Most of you noticed my alarm at discovering that Tim D'Annunzio, one of the Repubs trying to unseat Larry Kissell, attends a church affiliated with a borderline fascist strain of charismatic Christianity. I take things like this very personally, since I was almost suckered into joining a similar outfit when I was a freshman at Carolina. I've mentioned it in passing on here since I first started posting back in 2006, but haven't really talked about it in full until now.
It's been almost 13 years since I broke free of that bunch. However, the scars still run pretty deep. These guys stole the first six months of my adult life--what should have been the happiest time of my life--from me. About the only good thing that came out of it is that their shabby attempt to turn me into a Christian conservative failed miserably--and I ended up even more of a Democrat than I was coming in.
Not long after I moved my stuff in, I ran into one of the campus ministers for an outfit on campus called Waymaker Christian Fellowship. Waymaker made itself out to look like a smaller version of IV or Crusade, but in truth it was a hypercharismatic outfit similar to some of the worst stuff on Christian TV. I never really felt comfortable in there, but every time I thought about leaving, it was as if someone put a vise around my mind and squeezed it.
I didn't really figure out what was happening until they tried to move in on my politics. One Saturday in September, I helped put out some literature for Students for Choice, and took part in a brief rally beforehand. My picture ended up in the following Monday's Daily Tar Heel. That night at Waymaker, I was talking with one of my friends in there. The conversation turned to that picture--and she asked me, "You're pro-choice?" like "pro-choice" was a cussword. "Down the line," I said proudly (most of you know I was strongly pro-choice at the time). She then pulled her Bible out and tried to proof-text me into changing my mind. One of the campus ministers--a fellow I really didn't like that much--overheard us and backed her up. "The Bible's pretty clear on this," he said. The last time I felt that small was in middle school. And a few days later, after I responded to the Pit Preacher's first visit there with a letter saying that God didn't give a flip about your politics, one of the other gals basically told me that my current views could jeopardize my salvation.
You'd think that would have been enough for me to get out of there, but the mind games they played with me were so strong that it took me until January 1997 to get out. I harbored some hope of staying friends with them, but that briefly ended when some of my compatriots in the class of 2000 tried to wheedle me back in.
While trying to find out if there were any message boards for others who had been burned by these guys, I found out by accident found out that their church--now known as King's Park International Church--had once been the Carolina chapter of Maranatha Campus Ministries, a highly abusive campus ministry from the 1980s. I tried to tell the Waymakers that KPIC was hiding its past--but their reaction was, in so many words, "So what?" When I realized that they were still willing to stay with that church even after being told that they were being deceived into lying to people and other underhanded stuff, I reluctantly pretended that I'd undergone a dramatic conversion and was now just like them. During this time, I found out that they were planning to run some of their people for Student Congress in the spring campus elections. Although the student attorney general didn't take any action against them because of a loophole in the code of student conduct, I suspect that my ratting them out foiled their election plans. Some of the gals in there didn't like how I was speaking out against them, so they tried to get me framed up for harassing them. However, their case was so flimsy that they ended up backing off.
Over the years, I've also discovered that the network of churches of which KPIC is a part, Morning Star International (now known as Every Nation)--is a major player in the Latter Rain Movement. Maranatha was a major player in this movement as well, and there is nearly uncontestable evidence that Every Nation is a revival of Maranatha or at least a direct linear descendant. The Latter Rain, also known as the New Apostolic Reformation or the dominionist movement, believes that Jesus can't come back until a "revived" church takes over the world and everything in it. God has supposedly been looking for a "covenant people" since losing control of the world to Satan in the Garden of Eden. These people, under submission to restored apostles and prophets, will be his "extension" in the world to take back authority from the devil. Christians are "little gods" with all of the authority of Jesus. The church thus has the responsibility to take over the world and put down all opposition to it. Anyone who rebels against the church, along with other "evildoers," must convert or be punished. Once the church has purged all evil from the world, Jesus can come back.
Does this sound familiar? It's fascism--plain and simple. But don't take my word for it--listen to a message given by one of Every Nation's leading "prophets," Jim Laffoon, at Every Nation's 2004 conference (part 1, part 2 and part 3.
You guys may remember that similar stuff was talked about in "Jesus Camp" three years ago. Among the players in this movement are Lou Engle (of The Call and the Justice House of Prayer) and Cindy Jacobs. Sarah Palin also has proven links to the Latter Rain as well.
So now you understand why I was so alarmed when I looked more into D'Annunzio. The prospect of a dominionist representing our state absolutely scared me to death--for the simple fact that I know first hand what makes them tick.