, but it might help synergistically along with the numerous newspaper articles and editorials which are also criticizing McCain’s dishonest campaign. Even conservative sources such as Fox News and US News are criticizing McCain for his dishonesty, with US News outright calling McCain a liar. Surrogates for Obama should also hit on this point in interviews.

Exposing how dishonest a campaign McCain is running is not sufficient to beat him but it is a necessary step. If people believe their interests are better served with McCain as president, many will vote for him regardless of how much he lies. We already saw that the American people reelected George Bush despite his lies. Being exposed as dishonest is not enough to prevent one from winning an election.

It is important to expose McCain’s dishonesty because it is necessary to prevent people from falling for his false claims which give the impression that they would be better off with McCain. Many people will vote for McCain if they believe the lie that their taxes will be lower under McCain than Obama. In order for people to understand that these claims are not true they must first understand that McCain is a liar and therefore his claims about Obama’s tax plans should not be believed.

Poll Shows People Wary of Increased Government Power

As I mentioned yesterday it is rare that the campaign sound bites and ads deal with the issues I’m most concerned about. Yesterday’s post was on the types of justices John McCain would appoint–which is among the more damaging things which McCain might do. One reason is that McCain would likely appoint conservative justices who would support a further increase in Executive power. While this is a major concern of mine, I wouldn’t expect the candidates to be discussing this difference in a political campaign. Based upon these poll results, maybe Obama should discuss this more.

Obama has discussed the issue of excessive Executive power in some interviews, but it is not a common topic on the campaign trail. His experience in teaching Constitutional law would be valuable in addressing this issue once in office. It appears the public does side with him in curtailing the power which George Bush has grabbed. An Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll of views on the Constitution “found people wary of governmental authority after years of controversy over the Bush administration‘s expansion of executive power, and especially skeptical of increasing the president’s powers.”

When Obama speaks of change he should add this to the list of things he will change.

Internet Faces Danger Of Running Out Of Space

The internet is facing the gravest threat ever to its continued existence and is in danger of running out of free space. A new project threatens to gobble up all available space on line. The Democratic National Committee has begun to assemble a listing of articles exposing John McCain’s documented lies during this presidential campaign.

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Factcheck Debunks Corsi’s Book of Smears on Obama

Jerome Corsi, best known for the disproven lies he spread about John Kerry as part of the Swift Boat Liars, has written a similarly dishonest book about Barack Obama. Factcheck.org debunks many of the falsehoods, writing “Jerome Corsi’s The Obama Nation is a mishmash of unsupported conjecture, half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods.”  Their summary begins:

Despite its place near the top of The New York Times’ nonfiction bestseller list, where it has been riding high for the past six weeks, Jerome Corsi’s “The Obama Nation” is not a reliable source of facts about Obama.

Corsi cites opinion columns and unsourced, anonymous blogs as if they were evidence of factual claims. Where he does cite legitimate news sources, he frequently distorts the facts. In some cases, Corsi simply ignores readily accessible information when it conflicts with his arguments. Among the errors we found:

  • Corsi claims that Obama “could claim to be a citizen of Kenya as well as of the United States.” But the Kenyan Constitution specifically prohibits dual citizenship.
  • Corsi falsely states that Obama, who has admitted to drug use as a teenager, “has yet to answer” questions about whether he stopped using drugs. In fact, Obama has answered that question twice, including once in the autobiography that Corsi reviews in his book.
  • Corsi relies on claims from one of Obama’s “closest” childhood friends to “prove” that Obama once was a practicing Muslim, without revealing that the witness later said he couldn’t be certain about his claims and confessed to knowing Obama for only a few months.

There is considerably more information in the body of their article. They conclude by looking at Corsi’s lack of credibility:

Corsi is a renowned conspiracy theorist who says that George Bush is attempting to create a North American Union (we looked at that here) and that there is evidence that the World Trade Center may have collapsed because it was seeded with explosives. More recently, Corsi claimed that Obama released a fake birth certificate. We’ve debunked that twice now. And, as our colleagues at PolitiFact.com found, many of the themes in “The Obama Nation” are reworked versions of bogus chain e-mail smears.

