On September 30, 2013, with the government shutdown looming, NAR leader, apostle and prophet Rick Joyner, head of the Fort Mill, SC Morningstar Ministries, issued a public call for a "military takeover - martial law". I cover that aspect in my Huffington Post story, Tea Party Republican -- Linked Religious Right Leader Calls for 'Military Takeover' As I describe in my story, Joyner has ties to prominent Republicans include Sarah Palin and former Senator Jim DeMint, now head of the massive Heritage Foundation, and Joyner's NAR movement - which produced Palin - has extensive ties to leading Tea Party aligned Republicans. But now, Military Religious Freedom Foundation head researcher Chris Rodda has an explosive new finding that raises major national security questions; in a Huffington Post story titled Pentagon Leaders Met with Collaborator of Preacher who Proposed "Military Takeover" of the Government, Rodda describes a series of September 12, 2013 "high level meetings" between Pentagon officials and far-right anti-LGBTI Christian leaders "for a frank discussion on the loss of religious freedom by Christians in the Air Force and the Defense Department in general" [for an investigation into those claims by Christian leaders at the Pentagon meeting, from the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and Rick Joyner's Oak Initiative, see this story from journalist Bill Berkowitz.] Representing Morningstar Ministries at the September 12 Pentagon meetings was a board member of Rick Joyner's Oak initiative -- none other than former Undersecretary of Defense Lt.Gen. (U.S. Army Ret.) W.G. "Jerry" Boykin who, as his Oak Initiative bio describes,
"was one of the elite warriors chosen in 1978 to make up the first unit in America's ultra-secretive and deadly Delta Force. He then became commander of the unit, and later still, commander of all U.S. Army Special Forces. His thirty-six years in the military included a tour at the Central Intelligence Agency and clandestine missions around the world. Jerry retired in 2007, serving his last four years as the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence."
If ever there was a man to organize and head a coup, it would be Boykin.
"We estimate that between 28% and 34% of officers and NCOs (non-commissioned officers) in the U.S. military would either back or be extremely sympathetic to Joyner" - Mikey Weinstein, founder and head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Amidst chaos in Washington, while Republicans in Congress are accused of holding the "full faith and credit" of the United States hostage through the current government shutdown, a leader of the newly emerging, reorganized religious right who has ties to prominent Tea Party Republicans has just called for a "military takeover". In a September 30, 2013 broadcast, as reported by Raw Story and Religious Right Watch, Morningstar Ministries head Rick Joyner -- a leading prophet and apostle in the theocratic movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation who has ties to former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin [see: 1, 2] and other leading Tea Party-aligned Republicans -- publicly issued a call for a coup - a "military takeover" of the United States government and the imposition of martial law. In an interview with former Reagan Administration lawyer Michael "Mikey" Weinstein -- who formed the civil rights watchdog organization the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) after discovering a pattern of coercive evangelizing at his former alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs -- Weinstein told me his organization estimated that between 28% and 34% of officers and NCOs in the United States military were adherents to a supremacist form of Christianity known as dominionism who might back or at least be sympathetic to evangelist Joyner's call for a coup. "It is a terrible mistake to dismiss Joyner as merely fringe. The opposite is true", explained Weinstein, who emphasized that there are dozens of dominionist evangelical para-church organizations engaging in what MRFF views as predatory evangelizing in the military. "Complacency is complicity," warned Weinstein, who called Rick Joyner's call for a military takeover a "red line" and also a "wretched" form of "sedition". "We are most concerned about a fusion between dominionist Christianity and the military's weapons of mass destruction", warned Weinstein, who says his client base, members of the military who turn to MRFF for protection against coercive evangelizing, is approaching 35,000. Most of those MRFF clients, according to Weinstein, are Christians who are targeted for holding the wrong doctrine and theology. Morningstar Ministries founder Joyner, who over the last decade has partially rebuilt the crashed real estate and media empire of disgraced TV evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who were caught up in a 1980s scandal which led to a flurry of media claims that the religious right was spent as a political force, has promoted the claim that President Obama's health care reform legislation includes a provision to create a left-wing paramilitary force akin to Hitler's Nazi "brownshirts". Despite his promotion of fringe right-wing conspiracy theory, Joyner - accorded the status of "prophet" within his movement - boasts ties to Republicans such as former Senator Jim DeMint, now head of the mammoth Heritage Foundation and to evangelists in the upper echelon of Christianity Today such as the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, and some surprising international connections as well - Joyner has frequented an internationalist conference co-hosted by a close confident of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his call for a "military takeover" and "martial law", because the nation has been so allegedly "undermined", Rick Joyner omitted several relevant aspects: First, Morningstar Ministries head Joyner is a significant leader in one of the most militant streams of the religious right (the New Apostolic Reformation) which, in turn, has for three decades have been engaged in a slow-motion takeover of the Republican Party. The religious right takeover of the GOP helped power the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress and by 2000, according to a survey released in 2002 by Campaigns & Elections magazine, the Christian right had "strong" or "moderate" influence in the majority of state Republican Party structures. In its new guise, as the "Tea Party", the religious right also drove the 2010 Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and of numerous state legislators and governor's seats across the nation. From those positions of power, after both the 1994 and 2010 takeovers, religious right affiliated Republicans have pursued an insurrectionary agenda, blocking significant national legislation and shutting down the federal government - in short, Rick Joyner's own movement can be accused of working to undermine the Republic and American democracy. Second, Joyner's movement itself claims to have infiltrated the U.S. government and the United States military with its "apostles". So Joyner's appeal to the "Lord" to effect a military takeover can be taken at face value or, alternately, as a coded appeal to those apostles to carry out Joyner's vision for divine national redemption via a coup. While such a possibility may seem unlikely, over the last three decades the dominionist religious right has waged an aggressive, ongoing campaign to promote its supremacist political ideology within the United States military - often in violation of regulations concerning improper and coercive evangelizing in the military according to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which fights such predatory evangelism. In the forefront of the campaign to impose a narrowly sectarian form of Christian dominionist ideology on the military has been the enormous 1/2-billion dollar a year international ministry Campus Crusade For Christ - whose Military Ministries division has advertised a goal [also see 1] of turning United States military personnel into "government paid missionaries" and of "transforming the nations of the world through the militaries of the world". In December 2006, Campus Crusade's Washington D.C.-based Christian Embassy ministry came under fire after a MRFF Washington press conference exposed a video produced by the ministry, filmed inside the Pentagon and featuring Pentagon officials who declared that their primary loyalty is to their religious faith rather than to their appointed positions in the military. Explaining his participation in the video, Major General John Catton said he thought Campus Crusade's Christian Embassy was a "quasi-federal agency". A subsequent investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General vindicated Mikey Weinstein's MRFF with a finding of misconduct on the part of Pentagon officials who participated in the Christian Embassy video. Campus Crusade founder and longtime head William Rohl "Bill" Bright, a close colleague of mega-evangelist Billy Graham, called his ministry efforts a "conspiracy to overthrow the world", blamed rising crime during the 1960s on lack of prayer in schools, claimed homosexuality helped cause the downfall of classical Greece and the Roman Empire. Bright, a key founder of the modern religious right participated in the Coalition on Revival, an ecumenical Protestant organization whose members pledged a blood oath to impose their version of Christian theocracy, and Biblical law, on America and the world. In May 2013 the LGBT rights nonprofit Truth Wins Out released a report exposing Campus Crusade's support, in Africa, for legislation to make homosexuality a capital offense. Third, while Joyner, in his new call for a military coup, bemoaned a "joyful disregard of the constitution", Rick Joyner has himself called for a coercive, authoritarian religious state that would seem to have little room for the Bill of Rights and which would forcible re-educate American citizens: In a 2007 prophecy published June 19, 2007 on the Elijahlist website, which Rick Joyner gave in tandem with apostle Dutch Sheets, Joyner explained, in a subsection titled "The Coming Kingdom",
"The kingdom of God will not be socialism, but a freedom even greater than anyone on earth knows at this time. At first it may seem like totalitarianism, as the Lord will destroy the antichrist spirit now dominating the world with "the sword of His mouth" and will shatter many nations like pottery. However, fundamental to His rule is II Corinthians 3:17, "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Instead of taking away liberties and becoming more domineering, the kingdom will move from a point of necessary control while people are learning truth, integrity, honor, and how to make decisions, to increasing liberty so that they can." [emphases in the original]
Joyner's co-author in the 2007 prophetic communique was evangelist and NAR apostle Dutch Sheets, who according to a 2006 Charisma magazine article was one of several NAR leaders who helped 'mentor' former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris - who helped tip the disputed 2000 U.S. presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. While Joyner's charismatic New Apostolic Reformation is by any account a minority movement within Protestant Christianity, it has claimed influence over a number of prominent Republicans, from 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, to 2012 election Republican hopefuls Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, as well as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Senator-turned Kansas governor Sam Brownback. Underlying the ideological and political extremity of the NAR, consider several data points:
1) The NAR has been tied [see 1, 2] to an effort, in the African country of Uganda, to legislate LGBTI citizens out of existence and one of the NAR's prominent prophets, TheCall founder Lou Engle, through his ministry behind a 2008 GOTV campaign in favor of California's anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8 ballot initiative.
2) C. Peter Wagner, perhaps the NAR's leading theorist and political organizer, promotes a "theology of war", traces his movement's dominion theology to the writing of Christian Reconstructism founder R.J. Rushdoony, and calls upon believers to take over significant sectors of society, the so-called "Seven Mountains" and rule "like kings". 3) Wagner and other top theorists in his movement, such as Ed Silvoso and Cindy Jacobs (each regarded as serving the dual roles as both "apostle" and "prophet"), advocate that believers burn or otherwise destroy art and religious scripture tied to every religious and philosophical belief system on Earth regarded as being in competition with Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation -- a maximally supremacist doctrine reminiscent of the 2001 Taliban dynamiting of Afghanistan's UNESCO-designated Buddhas of Bamiyan.
The identity of the NAR's alleged "apostles in the military", mentioned by apostle Dutch Sheets at a 2008 New Apostolic Reformation conference in Texas, is mostly speculative but one is known for certain - the late Jim Ammerman, who ran a chaplain endorsing agency that is responsible for credentialing a substantial percentage of active-duty chaplains in the United States military. A long-time apostle in one of the main apostolic bodies in C. Peter Wagner's emerging New Apostolic Reformation, the International Coalition of Apostles, during the 1990s Jim Ammerman toured the United States telling audiences that Jewish bankers, in league with the anti-Christ, were plotting to enslave Americans under a military dictatorship enforced by United Nations, German, and Chinese troops hidden in U.S. national parks. According to Ammerman, then-President Bill Clinton, an agent of the Illuminati, would sign over American sovereignty to UN control, after which foreign troops would intern American citizens in prepared FEMA concentration camps. In 2008, the official newsletter of Jim Ammerman's chaplain endorsing agency carried an op-ed calling for the execution of Democratic Party Senators Dodd, Biden, Clinton, and Obama, for the alleged crime of opposing legislation to make English the official language of the United States. Ammerman's conspiracy theories were echoed in a 2009 video from Morningstar Ministries' Oak initiative, a Tea Party-aligned political organizing initiative which features the participation of Christianity Today board member Samuel Rodriguez, who at a 2009 Oak Initiative conference called for the creation of a Christian "Tea Party". In 2010, the Oak Initiative released a video statement from former U.S. Undersecretary of Defense William "Jerry" Boykin, who claimed that Barack Obama's health care reform legislation contained a provision to create a private "constabulary force, a force that can control the population". Warned Boykin,
"Remember, Hitler had the Brownshirts... if you read the healthcare legislation, it's actually in the healthcare legislation. There are paragraphs in the healthcare legislation that talk about the commissioning of officers, i time of a national crisis, to work directly for the president. It's laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America."
But in his September 30, 2013 "Prophetic Perspectives" series broadcast, Morningstar Ministries head Rick Joyner called for a military coup that would do just that - 'control the population', and Joyner's 2007 "prophecy" indicates that Joyner's vision for such a military dictatorship would be as coercive as the "constabulary force" Boykin warned of. Declared Joyner,
"I mean, there's no way our Republic can last much longer. It may not last through Obama's second term. There are a lot of people that feel, you know, it can't. There are forces right now seeking to undermine and to destroy the Republic. There's almost a glib and almost a joyful disregard of the constitution, and a belittling of the constitution. We can't make it without that - that's our foundation, our moorings. We're heading for serious tyranny. [...] I think we've been used in some wonderful and powerful ways by God, we've been one of the most generous nations in history, we've done so much good - and that's why I appeal to the Lord - don't let us be totally destroyed. Please, raise up those who will save us. And as I start telling friends from a long time that no election's going to get the right person in there that can restore us because the system is so broken, so undermined right now - the whole system. I believe our only hope is a military takeover: martial law."
Both Morningstar Ministries head Rick Joyner, NAR guru C. Peter Wagner, NAR apostle Dutch Sheets, NAR prophet Lou Engle of TheCall, and the late Campus Crusade For Christ founder and head Bill Bright are among the endorsers of the Kansas City-based International House of Prayer, which is at the narrative center of the soon to be premiering video documentary God Loves Uganda, that examines the role of American charismatic evangelicals in a mounting crusade of anti-gay hatred in the Africa nation of Uganda - where legislation that would make active homosexuality a capital crime has loomed before Uganda's parliament since 2009. Supporters of the so-called "kill the gays bill" claim it would defend traditional Ugandan families against an alleged LGBT threat. A similar theme could be heard at a speech given last August 12th, at the religious right's Iowa Leadership Summit, by Rafael Cruz - the father of Tea Party Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has helped lead the current government shutdown effort. Procaimed pastor Cruz,
"When you hear this attack on religion, it's not really an attack on religion. The fundamental basis is this. Socialism requires that government becomes your God. That's why they have to destroy your concept of God. They have to destroy all your loyalties except loyalty to the government. That's what's behind homosexual marriage. It's really more about the destruction of the traditional family than about homosexuality, because you need also to destroy loyalty to the family."
As Methodist Pastor Morgan Guyton described in an October 1, 2013 Huffington Post story that examined Senator Ted Cruz' charismatic evangelical Christian roots, Senator Cruz' father Rafael Cruz asserts Christian pastors "were the backbone of the [American] Revolution" and also proclaims an unabashed form of dominionism. Guyton cites, from a 2012 sermon pastor Cruz gave as a guest pastor in an Irving, Texas megachurch, this message to Cruz' church audience:
"The majority of you... your anointing... is an anointing as king. God has given you an anointing to go to the battlefield. And what's the battlefield? The marketplace. To go to the marketplace and occupy the land. To go to the marketplace and take dominion."
Pastor Rafael Cruz' exhortation closely tracked the teachings of New Apostolic Reformation leader C. Peter Wagner on dominionism. Wagner, who in 2008 released a book with the title Dominion: How Kingdom Action Can Change the World and commanded believers, in a 2012 Charisma magazine article, to "take dominion over everything", stated at a 2008 NAR conference the following:
"Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing and it relates to society. In other words, what the values are in Heaven need to be made manifest here on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings. It says in Revelation Chapter 1:6 that He has made us kings and priests - and check the rest of that verse; it says for dominion. So we are kings for dominion."

