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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 United.

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 5:5)
  • 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?" (Psalm 80:12).
  • 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 religion.
  • 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 various locations.
  • 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:

  • 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 of "Satan."
  • "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 [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" syndicate.

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 San Francisco.

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 "No."

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.

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