I regret that I didn't cover Awakening 2012 right away, since the quotes that emerged from the conference were hair-raising. The start of a post on Awakening 2012 has been sitting in my "draft" folder for several months, neglected in the wake of more pressing blog topics. Better late then never, eh? --Ahab
An annual Religious Right conference called the Awakening 2012 took place on April 20-21 at Calvary Assembly in Orlando, FL. The conference featured prominent anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, and New Apostolic Reformation speakers, as it has in prior years (see here and here).
"A war is raging against our shared values," the Awakening 2012 site warns. "Our faith and freedom are under attack. Silence in the face of this war is not an option." To discuss this alleged "war" on Religious Right values, the conference offered several workshops with titles such as these:
- Religious Liberty, Life, and Family
- Pastors, Churches and Political Activity: Re-energizing the Pulpit
- The LGBTQ (QIAAP) Agenda: Winning the Battle and Messaging the Masses
- Radical Islam and National Security
- Winning the Battle for Human Life
Right Wing Watch was kind enough to share video excerpts from the conference, from which I've gathered several surreal quotes from Religious Right speakers. First, New Apostolic Reformation preacher Cindy Jacobs offered this convoluted statement on marriage, American exceptionalism, Marxism, and Satan.
"From the beginning to eternity, God established family with a man and woman. To go against this passage and this pattern usurps God's created order and disrupts his purpose both for individuals and nations. It is God who has called us to disciple nations, and Satan's desire to weaken nations. One of his primary ways that Satan's tried to do this is to reengineer the way our children are taught, to steal the belief system that God is the ultimate authority and must be obeyed. Satan wants to steal God's family and create tyranny to have a people he can rule over. This is why he wants to destroy the concept and belief in American exceptionalism and put government in the place of God. Godly government constitutes a climate of freedom, and the removal of this belief system has the fruit of a Marxist-type government where people are no longer free from oppression."Ooookay then. Next, New Apostolic Reformation preacher Lou Engle led his audience in prayer, begging God to unleash revolution upon America. Oddly, he reworked the ending of the Lord's Prayer into "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in America."
"Father, in agreement together, we are asking for hundreds with the mantle of Chuck Colson. Be released this very moment ... This very moment, we agree God that as that man has gone to heaven, let the mantle come on a whole new generation who will take their place with a double portion anointing. Father, we right now agree together that as you did in the days of Elijah and you shook Ahab and Jezebel's death culture, do it in America ... God, do it in America! Release an Elijah revolution, God. Release a cultural revolution. We ask in your presence this moment in the name of your son, who's seated far above all rule, authority, power, and dominion, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in America.”Later, Engle told conference attendees about a dream he had involving "homosexual and abortion tornadoes." Engle expressed frustration with obstacles he has encountered in his anti-gay and anti-abortion activism.
"In 2006, we did 50 days and 50 nights of intercession of seven young people, we were given a dream of two tornadoes coming to destroy America and they were the homosexual and abortion tornadoes. In the dream I was given a sight to raise up intercession to confront those tornadoes ... And Bound4Life was raised up but I'm haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing, I’ve tried, I’ve gotten blasted ... I don't know how to do it but I am crying out to God for an answer."Young Conservatives of California chair Ryan Sorba was scheduled to speak at a panel discussion entitled "The LGBTQ (QIAAP) Agenda: Winning the Battle and Messaging the Masses." He dismissed homosexuality as "capricious desires," refusing to acknowledge LGBTQ status as an innate trait. Alarmingly, he compared LGBTQ status to hobbies and sports, dismissing calls for LGBTQ rights.
"A lot of people lose their confidence when they talk about this issue, because the other side is so good at putting you into a corner with their terms, which is why this panel is so important, because he who defines the terms controls the debate. Stop using the word gay, because implicit in the notion of a gay identity is the fact that they’re born gay and that it should be a fundamental human right, but fundamental human rights are based on human nature, not on capricious desires. If fundamental human rights are based on capricious desires, guess what? We’d have every group on this planet with a different hobby arguing for fundamental rights and benefits based on the fact that they play hockey, based on the fact that they play basketball or surf, or anything that they’re interested in."Finally, Kamal Saleem was scheduled to speak at two workshops entitled "Radical Islam and National Security" and "Israel and the Middle East." Saleem, who claims that he was a former Islamic terrorist before converting to Christianity, had plenty of scathing things to say about Islam and President Obama. For instance, in one workshop, Saleem insisted that President Obama is trying to "import" Muslims into the U.S. so that they can overwhelm conservatives and Christians, then institute sharia as law.
"The immigration bill is not against the Hispanic, per se. Many people think it’s against the Hispanic. No, it’s not. On the contrary, our President is sending millions to Hamas to import Muslim people to United States of America ... Check your media. Google that. He just sent $23 million dollars to Hamas recently to Hamas, just this year. We’re about to [go] bankrupt and he sent the money to Muslims. So what happened is he’s trying to import them to United States of America to throw the power of conservatism and the church out, you know, God’s people, so what happens is they will become the upper hand or the equal hand. Because if you read the Muslim Brotherhood theology and their memorandum that they came to destroy [the] United States of America with, is to populate United States of America with a multitude of millions of Muslims. So what happened is, when they are here, the sharia law will--what happened when he allowed in the name of the Hispanic people, Mexican people, ‘let’s make them American,’ now all the illegal Muslims will be legalized here and terrorism will be legal in United States of America ... One day we’ll be wearing ragheads and walking on the street and everybody will say, ‘that used to be a Christian country where Islam conquered.'"Sadly, these kinds of outrageous claims are par for the course with Saleem. In another video excerpt, Saleem said that sharia will usurp the Constitution and bring fascism to America.
"When and if sharia law is allowed into United States of America, the first amendment will have to be broken, because [it will] become [a] hate crime bill ... The Constitution [will] have to be brought down and establishing fascism will have to take place. Why? Because Islam is a fascist place, just like Nazism or any other fascist religion."Disturbingly, a woman in the audience asked Saleem, "Is our president of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, a Muslim?" Other audience members said "Yes, he is," laughing and applauding.
What can I say about such rhetoric that I haven't said hundreds of times before? How do you extinguish this kind of hatred? How do you reason with people this divorced from reality?
For more information about Awakening 2012, visit freedomfederation[dot]org/content/awakening_2012