Wrote one Talk To Action site member, back in July


"Terry Jones, the jackass preacher who has moved to this county, is now planning another Koran-burning.

His plans are to burn 3000 Korans on the property of a Bill McKinney (a name to check on) on September 11.

I suspect his core motivation is to get more people killed..."

But, it was not to be. Not this time, at least. Reports MSNBC, Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones, in the latest of his seemingly endless anti-Islam PR stunts, has been arrested, along with his associate pastor, before they could torch thousands of kerosene-soaked copies of the Koran.  

According to MSNBC, the two "were arrested and booked in Polk County, Fla., after dousing 2,998 of the Muslim holy books with kerosene" and "now face felony charges for unlawfully transporting fuel." Jones is also apparently facing a misdemeanor charge "for openly carrying a firearm, and [ Associate Pastor] Sapp faces charges for invalid registration on the trailer the pair were using to transport the books."

Over the past summer Jones' previous attempt to publicly burn large quantities of Korans was thwarted, either by an act of God or the vagaries of weather, when unusually heavy Florida rains flooded a site Jones had chosen for the conflagration.

Jones has repeatedly deployed "Burn the Koran" threats in the past - one of which gained, in 2011, notice of both General David Petraeus and also the Pope.

In another incident that year, Jones burned a Koran in what seemed, based on his Youtube video of the event, to be a barbecue grill -- touching off a deadly riot in Afghanistan that killed both Afghan civilians and UN employees. Reported Talk To Action's Frederick Clarkson,


"a wide range of world leaders from the Pope to General Petraeus to President Obama asked Jones to please not act on his threat to burn the Qu'ran. American military leaders said that among other things, such an act would endanger the troops. Ultimately, Jones stood down. But on March 20th he went ahead and staged a much less publicized kangaroo court in which he found the sacred text of Islam guilty of "crimes against humanity" -- including causing murder, rape, and terrorism. He sentenced the book to burning.  This enraged several Muslim clerics in Afghanistan, who led a mob in search of Americans against whom to retaliate. Unable to find any, they attacked a United Nations office and killed a number of UN staff (accounts vary.) A number of Afghan civilians were killed or wounded as well. Apparently, no Americans were killed in the fighting.

A video of the burning shows a kerosene-soaked Qu'ran set ablaze in what appears to be a barbecue grill inside the church hall used for the "trial." "

But Jones is not so fringe as one might be led to believe:  

Reported Talk To Action contributor Richard Bartholomew, in 2010, Jones has some links to powerful evangelists in the charismatic world:  


"According to Amazon, Tuesday was the launch date of Islam is of the Devil, a book published by Creation House and written by the now-notorious Pastor Terry D. Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida. As with Fred Phelps, Jones has a particular obsession with one subject which he has distilled into a slogan, and he uses stunts such as his planned "Burn a Koran Day" to attract media interest. However, while Phelps is confined to the fringes of fundamentalism, Jones is better-connected: Creation House is one of the biggest conservative Christian publishing houses in the USA, and it is an imprint of Strang Communications, which publishes Charisma magazine. In 2005 Stephen Strang, who heads the company, was named by Time as one of the "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America". Further, Jones was involved with the controversial "Maranatha Ministries" in the 1980s, along with a number of figures who are today influential in the neo-Pentecostal "Third Wave"."

It was this same charismatic tendency, broadly speaking, that gave us Sarah Palin.

[update, Sept. 12, 2013: here's a page, on Gary North's personal website, with videos of North talking about his role in the new Ron Paul homeschooling curriculum. North's website is peppered with extreme anti-gay rhetoric, including these quotes, from North's free book "Boundaries and Dominion - An Economic Commentary on Leviticus":

[page 26]"God is indeed a homophobe. He hates the practice and those who practice it, which is why He destroyed Sodom. God warned Israel; practice such an abomination, and the land will vomit you out, just as it vomited out its former inhabitants (Lev. 18:24-29)" [page 221] "Homosexuals do not reproduce. They recruit. There is an inescapable competition for bodies and souls: homosexuals vs. heterosexuals. If the homosexuals should win this competition, the human race will end unless test-tube babies become a cost-effective reality. This is not just a war over civilization; it is a war over the survival of the human race."


