How Operation Save America and their associates talk about Columbus
Mike Doughney and Lauren Sabina Kneisly
Some months ago, shortly after OSA announced that its national event
would be held this year in Columbus, we did a bit of searching, online
and elsewhere, to
discover what churches in the Columbus area had had a prior
relationship with OSA or its known local supporters, such as Minutemen
We learned through our search that Eagle Rock Ministries, a church
near Pickerington, had hosted OSA director Flip Benham this past
January, and that Dave Daubenmire, founder and head of Minutemen
United, had also spoken at a conference sponsored by the church. (A women's
conference, in fact.)
A bit of digging on the website of Eagle Rock Ministries turned up
this file, that
in its conclusion had a short section that, unlike
much of the generic writing that comes out of such churches and church
leaders demonizing the world around them, was very specific to the
city of Columbus. We made reference to this text in our earlier
Columbus Free Press article. We've reproduced this text here in its
entirety, both to comment on it and to preserve it in case it now
disappears off their web site. And while it may appear to be
completely nonsensical to many, it does in fact offer an explanation,
of sorts, for both the existence of a relatively tiny group like
Operation Save America and the kinds of controversies currently
playing out today at the national level.
To distinguish our perspective from theirs, their text appears in green and our
interpretations written from their perspective appear in blue.
A Broken Down Hedge Allows Spiritual Destruction
We understand the hedge to be, as it says in Zephaniah, the Glory of
God. The hedge is the word of God, the holiness of God, the prayer of
God. What happens when the hedge has been taken away from the church?
When the hedges are broken down, the enemy moves in. We are dealing
with principalities, powers, and invisible forces. The demonic powers
will come to trample the church. It will take away our respect. It
will take away our power. It will take away our salt and our light. It
will trample us. When there is no Godly hedge of the glory through the
word, the hedge that protects us, the enemy comes in to destroy our
lives. But I am here to proclaim that we will not allow any demonic
powers to come into our cities, into our churches, or into our
nations. God's glory will protect the church; His glory will surround
us! Through our prayers and our worship we will repel the demonic
powers, because we believe the hedge can be rebuilt.
- A broken-down hedge allows continual satanic harassment in and
around those areas that especially need spiritual protection. "He
who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever breaks through a
wall will be bitten by a serpent." (Ecclesiastes 10:8)
- A broken-down hedge allows God's vineyard to be trampled down by
demonic powers "And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to
My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned
and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down." (Isaiah
- A broken down hedge allows spiritual fruit, the labor and
sacrifice of God's people, to be ruined. "Why have You broken down
her hedges, so that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit?"
- A broken-down hedge allows for specific seats of Satan to be
established.. "I know your works, and where you dwell, where
Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny
My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr,
who was killed among you, where Satan dwells" (Revelation
2:13). "You have broken down all his hedges' you have brought his
strongholds to ruin." (Psalm 89:40)
A seat of Satan may be a geographic location that is highly oppressed
and demonically controlled by a certain dark principality. There are
areas in our cities that could be called seats of Satan; they are
seats of oppression, darkness, and evil. Such areas, where sin is
easily brought forth, are under the influence and atmosphere of
demonically ruled people. The enemy conducts warfare on specific areas
in our cities from these seats. The seats of Satan must be destroyed
through a strategic level of warfare prayer.
What is stopping the move of God?
The selfish lifestyle of Christians who will not give up anything to
meet the needs of their city is stopping the mighty move of
God. Behavior like this stops the love of God from coming into our
region. We must ask ourselves, "Do we really want the people of our
area to be saved?"
Examples of broken-down hedges in Columbus, Ohio
The Columbus region has broken-down hedges, as seen in the demonic,
social, and spiritual problems.
- Columbus is a major drug distribution center in our nation.
- Columbus has prevalent drug use and drug-related crimes.
- Columbus is one of the largest gay communities.
- Columbus has a broken hedge of deception due to the spirit of
- Columbus is a hotbed of pornography and sexual vices. There are
many men's clubs, magazine advertisements, and even multiple usage
of the Internet.
- Columbus carries a stronghold of humanism. Humanism is the
belief that the universe consists only of what can be verified
through scientific investigation or objective reason. Humanism,
self-exaltation due to knowledge and pride are very prominent. The
humanist and the New Age movement carry a strong influence.
- Columbus has New Age centers and places of New Age
information. They are nothing but occult centers readily available
around the city. New Age is clearly connected to witchcraft and
Satanism, inviting spirit guides to operate. They work as power
boosters to the territorial spirits that dwell over geographic
regions. Demonic activity in our city includes the public
education systems, the library and a local magazine distributed at
- Columbus has a broken hedge of deception due to the spirit of
religion. American statistics state; 85% of people consider
themselves Christians, 53% of Americans believe that all people
pray to the same spirit, no matter what name they use for that
spiritual being, and 57% believe "good people" will earn a place
in Heaven. Actually, 8% of American adults are atheist.
Space and time don't allow us to do a full explanation of this
text. But this is the gist of it, written by us and
paraphrasing the the original writer's
perspective, with some of our comments in bold:
[sometimes derisively referred to elsewhere as "pew warmers"]
and who are not participating in this war against
their neighbors are the problem. It's their fault that "Satan" runs
our lives, because they and the churches they're in haven't acted to
eliminate those forces from society. The "homogeneous forces of
darkness" [our term] are to blame for
everything bad that befalls us. There are no shades of gray. Drug
crimes occur in Columbus because there are gay communities there.