Logically, any argument should rise or fall on its own merits, not the reputation of the person making it. A logical fallacy – known as the “genetic fallacy” – occurs when someone rejects an argument based on its origins. The correctness of a claim should be judged by the relationship the claim has with the rest of the world.

Nevertheless, a practical rule of thumb for everyday living is to rely on sources that have proven themselves to be trustworthy, and to check even on those when an issue is in dispute.

In Corsi’s case, we judge that both his reputation and his latest book fall short when measured by the standards of good scholarship, or even of mediocre journalism.

John McCain: From Maverick to Liar

John McCain has been so dishonest during this campaign that journalists are increasingly outright saying he is lying. US News has a column by John A. Ferrell entitled John McCain’s Journey from Maverick to Liar. He concludes:

Is he truly a maverick who, like his self-proclaimed hero, Teddy Roosevelt, will govern as a progressive? Or will he be beholden, as folks like James Dobson and Rush Limbaugh insist, to the conservative base?

So far, the main “maverick” actions that McCain has promised as the next Republican president are to trim nonmilitary Democratic spending and continue the Iraq war. You can’t get more conventional than that.

And even that message has been somewhat undermined by disclosures that Palin was a champion of those costly federal earmark projects she has lobbied for in Alaska—where, you know, you can see Russia.

At this point, McCain has taken the obvious way out—launching a series of distracting attacks on Barack Obama, with slim regard for truth.

The ads have spurred a backlash, the consequences (or lack) of which may well decide the election.

For 18 months, Obama has wagered all his chips on the (quaint? idealistic? brilliant?) idea that the American people are tired of the same old sleazy and divisive politics. McCain has now chosen to bet against him.

And we are the cards.

That is his bet. McCain is betting on the American people to be stupid enough to believe all his lies despite all the evidence he is lying.

Related Stories: I see this post is suddenly receiving a lot of traffic after a link at The Caucus. Apparently many are interested in the topic of John McCain’s dishonesty, and I wish the link had been to a post which has more than a quote from another site. Here are some other recent posts on the topic of McCain’s dishonest campaign:

Obama Ad Challenges McCain’s Lack of Honor
Fox News Again Exposes McCain Lies on Obama’s Tax Proposals

McCain Has Even Gone Too Far For Karl Rove

Obama Resonds To McCain’s Dishonest Campaign

John McCain’s Very Bad Day

A Busy Day for Fact Checkers

Fox News Again Exposes McCain Lies on Obama’s Tax Proposals

This has been a remarkable election year, and one of the most remarkable things has been that Fox News has now repeatedly been exposing lies from the McCain campaign. Apparently they have become so dishonest that even Fox News finds it impossible to ignore this.

On Fox News, Megyn Kelly pressed McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds on the lies they have been telling about Obama’s tax proposals. The video is above and Think Progress gives the blow by blow account:

On Fox News today, host Megyn Kelly called out McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds for the campaign’s lies about Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) tax proposals. “I want to hold you accountable for what McCain is doing,” said Kelly. “Has your candidate gone too far, has he stretched the truth with the voters?”

Bounds initially attempted to dismiss her question, claiming that McCain has simply “gone to great lengths to discuss Barack Obama’s record.” “It is true that during a struggling economy, he proposes raising taxes,” declared Bounds.

“Not on the middle class,” shot back Kelly, noting that “virtually every independent analyst” has said that the McCain campaign is lying:

KELLY: But you guys have suggested he’s going to raise taxes on the middle class and virtually every independent analyst who took a look at that claim said that’s not true. He’ll raise it on people making $200,000 or $250,000, but not the middle class.

Bounds tried to push back by saying that Obama had voted to raise taxes in the past, but Kelly kept pushing Bounds to admit the McCain campaign was lying. “If that’s false, why would John McCain do that, Tucker? Why wouldn’t he just level with the voters?” asked Kelly:

KELLY: Let’s stay on point, I’m not giving him any credit. I’m saying what the independent analysts say. They say that claim is false. And if that’s false, why would John McCain do that Tucker? Why wouldn’t he just level with the voters and say, “look, he’s going to raise taxes on the wealthy or whatever you consider somebody to be making over $250,000, it’s going to have a trickle down effect. That may not be good for the middle class.” But why say he’s going to raise taxes on the middle class when he’s not?

