Archives For Thomas Muthee

I’ve written at some length on the Christian movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), a group that’s been getting increased media scrutiny lately due to their proximity to presidential candidates like Texas governor Rick Perry. Some may believe I’m over-stating their influence, or that I’m being somewhat paranoid in my coverage,  so it’s always a good thing to have relatively level-headed media outlets to compare your own findings/suspicions with. Back in August the NPR interview program “Fresh Air” interviewed Rachel Tabachnick of Talk To Action, a leading researcher into this movement, and promised to follow-up interview with a NAR member for rebuttal/response. Today that promise is fulfilled as the show interviews C. Peter Wagner, one of key architects and Apostles of this movement. It is Wagner who articulated the movement’s battle against the “Queen of Heaven,” and penned several books on the subject of spiritual warfare.

While the audio and transcript isn’t up yet (though it will be up later today), they have posted some highlights from the interview that touch on some of the most controversial statements and beliefs held by New Apostolic Reformation members.

“The sun goddess [Amaterasu] is not a very nice lady. The sun goddess is a power of darkness, which is headed up by the kingdom of Satan. And so the sun goddess wants natural disasters to come to Japan.”

“An apostle, a friend of mine in Nepal, once told me that every Christian believer in Nepal that he knows of has been delivered from demons. That their former Hindu religion had implanted or the demons had gained access and that in order to become Christian believers, the demons had to be cast out. Of course, we have many examples in the Bible of the same thing.”

“What [Pastor] Thomas [Muthee] was probably doing, and he and I are friends also, what he was probably doing was speculating that there would be some people who practiced witchcraft and other forms of the occult who would try and take Sarah Palin down through certain rituals or curses or other techniques that witches have and try to destroy her through those things. And I think Thomas was praying a shield of protection around Sarah so that she would not be affected by them.”

There’s more, and probably much more in the interview itself, so I urge everyone interested in this subject to check it out. Wagner does try to soft-peddle accusations of theocratic ambitions, and the intentions of  the upcoming “DC40” prayer event. He also claims that they “respect all religions” (even Pagan religions?). I’ll let you decide whether this is still a movement you find problematic, or if you’ve been convinced that they have no untoward designs towards the rights of non-Christians.

Amid the media frenzy over all things Sarah Palin, with a seemingly new scandal or story popping up every other day, it is little wonder that not a lot of background journalism has taken place. While assorted reporters and pundits were happy to play the video of Palin being blessed by African Pentecostal leader Thomas Muthee, few have been able to dig into his claims of driving out “witches” from the town of Kiambu in Kenya.

“According to the Christian Science Monitor, six months of fervent prayer and research identified the source of the witchcraft as a local woman called Mama Jane, who ran a “divination” centre called the Emmanuel Clinic … after Pastor Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon. After Mama Jane was questioned by police – and released – she decided it was time to leave town, the account says.”

Since then, many have wondered, what happened to Mama Jane? Was she really driven out? Was she killed by a mob, as so many other accused “witches” have been in Kenya? Luckily Zoe Alsop, who happened to be working as a journalist in Kenya, found Mama Jane alive and well and living in Kiambu.

“…some residents of Kiambu were somewhat skeptical of Muthee’s claims. Not least among them is the herbalist Jane W. Njenga, a pastor with the African Mission of Holy Ghost Church, who is best known as Mama Jane. She says she didn’t own a pet python and she’s never left her compound, located about a half-mile from Muthee’s immense new church. Last week Women’s eNews interviewed her there, next door to the Superkid Solid Foundation Faith in Every Footstep daycare center just off Kiambu’s main street. ‘If I am bad, why haven’t people attacked me?’ Njenga says. ‘Why haven’t they burnt this building down? That is what people here do to witches.'”

In fact, just about every claim made in Muthee’s witchcraft adventure has turned out to be false. The decrease in traffic deaths? New paving and speed bumps. Police killed a demon-snake? Mama Jane never owned one. Though one thing is true, Muthee did try to label her as a witch and have her killed or driven out.

“When Muthee came, he took a loudspeaker into the street and he told people to pray for seven days that I would die,” Njenga says. “If I was not known in the town, I could not have survived even to put my children through school.”

One wonders if Muthee’s tale of victory over witchcraft was invented to impress his Western backers. No doubt his church gets plenty of fat donations from fellow “spiritual warriors” impressed by his bravado and willingness to engage in campaigns of demonization and incitement that would be illegal here in America. As one community health worker tells Alsop, the best way to get rich quick in Kenya is to build a church, and Muthee is nothing if not rich. Instead of the mighty witchcraft fighter, come to America to lay his blessings on the faithful, he has been exposed as a Christian con-man making a quick buck.

