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God and QR Codes for Trump; The Courage Tour Goes to Michigan

by Anne Nelson

Jun 24, 2024 | Religion

PHOTO CREDIT: 

On May 19 Air Force One landed in Detroit, Michigan, delivering Joe Biden to the Freedom Fund Dinner of the NAACP. It was a classic campaign event, with homage to Michigan state party leaders, an audience seated sedately at their tables, and a series of speeches from a podium.

But some 50 miles away, quite a different event was taking place. Hartland Township occupies a highway intersection, midway between Ann Arbor and Flint, with just over 15,000 souls. But that evening there were vehicles lined up as far as the eye could see, waiting to park outside an enormous white tent where the Michigan edition of the Courage Tour was taking place. The tent, erected outside the Floodgate Pentecostal church, was designed to seat 3,000, but that night it was standing room only, with hundreds of the faithful spilling out into the night.

At the outset, the Courage Tour looks like an updated version of an old-fashioned Elmer Gantry-style revival, complete with Bible verses, Christian rock, and the promise of faith healing

for sufferers of anything from arthritis to sciatica. But within minutes it took on all of the characteristics of a political rally, recruiting worshippers for door-knocking, letter-writing, phone banking, and election oversight, driven by Pentecostal fervor and fear of the devil. 

The tour’s official website promises, “Experience revival in 7 key states with The Courage Tour, marking the dawn of our nation’s Third Great Awakening.” As it happens, those seven would be the swing states leading up to the November elections. Michigan marks the midway point, following Phoenix and Atlanta and preceding a July date in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and other dates to be announced in Pennsylvania, Nevada and “maybe North Carolina.”

In fact, the master of ceremonies, Lance Wallnau, promised to zero in on battleground areas down to the county level. “We’re going to go to the 19 key counties out of 3,143,” Wallnau announced in a video posted on Twitter. “We picked the 19 that are going to determine the future of America. And I’m going to be working with various political leaders and reformers and thought leaders, including Charlie Kirk’s organization, Turning Point Action.”

Kirk elaborated on the plan in an interview with the Western Journal, a right-wing media platform and another partner in the project: “Because if we can have 81 percent turnout, 82 percent, 83 percent of us Christians show up, they can’t win. That’s why the attack on Christian Nationalism.   They’re trying to suppress Christians, because they see Christians as the enemy because of the 81 percent turnout factor we had last time,” Kirk said. “What we have seen, with the pastors we’re working with, with the churches that we are organizing, both through Turning Point Action and TPUSA Faith, is there is an unprecedented desire to take back this country, to have a check and balance on the tyranny and the nonsense that we’re living through, and it’s very simple: It should be Project 81. If we can get above 81 percent, there’s almost no way Donald Trump loses.” 

The Fastest Growing Religious Movement in the World

Enlisting conservative churches in support of Republican candidates is nothing new, but the Courage Tour reflects some innovations. The Courage Tour is the product of the New Apostolic Reformation branch of Pentecostalism, a fairly modern and often misunderstood current of American Christianity1. In his recent book, American Evangelicals for Trump: Dominion, Spiritual Warfare and the End Times, André Gagné explains that the term “New Apostolic Reformation” was coined by the late theologian C. Peter Wagner to describe a theology that stressed apostolic leadership and networks, in which charismatic pastors led non-denominational churches with the authority of a CEO.

In the past, much of the modern Religious Right was rooted in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and other fundamentalist denominations. Their voters have been long targeted by strategists such as Ralph Reed, enabled by pastors such as Robert Jeffress. But these votes may be tapped out. The number of Pentecostals in the US is difficult to estimate (believed to be well over 10 million), but there’s little doubt that it’s the fastest growing religious movement in the US and in the world. Its growth comes at a time when the numbers of Southern Baptists, mainline Protestants, and Catholics have been dramatically shrinking. Furthermore, Pentecostalism is the most racially and ethnically mixed religious movement in America, with large numbers of the African-American, Hispanic and immigrant voters now targeted by both parties. Not all Pentecostal churches have been politicized, but the New Apostolic Reformation is functioning almost like a political party, and one with an extremist agenda.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s expert on Christian Dominionism, Joe Wiinikka-Lydon, has explained the NAR’s approach:

Unlike most Christian churches and denominations, it is easier to understand the threat the NAR poses by looking at it not as a political Christian movement but instead as an authoritarian, anti-democratic movement within a religion. Its leaders teach that demonic forces occupy most of U.S. political and cultural institutions, from events at your local library to the Supreme Court. This includes other religious traditions and even other Christian churches – any group that disagrees with them. And they assert that their favored policies and politicians fail only because of demonic influence that derailed the divine’s chosen leaders and laws.