In 1976, Ron Paul's first year as a U.S. Congressional Representative, serving Texas' 22nd District, Paul brought in Christian Reconstructionist Dr. Gary North - who has advocated stoning as a capital punishment for homosexuality [see footnote 2] and argued for the enslavement of non-Christians [see footnote 1], to serve on Paul's Congressional staff as an economic analyst and newsletter writer. The relationship has continued to this day - North helped develop, along with Neo Confederate Thomas Woods, Ron Paul's new Christian home schooling curriculum, launched last April 2013. But North also claims to have helped develop Ron Paul's grand political strategy. According to Dr. North, Ron Paul's presidential runs in 2008 and 2012 were part of a stealth, long term strategy which in 2008 - Phase 1 of the strategy, "raised over $28 million, assembled a huge data base -- a postage-free data base -- and got network TV interviews all over YouTube".

North went on to describe "Phase 2" - a stealth strategy with several components. One was for Ron Paul supporters to run for government office, at every level - from town "dogcatcher" and up the line. Another was the creation of a Ron Paul homeschool curriculum. We can see the first in play starting in 2010, with the Tea Party wave that swept far-right Republicans into power in Congress and in many U.S. states. The Ron Paul homeschool curriculum was launched in 2013.

North also outlined the components of a low-cost, tech-savvy rolling political campaign in which Ron Paul would steadily, methodically, patiently build his brand name, his public presence, and his contact lists. Explained North,


"If Ron Paul will provide the leadership, he can spearhead a national movement whose goal is to roll back the state to its Constitutional limits -- its 1791 limits, meaning the Bill of Rights. All ten of them. This movement must be based on a systematic, well-thought-out campaign to roll back the civil government in every area of life in which it is operating unconstitutionally."

It is worth noting, here, that in 1791 the Constitution and Bill of Rights allowed for legal slavery and did not provide for women's suffrage. In his book Tools of Dominion [PDF of book], Dr. North allows for a form of legal, "Biblical slavery" but argues that baptized women should be allowed to vote and hold public office. Non-Christians would, however be excluded from voting and public office.  

The objective of the Ron Paul strategy "Phase 2", per North, was "to get positioned locally with numerous officials so as to present a united front against the Federal government when it begins to falter". He went on to explain,


"Precinct by precinct, town by town, county by county, a decentralized political movement could begin to undermine the legitimacy the existing political structure....

The central issue is legitimacy. The supreme goal is to undermine the legitimacy enjoyed by the prevailing central state."

Is the strategy that Gary North outlined in 2008 the very same one that Ron Paul is now pursuing ? The evidence is compelling - Ron Paul shows no sign of receding into the background. His media presence is only growing, especially with the recent launch of the Ron Paul Channel.

In many respects, the master strategy that Gary North outlines is merely a continuation of an initiative, launched from the dominionist and theocratic religious right during the late 1980s, to gradually take over the Republican Party, from the bottom up.

For more, see these related articles from Rachel Tabachnick, on "Biblical Capitalism":
Theocratic Libertarianism: Quotes from Gary North, Ludwig von Mises Institute Scholar

Rushdoony's Theocratic Libertarianism at Work in the Nation's Statehouses

Rushdoony and Theocratic Libertarians on Slavery

Ron Paul Curriculum Launched by Reconstructionist Gary North and Neo-Confederate Thomas Woods

Footnote #1: On page 111 of Tools For Dominion, Gary North opens a chapter titled "A Biblical Theology of Slavery" with,


"Without a proper understanding of the theological foundation and institutional functions of indentured servitude in the Old Testament, the reader will be baffled by several of the case laws of Exodus. Modern man's automatic negative reaction against the word "slavery" makes it imperative that the serious Bible student understand the biblical concept of servitude before he begins a study of Exodus 21; otherwise, he will be tempted to conclude in advance that these case laws do not apply today, that they were designed for use by "primitive desert tribes" rather than designed for use by all societies everywhere."

North takes great pains to distinguish his concept of Biblical Slavery from the historic U.S. Southern institution of slavery, it is worth noting. It is slavery nonetheless, but North ties his advocacy for Biblical slavery to a trenchant (and still applicable) critique on the dysfunctional nature of the modern U.S. penal system. On page 116, North sketches out the theological underpinnings:


"hierarchical temporary bondservice of man to man under biblical law is the system that God has established for the reformation of covenant-breaking men, which in turn reflects His permanent covenantal rule. Indentured servitude always points to liberty, meaning covenant-keeping liberty under God. Covenant-keeping men are institutionally subordinated to God in terms of a law-order that progressively. brings long-term prosperity and liberty (Deut. 28:1-14). Servitude is inescapable, but the forced system of bondage known as indentured servitude is used by God to bring self-discipline and maturity to His covenant people.

On page 121, North notes that the form of Biblical Slavery advocated by Reconstructionists is somewhat controversial:


"When English-speaking people use the word "slavery," they have in mind especially the West's Negro slave system, or perhaps some other system of permanent slavery. The word produces a kind of "knee-jerk" negative response. This is why it has been so difficult for Christians to discuss the Old Testament institution of slavery in a calm, analytical manner. 22 For example, in a hostile article attacking the Reconstruction movement, author Rodney Clapp warns his readers: "More startling than any degree of influence, however, is what Reconstructionists actually propose for society: the abolition of democracy and the reinstitution of slavery, for starters."23 He never cites any evidence for his accusation. There is a reason for this gap in his documentation: Christian Reconstructionists do believe in democracy - meaning representative republican government, with Old Testament Israel as the model 24 and they do not believe in slavery along the lines of Western Negro slavery. 25 What Christian Reconstructionists do accept is the continuing moral validity of the Old Testament's system of indentured servitude: for debt repayment (instead of nearly painless declarations of bankruptcy) and for restitution payments to victims by criminals."

Even slightly more controversial, perhaps, is the Christian Reconstructionist vision for the permanent enslavement of "heathens", non-Christians that is. On pages 121-122, North elaborates,


"Because of this confusion in terminology between indentured servitude and permanent slavery, any forthright discussion of slavery in the Old Testament is likely to create many initial misunderstandings. The only form of permanent slavery in the Old Testament was the enslavement of heathens: "Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession."

Footnote #2: As Gary North muses, on page 108 of Tools For Dominion, in a the subsection Homosexuality and God's Penal Sanctions


"Homosexual behavior was a capital crime in the Old Testament (Lev. 20:13). Is it still a capital crime today? Virtually all non-theonomic interpreters draw back from this politically embarrassing (in 1989) conclusion."

In a caustic footnote on page 101, North goes into details on more categories of miscreants deserving of death-by-stoning:


You can almost hear the sneer in the words of Ed Dobson (who until March of1987 was vice president of student affairs at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and who also served as editor of Falwell's Fundamentalist Journal) and Ed Hindson (pro-fessor of religion at Liberty University): "Some of Rushdoony's followers, in order to prepare the world for Christ's second coming, have called for laws mandating the death penalty for homosexuals and drunkards." They wrote this in a non-Christian magazine: ''Apocalypse Now?", Policy Review (Fall 1986), p. 20. First, they would be hard-pressed to find any follower of Rushdoony who has called for the death penalty simply for drunkenness, nor do they mention anyone who has. This was a classic "cheap shot." The passage that they presumably are referring to, Deuteronomy 21:20, calls for the death penalty of rebellious sons, who manifest their rebellion as drunkards and gluttons, and whose parents are required by God to testify to this fact before the civil magistrates. Such sons are therefore rebels against lawfully constituted authority (parents), and are to receive the death penalty. Second, with respect to homosexual acts, the Bible clearly calls for the death penalty (Lev. 20:13), as these men surely know. Yet they try to trick their non-Christian audience into blaming unnamed followers of R. J. Rushdoony for this supposed embarrassment, rather than blaming its "shamefully unliberal" perpetrator, God. God's response to this antinomian embarrassment is AIDS. To say that such antinomian arguments by these biblical law-hating Christians are merely misleading is giving them far too much credit."

On pages 44-45, North describes his philosophy of stoning:


Stoning was a communal activity, an aspect of the civil covenant: sanctions...

Public stoning forces citizens to face the reality of the ultimate civil sanction, execution, which in turn points to God's ultimate sanction at judgment day. Stoning also faithfully images the promised judgment against Satan: the crushing of his head by the promised Seed (Gen. 3:15). Because most people, including Christians, do not want to think about God's final judgment, they prefer to assign to distant unknown executioners the grim task of carrying out God's judgment in private. This privatization of execution is immoral; it is itself criminal. It is unjust to the convicted criminal,41 and it is unjust to the surviving victims, who do not see God's justice done in public. The systematic impersonalism of capital punishment is the problem, not capital punishment as such. This deliberate impersonalism has corrupted the entire penal system today.42"

In 1998, North's writings on "biblical stoning" inspired a sardonic article published in the November 1998 edition of the Libertarian magazine Reason, by Walter Olson, "Invitation to a Stoning - Getting Cosy With Theocrats". Wrote Olsen,


"For connoisseurs of surrealism on the American right, it's hard to beat an exchange that appeared about a decade ago in the Heritage Foundation magazine Policy Review. It started when two associates of the Rev. Jerry Falwell wrote an article which criticized Christian Reconstructionism, the influential movement led by theologian Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, for advocating positions that even they as committed fundamentalists found "scary." Among Reconstructionism's highlights, the article cited support for laws "mandating the death penalty for homosexuals and drunkards." The Rev. Rushdoony fired off a letter to the editor complaining that the article had got his followers' views all wrong: They didn't intend to put drunkards to death."