Just when I thought this story couldn’t go even further down the Christian extremist rabbit-hole, up pops another revelation about a Sarah Palin coreligionist.

“On June 13, 2008 Mary Glazier told attendees at the “Opening the Gate of Heaven on Earth” conference, who represented many of the New Apostolic Reformation’s top leaders, that she had been present at the inception of Sarah Palin’s political career and that Palin was in her personal prayer group : ‘There was a twenty-four year old woman that God began to speak to about entering into politics. She became a part of our prayer group out in Wasilla. Years later, became the mayor of Wasilla. And last year was elected Governor of the state of Alaska. Yes! Hallelujah! At her inauguration she dedicated the state to Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!'”

Who is Mary Glazier? She is the founder of Windwalkers International, and is a key figure in the Third Wave/New Apostolic Reformation movement. Part of C. Peter Wagner’s inner circle. Wagner, as I have pointed out before, is the man who is waging a war on the “Queen of Heaven”, whom he equates with pre-Christian goddesses, Islam, and Mary within the Catholic Church.

“Peter Wagner appears to be afflicted with a rather bizarre form of paranoia. He sees the world controlled by a demonic force he calls “the Queen of Heaven.” He sees this demon in everything from ancient Moon goddess religions to Islam (e.g., the crescent moon), to environmentalism (Gaia), feminism, witchcraft, and even in mainstreem Christianity (e.g., Catholic respect of Mary as the Mother of Jesus). That’s the purpose of the book, to help you, too, see that all these disparate religions are really united, and that the Virgin Mary is the demon behind it all.”

Glazier’s claims directly tie Palin into the world of anti-Pagan spiritual warfare. While some conservatives have defended the anti-witchcraft blessing of Palin by Thomas Muthee saying it was acceptable because of his cultural context, Glazier, who has her own witchcraft story, has no such excuse.

“In 1995, Mary mobilized a prayer network for Alaska’s prisons and began experiencing spiritual warfare as never before. She had received word that a witch had applied for a job as chaplain of the state’s prison system… Mary recalls, “As we continued to pray against the spirit of witchcraft, her incense altar caught on fire, her car engine blew up, she went blind in her left eye, and she was diagnosed with cancer” … “Ultimately, the witch fled to another state for medical treatment. Soon after, revival visited every prison in Alaska. At the women’s correctional facility in Anchorage alone, 55 of 60 inmates found Christ. “Ask largely,” Mary says. “Intercessory prayer is making a major difference in North America.”

I’ll give you a moment for this to sink in. Glazier and her prayer warriors claim to have made God blind and give cancer to a Wiccan chaplain. Is this anything but the most malefic of magic? Any Pagan who proudly claimed to have given a Christian cancer, or put out one of the eyes of a Christian, would be rightly shunned and rebuked. Within this community of extremist Christians Glazier and her fellow prayer warriors are lauded as heroes, holy warriors striking a blow against Satan and the “Queen of Heaven”. While these warriors are quick to post disclaimers saying their efforts are “merely” spiritual, who knows what an unbalanced mind would do with this sort of rhetoric.

This adds to the questions I would love to ask Sarah Palin (not that she’s taking questions). Not just if she approves of the spiritual warfare techniques of the Third Wavers, but if she personally prayed for harm to come to one of our own (she was still deeply enmeshed in the movement back in 1995 after all). Sadly, while Obama and McCain were grilled on their religious stances, we’re supposed to take it on faith that she will respect the rights of non-Christian faiths should she be elected?

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

We start off with news of a custody case involving accusations of anti-Wiccan judicial bias. An Arkansas woman, who says she lost custody of her son due to the judge’s perceptions of Wicca, has lost her appeal to the state Court of Appeals.

“A Southeast Arkansas woman who argued she lost custody of her son because of a judge’s perception of her alleged practice of Wicca lost her appeal Wednesday before a divided state Court of Appeals Wednesday. In a 4-2 ruling, the appeals court affirmed a decision granting custody to the child’s father, though the judges disagreed on whether the lower court considered the mother’s religious beliefs. In her appeal of Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow’s decision, the mother noted Vittitow described Wicca in his opinion letter as ‘a religion, movement, cult or whatever it that may be.’ The judge also wrote that while the mother testified she was only joking when she told the boy’s father that she was involved with Wicca, the ‘court believes she is much more involved than she would lead us to believe.'”

The two dissenting judges claim that the majority simply ‘set aside’ concerns over religious bias and that the initial ruling ‘impermissibly considered’ her religious beliefs. You can read the opinions of the judges on the appeal court, here (Andrea Hicks v. Joshua A. Cook). There is no word if Ms. Hicks will attempt, or be able to, appeal to a higher court. Considering the fact that one of the dissenting judges accused the majority of “torturing” the law and “mishandling the judicial-review process” one would hope that this case is explored further.

