By Steve Hynd
I've posted a couple of times recently about Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and his handshake with the bigoted, theocratic right as he makes ready for a presidential bid. It's pretty disgusting stuff, with Perry pretending to fiscal conservatism in an effort to become the compromise candidate while getting his funding and major backing from fundie evangelist hatemongers of the very worst stripe. But a report today from Forrest Wilder at the Texas Observer shows just how far Perry is willing to go, as be brings Teh Crazee with the New Apostolic Reformation movement. So scary-nutzo that it deserves an extended clip:
On September 28, 2009, at 1:40 p.m., God�s messengers visited Rick Perry.
On this day, the Lord's messengers arrived in the form of two Texas pastors, Tom Schlueter of Arlington and Bob Long of San Marcos, who called on Perry in the governor's office inside the state Capitol. Schlueter and Long both oversee small congregations, but they are more than just pastors. They consider themselves modern-day apostles and prophets, blessed with the same gifts as Old Testament prophets or New Testament apostles.
The pastors told Perry of God's grand plan for Texas. A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was "The Prophet State," anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role.
The day before the meeting, Schlueter had received a prophetic message from Chuck Pierce, an influential prophet from Denton, Texas. God had apparently commanded Schlueter-through Pierce-to "pray by lifting the hand of the one I show you that is in the place of civil rule."
Gov. Perry, it seemed.
Schlueter had prayed before his congregation: "Lord Jesus I bring to you today Gov. Perry. ... I am just bringing you his hand and I pray Lord that he will grasp ahold of it. For if he does you will use him mightily."
And grasp ahold the governor did. At the end of their meeting, Perry asked the two pastors to pray over him. As the pastors would later recount, the Lord spoke prophetically as Schlueter laid his hands on Perry, their heads bowed before a painting of the Battle of the Alamo. Schlueter "declared over [Perry] that there was a leadership role beyond Texas and that Texas had a role beyond what people understand," Long later told his congregation.
So you have to wonder: Is Rick Perry God's man for president?
Schlueter, Long and other prayer warriors in a little-known but increasingly influential movement at the periphery of American Christianity seem to think so. The movement is called the New Apostolic Reformation. Believers fashion themselves modern-day prophets and apostles. They have taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot.
The movement's top prophets and apostles believe they have a direct line to God. Through them, they say, He communicates specific instructions and warnings. When mankind fails to heed the prophecies, the results can be catastrophic: earthquakes in Japan, terrorist attacks in New York, and economic collapse. On the other hand, they believe their God-given decrees have ended mad cow disease in Germany and produced rain in drought-stricken Texas.
Their beliefs can tend toward the bizarre. Some consider Freemasonry a "demonic stronghold" tantamount to witchcraft. The Democratic Party, one prominent member believes, is controlled by Jezebel and three lesser demons. Some prophets even claim to have seen demons at public meetings. They've taken biblical literalism to an extreme. In Texas, they engage in elaborate ceremonies involving branding irons, plumb lines and stakes inscribed with biblical passages driven into the earth of every Texas county.
If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn't be remarkable. But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians"certain Christians" are destined to not just take "dominion" over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the "Seven Mountains" of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they're intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they're leading an "army of God" to commandeer civilian government.
In Rick Perry, they may have found their vessel. And the interest appears to be mutual.
Perry has given pastors from the New Apostolic Reformation key roles in his upcoming Christians-only prayer rally, with eight movement members on the August 6th event's leadership team. And Perry is pandering to these End-Timers by constantly referencing the Book of Joel, which describes a crippling drought and economic crisis in Judah and which they believe is a handbook "for the unique dynamics occurring in the years leading up to Jesus' return."
There's far, far more at the link and I'd urge you to read, as the say, the whole thing. This movement is based on the belief that there should be no seperation between their religion and the state. "It sounds so fringe but yet it's not fringe," says one expert. "They've been working with Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Sam Brownback, and now Rick Perry. ... They are becoming much more politically noticeable."