When religious freedom means freedom from religious violence

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Religious freedom has long been a rallying cry of the religious and political right. In recent years, it has been used to justify exemptions from various civil rights laws.

But at least since January 6e, some sectors of MAGA have abandoned much of the pretense of religious freedom, while they seem to openly prepare their public for vigilante violence and religious war. The messages aren’t always consistent, but they’re pretty consistently violent.

This was highlighted on the ReAwaken America Tour, which has been a sort of continuous campaign of revolt since the failed coup. Led by former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, the 15 rallies held since April 2021 have each drawn thousands of attendees. Like “Stop the Steal” events, they tend to be foggy, distortion-infused affairs, full of dire warnings of hidden evil and worse to come. There are at least three more planned for this year: one for Southern Virginia, one for Western New York and another for Idaho, the border regions intended to attract the maximum number of participants.

Election, medicaland vaccine conspirators, as well as veterans of the insurgency like Flynn, Eric Trump, Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell and Roger Stone attract media attention. But a disturbing religious dimension has received much less attention; that is, until November, when Flynn blurted out their general intention at a rally in San Antonio: “If we want to have a nation under God, which we must do, we must have a religion. One nation under God and one religion under God.

But there is so much more.

ReAwaken Events are an overhaul and rebranding of Conferences “Health and Freedom” which, in the spring of 2021, rallied opposition to Covid prevention measures such as masking, vaccinations and the closure of public spaces. By summer, it had become the ReAwaken America Tour, with sponsorship from the Charisma magazine publishing empire run by Steven Strang.

Words of Prophet Walnau

Impresario and tour manager Clay Clark introduced Lance Walnau as a prophet when he spoke to an event in Phoenix, Arizona in January 2022. Walnau is an important figure in the neo-charismatic New Apostolic Reformbest known for his advocacy of the idea of Dominionism of the Seven Mountainswhich is a vision of Christians taking control of the main sectors of influence in societynamely, religion, government, family, arts and entertainment, business, media and education. The offices of the Church in this movement are called the “fivefold ministry” of apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, and evangelist.

Prophet Walnau asked to raise their hands from the number of people who had participated in revival events before. The camera doesn’t show the crowd, but apparently many did, as he compared them to “Deadheads.”

Walnau says this movement “is going to choose all the deceptions that Satan is working on in the United States, a movement that is going to pound like David on the head of Goliath until the giant falls.”

After comparing them to Deadheads, he advises,

“You’re not part of something that’s just a weird and eccentric gathering of conspiracy theorists; you are in fact a prophetic community. And a populist movement will rise in the United States which will become the Great Awakening.

“It is the spirit of God that has been upon you all your life,” he declares, “preparing you for this moment in history.”

Walnau is just one of many who foresee violence. Last year, Prophet Amanda Grace, for example, blew a shofar to open a ReAwaken event, explaining,

“When the shofar was blown, the walls of Jericho fell. When the shofar was blown, Gideon and an army of 300 men defeated over 147,000 Midianities. It is an announcement to the enemy that his fortress is about to fall. The demons tremble at the sound of the shofar.

She said the shofar is “a weapon of our warfare. And when we blow it up, the power of God comes right into that situation.

Flynn said the tour is about “saving our country from tyranny, dictatorship and communism”. To do this, he identified the three themes of the tour: “electoral integrity”, “this Covid madness (that we get stuffed down our throats)” and “religious freedom”. In a interview with Apostle Steven Strang, Flynn named three ministers who would speak on religious liberty. So I clicked on the sample video for each on the tour website to see what they said.

Apostle Leon Benjamin of Richmond, Va., said nothing about religious liberty. Pastor Jackson Lahmeyer of Tulsa, Oklahoma also said nothing about religious freedom, except to say that “the First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees me and my church the right to assemble in person, virus or no virus”. Maybe. Maybe not. But religious freedom is more than temporary closures during a pandemic.

The third, Bill Cook of Haymarket, Virginia, however, seems to favor the elimination of religious freedom. He is the founder of the Black Robe Regiment, named after what the British Army called some clergymen during the American Revolution. “I could go on with stories,” he says regarding the role of the clergy, “But they weren’t preaching separation of church and state, I can tell you that!”

He blames the separation of Church and State “for the mess in which we find ourselves”. Apparently he doesn’t know or care that the separation of the state from the church was how the framers of the Constitution sought protect religious freedom from the undue influence of government and powerful religious institutions.

“Our enemies,” he also asserts, without naming them, “are planning to kill everyone who believes in Christ. They are preparing a genocide. And that’s what we see in Covid-19. So we have to fight. »

“[And] some of us, he says, are going to have to give our lives.

Jezebel Churches

Some spoke of violence which was arguably even worse.

Pastor Greg Locke, an activist tent revivalist from Tennessee, spoke in September 2021 in Colorado Springs. He did not discuss religious freedom, but he denounced government tyranny and declared war in response to public policies that forced churches to close along with other public spaces at the height of the pandemic.

“I said they would serve Frosties in the Lake of Fire before Pastor Greg Locke closed his local New Testament Church because a tyrannical demon-possessed government told him to!”

“Yes! Blow the shofars for them! It means war! It is our battle cry!

Church! Stop sleeping!”

He denounced as “Jezebel churches” those which had closed to the public because of the Covid. It refers to the biblical figure of Jezebel, a queen of ancient Israel whose story does not end well. She lures the Jews away from their God and into the worship of Baal before being deposed by a military leader, Jehu, who has her thrown out of a palace window into the streets, where wild dogs eat her body.

Down with the Washington Monument!

Prophet Julie Green, who campaigns along with Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, is also a frequent guest on tour regular Pastor Dave Scarlett’s show. She said God gave him word of something serious. In a broadcast from the Salem, Oregon ReAwaking event in April, she told Scarlett and fellow prophet Amanda Grace that the nation’s capital was not what God intended and that he intended to ” destroy Washington, DC”. She says God is moving the capital to Pennsylvania or Florida. It comes amid a kind of sweeping of existing institutions, from which “America will be reborn”.

The panel also discussed the need to remove monuments that are “not of God”. Amanda Grace says the Statue of Liberty must fall because she is linked to a false god and is “part of the Old Order”. (Scarlett thinks it’s related to Islam.) Green says, “Any monument that has been erected by their that he did not want, will be demolished. Incidentally, according to Green, God also “mentioned the Washington monument and then all the arks of Baal”.

Noting that the Washington Monument is modeled after ancient Egyptian obelisks, Green adds, “It’s not like they’re doing anything new, they’re just taking it from something before.” That’s why God said, “It’s like the pharaohs of old, it’s the same demonic thing that’s behind the rulers now as they were back there with the pharaohs.”

“Any monuments that are truly of God can remain,” she said. Those who are not of God “will be destroyed, and nothing can stop that.”

They do not mention whether these things will be acts of God alone or in conjunction with his people. But they seem certain that it will happen in the coming months.

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