Is a psychic fair secular entertainment or a religious gathering? That is the question surrounding a controversial event being held on New York state property.

“The state Office of General Services, however, said the second annual Psychic Fair and Halloween Festival is just good clean fun. Psychics, astrologers, mediums, people who talk to angels, dream interpreters and tarot card readers will be on hand Oct. 29 at the Empire State Plaza’s concourse, where thousands of state workers pass daily … “These vendors who are coming are strictly entertainment,” said OGS spokesman Brad Maione, noting the fair isn’t a cost to state taxpayers.”

Rev. Jason McGuire calls the event a breach of church-state separation that contains “Satanic” and “occult” elements, while Dennis Poust, Director of Communications at New York State Catholic Conference, is a tad more measured in tone.

“I’m not saying these psychics are Satanists, though. The Catholic church does warn against divination, which is foretelling the future.”

I personally think its funny how many conservative Christians only seem to care about the separation of Church and State when it doesn’t immediately favor them. As for psychic fairs, anyone who hasn’t gone to one might be surprised that money and commerce, not religion, is the primary order of the day. A decidedly secular and multi-faith activity in our capitalistic society.

Was Jesus a magician in addition to (allegedly) being the Messiah? A pot that may contain the earliest written reference to Christ marks him as a magus.

“A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world’s first known reference to Christ … The full engraving on the bowl reads, ‘DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS,’ which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, ‘by Christ the magician’ or, ‘the magician by Christ.'”

The bowl could provide further proof of the intertwining of Christianity and paganism in the ancient world. Scientists also speculate that the bowl may have been used for divination purposes, which would certainly add a new twist to arguments against psychic practitioners by conservative Christians. Thanks to Megan for pointing me towards this story.

Looks like the Pagans, atheists, Buddhists, UUs, and other groups need to step up, because San Leandro middle school has decided to allow religious organizations to distribute flyers to children in classrooms.

“Last spring, Pastor Derek Jung of the Fundamental Gospel Baptist Church of San Leandro challenged the district when it refused to distribute a flyer about vacation Bible school. “I was shocked we were the first church that had ever used their system,” Jung said on Tuesday. Armed with legal advice from the Florida-based Christian Law Association, Jung told the district that if it allowed schools to distribute information for community groups such as the YMCA, 4-H clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs or school fundraising foundations, it could not discriminate against religious organizations. District lawyers researched the issue – and agreed.”

Remember, religious inclusion means all or nothing. When this happened to a school in Virginia, they quickly switched from “all” to “none” once the Pagans and atheists started distributing flyers. So lets not miss an opportunity to see how committed this school really is to including a wide range of religious options to middle-schoolers. Thanks to Kate for tipping me off to this story.

In a final note, author and “Techgnostic” Erik Davis has one of the more thoughtful ruminations on the religion of Sarah Palin, what the connection to African witch-hunter Thomas Muthee means, and how Pagans should ultimately respond.

“Muthee’s Christianity trumps witchcraft not by disbelieving it–in other words, by dousing it with the holy water of secular rationalism and skepticism, like mainstream Euro-American Christians have done for a couple centuries. Instead, it tries to beat witchcraft at its own game, using what one can only think of as a rival spell–the spell of the Word. It’s all about power and manifestation, the shape-shifting of social perception. But notice this: the game only really works if witchcraft remains, as the professor said, a reality.”

As for what Pagans, occultists, and other magic-workers concerned about Palin should do? Davis suggests we all “get thy mojo working!”.

That is all I have for now, have a great day!

(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 25, 2008 — 1 Comment

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

Over at the On Faith site, the panel weighs in on abortion. Pagan panelist Starhawk gives her take on “abortion and The Goddess”.

“Women are moral agents, and in the Goddess and Pagan traditions, we are each our own spiritual authority. We have a right to wrestle with these issues ourselves, not have them predetermined for us by government authorities. We have a right to determine what goes on inside our bodies. To deny that right to women is to invite government intrusion into all kinds of private and personal choices. Overturning Roe vs. Wade would open the door to state control of our most intimate and tender decisions, and be a step closer to a totalitarian regime.”

She also quotes from the excellent book “The Pagan Book of Living and Dying”. In other Starhawk-related news, she has posted a six-minute video clip of Reclaiming’s annual Spiral Dance ritual to her web site.

For information on this year’s Spiral Dance ritual, click here.