"False religions" (including Christian churches that aren't just like
us) are to blame for deceiving people so they don't believe exactly
the same things we do. People are deceived if they believe they can
solve their own problems independent of prayer and corporate prayer,
that is, people can't accomplish anything without Church involvement.
Pagan and New Age stores that sell books and symbols that we don't
understand and can't bear to see are power centers working against us,
scheming, conspiring and "praying"
just as hard right back at us as we are working, scheming, conspiring
and praying against them.
[This false mirroring belies the way that they see the world in
terms of roughly equal but opposite, black/white, good/evil groups,
with everyone affiliated with one side or the other - there are no
people who don't care one way or the other, no neutrality and no
null. It's a "if you're not for
us, you're against us; if you had to think about it, you're against
us" (paraphrased from graffiti on the wall of a Christian store we
once visited) kind of world for them.]
Institutions that provide resources for people to think for
themselves and make their own decisions are
also part of this "demonic" syndicate; that includes libraries, public
schools, and media that we don't control. And of course, people
who don't subscribe to our particular form of Christianity and
everything that comes with it (including all of the required political
positions that come therefrom) are also part of this "demonic"
- The problems we are having in our personal
and professional lives, and the problems our church is having, are not
our fault directly. Instead, these problems are because of the actions
- "Satan" can act against us because we don't have a
"hedge" of protection of "God's glory."
- We don't have this
"hedge" because we've allowed "ungodly" forces to physically take root
in our area. Note that here, the leap occurs between the "spiritual"
and unseen, to actual physical space, physical territory, other people,
places, institutions, buildings.
- "Selfish" Christians who do
nothing to take action against those "ungodly" forces
This jaundiced, caustic view of the world and specifically Columbus
is also reflected in the little bit that OSA leaders have recently
written about the city. Here, they similarly and predictably attribute
the existence of the "I-270 sniper," an elevated murder rate, and
allegations of a local terrorist plot, to the presence of gay
communities and abortion clinics in the area:
Could there be any correlation between the increase in violence and
the fact that Columbus has 6 abortion mills, and is considered one of
the most "gay friendly" cities in the country. Last year's Gay pride
parade drew over 45,000 marchers to Columbus and it is estimated that
the gay population in Columbus is second only to the population in
To many, the rhetoric of OSA, churches like Eagle Rock and
supporting groups, that has risen
to an unprecedented level of influence and legitimacy in American
society, is often viewed as ridiculous and
dismissable, as if it were describing a bizarre, black-and-white
cartoon version of the
real world. But it's not that simple. What they say shows what they
want, and what they'd like to do to other people, if they only had the
opportunity to do those things, without any possible threat of personal
consequences or personal ramifications.
One of the ways that they want to create the opportunity for
themselves is by changing civil government so it reflects their vision
- something that if realized would be very close to an effective theocracy. It is not so
much a merging of church and state, as it is the merging of the social
agenda of their "church" with the state, through the process of
removing and excluding from government, by various means, those who
support a government based on secularlism and pluralism.
One Central Ohio supporter of Operation Save America has written in
detail about exactly what kind of government he'd like to see; that
would be a government based on "theonomy," in which their particular
interpretation of Biblical law is used as the basis of all government
and social interaction. James Patrick Johnston, a
practicing physician who lives not all that far from Columbus, and whose
writings have appeared on the Army of God website, has
written explicitly about what form that government would take, and the
penalties it would impose:
Execution - murder, kidnapping, homosexuality, incest, pedophilia,
adultery, witchcraft, youth who cannot be corrected with chastening,
etc. It's God's will that such sins be crimes in society and that
they be punished by execution.
The God-ordained punishment upon these sexual sins is designed to
maintain the sanctity of the sexual union. God designed sex for the
marriage bed between one man and one woman for life. This severe
sanction provides a strong impediment against sins that are
particularly addictive and destructive to society (Have you ever
noticed that Saudi Arabia doesn't have an AIDS crisis? A lot less
homosexuals die in countries where homosexuality is outlawed.)
In a sense, to "debate" such views with Johnston or others like him
is to give those views some kind of legitimacy of their own, as if the
continued existence, as full citizens of this nation, of huge numbers
of people is something that can be subject to mere "debate," or that
capital punishment might somehow be a "remedy" for those people. There
is a point where the "fair and balanced" mantra only legitimizes the
unthinkable, by creation of a false notion of a level playing field on
which these ideas, as if they were two opposing "worldviews" with
potentially equal priority to be represented, quietly rest. In fact,
as writers like Johnston make completely clear, their "worldview" is
one of absolute supremacy that seeks to actively eliminate the other
from the face of the earth unless converted, without any possibility
of "tolerance" or coexistence whatsoever.
There is nothing to be
said, that can somehow make this go away by discussing the minutae of
their proposals. The only effective response is complete rejection of
everything they say and everything they stand for. The only possible
and complete answer, that enables us to continue being ourselves, is
Published July 15, 2004
Edited July 18, 2004, correcting reference to the pastor of
Eagle Rock Ministries, Les Bowling. Bowling is not, to our knowledge,
currently involved with OSA's visit to Columbus. He has, however,
hosted OSA head Flip Benham at Eagle Rock Church this past
January. Dave Daubenmire spoke at a women's conference associated with
Eagle Rock in 2003.