The list of the movement’s political affiliates over time is formidable, including Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Doug Mastriano, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene (a featured speaker on Wallnau’s Courage Tour). Other allies include Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk, a co-sponsor of the Courage Tour.

Wallnau’s Courage Tour also highlights the movement’s close relationship with the Council for National Policy (CNP), the secretive umbrella organization that coordinates political and media operations with donor networks. The Michigan program’s roster of speakers included CNP Board of Governors member Chad Connelly of MyFaithVotes from the CNP’s Board of Governors and member William Federer; CNP speakers listed for other tour venues include Floyd Brown, a CNP Gold Circle member and the publisher of the right-wing media platform Western Journal, Congressman Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), and Martin Luther King’s niece Alveda King.

Lance Wallnau serves as an effective link between the NAR and the Council for National Policy, as well as the newly MAGA-fied Republican Party. In a post-midnight October 2020 video, a disheveled, bleary-eyed Wallnau warned of impending perils, ranging from the “ballots that we know are going to come flooding in, to the election being undecided, possibly, to it being overturned.” But he told his followers to fear not: “Donald Trump is the anointed of the Lord.” At the Tulsa FlashPoint rally on March 21, Wallnau joined NAR pastor Ché Ahn onstage, as Ahn reported that he had launched a SuperPAC to support “conservative Christian candidates with a Biblical worldview.” He added that his network of churches had just funded the campaigns of seven primary candidates, all of whom won.

Lance Wallnau and Donald Trump, 2015 (Source: Facebook)

Lance Wallnau and Donald Trump, 2015 (Source: Facebook)

 

Wallnau, a Dallas-based “catalytic thought leader,” is what one might call a religious entrepreneur. His past life appears to have included work as a corporate marketer; in Michigan he referred to a lush life on Wall Street before his conversion experience. He never finished college, he said, but he’s received a degree since, and often refers to himself as “Dr.” It turns out that his Ph.D was granted by the Phoenix University of Theology, which has no known campus or address. As of 2017, doctorates had no course requirements, and were available for twenty years of “life experience” and $5845.

According to Gagné,  “The best example of the NAR — the ‘incarnation’ of the movement — is Lance Wallnau. If you want to understand or if you want to see what the NAR looks and sounds like, just follow Wallnau on his Facebook rants or look at his show on his Rumble platform. That’s the NAR: Lance Wallnau.”

Wallnau has long seen Trump as the answer to his prayers. Wallnau’s slender yet rambling 2016 book, God’s Chaos Candidate: Donald J. Trump and the American Unraveling, bears a cover depicting the shredding of an American flag. There he describes his early conversion to the Trump candidacy. On October 5, 2015, Wallnau posted a long Facebook message with a photo of himself with Trump (then a long-shot candidate), identifying him as the “anointed,” and reported their exchange:

“People who identify themselves as ‘Christian’ make up probably the single largest constituency in the country,” Trump said, “but there is absolutely no unity, no punch in exercising that power. Not in political consensus or any other area I can see.” Wallnau replied, “The thing we need to do more than anything is to find a way of taking these 10,000 spokes and connect them into a hub of some sort so that there is a unified voice. Our people here need to work together.” [Trump] looked me in the eye and said, “You’re absolutely right. That’s what needs to be done.” Wallnau concluded, “Trump is GOD’S TRUMPET.”

NAR support for Trump was undeterred by his electoral defeat. According to Matthew Taylor, a scholar at Baltimore’s Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies, fifteen of the movement’s leaders met with Trump administration officials prior to January 6 to discuss “spiritual warfare strategies.” At the storming of the Capitol, NAR symbols including the shofar and the “Appeal to Heaven” flag—the flag also flown outside the Alito home—were much in evidence.

In the lead-up to the election, Wallnau did his bit by selling $45 gilt Trump “prayer coins” to “keep the miracle going.” Wallnau’s loyalty paid off. By November 17, 2023, he was seen enjoying himself at Mar-a-Lago, decked out in a tuxedo and joshing with NAR pastor Jim Garlow. The occasion was a three-day conference of the America First Policy Institute (AFPI)—a dark money organization founded 2021 by former Trump administration officials. The AFPI and Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point Faith / TPUSA are Wallnau’s partners in the tour, the AFPI serving to mobilize voters, and Turning Point Faith to harvest personal data and organize pastors in the “election education” effort. Kirk’s organization has been burgeoning. It now boasts 350 staff, and its revenues have increased tenfold from 2017, to $80 million.