Describing Gary North's writing on the subject, Olson went on,


"Reconstructionists provide the most enthusiastic constituency for stoning since the Taliban seized Kabul. "Why stoning?" asks North. "There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost." Thrift and ubiquity aside, "executions are community projects--not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do `his' duty, but rather with actual participants." You might even say that like square dances or quilting bees, they represent the kind of hands-on neighborliness so often missed in this impersonal era. "That modern Christians never consider the possibility of the reintroduction of stoning for capital crimes," North continues, "indicates how thoroughly humanistic concepts of punishment have influenced the thinking of Christians." And he may be right about that last point, you know."
One of the few international hindrances to unilateral United States military actions has been it's membership in the United Nations. Although an imperfect institution, the UN is serving now as the crucible for a newly emergent multilaterally-supported alternative to a United States strike on Syria. As the Washington Post reports, France is backing a proposal, already supported by both Russia and China and also accepted by the Syrian government, to place Syria's enormous stockpile of chemical weapons under international control.

Among prominent voices speaking out against American military intervention in the ongoing Syrian civil war has been Former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, who over the past decade has emerged as a steadfast opponent and critic of U.S. military interventionism.

Thus the irony -- in 1997, Representative Paul introduced a bill, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, that called for a complete United States withdrawal from the United Nations. In the unlikely event that Paul's bill had cleared the Congress and Senate, and been signed into law by then-President Clinton, constraints that the United Nations, and the U.N. Security Council, impose on the unilateral American use of military force would have been swept away. The United States would no longer be involved in the U.N. system, which may now provide an internationally acceptable alternative to an American military strike on Syria, for allegedly having carried out a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.

This is one of the ways that Ron Paul's actions undermine his stated anti-war positions.

Backing Representative Paul's American Sovereignty Restoration Act at the time was the John Birch Society, which in 1998 released a 30-minute video, featuring Ron Paul and various figures associated with the JBS and with the fringe, schismatic Catholic group the Fatima Center.  

That 1998 JBS video [link to partial transcript of video] portrayed the United Nations as bent on imposing a totalitarian one world government that would impose population control and draconian environmental laws - justified by perpetrating hoaxes involving possibly global warming or the Ozone Layer, force all children into "government schools", seize all firearms, take over or burn all churches and places of worship, imprison uncooperative pastors and religious leaders, impose a one-world religion based in atheism, paganism, and the occult, place American military under UN command, violently crush all dissent, and even carry out acts of genocide against targeted societal groups.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, Ron Paul is slated to give a keynote address at the Fatima Center, an apocalyptic fringe schismatic Marionist Catholic group that viciously demonizes Jews and claims they are, together with homosexuals, feminists, and environmentalists, part of a vast Masonic plot to institute a "New World Order" that will slaughter much of the Earth's population and enslave those who remain.

Leading the alleged vast conspiracy is no less than the prince of darkness, Satan.

As researcher Rachel Tabachnick reports, Ron Paul's collaboration with Fatima Center leaders traces back at least as far as 1998, when he appeared with several Fatima Center leaders in the aforementioned 1998 John Birch Society video.

The title of the Fatima conference is "Path to Peace", and, like Ron Paul, the Fatima Center leaders strongly oppose U.S. military intervention in the ongoing Syrian civil war. But Ron Paul's presence at the conference will raise the legitimate question - how serious is Paul about his non-interventionist stance, really ?

The basic problem is that for years Fatima Center leaders have promoted conspiracy theories claiming that various constituencies - liberals and humanists, gays and feminists, environmentalists, Jews, Freemasons, communists, and even elements of the Catholic Church, are working together in a vast anti-Christian, anti-God conspiracy ultimately controlled by the devil.

If there's one underlying imperative for effective populist movements that might help shift or influence national policy, on both domestic and foreign policy fronts, it's this: build coalitions, across the political spectrum, from left to right.

Under the leadership of Former Congressman Ron Paul, over the past decade we have seen the rise of the non-interventionist Libertarian right. But even as Paul has helped build opposition, on the right and among Libertarians, to U.S. military interventionism, he has simultaneously undercut the potential of his nascent movement to become truly effective, because Paul has also promoted, for decades, magical conspiracy theory-driven narratives that demonize a large portion of the American body politic.

Pro-interventionism hawks within the Military Industrial Complex could hardly have conceived of a better strategy for quietly undermining potentially effective opposition.

How can Ron Paul help build a coalition, spanning right to left, that can effectively oppose interventionist U.S. policies while simultaneously supporting groups that demonize wide swaths of that potential coalition ?  

I'll be expanding upon this theme in subsequent essays.

Obama is like Hitler ; his healthcare reform legislation includes a provision to create an army of Marxist brownshirt thugs ; the hour is late, the church now faces what German churches faced, with the rise of the Nazis, in the 1930s - we must fight now, or never ; taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's ovens ; stop Obama, or face another Holocaust.

At an October 30, 2012 pastors rally in Tampa, Florida, with the election only days away, prominent Texas Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who in 2011 attacked Mormonism (Mitt Romney's faith) as a cult, informed his audience that failing to stop President Barack Obama from gaining a 2nd term in office would be like failing to stop Hitler and could lead to another Holocaust.

The 2012 election may pivot on evangelical turnout, and now that the IRS has ceased enforcing its rule that prohibits tax deductible religious nonprofits such as churches from making political endorsements, evangelical leaders are free to openly warn their flocks that a horrific fate awaits unless they vote for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. Typically dismissed by the left as mere lunatic hyperbole, there's a vast, dark ideological underside to such warnings.

From the far-right fever swamps of the Internet, to the leadership of the potentially revolutionary Christian right, to the heights of elite evangelicalism, at the Fellowship-sponsored yearly National Prayer Breakfast (attended by U.S. presidents since Eisenhower), conservative evangelicals paint a picture of America on the verge of full-blown, left-wing fascism.

Their evidence ? - the Obama Administration's health care reform efforts, including an HHS rule that some religious charities must offer birth control in their healthcare plans. Plus the existence of legalized abortion, and the spread of legal same-sex marriage.

While that might sound insane to American unfamiliar with such culture war tropes, these claims make eminent sense to millions of conservative evangelicals.

Pastor Jeffress' warning, of a looming 2nd Holocaust, was not an aberration - he was merely reinforcing a narrative that has been told to millions of evangelical Christians: from megachurch pulpits, from the pulpit of the Glenn Beck Show, via evangelical broadcast networks, through secular rightwing books and magazine articles, by Internet conspiracy theories.

As I wrote in an early 2010 article published by Zeek, an imprint of the Jewish Daily Forward,

"Who killed Europe's Jews? Millions on the American evangelical right have grown up believing the culprits were liberals and leftists, homosexuals, evolutionists and atheists, occult worshipers and even Jews themselves. "

While many observers have noted that American culture has split into culturally antagonistic factions, few have noted the extent to which these factions hold wildly conflicting views of reality.

This goes beyond the mere fact that more registered Republicans believe in the possibility of demon possession (68%) than believe that the Earth's climate is warming (48%).

Books like Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, pseudo-documentaries like MAAFA 21, and of course inflammatory TV and radio monologs Glenn Beck fit into a preexisting uber-narrative in which Hitler and the Brownshirts never cracked the skulls of communists and leftists in Germany's streets because the Nazis were communists, or socialists at least, and gay as well; and all the horrors of World War Two, especially the Holocaust, were natural outgrowths of secular, Darwin-inspired eugenicist thinking. This grand narrative also presents both legal abortion and civil rights for homosexuals as signs of incipient fascism.  

Here are some examples of how these themes are deployed :

-- New Apostolic Reformation prophets such as The Call cofounder Lou Engle warn that legal abortion has caused the holocaust of our time and declare that the death of "fifty million little babies" will require repayment in blood. Before late-term abortionist George Tiller's assassination, Engle compared Tiller to an Auschwitz death camp worker.

-- Evangelical propagandist Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika, warns Christians from America, to Africa, to Eastern Europe and Russia that Hitler and his top Nazis were gay, and that homosexuals are, by nature, sociopaths. Lively's ideas have been cited as a key inspiration for Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill that has loomed before Uganda's parliament since late 2009.

-- Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee broadcasts to the world that Jewish Rothschild bankers based in Europe control America through the Federal Reserve and are scheming to bankrupt the common man, and declares that Hitler was sent by God, to chase Europe's Jews toward Palestine, the only home God even intended for the Jewish people according to Hagee.

-- Demons under Illuminati sway have have infiltrated liberal churches, says a military pastor whose overseer controlled six to seven percent of active duty pastors in the U.S. military and who toured America in the 1990s promoting anti-government conspiracy theories, broadcast out over TV and radio networks that could in theory reach 10% or so of Americans, in which Bill Clinton was ready to sign the U.S. over to UN control, after which Chinese, German, and UN troops would rampage out from their secret lairs in national parks, to rape, pillage, and round up good Christian citizens, packing them into boxcars en route to secret, razor wire-ringed concentration camps. Behind the plot ? Rothschilds and other Jewish banking families, the Illuminati, and the antichrist.    

Of course, conspiracy narratives are anything but new to American politics - in the 1800 presidential election, New England press and Christian pastors tarred Thomas Jefferson as an infiltrator linked to a dark conspiracy of Illuminati and Freemasons that would bring the horrors of the French Revolution to America. In the 1960s, anticommunist conspiracy theories of the John Birch Society permeated the U.S. far-right.

If anything distinguishes this new evangelical conspiracy oeuvre, it is in the supple, sophisticated quality of its narratives, that can be used at will to selectively attack, scapegoat and demonize targeted populations and organizations - Muslims and liberal Jews, gays, abortionists, liberal Christians, the Federal Reserve and the federal government, the National Park system -- all of which are reduced to minions, witting or not, of a world banker/Illuminati conspiracy that will soon be controlled by an antichrist figure who will kill up to 1/3 of the Earth's population and will be, according to pastor Hagee, homosexual and "at least partially Jewish".      

The intended victims of this vast apocalyptic end-time conspiracy will be, of course, good Christians who must, it goes without saying, arm and organize themselves and be ready, at a moment's notice, to fight back. As I wrote in my Zeek story,

"In 1990 [Pat] Robertson, responding to criticism from the Miami Herald for his involvement in the Florida governor's race, vented "Do you also have a ghetto chosen to herd the pro-life Catholics and evangelicals into ? Have you designed the appropriate yellow patch that Christians should wear... ?"


