Sunday, February 8, 2015

Religious Right Agenda on Display at the Response Louisiana

As discussed in prior posts, the Response Louisiana took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 24th. Progressive observers criticized one of the rally's key sponsors, the American Family Association, for its history of homophobia and hate group status. Other New Apostolic Reformation participants, such as Jim Garlow and Cindy Jacobs, drew fire from observers due to their own histories of bizarre and homophobic comments.

The Response Louisiana was marketed as a setting in which worshipers would God to intervene in America's struggles. In reality, the rally promoted dominionist messages, encouraging worshipers to see politics and culture as objects of Christian conquest.

GOD TV posted a video segment from the Response Louisiana, which provided almost two and a half hours of footage from Gov. Bobby Jindal's prayer gathering. On the surface, the rally was unremarkable. The Response Louisiana featured all the banalities of other New Apostolic Reformation gatherings, such as ecstatic prayer set to droning, hypnotic worship music. Bobby Jindal discussed his conversion to Christianity as a young man, preachers sought to reconcile the younger and older generations, and pro-Israel speakers encouraged attendees to pray for Israel.

Beneath the surface, however, were political messages that put the rally's agenda on full display. Right Wing Watch highlighted several of these messages, delivered by Religious Right speakers at the event. First, Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, California, took delight in the high numbers of lawmakers "who understand biblical truth"
"I was talking with a U.S. senator, freshman senator two days ago. I said, 'How many in the new Senate really know Christ as savior?' I won't give you his answer except to say it encouraged me very much. You look at our House of Representatives. We have more freshmen members of the House of Representatives who understand biblical truth than we have had for decades, and in state legislatures across America, something is happening even in the halls of our legislatures and our Congress. From 1800 to 1870, there were worship services in the U.S. capitol building, but they haven't happened for 144 years until last July. Weekly worship services [are] now held again in the U.S. capitol building called the Jefferson Gathering."

Gene Mills, president of Louisiana Family Forum, used his speech at the Response Louisiana to promote Seven Mountains theology. Seven Mountains theology implores Christians to take control of the "seven mountains" of culture: family, government, business, education, media, religion, and arts and entertainment. "How many of you know these belong to God?", Mills asked the audience, reminding them that these seven spheres are "under enemy occupation" by infernal forces.
"It's not coincidental that these seven spheres of influence are under enemy occupation right now. It's not coincidental that you are here today to reclaim territory that rightfully belongs to God, right now.

It's not coincidental that we have declared war against the principalities and the enemies of the cross, and by the way, those enemies are not flesh and blood. They're powers and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, and they're pulled down by the force that operates in you through Christ and his spirit.

It's not coincidental that you're here to give a response for a nation that has neglected these boundaries, abandoned these territories, and to ask God to help us to rediscover the ancient landmarks again."
For its organizers and attendees, the Response Louisiana was about addressing America's problems by spreading the influence of fundamentalist Christianity. With no concrete solutions to offer, some speakers at the Response Louisiana assured listeners that more fundamentalist Christianity in politics and culture would remedy America's ills. Sadly, while this would give the Religious Right greater power, it would solve nothing.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

The Daily Beast: Bobby Jindal Wants to Fistfight Your God

Friendly Atheist: Louisiana Governor’s Prayer Rally Will Bring Together Despicable Christian Leaders to Accomplish Nothing


  1. I'd not heard of Seven Mountains theology before. And all that militant language is alarming. Enemy occupation, war, enemies, and "You are here today to reclaim territory that rightfully belongs to God …"

    This is how politicians like Jindal rally the disempowered and uninformed masses to vote against their own interests. It's terrifying how well it works.

    1. Agi Tater -- Enlightened people need to be aware of Seven Mountains theology. It pops up all the time in New Apostolic Reformation circles, and its implications are disturbing. Some fundamentalists really do want to "conquer" areas of society and impose their values on others. Sadly, some political leaders have discovered that it's a useful tool, like you said.

  2. So, they got a large group of people to come together and pray for the sins of a country.....Wonder how much the tickets were or should I say I wonder how much the speakers and organizers made of off their flock.

    1. Christian -- I don't recall if they charged people money to attend, and the Response Louisiana website no longer has that information. If they did charge money, I imagine speakers made a pretty penny. It would have definitely drummed up right-wing evangelical support for Bobby Jindal as he explores his 2016 options.


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