Its operations have also been converging with the Trump campaign. Trump’s first campaign appearance following his conviction was at a Phoenix megachurch with Kirk on June 6. The following day, NPR’s Ximena Bustillo reported that Turning Point Action, the political arm of Kirk’s empire, was “coordinating with Trump canvassing efforts in Arizona, and in a few other swing states like Wisconsin and Michigan, as well.”

The speakers in Michigan targeted specific voting populations, which directly corresponded to voters whose support for Democrats has been eroding. One such bloc is younger African-American males. In Michigan, African-American NAR “Apostle” (and failed Congressional candidate) Leon Benjamin promoted a new organization called MAGABlack. Erin Lee represented Moms for America, aimed at suburban women, who voted heavily for Biden, but whose support for Democrats has slipped amid manufactured school board controversies. Joshua Caleb Standifer recruited followers for The Lion of Judah, which seeks to build “an organization similar to something like the NRA,” but “for Christians.”

But it was Lance Wallnau who clearly drove the event, leveraging it through his one million Facebook followers. Although he billed the Courage Tour as a religious revival with 501(c)3 non-profit status, it’s the latest in a series of politicized rallies, following Wallnau’s Fire & Glory Tour and Michael Flynn’s ReAwaken America tour. Wallnau is credited with popularizing “Seven Mountain Mandate,” which calls for achieving control of the US through conquering the “seven mountains” of society: government, business, family, religion, education, entertainment, and media. The NAR movement has already made inroads on some of these “mountains,” with its own media platforms, feature film productions, and attacks on public schools and universities.

But it is in the realm of government where its influence is the most obvious. Key phrases from the NAR lexicon have been surfacing across the political landscape. At the Texas GOP convention in May, delegates sounded the call for “spiritual warfare” against “demonic, Satanic forces.” State Senator Angela Paxton, wife of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, warned, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood.” Rather, she said, “It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

But House Speaker Mike Johnson may be the prize. Johnson is a lifelong Southern Baptist, who has credited his career to the Louisiana Southern Baptist power elite (see “How Christian Nationalists, Big Oil, the Big Lie seized the Speaker’s Gavel,” The Washington Spectator, Oct. 2023). Nonetheless, he has been participating in “prayer calls” and broadcasts with prominent NAR “apostle” Jim Garlow, speaking fluent NAR with his references to “prayer warriors” and “supernatural intervention.”

The convergence of these schools of religion is notable. The Southern Baptist Convention descended from Calvinist fundamentalism, distinguished by its stern disapproval of drinking, dancing, and card-playing. The NAR, on the other hand, is an outgrowth of charismatic Pentecostalism, an exuberant practice that can include paroxysms of ecstasy, speaking in tongues, and in a handful of remote rural areas, snake-handling. There were no snakes in evidence in Michigan, but there was plenty of kinetic worship, and Wallnau’s followers can hear him speaking in tongues on his YouTube channel.

For generations, small-town Baptists and Pentecostals were convinced that the others were destined for hell, and there is little explanation for the new convergence beyond sheer political expediency. For more evidence of the Religious Right’s increasing heterodoxy, see the evolution of the once-Baptist dominated Council for National Policy, where Leonard Leo, an Opus Dei Catholic, has become a heavy hitter by bringing in $1.6 billion in funding from Jewish businessman Barre Seid. The CNP has long included Messianic Jews (i.e. Christian converts), but now Simone Gold, an Orthodox Jew, has joined the fold. The CNP, which some observers have linked to “white Christian nationalism,” has used African-American members such as Alveda King and Bishop E.W. Jackson to counter charges of racism, but its new heterodoxy also shows that the movement is not limited to Christian supporters.

How could a series of tent revivals aspire to swing the 2024 elections? The answer lies in a combination of cultural approaches and demographic targeting. American culture—and with it, political culture—has been undergoing a sea change in recent years. Old-style preaching, teaching, and politicking are rooted in the 19th century, from a podium to a static audience whose participation is limited to polite applause. Look at the Pentecostals and the other megachurches, and you’ll see electric stage bands and “praise leaders” stirring the congregation to leaping, swaying, and calling. Gone is the podium; the pastor struts the stage like a late-night tv show host, dressed in a polo shirt and cracking jokes along the way. This is the format that the Courage Tour offers to energize the audience.