Robertson's views were no aberration. A video version of the Left Behind series narrative first released in 2001 by John Hagee Ministries, titled "Vanished - In the twinkling of an eye," portrays born-again Christians suffering their own "Kristallnacht" in which gays, Jews, and Catholics, led by the Antichrist, attack born-again Christians and set their churches ablaze. One burning church is identified as being in Berlin."

In the 1990s, such prophetic warnings helped give rise to the militia movement. But, largely unnoticed even by acknowledged experts who study the growth of the militant far right, starting in the late 1980s evangelicals, some with relatively high-level military backgrounds, began crisscrossing America warning of a looming, eliminationist dictatorship. Their tales were as shocking as they were unprovable - twenty thousand Chinese boxcars, fitted out with shackles and guillotines, had arrived at a West Coast port, ready for the great round up. Trust us, these former military evangelicals told their audience, We've seen it with our own eyes.

Their warnings went out via videocassettes and tapes, by fax machine and small-scale radio and television broadcast networks, sometimes even by growing evangelical broadcast networks too. Then, the rise of the Internet made the project far easier.

Former Undersecretary of Defense William Boykin was only the latest in a two and a half decade long lineage, when he stated, in a video promoted by the New Apostolic Reformation group The Oak Initiative, "Remember Hitler had the brown shirts and in the night of the long knives even Hitler got scared of the brown shirts and killed thousands of them...", then claimed that Obama's healthcare legislation was,

"laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America.  You need to understand that this is happening in America and its fits the model that has been used when societies move to Marxism."

Why are so many conservative evangelicals hostile to the federal government ? One possible reason is the cumulative impact of such conspiracy theory narratives, which function like a CIA style infowar destabilization campaign, but directed against the United States government itself.    

Fast forward to the 2012 election:  

In March 2012, rising evangelical conservative Eric Metaxas, former Veggie Tales writer and author of a new bestselling biography of Hitler opponent and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, warned a select, elite audience of Opus Dei Catholics, at a Washington, D.C. Catholic bookstore, that Christian churches are now facing a threat similar to that confronted by churches during the rise of Hitler and declared,

"If we don't fight now, if we don't really use all our bullets now, we will have no fight five years from now. It'll be over. This it. We've got to die on this hill."

Then in April 2012, Illinois Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky delivered a sermon during mass warning that President Barack Obama "seems intent on following a similar path" as Stalin and Hitler. Stated Bishop Jenky,

"Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama - with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path."

Bishop Jenky seemed unaware that, while Stalin's Soviet Union was officially atheist, Hitler's Germany was very far from secular.

The rise to power of the Nazis was aided early on by the Duetsche Cristen movement, whose churches were known to display the Nazi swastika alongside the Christian cross, and in his book Mein Kampf, Hitler declared that "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord..." Most of the top Nazi leaders both publicly and privately professed Christian belief. Hitler's Third Reich even sponsored an ambitious revision the New Testament of the Bible which, rewrote and expanded the original Ten Commandments, to twelve, and recast Jesus as a warrior.

These three incidents, dire warnings from Jeffress, Metaxas, and Jenky, were not anomalies but fit into a widespread pattern in which, since the inauguration of President Obama in early 2009, prominent evangelical conservatives have accused the Obama Administration of planning to launch a full-blown fascist dictatorship.  

 To be sure, liberals and Democrats have been known to play the "Hitler card", as this list on the conservative Free Republic website lays out.

But, whereas on the aforementioned list of offending Bush/Hitler statements from liberals I could not find any which included the word "Holocaust", amidst the current din of Obama/Hitler talk on the right Obama/Hitler/Holocaust tropes are many -  And Metaxas, Jenky, and Jeffress are anything but peripheral.

Indeed, Eric Metaxas - who appears to have been groomed to step into the oversized shoes of the late Charles Colson - moves in high enough circles to have recently crossed swords with President Barack Obama, at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast, during which Metaxas gave a speech, prior to Obama's, in which he walked right up to the edge of the Nazi comparison that he would soon make openly, by rhetorically linking Nazism and abortion, and asking his elite prayer breakfast audience (with president Obama sitting only a few feet away), "You think you're better than the Germans of that [Nazi] era? You're not. Whom do we say is not fully human today?"

Metaxas' less-than genteel speech at the National Prayer Breakfast was especially risque for the fact that Doug Coe, longtime head of The Fellowship, the global evangelical network that sponsors the elite yearly prayer breakfast event and has been tied to Uganda's so-called "kill the gays bill", has a history of praising the zealous, bloodthirsty dedication of the followers of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao - a penchant also shared by Fellowship member Rick Warren.

In all fairness, there are legitimate reasons to challenge the Obama Administration: for its authoritarianism, secrecy, and shaky human rights record, as left/liberal critics such as Glenn Greenwald and Matt Stoller have done.

But conservative Christians in the Metaxas/Jenky/Jeffress mold seem disinterested in making common cause with the left on those issues, and instead choose to peg the alleged creeping Nazification they warn about on what they define as "religious liberty" issues (which somehow fail to include concern over government-funded religious discrimination, via the Faith Based Initiative, against Jews, gays, and non-Christians), as well as on legalized abortion and the spread of legalized same-sex marriage.

It's noteworthy that with these chosen issues, the expansion of the religious liberty of evangelical Christians and organizations seems to come at the expense of the civil liberties of other Americans. In the case of abortion and same-sex marriage, the "religious liberty" agenda would use the power of the state to circumscribe the rights of women and LBGT couples, to terminate pregnancies and to marry their chosen mates: not libertarian at all.

Argues libertarian author James Veverka, during the 20th Century social conservatism, whether overtly Christian or not, has served as a coercive tool of repressive states from across the political spectrum, from left to the right. Writes Veverka,

"Uncomfortable as it makes people to compare religion with dictatorships, the most dangerous dictatorships of the 20th century were also radically socially conservative in regards to family values and sexuality...

Like religious conservatives throughout history and indeed, in the present, they used the state as a coercive tool to force their version of a conscience upon the rest of people... This is not to say fundamentalists and other religious extremists are Nazis or Stalinists, but that they hold very similar views on these 'family values' and sexuality subjects and employ similar language in their positions and propaganda."

While evangelical intellectuals such as Eric Metaxas frame the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in terms of threats to religious liberty, in 2006 noted conservative evangelical scholar David P. Gushee gave a speech in which he warned of a very different sort of threat.

At the September 2006 conference Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Our Times: Jewish and Christian Perspectives, cosponsored by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Hebrew College, and Andover-Newton Theological School, David P. Gushee told his audience,

"Like all Germans, and many all around the world, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was deeply troubled by World War I and the cultural and political crisis that afflicted his nation after the war. And yet he never demonstrated any susceptibility to what Fritz Stern called "the politics of cultural despair." I think it was because he believed in the interpretation of history offered by biblical revelation, which though realistic about human nature and history is never a counsel of despair.

It was this cultural despair--a toxic brew of reaction against secularism, anger related to the loss of World War I, distress over cultural disorientation and confusion, fears about the future of Germany, hatred of the victorious powers and of those who supposedly stabbed Germany in the back, and of course the search for scapegoats (mainly the Jews)--that motivated many Germans to adopt a reactionary, authoritarian, and nationalistic ethic that fueled their support for Hitler's rise to power. A broadly appealing narrative of national decline (or conspiratorial betrayal) was met by Hitler's narrative of national revenge leading to utopian unity in the Fuhrer-State.

Conservative American evangelicals in recent decades have been deeply attracted to a parallel narrative of cultural despair. Normally the story begins with the rise of secularism in the 1960s, the abandonment of prayer in schools, and the Roe decision, all leading to an apocalyptic decline of American culture that must be arrested soon, before it is too late and "God withdraws his blessing" from America. While very few conservative evangelicals come into the vicinity of Hitler in hatefulness, elements similar to that kind of conservative-reactionary-nationalist narrative can be found in some Christian right-rhetoric: anger at those who are causing American moral decline, fear about the future, hatred of the "secularists" now preeminent in American life, and the search for scapegoats. The solution on offer--a return to a strong Christian America through determined political action--also has its parallels with the era under consideration.

It is in part my own loyalty to Bonhoeffer's example that has led me to a rejection of the toxic politics of cultural despair and commitment to a hopeful vision of Christian cultural engagement in light of the sure advance of God's kingdom."

The prospect of Christian pastors demonizing targeted minorities from their pulpits, amidst the rise of palingenetic ultranationalist narratives calling for national renewal and rebirth, has a dark history.

The rise of Hitler and the Nazis paralleled the rise of a popular conspiratorial, accusatory German cultural narrative which claimed the nation was in decline and in moral free-fall. The narrative blamed secularism and alleged subversive elements in society, notably Jews.

The closely related "Dolchstoßlegende," the "stab in the back" myth, blamed the German loss in World War One on a Jewish conspiracy and related narratives blamed Jews as well for crime, economic hardship and alleged immorality.

As I explained in my short essay "American Dolchstoss", written to accompany a ten-minute mini-documentary, on pastor John Hagee's promotion of a contemporary version of the Dolchstoßlegende,

In the buildup towards World War Two, Hitler and his Nazis used the pretexts of alleged threats from internal and external foes to launch vicious attacks on Jews, on gays, on communists and socialists, then on liberals. The Nazis were not in the majority initially, far from it, but they knew human mass psychology, they knew the power of threats and intimidation to silence possible opposition to the gathering Reich.

Few in the American Jewish community, or the Israeli Jewish community, grasp the magnitude of the anti-Jewish hatred that has been stoked, from American pulpits and American televangelist broadcast networks, literally for decades. The propaganda has been slightly coded but in the end not very subtle. Rather than directly vilify Jews, Christian fundamentalist preachers and leaders have for decades vilified groups and terms that traditionally, for better or worse, have been associated with Jews.

