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AS IT WAS WRITTEN: Rick Perry & The False Prophets

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[Illustration by MARIO ZUCCA]

TEXAS OBSERVER: Is Rick Perry God’s man for president? Schlueter, Long and other prayer warriors in a little-known but increasingly influential movement at the periphery of American Christianity seem to think so. The movement is called the New Apostolic Reformation. Believers fashion themselves modern-day prophets and apostles. They have taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot. The movement’s top prophets and apostles believe they have a direct line to God. Through them, they say, He communicates specific instructions and warnings. When mankind fails to heed the prophecies, the results can be catastrophic: earthquakes in Japan, terrorist attacks in New York, and economic collapse. On the other hand, they believe their God-given decrees have ended mad cow disease in Germany and produced rain in drought-stricken Texas. Their beliefs can tend toward the bizarre. Some consider Freemasonry a “demonic stronghold” tantamount to witchcraft. The Democratic Party, one prominent member believes, is controlled by Jezebel and three lesser demons. Some prophets even claim to have seen demons at public meetings. They’ve taken biblical literalism to an extreme. In Texas, they engage in elaborate ceremonies involving branding irons, plumb lines and stakes inscribed with biblical passages driven into the earth of every Texas county. If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn’t be remarkable. But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take “dominion” over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the “Seven Mountains” of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an “army of God” to commandeer civilian government. In Rick Perry, they may have found their vessel. And the interest appears to be mutual. MORE

RELATED: With entitlement reform now a goal of both parties, including President Obama, supporting changes to cherished programs like Medicare and Social Security isn’t nearly the third-rail that it was even a year ago. But Perry doesn’t just want to tweak these programs — by say, raising the retirement age of Social Security or means-testing Medicare to exclude well-off citizens. According to this interview, he doesn’t think the federal government should be in the Medicare and Social Security business at all. In fact, he seems to think it might be unconstitutional to do so. Perry’s ideal reforms would be far more extreme than most voters would be willing to stomach. Mitt Romney — or President Obama, if it gets to that point — would have a pretty easy time combining Perry’s anti-entitlement position with his secession talk and his support for abolishing the direct election of senators to portray him as too radically anti-government even for this anti-government moment we’re experiencing. MORE

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