Such events are overtaking traditional Republican approaches. On May 26, National Public Radio’s Tamara Keith reported that “the Biden campaign now boasts more than 150 campaign offices in battleground states around the country and more than 500 staff.” And the Republicans’ plan? “They’re not telegraphing,” Keith replied. The Trump campaign told NPR that “they feel no obligation to discuss specifics with the media, but they’re deploying operations fueled by passionate volunteers. That said, there are no obvious signs of campaign openings in key states at this point.”

The ”passionate volunteers” in Michigan’s Courage Tour tent could inform the answer. In a May 2023, Wallnau tweeted a list of “14 Counties that will determine the future of America in 2024”; that list has expanded to 19 counties concentrated in swing states. In “Where’s Wallnau,” his essential article in Religion Dispatches, Frederick Clarkson gave an overview of the Courage Tour, explaining that while Wallnau’s and the AFPI’s lists of swing states and counties may slightly diverge, they’re all suburban swing counties with over 400,000 inhabitants, where the state’s margin of votes in presidential elections has been under 2 percent.

Drill down to Michigan, and the message is clear: Trump won the state of Michigan in 2016 by a mere 10,704 votes. In other words, if each of the 3000 Michiganders in the tent sent a handful of friends and relatives to the polls, it could harvest Michigan’s 15 winner-take-all electoral college votes in November. If the Courage Tour’s tactics meet with success in even half of its swing state venues, it could affect the outcome.

“The Devil Can’t Have My Family”

The three-day program in Michigan was a startling amalgam of primeval religious practices and digital campaign technology. On the first evening, Georgia “worship artist” Catherine Mullins led a warm-up session of Christian rock. The performance—like the audience response—was reminiscent of a high energy stadium rock concert, with fist-pumping vocals and pounding percussion. Younger people moved to the front and giddily jumped in time to the music; older folk swayed and grooved in place. The lyrics carried both authoritarian and veiled political messages: “We kneel to King Jesus” and “The Devil Can’t Have My Family.” (Mullins’ latest album contains such bellicose tunes as “Our God is Fighting” and “Sing Like the Battle is Over.”)

When Mullins looked over the crowd, she saw visions. “The man back there in the green striped shirt? I just saw God put his hand over you.”

Once the band had the crowd thoroughly warmed up and the host pastor gave his welcome, Lance Wallnau came to the fore. Wallnau strode the stage, delivering a mélange of prophesies, politics, and jokes, but he got to the point quickly. He was at Al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem, he reported, when God informed him He wanted Donald Trump to be President again.

He asked how many of those gathered were in pain. At least ten percent raised their hands, and he summoned them to the front. They responded by the hundred: mostly senior citizens, some obese, some wheelchair-bound, some stricken and frail. For the next hour or so, Wallnau clutched hands, gripped shoulders, grasped and grimaced as he muttered—with his camera crews recording every move.

But he grew impatient. “I wasn’t expecting this much,” he complained. “We got a lotta hips getting’ healed, a lot of back disks, slipped disks, shoulders, rotator cuffs. If that’s you, there’s already a glory in the room for that. And so you don’t need me, I’m just a point of releasing your faith.” His laying on of hands was necessary for healing—but only for as long as the cameras were involved.

The financial supporters for the Courage Tour are not yet clear, but Wallnau’s media channels have attracted a broad range of donors. According to the Center for Media and Democracy’s David Armiak, these include, unsurprisingly, Mike Lindell’s MyPillow (another partner in the Courage Tour) and the conservative Christian dark money groups, the Capstone Legacy Foundation ($25,000 in 2022) and the massive National Christian Charitable Foundation, with $44,150 (2020; 2022). 

But Wallnau said the funding came up short for the Courage Tour, and the sessions ended with volunteers passing white buckets for a collection, in front of a screen with a QR code, offering “ways to give” by check, by text, or online. “This tour cost a lot more than I expected,” Wallnau grumbled. Fortunately, he had found at least one corporate sponsor—an Oklahoma-based company that offers umbilical cord stem cell treatments to produce its own miracle cures, at only $5000 a pop. Wallnau finished out the first evening singing at an electric piano, performing a Billy Joel-inflected hymn, followed by a klezmer-inspired number. (He had disclosed earlier that his father was an Ashkenazi Jew, which appealed to the assembled fans of the Rapture.)

The Monday morning session began with more of Wallnau’s laying on of hands, accompanied by the band—this time singing a slow, repetitive incantation of “All Hail King Jesus,” to the same two chords.