Christian fundamentalists have inveighed against Hollywood and "liberal media," they have singled out New York City as some purported, uniquely horrible "moral cesspool." They have railed against traditional Jewish occupational pursuits, such as law, media and journalism, blaming those for many of the evils they claim beset American society.


But anti-Jewish conspiracy theories involving evil cabals of Illuminati, Masons or Rothschilds, alleging that Jews control the World and are to be blamed for all manner of societal and national misfortune -- because they [Jews] are of, allied with and intimately related to the Devil -- are to be found nowhere in the Bible.

"New World Order" and "Protocols of The [Learned] Elders of Zion" styles of conspiricism have become interwoven in the American cultural fabric and especially on the Christian right and Pastor John Hagee, along with other prominent televangelists, routinely broadcast such ideas to millions around the globe.

Running again for a seat in the Massachusetts State Senate, Chelmsford, MA Republican Sandi Martinez has aired, according to the Lowell Sun and the Boston Globe, a number of unusual beliefs on the local Chelmsford cable access TV show she once hosted, including the view that 1980s children's shows such as "The Smurfs" and "The Care Bears" can lure children into witchcraft - which, according to candidate Martinez, is promoted in public schools. Martinez has also claimed Christianity can turn gays straight.

According to an October 19, 2010 Boston Globe story,

"On her cable access show in 2004, Martinez warned that trick-or-treating, Harry Potter books, and the “new age images” presented in 1980s-era programming such as “The Smurfs” and “The Care Bears” could destigmatize the occult and leave children vulnerable to the lure of witchcraft.
"To me, that’s what the Harry Potter thing is doing, only in a much broader scale than the Smurfs ever did,” she said. “The children are going to remember those feelings that they had watching the movies and reading the books, and they’re going to be prime targets." "

An October 31, 2012 Lowell Sun story reported that in 2004, on her cable access show, Martinez also claimed that Christianity could change the sexual orientation of homosexuals, a practice ridiculed by LGBT rights nonprofit Truth Wins Out head Wayne Besen as "pray away the gay".

According to the Lowell Sun story,

"In one segment of the show, called "Speak Out!", Martinez seems to imply homosexuals have empty and meaningless lives, and protests how Christmas has been taken out of schools along with other religious symbols, but witchcraft has been introduced into classrooms.
Martinez, a Chelmsford Republican in her fourth campaign for Senate, also compares those who've been "saved" out of homosexuality to those who've come out from satanism, and how they tell their stories of what goes on in those communities.
"We've seen former homosexuals come out, who've been saved out of the lifestyle, who will tell you it was the love of God, that their lives were sad and empty and meaningless," she said"

Martinez' statements on public schools raise another issue. As noted in a 2003 report from the liberal advocacy group People For The American Way titled "The Voucher Veneer: The Deeper Agenda to Privatize Public Education", while Sandi Martinez was serving as Massachusetts state director of the evangelical Christian group Concerned Women For America, she supported the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, by signing the group's statement which declares, "I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education."

A search of the Internet Archive's cached website pages shows Martinez' name appearing on the group's statement from the year its website was launched, in 2006.

While Martinez has been associated with the Tea Party, her views suggest a stronger affiliation - with far-right charismatic evangelical Christianity.

A commonly view, that the Tea Party is secular, was refuted by a 2010 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) which showed that "Nearly half (47 percent) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement also identify as a part of the religious right or Christian conservative movement".

A later, 2011 PRRI survey demonstrated an even stronger religious right / Tea Party overlap: "three-quarters (75 percent) of those who identify with the Tea Party movement describe themselves as "a Christian conservative." "

But the meaning of "Christian conservative" appears to be changing.

Republican Martinez' views on witchcraft, satanism, and the occult have become widespread in charismatic evangelical Christianity that, in turn, has become the dominant tendency in today's GOP, as demonstrated by a new Public Policy Polling survey that shows 68% of Republican voters believe that it is "possible for people to become possessed by demons".

By contrast, a 2012 Pew Research Center survey showed that only 48% of Republicans believe there is evidence that the Earth's atmosphere is warming (climate change) and a miniscule 18% percent of likely Romney voters believe that human activity is causing that warming.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has repeatedly waffled on the issue of climate change, and Republican moderates have accused the GOP majority of rejecting scientific research on climate change.

Among leaders in the charismatic Christian tendency coming to dominate the GOP, and which may have inspired numerous recent inflammatory statements from Republican candidates concerning rape and reproductive rights, it is a widely-held view that climate change can be caused by same-sex marriage and homosexuality, declining marriage rates, and the lack of Bible study in public schools.

Witchcraft is another major concern among charismatic evangelicals, whose Christian tendency is increasingly dominated by the movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), whose prophets claim to be able to receive extra-biblical revelation directly from God.

A September 2012 NAR-dominated rally, featuring New Apostolic Reformation prophets Cindy Jacobs and Lou Engle, was endorsed and promoted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Engle has been accused of backing Uganda's notorious "kill the gays" bill, and Jacobs has claimed that flocks of blackbirds fell dead from the sky, cursed by God's wrath, when President Barack Obama announced his decision to rescind the military's "Don't ask/Don't Tell" policy on LGBT citizens in the military.

In an October 3, 2011 interview with NPR's Terry Gross, on her Fresh Air WHYY radio show, intellectual godfather of the NAR C. Peter Wagner confirmed to Gross that Sarah Palin was blessed and anointed by one of his NAR colleagues, Kenyan evangelist Thomas Muthee, who called upon God to protect Palin from "every spirit of witchcraft", in a ceremony held at Palin's long-time Alaska church the Wasilla Assembly of God.

Prior to blessing Palin, Muthee made a speech in which he called upon Christian believers to "infiltrate" and occupy the "Seven Mountains", major sectors of society that include government, business, education, media, arts and entertainment, religion, and the family.

In his interview with Terry Gross, C. Peter Wagner claimed that the 1990s economic downturn in Japan was caused by an alleged sexual tryst between the Japanese emperor and a "sky goddess" who, claimed Wagner, might have been a succubus. Wagner's theory has been endorsed by former International Foursquare Gospel denomination president Jack Hayford, who gave the closing prayer at the 54th Inaugural Prayer Service for President George W. Bush, in 2001, at the Washington National Cathedral.

On September 3, 2012, independent Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown, running for re-election against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, joined candidate Sandi Martinez at a political rally held in Tewksbury, MA.

"Incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare. But the rape thing, you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption and doesn’t regret it. In fact, she’s a big pro-life proponent. But, on the rape thing it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?" --Republican Congressional candidate John Koster (WA), 10/28/12

Now that candidate John Koster and Newt Gingrich have each so graciously pitched in, with just a few more of these cringeworthy Republican rape statements and there will be enough for a 4-column version of the Republican Rape Advisory Chart. But until then, the new 3-column chart will have to suffice (here's where the chart originated.)

Rape Tourettes now afflicts large swaths of the GOP, whose politicians apparently can't help themselves from blurting out jaw-droppingly insensitive statements, like Koster's, which is begging for savage parody (consider the song "Wild Thing", by Eric Burdon and The Animals...)

It's fair to say that just about every woman in America has herself been raped or knows someone who has been raped. That this is not foremost in the minds of leading members of today's GOP, as they continue to dig themselves in deeper by emitting yet more obtuse misogynistic verbal ejaculations, in clumsy attempts to tamp down the festering scandal, is telling.

On the upside, this is helping to surface a long-overdue national conversation, as victims of rape come out publicly and tell their stories.

Like a Rhode Island-sized iceberg breaking off Antarctica as the atmosphere warms, Republican sensibilities seem to have sheared off from the American mainstream:

Seminal rape gaffes from Republican candidates for Senate Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were hardly the beginning - from Rush Limbaugh's radio jihad against Sandra Fluke, in which he called the college student a "slut" for arguing that health care providers should cover birth control, to the early 2012 Republican-dominated all-male Congressional panel on birth control, the entire election year seems to have been a prolonged GOP insult to slightly over 1/2 of America - we don't care what you think (or feel.) Just shut up and get over it.

But thanks to the new, "improved" three-column Republican Rape Advisory Chart, that's unlikely to happen anytime soon (note - for readers who want access to text-based versions of the statements featured in the chart, see the Stephen Colbert-inspired website http://www.dayswithoutagoprapemention.com/.)

As a parting note, I'd add this - Republican politicians whose statements are featured in the Republican Rape Advisory Chart are not saying such things for political gain. They are honestly stating their views - on abortion, rape, birth control, and women's rights - which are overwhelmingly based in their religious beliefs.

A now well-entrenched narrative held widely on the American left and in the secular mainstream claims that foot soldiers of the religious right are cynically manipulated by non-religious string-pullers in the GOP, who promise to deliver on culture war issues but never do. But most of the politicians featured on the Republican Rape Advisory Chart are in the religious right. They are true believers.

While the left berates the Fox News-addled right for the factually-challenged nature of its political narratives, the left holds its own conveniently fact-free narrative, in which the religious right has not gobbled up the once-secular Republican Party, a party that once staunchly supported women's rights, including legalized abortion and even the Equal Rights Amendment.

However, What's the Matter With Kansas-style narratives, which claim Republicans manipulate the religious right and never deliver on culture war issues, cannot accommodate the uncomfortable fact that the takeover began decades ago:

In 1986, when the well-disciplined cadres of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition were taking over state-level Republican Party structures, a widely distributed memo from Pat Robertson to his troops read,

"How to Participate in a Political Party
Rule the world for God.
Give the impression that you are there to work for the party, not push an ideology.
Hide your strength.
Don't flaunt your Christianity.
Christians need to take leadership positions. Party officers control political parties and so it is very important that mature Christians have a majority of leadership positions, God willing."