Over at the Nation, Max Blumenthal writes about infiltrating Sarah Palin’s former church, and gets his hands on video footage of the now-infamous “blessing” done by anti-witchcraft crusader Thomas Muthee on Palin in 2005. Guess what? Muthee didn’t just pray for her to become governor, he also asked for her to be protected from “witchcraft”.

“Muthee’s mounting stardom took him to Wasilla Assembly of God in May, 2005, where he prayed over Palin and called upon Jesus to propel her into the governor’s mansion — and beyond. Muthee also implored Jesus to protect Palin from “the spirit of witchcraft.” The video archive of that startling sermon was scrubbed from Wasilla Assembly of God’s website, but now it has reappeared.”

So much for claims that Palin was ignorant or non-compliant in that church’s ongoing and active participation in Third-Wave “spiritual warfare” tactics. One wonders what “spirits of witchcraft” Palin needed protection from? Are there fortune tellers in Wasilla causing car accidents?

The brutal beating of a woman in Florida by a cult group has produced some of the worst journalistic accounts I have ever read. Fueled by incomplete information, this gang is painted as some sort of Santeria-Voodoo-Pagan-Satanic hybrid. With guns.

“Wood told investigators she was once a member of a Santeria voodoo group in Flagler County. She said Sunday’s abduction and beating were not the first she had suffered in recent days as a result of her leaving the group last year to become a Christian ,,, Wood also told investigators the men and a petite blonde woman named “Sky” took her to an open field near a home where a bonfire was burning. They were “preparing” for the autumnal equinox, she said.” “They needed me to help call the spirits,” Wood told investigators, indicating it was something she had done when she was a member of the group.”

It seems to me there is some vital information missing here. It’s also troubling that the only “expert” quoted in any of the linked articles is a cult “exit counselor”. So far the only part of her story that has been confirmed is that a local church was helping her. Here’s hoping that whoever did beat her goes to prison, and that some less sensationalist light is shed on this cult/group.

In a final note, the Covenant of the Goddess has sent out a press release in support of same-sex marriage in California and Massachusetts.

“Covenant of the Goddess has, since its inception in 1975, had clergy willing to celebrate the religious if not the legal joining of two members of the same gender. While we respect the right of the individual clergy within COG who may choose not to perform such a ceremony, we are in support of marriage between two committed adults of any gender, and a majority of our celebrants are willing to perform such ceremonies.”

The release, which hasn’t been posted to their web site yet, also goes into the history of same-sex marriage in pagan cultures, and the social and legal importance of allowing marriage rights to same-sex couples today.

That is all I have for now, have a great day!

Since I first posted about Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin’s troubling co-religionists, the mainstream press and several major blogs have homed in on the blessing Palin received from the African Bishop Thomas Muthee.

“Palin describes the visit of Pastor Thomas Muthee to the Wasilla Assembly of God in 2005. “As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying ‘Lord make a way, Lord make a way,'” Palin remarked. “And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are,” she continued. “And he’s praying not ‘oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,’ no, he just prayed for it. He said, ‘Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.'” “So, again, very very powerful, coming from this church,” she added.”

Muthee is feted by fellow Christians in America and in Africa for driving out the “spirit of witchcraft” that resided in the village of Kiambu, Kenya. Now it seems this wasn’t purely spiritual warfare on the part of Muthee, but involved stirring up mobs and driving a local fortune-teller out of town.

“According to the Christian Science Monitor, six months of fervent prayer and research identified the source of the witchcraft as a local woman called Mama Jane, who ran a “divination” centre called the Emmanuel Clinic … after Pastor Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon. After Mama Jane was questioned by police – and released – she decided it was time to leave town, the account says.”

As I pointed out previously, this isn’t some isolated third-world preacher, Muthee has toured America, received mainstream press coverage, and gave 10 consecutive sermons at Wasilla Assembly of God (Palin’s former church). He is a strong proponent of the spiritual warfare tactics endorsed by “Third Wave” Christian churches. Knowing that she was willingly blessed by an anti-witch fanatic, someone who has helped stir up the kind of mobs responsible for the horrific deaths of innocent men and women in Kenya, makes me reiterate my previous closing statement on this matter.

“What Pagans need to know, especially those who are considering voting Republican, is if Palin condemns or rejects the spiritual warfare teachings of the Third Wave movement. A movement that essentially espouses malicious Christian magic. Pagans have seen first hand that the religious opinions of Presidents have been used in the past by government agencies to deny us our legal rights. What would happen if our vice president thought we should be supernaturally eradicated?”

Does Palin still credit Muthee (via the power of “Jesus”) with “making a way” to power for her? Does she know and approve of Muthee’s spiritual war against “witches”? I think it would be important to know these things before election day.