 

Shortly after, the politicking began in earnest, with Dr. Rich Rogers taking the reins. Rogers is a former high school football coach and President of Georgia’s Free Chapel College, a Pentecostal “biblically and experientially- based leadership training program.” Rogers is also the Director of Faith Engagement from the America First Policy Institute, the tour’s co-sponsor. The AFPI is the parent organization of the American Leadership Initiative, founded in the summer of 2022, which “has formed more than 20 working groups led by former [Trump] cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, and department leadership to encompass nearly 200 former senior agency leaders in total, who are mapping out the changes necessary to effectively and quickly implement the America First Agenda.” Another AFPI affiliate, America First Works, is currently posting positions as county coordinators in Wisconsin on Red Balloon, to provide “boots on the ground” to work in consultation with the organization’s digital and data teams.

Apps, Codes, and Pastors

Rogers reminded the audience that there were three pertinent blocks of voters who stayed home in 2020: senior citizens, gun owners, and Christian males. In Michigan, he reported, that meant there were 332,000 evangelicals who didn’t vote—and in a state where just over 150,000 votes won the election. AFPI was determined to change that—through voter registration drives in churches, a Vote Early campaign, and QR codes projected on the screen to produce voters guides and a free Biblical Foundation Project book.

But those QR codes also yielded another bounty, in the form of data harvesting, as did most other promotional aspects of the event. Advance registration for the Courage Tour required entering a cell phone number and an email address (though no one checked registration at the venue). There were rows of tables outside the tent with sign-up sheets and piles of swag, collecting personal information at every stop.

Along with the QR codes, Rogers revealed the crown jewels of the program: the Michigan First voter guide, and a spanking new app called AsOne. The App Store trumpets the app’s multifunctionality:

“AsOne America is your all-in-one platform for uniting, informing, and mobilizing for change as we approach the pivotal 2024 election. Stay connected with the heart of the movement with access to Lance’s insightful podcasts and Mario’s blogs, alongside a curated feed of their latest social media posts. ‘As One America’ isn’t just about staying informed, it’s about taking action. Our unique community activism feature empowers you to make a real difference from our neighborhood. Whether it’s calling voters, knocking on doors, or sending postcards, this app equips you with the tools you need to engage voters and encourage them to vote on election day.”

Start knocking on doors in minutes (neighborhood map]

Recruit quickly with easy-to-build and easy-to-share contact lists

Make calls to your neighbors

Data used to track you: identifiers

Mercedes Spark, vice president of the Lance [Wallnau] Learning Group consultancy, pitched it to the crowd:

You can download and right from in your phone, you can do a lot of the things we’re talkin’ about. You can look up voters near you, like in your area, and you can call other people in your area, and we’ve even got the survey written there for you, like, hey are you voting? You gonna vote this year? If not, why? Do you need help getting there? So it’s got a whole script for you. And then we also cando SMS in the app, that’s really cool, you can upload all of your contacts, and SMS all of them and remind them, you’ve really gotta be voting.” We can always use more door-knockers. The map will show you people near you. We also have voter guides, you can hand them out.

The AsOne App is one of a suite of apps developed by the Phoenix-based Superfeed Technologies. The former chairman of the board is the aforementioned Floyd Brown, the elite Gold Circle CNP member. Another former board chairman is Tyler Bowyer, COO of Turning Point Action (the political arm of TPUSA) and incidentally one of Arizona’s “fake electors.” Superfeed’s suite of apps serve Turning Point Action; Brown’s Western Journal; and Moms for America (all partners in the Courage Tour) — as well as the Arizona Republican Party.

Turning Point USA was represented by Holly Adams, the organization’s regional representative, based in Ohio. Adams told the audience that she meets with pastors “on a daily basis” and that her organization sponsors a program to bring in speakers to churches free of cost. If the churches commit to holding monthly activities, TPUSA will provide free workbooks and pizza for the gatherings of up to 400 people. “We want TPUSA faith groups in every county in America,” she told them.

Adams highlighted several special events: a People’s Convention in Detroit scheduled for June 14-16 (three weeks after the Michigan event was held), hosted by Charlie Kirk, with Donald Trump as the keynote speaker. According to the event website, the roster of additional speakers included Vikram Ramaswamy, Ben Carson, Steve Bannon, Tulsi Gabbard, Rick Scott, J.D. Vance, Roger Stone and Marjorie Taylor Greene. “There’s also a special day for pastors and their spouses,“ Adams added. “Charlie wants to meet you in person….so…. Charlie’s hosting a pastor gathering. I want to have over 500 pastors, so help me make that happen.” But there’s an element of secrecy as well: Turning Point USA’s website announces that “All Turning Point Action events are invite-only,” and screens applicants for admission. For those who miss the Detroit convention, there would be another opportunity July 26-28, at Kirk’s Believers Summit in Palm Beach.