By 2000, according to a survey sponsored and published in 2002 by Campaigns and Elections, the religious right had gained "strong" influence in 18 Republican state party structures and "moderate" influence in 26 others. As the last few years have demonstrated, that influence has only continued to grow.

Many pundits have been led astray by the rise of the Tea Party movement, and have come to believe that the Koch brothers-backed movement is secular. That is not true, according to a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, released in October 2010, which showed that over 80% of Tea Party members surveyed considered themselves Christian and 57% considered themselves part of the Christian conservative movement.

In short, there's a reason the 2012 Republican Party platform opposes legalized abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Republican Rape Tourettes Syndrome is only an outgrowth of that party position, which in turn reflects the now-almost complete dominance of the religious right over the political party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Teddy Roosevelt which once upon a time, but not really so long ago or far away, in the days of Barry Goldwater, supported a woman's right to choose.

No longer.

[image, left: Gen. Augusto Pinochet (bottom) and fellow Chilean military officers whose 1973 coup launched a dictatorship that pioneered both a pension privatization approach favored by Paul Ryan, and also cutting-edge torture techniques later used at Abu Ghraib, in Iraq]
"The victims were humiliated, threatened, and beaten; exposed to extreme cold, to heat and the sun until they became dehydrated; to thirst, hunger, sleep deprivation; they were submerged in water mixed with sewage to the point of asphyxiation; electric shocks were applied to the most sensitive parts of their bodies; they were sexually humiliated, if not raped by men and animals, or forced to witness the rape and torture of their loved ones." -- From the Valech Commission Report, on torture under the regime of Augusto Pinochet
While the Republican Party and its wealthy plutocrat backers have been accused of waging an elitist virtual war against the American majority, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have financial and ideological ties to rich Latin American elites who have waged real wars against average citizens in their countries. The anti-democratic ethos of today's GOP, displayed in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's apparent contempt for 47% of U.S. citizens, is reflected in the origins of Mitt Romney's private equity firm Bain Capital, which was founded with money from Central American financiers linked to government-backed death squads in El Salvador. Paul Ryan's budgetary ideas have a similarly dark origin, in the paradigmatic case of what author Naomi Klein has dubbed "The Shock Doctrine". In August 2012, Republican political consultant Roger Stone made the accusation that the billionaire libertarian Koch Brothers had bought Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as a running mate, by offering to kick in $100 million more for "independent expenditures" in the 2012 presidential election. While the charge may never be substantiated, Paul Ryan is one of the few elected officials allowed into the inner sanctum of the Koch brothers and their fellow libertarian big money donor circle. It is also the case that Paul Ryan's Social Security privatization ideas closely track Koch Brother schemes promoted from the Koch-funded libertarian Cato Institute since 1980, over three decades ago - before Ryan had even hit puberty. Cato's website currently features the ringing endorsement of Paul Ryan,
"Ryan is an articulate defender of free enterprise, and he consistently argues not just for the practical advantages of smaller government but also about the moral imperative to cut... if the next administration is Republican, and if it decides it wants to push major reforms, Paul Ryan is uniquely qualified to lead the charge."
In 2005 Congressman Paul Ryan led a failed Republican legislative push for a Social Security privatization plan that also later popped up in Ryan's 2010 "Roadmap For America’s Future". This centerpiece of Ryan's budgetary vision traces back to a vicious war on the poor and middle class that was waged over three decades ago by a South American police state. The conceptual basis of Ryan's Social Security privatization approach was hatched as the Piñera plan that was implemented under the radical right-wing Chilean torture regime of 1973 military coup leader Augusto Pinochet. The Pinochet regime honed many of the techniques later used at the Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq, was known to dispose of its unwanted citizens by throwing them out helicopters into the sea, and ran a transnational terrorism syndicate that murdered thousands and has been accused of a 1976 car bombing assassination in Washington D.C. While the Piñera plan sought to eliminate wealth redistribution under the old pre-Pinochet Chilean pension system - by jump-starting a new pension system under which Chileans began investing in private sector pension accounts - by 2006, by broad Chilean public consensus, the original Piñera Plan was considered to be a failure and in 2008 it was substantially modified by new legislation. A report on the Chilean pension reform from the U.S. Social Security Administration explained, "The cornerstone of the new law sets up a basic universal pension as a supplement to the individual accounts system." As the the New York Times described in an April 2008 story, Chile's new law was a dramatic move away from radical libertarian privatization:
"Chile is undertaking its biggest overhaul ever of its pioneering private pension system, adding sweeping public payouts for the low-income elderly. The new $2 billion-a-year program will expand public pensions to groups left out by private pensions - the poor and self-employed, homewives, street vendors and farmers who saved little for retirement - granting about a quarter of the nation's work force public pensions by 2012."
Even as political pressure to overhaul the Chilean pension system was building, in 2005 under the George W. Bush Administration Paul Ryan spearheaded an attempt to pass legislation that would have imposed a modified version of the Piñera Plan on Americans. A Long-Expected Birthday Party On February 2, 2005, at a Washington, D.C. celebration of the 100th anniversary of libertarian guru Ayn Rand's birthday, held by the Rand-devoted Atlas Society, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan declared his fealty to the guiding principles of Rand, founder of a cultic school of thought known as Objectivism, which holds up selfishness as the highest moral virtue. Ryan was introduced by Atlas Society Director of Advocacy Ed Hudgins, who told the audience of Ayn Rand admirers,
"He is best known for his efforts in the fight to reform Social Security by allowing the expanded use of individual retirement accounts. Now, I don't know whether you [Ryan] use the 'privatization' word. We here have no problem with that [Ryan overheard laughing] but sometimes you have to do a little bit of a soft sell up there, because many members of Congress are not quite as as far-thinking as Congressman Ryan."
In his speech to the Atlas Society Ryan confessed to the assembled true believers, "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand." Then he addressed his 2005 attempt to pass legislation privatizing Social Security. In Ayn Rand's view, the paramount good is individualism, the paramount evil collectivism. Ryan told his audience,
"The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism... when you look at the fight that we’re in here in Capital Hill, it’s a tough fight... there is no more fight that is more obvious between the differences of these two conflicts than Social Security. Social Security right now is a collectivist system, it’s a welfare transfer system."
Moments later, as he declared, "what’s important is if we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing social security", Ryan could be heard laughing while the Atlas Society's Ed Hudgins, also laughing, interjected, “personalizing”. After the mirthful outburst, Ryan continued, "personalizing social security," (to laughter and applause, this time from the audience,) "think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist." "Personalizing", it was clear, was a thinly veiled code word for "privatizing" and later, during a question-and-answer period, the specific model for that project became clear: it was privatization under the vicious, bloody Latin American military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. As the Atlas Society's Ed Hudgins told the audience, with Paul Ryan enthusiastically interjecting,
"By the way, I just want to add real quickly, and I know the Congressman has I’m sure said this. [General Augusto Pinochet’s Secretary of Labor and Social Security] José Piñera, who helped privatize Social Security in Chile, who also was by the way an Ayn Rand fan--José points out the moral revolution that occurs with privatization, that is, people in Chile, you know, who thought of themselves as Marxist suddenly feel that they are owners of property [Ryan “Yeah”] and, you know, they literally get up and they start reading the Chilean equivalent of the Wall Street Journal [Ryan interjects, “That’s right”]."
After his talk, during a question-and-answer period, Ryan coached the libertarian audience on how they could best lobby Congress in favor of the 2005 legislative effort, which failed after meeting stiff Democratic Party opposition, to begin privatizing social security along the lines of José Piñera's Chilean Model. The Chilean Model There was more to the "moral revolution", that Ed Hudgins and Paul Ryan agreed had followed in the wake of pension privatization in Chile, than petite bourgeoisie pension fund investors reading their Chilean "Wall Street Journals". In 1970, Chilean physicist and politician Salvador Allende, a professed marxist, won Chile's presidency in a close three-way race. Recently declassified documents reveal a massive campaign of economic sabotage was soon initiated at the command of U.S. president Richard Nixon, who ordered his operatives to "make the [Chilean] economy scream". By 1973, amidst economic disruption and growing public protest, the Chilean military took action. On September 11, 1973, in an U.S.-encouraged military coup, Chilean Air Force warplanes began bombing and strafing the National Palace, Allende's governmental headquarters; amidst a firefight, as coup forces moved in, president Allende committed suicide to avoid capture. A military junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet - who considered himself to be guided by the hand of God, commenced; over the course of his regime thousands of Chileans suspected of socialist or leftist leanings were rounded up and executed. And, in over 1,000 secret detention facilities across the country, tens of thousands of men, women, and children (by some scholarly estimates between 1.5 and 3 percent of Chile's population) were subjected by authorities to brutal beatings, sexual abuses (sometimes involving animals), electroshock, psychological torture, and even medical torture, in a pattern that foreshadowed abuses at the American-run prison at Abu Ghraib, in Iraq. It was especially hard on women; years later, a governmental commission would report that female prisoners were routinely, repeatedly, raped*. Meanwhile, American-trained economists, dominated by the privatization-obsessed "Chicago School" moved in. In Chile after the 1973 coup, the nation would become a forced libertarian experiment, imposed at gunpoint, in neo-liberal, free-market privatization. Leading the charge was José Piñera, now Co-chairman of the Project on Social Security Choice at the Libertarian Cato Institute. The "Chilean model" has been showcased so aggressively by libertarian economists and think tanks such as the Cato Institute, as a shining example of privatization, that it's difficult to find analysis even mildly critical of the torture regime-backed experiment amidst the copious pro-privatization propaganda that populates Internet searches on the subject. And José Piñera - who has built an international career advising governments, such as South Korea, on how to privatize their pension systems - vigorously denies the documented extent of the the shocking human rights abuses that went on in Chile while he treated the nation as a personal privatization laboratory. In an article posted since 2005 on his website, Piñera claimed that General Pinochet's bloody coup - which is now acknowledged to have begun with a mass execution of Chileans held at Santiago's national sports stadium - was necessary because President Allende had violated the Chilean constitution, and because, alleges Piñera, socialist and communist factions backing Allende were planning a campaign of political violence. In a 2005 Mother Jones story, writer Barbara T. Dreyfuss adds, 'In another piece, he [Piñera] claims that "there was not a systematic policy of eliminating political opponents. Most of the casualties were people using violence to oppose the new government." ' But Piñera's desperate public relations bid was overwhelmed by horrific facts that emerged as Chile sought to wrestle with its dark, recent past In 2003, Chilean President Patricio Aylwin established Chile's National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, to investigate and document the Pinochet regime's human rights abuses and, in November 2004, the Valech Commission released its first 1200-page report, which stated that during the Pinochet regime,
"[torture was] used as a tool for political control through suffering. Irrespective of any possible direct or indirect participation in acts that could be construed as illegal, the State resorted to torture during the entire period of the military regime. Torture sought to instill fear, to force people to submit, to obtain information, to destroy an individual's capacity for moral, physical, psychological, and political resistance and opposition to the military regime. In order to "soften people up"--according to the torturers' slang--they used different forms of torture.... The victims were humiliated, threatened, and beaten; exposed to extreme cold, to heat and the sun until they became dehydrated; to thirst, hunger, sleep deprivation; they were submerged in water mixed with sewage to the point of asphyxiation; electric shocks were applied to the most sensitive parts of their bodies; they were sexually humiliated, if not raped by men and animals, or forced to witness the rape and torture of their loved ones."
Also in 2004, the government of Chile officially announced a policy of paying reparations to victims of the Pinochet regime and a Chilean judge indicted Pinochet for crimes that included murder and kidnapping. A February 7, 2007 Harvard Crimson story, Torture Under Pinochet, covered more of the horrific details:
The [Chilean governmental] Report of the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture was commissioned in 2003 to create the most comprehensive list possible of those who were imprisoned and tortured for political reasons during the military dictatorship from September 1973 to March 1990... ...The Commission took testimony from 35,868 individuals who were tortured or imprisoned improperly. Of those, 27,255 were verified and included. An unknown number of victims did not come forward to give testimony. Scholars estimate that the real number is between 150,000 and 300,000 victims. 94 per cent of the verified testimonies include incidents of torture. The short list of methods includes repeated kicking or hitting, intentional physical scarring, forcing victims to maintain certain positions, electric shocks to sensitive areas, threats, mock execution, humiliation, forced nudity, sexual assault, witnessing the torture or execution of others, forced Russian roulette, asphyxiation, and imprisonment in inhumane conditions. There are many individuals with permanently distorted limbs or other disfigurations... For women, it was an especially violent experience. The commission reports that nearly every female prisoner was the victim of repeated rape. The perpetration of this crime took many forms, from military men raping women themselves to the use of foreign objects on victims. Numerous women (and men) report spiders or live rats being implanted into their orifices. One woman wrote, “I was raped and sexually assaulted with trained dogs and with live rats. They forced me to have sex with my father and brother who were also detained. I also had to listen to my father and brother being tortured.” Her experiences were mirrored by those of many other women who told their stories to the commission.
But the crimes of the Pinochet regime were not limited to the sort of horrific domestic human rights abuses chronicled in the over 27,000 confirmed cases of imprisonment and torture documented in the Valech Commission report; as described in a 2005 story by Peter Kornblah, writing for The Nation, on December 13, 2004, at a press conference, Chilean judge Juan Guzmán,
"announced that he had ordered Pinochet placed under house arrest and indicted for nine disappearances and one murder relating to Operation Condor--a Chilean-led consortium of secret police agencies that conducted hundreds of acts of state-sponsored terrorism in the Southern Cone and around the world in the mid- and late 1970s. Gasps echoed through the hall, then a ripple of applause, and then the sound of shrieks and tears as those who had lost husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, during Pinochet's seventeen-year regime reacted."
Within a few years of the initial coup, Pinochet's Chile had launched a United States-assisted transnational terrorism syndicate, operating across Latin America's Southern Cone but with operations on other continents as well, known as Operation Condor. Under Condor, citizens from countries in South America's Central Cone region were abducted, secretly imprisoned, tortured, and murdered or "disappeared" - sometimes by pushing the drugged victims out of planes and helicopters into the ocean. Condor's reach extended even into the domestic United States. The program has been credited with the notorious 1976 car bombing assassination, in Washington D.C.'s Sheridan Circle, of former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier. According to an Operation Condor internal document archive discovered in the early 1990s, by its own accounting the terrorism syndicate, secretly backed by the United States, may have murdered an many as 50,000 people, "disappeared" 30,000, and imprisoned 400,000 others.

