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Christian evangelical ministers in Ohio are teaming up to form a network intent on building on their constituencys extensive contribution to President Bushs victory in the 2004 election. They are also working to defend Issue 1an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriageand help Christian conservatives take over the states Republican party. Reverends Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson are key players in the effort to wrest control of the GOP from so-called Party moderates. Their job has no-doubt been made easier by the fact that Republican Party officials have been enmeshed in a series of political scandals that even include the states Republican governor, Bob Taft.
Americans must be Christo- cratscitizens of both their country and the Kingdom of GodParsley told his congregation at his World Harvest Church, located just outside Columbus, Ohio. And that is not a democracy; that is a theocracy, he said. That means God is in control and you are not.
Headed by Parsley, a 48-year- old televangelist and author, the World Harvest Church, described recently by the Columbus Dispatch, as a nondenominational congregation with a regular weekly attendance of between 10,000 and 12,000, is one of many politicized megachurches popping up across the country.
The World Harvest Churchs Center for Moral Clarity recently launched a three-year project called Reformation Ohio. Its goals, according to the Dispatch, are to register 400,000 new voters, organize black Ohioans who share conservative views on issues such as gays and abortion, and conduct get-out-the-vote rallies, all while leading 100,000 Ohioans to Jesus.
In suburban Columbus, Johnson, the senior pastor of the evangelical Fairfield Christian Church, is recruiting 2,000 Patriot Pastors to get out the evangelical vote for the Ohio primary in May 2006. According to the Cleveland Jewish News, Johnson sees the 2006 election as an apocalyptic clash between a virtuous Christianity and the evildoers who oppose Christ- ianitys values.
Before the 2004 presidential election, the Cleveland Jewish News reported that Johnson denounced tax-supported schools that have banned the teaching of creationism, Bible reading and prayer. He blasted the pagan left for its warfare against the very definition of marriage. He decried homosexual rights that will come with a flood of demonic op- pression.
Johnson envisions reclaiming the teaching of our Christian heritage among Americas youth is paramount to a sense of national destiny that God has invested into this nation.
Both Parsley and Johnson are close to J. Kenneth Blackwell, the controversial Ohio secretary of state who was entangled in a series of controversies revolving around the November 2004 presidential election. Since Governor Bob Taft cannot run for re-election due to term limits, Blackwell has declared himself as one of several Republican candidates for the state house.
Health and Wealth Theology
Rev. Parsley is not a newcomer to politics. In the late 1980s, his church picketed the Bexley Art Theater for showing what Parsley said were obscene films [and] World Harvest members protested when the gay advocacy group Stonewall Union was allowed to hand out literature at the Ohio State Fair, the Columbus Dispatch reported. During last Novembers election, Parsley took a leading role in the push to pass Issue 1, the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Operating on an annual budget of $38.5 million, Parsleys ministries include his nondenominational church, a school and Bible college, his television show Breakthrough, the Center for Moral Clarity, a mission program, and a ministerial fellowship. According to the Dispatchs survey of the auditors records of Franklin County, The church/school complex has been appraised at about $26 million, and the nearby Bible college campus is worth nearly $2 million. In addition, according to Fairfield County auditor records, Parsleys estate, which also includes the home of his parents, is appraised at nearly $2 million.
Parsley has refused to reveal his own personal wealth and the church has not responded to requests for financial information from Ministry Watch, a North Carolina-based organization gathering financial information on religious organizations that solicit money nationwide.
Rod Pitzer, the research director at Ministry Watch, told the Columbus Dispatch, World Harvests refusal to provide financial data should be a red flag, and he urges people not to donate to Parsley. Of the slightly over 500 ministries currently being profiled by Ministry Watch, only 29 have refused to cooperate. Among the 29 are some big name ministers, including Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Tim LaHaye, and Kenneth Hagin.
Ohio Restoration Project
In late March, the New York Times reported that the newly established Ohio Restoration Project was planning to mobilize 2,000 evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal, and Roman Catholic leaders in a network of so-called Patriot Pastors to register half a million new voters, enlist activists, train candidates and endorse conservative causes in the next year.
In Ohio, the church is awakening to its historic role as the moral voice in the community, Colin A. Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, a conservative group based in Pennsylvania that trains ministers in political activism, told the New York Times. Ohio is in the vanguard of that nationally. I very much want Pennsylvania to be with them.
As stated earlier, Rev. Johnson is behind the mobilization. In a letter originally posted on the website of his Fairfield Christian Church, Johnson asked supporters to pray that God will raise up a harvest of Patriot Pastors who are dedicated to making a difference in this hour of American history. Johnson added, What happens in Ohio in the next 18 months could very well make an impact on what happens in America in the next 20-30 years.
The non-profit Patriot Pastors intend to raise a $1 million war chest in order to build a database of 300,000 postal addresses and 100,000 e-mail addresses to recruit a network of like-minded Christian voters to be 21st-century Minutemen. These volunteers would help transport the elderly to the polls, provide childcare so parents can vote, and assist with voter registration drives and rallies, the Cleveland Jewish News reported.
While the ORP plan says that it will not specifically endorse candidates, it will invite Blackwell to speak at pastoral meetings and to a statewide Ohio for Jesus rally scheduled for next spring. Along with the homegrown Parsley, other national Christian evangelical leaders to be invited include Rev. Franklin Graham, Focus on the Familys Dr. James Dobson, and the Prison Fellowship Ministries Charles Colson.
Rev. Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told the New York Times that the Ohio Restoration Project might have a significant impact: This represents a new wave in organizing on the part of conservative evangelicals. From my standpoint, as someone who doesnt agree with their conclusions, this is a more dangerous model.
Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering conservative politics.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.