Monday, April 4, 2011

On Saturday, Demonstrators Protest the Social Transformation Conference

As this blog reported earlier (see here and here), several New Apostolic Reformation figures were scheduled to speak at the Social Transformation Conference at Harvard University on April 1-2. Controversy erupted over past statements from several speakers -- including Lance Wallnau, Os Hillman, and Pat Francis -- demonizing homosexuality, Islam, and witchcraft. Additionally, several speakers embrace Seven Mountains theology, which urges Christians to take dominion over major spheres of society.

Harvard administration has at least acknowledged criticism of the Social Transformation Conference, which was reportedly organized and facilitated by students. In an online statement, the Harvard Extension Student Association stressed that it does not endorse the views of any student group, adding that students and student clubs are welcome to engage in an open and free exchange of ideas.  According to a March 31st article in the Harvard Crimson, the Harvard Extension Service and Leadership Society said that the speakers assured them they have not and would not make hateful statements. In a March 31st commentary at Truth Wins Out, however, Wayne Besen condemned such words as disingenuous.
This is outrageous and totally unacceptable. It is the equivalent of hosting David Duke on campus, but prohibiting him from talking about race. If these anti-everything bigots are going to stand on the soap box, they ought to have the courage to express their radical views — and Harvard should encourage them to do so. If they believe they are superior and have designs on taking over the world by expelling lists of “demonic” people — they ought to express this viewpoint without reservation.

It is infinitely more harmful to have these theocratic “Seven Mountains Movement” presenters sanitize their militancy and madness for public consumption. Sweeping the rougher edges under the carpet will allow these speakers to make the disingenuous claim that are not as extreme as opponents said they were.  And rest assured, there will be gullible students and faculty on the left who attend this event and also conclude that this group is not a dangerous threat to liberty and freedom.
Truth Wins Out and Join the Impact Massachusetts hosted a protest at the Social Transformation Conference on Saturday, April 2nd. According to Truth Wins Out, approximately fifty demonstrators protested at Harvard, holding signs criticizing homophobia and calling for love. Wayne Besen, Ann Coleman of Join the Impact, Sue Hyde of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Rev. Kapya Kaoma of Zambia spoke at the demonstration, lambasting the speakers' homophobia and support for theocracy.

Graduate student and Join the Impact member James Croft spoke forcefully in defense of separation of church and state, condemning the conference speakers for supporting theocracy. (Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)

At the 1:38 mark, Croft spoke of his love for democracy and his antipathy toward theocracy.
"I fell in love with the principles on which this nation was founded, and so this is why I'm here standing in solidarity with you today, because one of those principles is under attack by these Seven Mountains people, one of the ones I hold closest to my heart, the fact that the United States, first among all nations in the world, was founded as a secular government, a government of, by, and for the people, not a government of, by, and for God."
At the 5:13 mark, Croft rejected the deity worshipped by the speakers and reminded listeners of the democratic heritage of the U.S.
"Let us turn our eyes and voices on these priests of a petty, spiteful, vindictive phantom, a phantom who hates gays, Muslims, doesn't much likes Jews, who looks down upon the carnal pleasures ... and say NO to theocracy in the land of Jefferson, NO to theocracy in the land of Thomas Paine, NO to theocracy in the land of Washington and Lincoln, and government by, of, and for the people forever."
I applaud the demonstrators who demanded accountability from the speakers at the Social Transformation Conference. We cannot afford to sweep homophobia and fundamentalist Christian chauvinism under the rug, and thanks to the efforts of Truth Wins Out and Join the Impact Massachusetts, more people are aware of the speakers' past statements.

For additional commentary, visit these links.

Talk to Action: Quotes from the Apostles on "Social Transformation" in Context of the 7M Campaign

Talk to Action: The Social Transformation Conference and the 7M Movement


  1. Thank you for this post. James Croft is a gifted, passionate, and articulate speaker. I am so impressed by these young demonstrators. It is encouraging and inspiring to see and hear voices of sanity and reason rise above the right-wing psycho-babble.

  2. Cognitive Dissenter -- It gives me hope to see the younger generation standing up for what's right as well.


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