Although the attendees in Michigan were overwhelmingly white, the program featured dynamic African-American speakers. The most energetic of these was Leon Benjamin, another New Apostolic Reformation apostle and the founder of the “Kingdompreneur Now!” mentoring program. Benjamin was promoting the MAGABlack initiative, a project that currently lacks a website. His slide presentation announced that MAGABlack will recruit, train, and deploy 700-1000 MAGABlack activists in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee to focus on Black and minority communities, share ideas and data, and collaborate on events and training. Viewers are invited to join the MAGABlack Citizen’s Observer Program (through a bar code) and to sign up as poll workers and officers.

Recruiting an Army of Vote-Counters

The most innovative group on the podium was Lion of Judah, which is connected to America First Policy Institute and MAGABlack, and also lacks much of a public profile at this point. Joshua Standifer, the group’s representative, told the audience, “Everyone in this room, everybody watching on livestream, is going to leave with an actual action plan for how they can make a difference this November.” Standifer’s previous job had entailed opposition research—with “one of the most prominent conservative organizations in America….we were like the Navy Seals of the Republican Party.” Standifer’s linked-in page has been deleted, but he may be the same Josh Standifer who worked for the Republican “campaign research and rapid response” organization America Rising in Louisiana as of 2015.

Standifer grew disillusioned with the leadership, he said. That was when God told him to start Lion of Judah: ““We’re building an organization similar to something like the NRA….The Lord showed me there’s nothing like that for Christians.”

The means, he said, was to position armies of Christians as actual election officials to oversee the vote-counting process. He shared a QR code for Fight the Fraud, an online training project that offers “Incredible Tools to Make Sure That Nothing Stops You From Becoming an Election Worker!” The site includes a photo of a stern “President Donald Trump,” warning, “Christians Can’t Afford to Sit on the Sidelines.” Standifer encouraged attendees to register on the spot—and informed them that the positions paid $400 and would grant them access to the vote-counting sanctum.

At this point Lance Wallnau interrupted, “And then when they kick everyone else out, you’re a spy in the camp!” Wallnau surveyed the crowd. “God can’t make this any easier,” he said. “Stand up and I’m going to induct you. I’m serious!” Wave upon wave of the Michiganders stood, by the hundreds, pledging to apply for election worker positions, many raising their right arm in an NAR salute.

 

There’s little chance that the New Apostolic Reformation will come to dominate American culture, but the Michiganders in the tent, like other disaffected Americans, were ripe for persuasion, evincing a tangible bitterness as they joined in the jibes at “woke mobs” and corrupt elites. They could remember a past when families could support themselves on farms that have fallen prey to corporate acquisitions; when parents lost sleep over sock hop curfews instead of the ravages of fentanyl and meth. Who to blame? It’s too complicated to sort out the massive technological and economic transformations of the past half century, much less the various policies (enacted by both parties) that have transformed their landscape. Send in the demons.

These Americans are also unlikely to become a majority of the electorate—but that’s not the issue. The question is whether enough of them can be mobilized in key battleground states, and move the tiny percentages of votes that determine the Electoral College and Congressional outcomes. The Courage Tour suggests multiple routes to that end, through peeling off African-American and suburban women’s votes; through mobilizing pastors and their churches; through stacking the ranks of election officials with militants. But the most obvious path is also the simplest: prime the believers with apps and fervor, and send them into the fray.

 

Dr. Rich Rogers, America First Policy Institute’s National Director of Faith Engagement.

Seven Mountains Dominionism

Seven Mountains Dominionism

 

 

 

TPUSA: Primed for sedition.

 

Anne Nelson is the author of Shadow Network: Money, Media, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right. Nelson is the recipient of the Livingston Award for journalism and a Guggenheim Fellowship for historical research. The content connected to this project was preserved with the assistance of online conflict and disinformation researcher Neal Rauhauser.

  1. Experts on the movement include André Gagné , Bruce Wilson, Frederick Clarkson, Matthew Taylor, Elle Hardy, and Jennifer Cohn.[]

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  1. Beautifully reported, and frightening story. Congratulations to Anne Nelson!

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