Kelly is right. Independent analysts such as FactCheck.org and PolitiFact have consistently called out the McCain campaign for misrepresenting Obama’s proposals. As the Tax Policy Center notes, Obama will actually cut taxes for the vast majority of Americans.

Even Karl Rove admits that McCain’s ads have gone “one step too far” in stretching the bounds of the truth.

Bounds responded with the false claim that Obama voted to raise taxes in the Senate 94 times and the other frequent lie from the McCain campaign that Obama wanted to raise taxes on those making $42,000 a year. Even Fox News has debunked these lies from McCain’s campaign in the past.

McCain Criticized For His Health Care Plan

I’ve been surprised that Obama has not done more to criticize McCain on his health plan. Not only does McCain’s plan fail to help those who are uninsured or underinsured, but it will also increase health care costs for those who currently have insurance coverage. One group, Health Care for America Now, is taking action. The Politco reports:

A progressive group pushing for health-care reform – Health Care for America Now – took a swing at Republican presidential nominee John McCain Monday, telling him to “stop lying about” Democratic rival Barack Obama’s health-care plan.

The group took issue with McCain’s characterization last week that Obama’s plan would “force small businesses to cut jobs and reduce wages and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.”

“Sen. Obama’s heath care plan offers the American people and American business a choice. His plan allows individuals to stay with the private insurance they have now, choose a new health care plan similar to the one Congress has or opt into a new public plan so we are no longer left at the mercy of the private insurance industry,” the group’s national campaign manager, Richard Kirsch, said in a statement.

“His plan includes lowering health care costs for small business and allowing employers to offer health insurance by paying for it as a percentage of their payroll rather than continue to feed into the current system where premiums are completely disconnected from what a business can afford.”

Kirsch also knocked McCain’s plan saying, “McCain’s health care plan, which proposes taxing your health-care benefits at work and eliminating what little regulation already exists by allowing people to purchase across state lines, will raise costs and lower consumer protections.”

Jason Rosenbaum presents several reports on the actual differences between the health care plans of Obama and McCain, as opposed to the lies being spread by the Republicans:

McClatchy:

Obama’s proposed universal health-care plan embodies the long-held Democratic Party goal of covering the 47 million Americans who lack health insurance. Employers, insurers, individuals and the government all would have greater roles in assuring coverage through a number of proposals designed to close gaps in the system.”It builds on the existing system and recognizes that we’re not starting from scratch,” said M. Gregg Bloche, health care adviser for Obama. “One can’t impose sudden radical change on the system from the top down. There are real limitations to what can be accomplished centrally with respect to health care.”

McCain’s plan takes a different approach. It follows Republican orthodoxy of trying to make the private-insurance marketplace more affordable and competitive by radically altering the tax treatment of health-care benefits.

For years employers have been able to exclude the cost of health benefits from their employees’ taxable incomes, but self-employed workers and those who buy private coverage don’t have the same tax benefit. To level the playing field, McCain no longer would exempt employees’ health benefits from income taxes. Instead, he’d provide refundable tax credits of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families to help purchase private insurance.

New York Times:

Though Senator John McCain has promised to not raise taxes, his campaign acknowledged Wednesday that the health plan he outlined this week would have the effect of increasing tax payments for some workers, primarily those with high incomes and expensive health plans.

Time’s Joe Klein:

Today’s issue: health insurance. John McCain wants to tax your employer-provided health care benefits. He wants to replace those benefits with an insufficient tax credit–$2500 for individuals and $5000 for families (the average cost per family for health insurance is $12000).

There is a positive, progressive tax aspect to this: wealthier people should have to pay for health insurance themselves, without tax breaks from the federal government.

But make no mistake: this plan will do little or nothing for those who do not have insurance now–unless they are young and healthy–and it may well hurt a fair number of workers, especially unionized workers, who get gold-plated benefits from their employers.

The media has also called out John McCain’s outright lies about Obama’s health care plan:

Disputed characterizations are not uncommon on the trail. At a campaign stop this week in Missouri, Mr. McCain said that Mr. Obama’s plan would “force small businesses to cut jobs and reduce wages and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.”Jonathan B. Oberlander, who teaches health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that Mr. Obama’s plan would not force families into a government-run system. “I would say this is an inaccurate and false characterization of the Obama plan,” he said. “I don’t use those words lightly.”