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I first titled this piece "Mourdock Inflames GOP's "Divine Rape" Problem", but then came across this - a truly inspired graphic (click on image for full graphic) from a Daily Kos website contributor that presents various controversial Republican statements on rape in easy-to-grasp color-coded categories, "Gift-From-God Rape", "Legitimate Rape", "Honest Rape", and so on. Enjoy.

My own version of the incomparable Republican Rape Advisory Chart is my essay on recent GOP rape statements below:

"Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen" - Richard Mourdock

[UPDATE: According to CBS News, the Romney campaign now states that, while it disagrees the recent statement on rape from Indiana Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Richard Mourdock, it will nonetheless still support his candidacy.]

We've been here before - in 1990, Republican Clayton Williams, vying with for Ann Richards for the Texas governor's seat, erased his narrow lead and handed Richards the election by suggesting that women being raped should just "relax and enjoy it."

But the 2012 election has been especially notable for explosive Republican statements about rape, which might well determine which party will control the U.S. Senate on November 7th. First, Missouri Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Todd Akin resurrected a 13th Century Medieval medical theory by claiming that women who were victims of "legitimate rape" (implying, of course, that some rape might be "legitimate") could shut down their own fertility, preventing conception.

Akin's comments led to quick calls from top Republicans, such as vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, for him to pull out of the Missouri Senate race. Akin's real crime, it seems, was in his bluntness, for stating directly what Ryan put much more obliquely, when he suggested in an interview that rape is another "method of conception". In Ryan's delicate way of putting it, the woman who had been raped was conveniently absent.

Now, Indiana Republican for U.S. Senate Richard Mourdock has further inflamed the controversy by stating, in a debate last night, that all pregnancies, even those conceived during rape, are a "gift from God". It's the sort of thinking you'll find coming out of the militant wing of the anti-abortion movement (which Todd Akin was a foot-soldier in) and the Pro-Life movement, that's standing behind Richard Mourdock despite his statement on God and rape.

But if all pregnancies - even those caused by rape - are indeed a "gift from God", from there it's no great logical stretch to conclude that, in some way, God is "pro-rape". Republicans in the Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock mold seem fatally attracted to this, like moths to a flame. They know they can't go there, not even close: ah, but they must. In reality, Akin and Mourdock are stating, albeit clumsily, accepted Republican Party positions.

That's the real scandal, argued CNN's John Avlon, in an August 21, 2012 op-ed:

"Akin was trying to articulate his opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. This is a position that vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan -- primarily a courageous fiscal conservative -- has supported throughout his career, even penning a 1,500-word essay on the subject with the eye-opening title "The Cause of Life Can't Be Severed From the Cause of Freedom." "

Ryan's essay, which astutely noted that automobiles have no inherent rights because they are not human beings, claimed that liberals have the agenda of "reducing the number of human beings who can make choices" whereas conservatives "see human beings as assets, not liabilities"; the proper role of government, stated Ryan, is "to secure the right to life and the other human rights that follow from that primary right."

Ryan's upbeat essay, published in 2010 by the Heritage Foundation neatly skirted the public relations quagmire that the position life, according to divine will, begins at conception, opens up. Ryan knows where to stop short; Akin and Mourdock fell in.

In a way, Richard Mourdock went even further than Todd Akin, who referenced a medical theory that's obsolete by only six or seven centuries. Mourdock suggested that God micromanages the world so intensively that he "intends" every pregnancy which results from rape to happen - that's over 30,000 divine interventions per year, according to an estimate of the number of women who get raped and conceive annually in the U.S.

But if God intervenes in the day-to-day, in all matters big and small, then it would also seem to be true that God intended presidential candidate Mitt Romney to step in it by releasing a political ad, just three days ago, in which Romney endorsed Richard Mourdock.

Who does God really endorse ? What party plank does God back ? One rampant meme in wide circulation leading up to the 2008 election was this; God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Fair enough.

But days before the 2012 presidential election, aging evangelical superstar Billy Graham broke ranks and issued a high-profile non-endorsement of Mitt Romney, broadcast to the nation through full-page ads in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal in which Graham called on voters to support "Biblical values", foremost of which, it seems, is opposition to same-sex marriage rather than concern for poverty - despite the fact that the former is rarely mentioned in the Bible, the latter on almost every other page.

Graham's high profile bid to rally suspicious evangelical voters to Mitt Romney backfired badly when an LGBT rights group discovered a webpage on Graham's Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website, apparently written by Graham himself, that identified Mormonism as a "cult". The subsequent scandal produced dozens, maybe hundreds, of story titles with "Mormon" and "cult" in them, thus reinforcing a preexisting campaign that claims to have enlisted almost 1.4 million evangelical voters to, in effect, bow out of the race altogether by pledging to vote for Jesus Christ as a write-in candidate for president when they vote in November 6th.

In both cases - opposition to Roe v. Wade and to same-sex marriage, evangelical conservatives have claimed to speak for God and in both cases it has backfired, badly. What's an impartial observer to think ? If God exists, it may well be the case that she dislikes those who presume to speak in her name.