Follow-Up: The Freedom Federations “The Awakening” Conference

Looks like the Freedom Federations “Awakening” conference, with its speakers from the New Apostolic Reformation, didn’t draw the ‘thousands’ they anticipated. Of course this was no deterrent to Cindy Jacobs and company. The circus carried on…

quotes below are from an article at the secular news site, RightWingWatch

The Freedom Federation’s “Awakening” conference convened at Liberty University on April 15 and 16 with the ambitious goal of transforming America by touching off the greatest religious revival that America or the world has ever known. Short of that, the gathering was all about rebranding the Religious Right political movement as a “multiracial, multi-ethnic, transgenerational” movement that cares about social justice (sorry, Glenn Beck). In short, the conference was meant to send a message to young and non-white evangelicals: this ain’t your father’s Religious Right.

Given the gathering’s audacious goals, and the number and firepower of participating Religious Right leaders (who it was claimed represented 40 million Americans), attendance was dismal. In fact there’s probably never been a conference with a higher ratio of featured speakers (52) to attendees (a couple of hundred at best, not counting the session that used a regularly scheduled student convocation to give speaker Sam Rodriguez a larger audience).

Of course, there were plenty of signs that the old Religious Right and its focus on divisive fear-driven politics haven’t gone anywhere. Speaker after speaker portrayed faith and freedom under relentless attack in America.

Despite the low turnout, the conference served as an opportunity for organizers to meet and strategize for the 2010 elections, and to try out some new messaging and public relations strategies. Here were the conference’s main themes:

Tyranny! Red Alert! America is in big trouble. Freedom is under attack by President Obama and his allies in Congress. And since Obama is no friend of Israel, we’re in trouble with God.

Fight! Big threats mean we have to be ready to fight, fight fight. The tea party movement was invoked favorably and, given the turnout, a bit wistfully.

Unify. A major theme of the event was the need to ignore major theological differences among speakers and focus on common values such as ending abortion and the Obama administration.

Diversify. The conference made a major effort to showcase the Freedom Federation’s claims to be a multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational movement.

Seek Social Justice. Watch out, Glenn Beck, these right-wingers are eager to portray themselves as a social justice movement.

Millennial Generation, saving America is your job.

Religious Right leaders have been increasingly willing to overlook theological differences in order to broaden their political impact.

For example, many evangelicals learned to set aside anti-Catholic sentiments in order to work with anti-choice Catholic leaders to seek the criminalization of abortion. More recently, fundamentalist leaders of the Religious Right have been increasingly willing to embrace those from more Pentecostal traditions, including supporters of the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement teaching that God is working through a set of anointed prophets to bring the right kind of Christians “dominion” over all aspects of culture: government, business, education, arts and entertainment, family services, media, and the church.

Self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs, for example, was among the conference speakers. Among her books for sale was “Deliver Us from Evil,” which listed on its cover some of the evils in our culture, which include not only Satanism and Freemasonry, but Pokemon and Harry Potter.

Many speakers urged participants not to judge each other’s theological differences but to focus on their common values and country-changing goals.

When a musician performing at the Friday night rally took the microphone and spoke briefly in tongues, Lou Engle rushed to the stage to apologize abjectly to anyone who was offended. Engle said he had promised there would be no speaking in tongues, presumably in deference to officials from Liberty U, whose founder the late Jerry Falwell was theologically opposed to the practice.

A session on pastors and politics was moderated by Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, who called Obama a “Marxist president” and his administration a dictatorship. “He’s ruling against the will of the people. He’s got to be stopped. That’s the short-term goal.”

Panelists and audience members talked about the number of people at recent tea party rallies and the need to get pastors and people in faith out in front of that movement to prevent it from becoming a disappointment.

Joyner similarly said the country has fallen to into depravity and that our current leadership is a sign of God’s judgment. More important than winning people back, he said, is winning God back. Joyner cited as his inspiration Martin Luther, who took a stand based on his convictions and said “I will not compromise.” He echoed the theme that the meltdown has come in the church, citing polling that shows a very low percentage of Christians has a “Christian worldview.”

Among the board members of Joyner’s Oak Initiative is retired Gen. Boykin, who he said has been teaching on the principles of warfare.

One of those, Joyner says, is “force multiplication,” which he described as a strategy based on identifying a small number of high-impact people that could make necessary change. He cited Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: while the outnumbered forces of good waged a battle against the overwhelming forces of evil, the small Hobbit Frodo won the war. Major cultural change, he said, could be brought about by the square root of 1 percent of the people – in other words, 100 committed people can radically impact culture of a city of one million.

Complete article: Sputtering Start to Religious Right’s Rebranding


5 comments on “Follow-Up: The Freedom Federations “The Awakening” Conference

  1. If they could only get a few hundred at the university that is at the very center of the religious right, sane leaders would throw in the towel, or maybe consider that they may be off the mark, like the last supermajor (can’t just say ‘major’ anymore) NAR embarrassment–Pete Wagner commissioning Todd Bentley the night (coincidentally, summer solstice) before things started to unravel behind the scenes.

    Not holding my breath. Question is, is God also holding His breath?

  2. Interesting that there was such a low turnout. Maybe the prospective attendees were all too familiar with Cindy Jacobs’ screeching voice. We’ll see what kind of a following their “May Day” event is able to boast. This is good to keep in mind, though. For all their decrees that everyone must submit to the apostles “or else,” there are a lot of people who are quite unfamiliar with the NAR and don’t have the slightest clue that they are in “spiritual danger” for not submitting.

    This may change, though, if the NAR continues to join in with ecumenical programs and powerful figures from the Religious Right. This statement from the article was telling:

    A major theme of the event was the need to ignore major theological differences among speakers and focus on common values such as ending abortion and the Obama administration.

    There is clearly a focus on the wrong kingdom.

  3. Maybe the NAR would have more luck joining in with the Emergent Church crowd. They have basically the same eschatology view. I hope more and more Christians find out about their crazy doctrine. If it had not been for websites like this one, I probably would never have known their true agenda.

  4. I wouldn’t count on it necessarily staying small if it’s repeated. For the past three years I’ve been part of a statewide lobbying event in this state. The first year they had it it was tiny, but 4 or 5 years on it’s in the 8-10 thousand people range.

    He cited Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: while the outnumbered forces of good waged a battle against the overwhelming forces of evil, the small Hobbit Frodo won the war.

    “Yo! LOTR is fiction. Written as a heroic legend, not a description of reality.”I am going to have to start reading up on this NAR stuff. In their own strength I wouldn’t be worried about them.

  5. What? They didn’t invite Sarah Palin? No wonder it flopped!

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