Rick Perry has entered the Presidential race. My goodness, what a collection. From the looks of him, he has all the markings of a limited government, free markets, free people type. Appearances are deceiving.
First, a disclaimer. Sometimes people speak at events sponsored by people with whom they do not fully agree. I, for example, sometimes speak at Libertarian Party events and Tea Party events even though I do not endorse either. Nonetheless, it is fair game to ask why Perry associates himself with the “apostolic and prophetic” movement. Not being inclined toward organized religion myself, I have not seen fit to keep up with evangelical trends–that is, until I started seeing a deeply disturbing pattern in the Republican Party.
The New Apostolic Reformation, along with its various branches and loose affiliates, believes some, ahem, interesting things. Here’s one:
The apostles teach what’s called ‘strategic level spiritual warfare’ [because they believe that the] reason why (sic) there is sin and corruption and poverty on the Earth is because (sic) the Earth is controlled by a hierarchy of demons under the authority of Satan (from the above link to NPR).
Do tell. Their strategy is not one-on-one proselytizing, as is the tradition with most Christians, but a wholesale conversion of geographic regions. Actually, “conversion” does not quite capture it, as NARers believe that their mission is to rid these regions of demons.
Some branches of NAR believe that the Democratic Party is controlled by Jezebel and three lesser demons. For a brief moment, this explained a lot for me, but I splashed some cold water on my face and clarity returned. Apparently, Oprah is the precursor to the Antichrist as well. I always thought it was my Mother-In-Law.
Here is the lesson. Perry seems willing to associate himself with a group of religious zealots who believe in demons and think it their mission to conduct spiritual warfare (their words) to attain dominion over our culture, including government. Is this a good thing? (That was a rhetorical question.)
Lest my religious friends think I am picking on religion as a whole, let me clarify some things. Religion serves different purposes for each individual. While I do not endorse religious beliefs of any kind, I do recognize that they can lend meaning to some folk’s lives. Some people take scripture literally; others interpret it metaphorically. It matters not one whit to me which, unless one’s interpretation leads to forcing those views on others.
I will stop short of accusing Perry of wanting to establish a theocracy, but his cozy relationship with this kind of movement bears scrutiny. During hard times, people get scared. Scared people do stupid things, like believe that they have special insight into the mind of their god/s and are thus qualified to “guide” the rest of us. Their prayers and incantations will do no more harm than voodoo dolls, but an army of people with foolish beliefs can do real harm. Folks, keep an eye on this one–there is danger afoot.