Weekly Column

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Sometimes the bogeyman is real and a vast right wing conspiracy truly exists in the shadows. This happens to be the case with the Seven Mountains Movement, an extremist group of evangelical Christians with a radically different vision of America.

This fringe group of zealots wants to turn this country into a Christian version of Iran. Their goal is to purify America and cleanse it of sin – and sinners – so Jesus will be pleased and return. They have identified seven key areas (or mountains) of life they intend to infiltrate and take over: business, government, education, arts, entertainment, family and media. This cabal believes that they must have dominion over these arenas because they are “critical to God’s purposes.”

As part of the plan to penetrate academia, the Seven Mountains Movement is staging an event at Harvard University. The April 1-2 Social Transformation Conference ostensibly aims to employ “faith-based principles to better our society.” The group claims its message is about “changing our society using the time-tested principles of the Judeo-Christian worldview which has profoundly influenced the founding of this country as well as western civilization itself.”

That’s a euphemistic way of saying that the Seven Mountains Movement wants this country to become a theocracy.

Unfortunately, this group is more than just off-the-wall theoreticians. These evangelicals are currently active and in the forefront of antigay organizing worldwide. For example, one of the group’s “prophets”, Julius Oyet, played a key role in introducing and promoting Uganda’s deadly Anti-Homosexuality Bill.  Indeed, as researcher Bruce Wilson has discovered, Oyet served on a committee that planned and co-wrote the bill, and even decided who would introduce it in parliament.

Four of the eight listed speakers for the Harvard conference are apostles in this movement. Two of these speakers work directly with Julius Oyet. One, Apostle Os Hillman, has played a role in the financing of Oyet’s virulently homophobic Uganda ministry.

These leaders are different and more threatening than the traditional Religious Right because they have married evangelicalism to a form of reconstructionist theology, which is a demented utopian biblical vision where fundamentalist achieve dominion over the earth.

This plan is described as a world free from poverty, crime, sickness and hunger. The only obstruction to this utopia is a list of literal demons, which must be purged from society – including LGBT people.  To initiate this process, the Seven Mountains Movement has held large rallies throughout the world and disseminated media products under the brand name of “Transformations.”

“Expelling demons is a concept viewed so literally that the movement uses a process called ‘spiritual mapping’, in which ‘homosexual sites’ are designated on maps, sometimes marked with yellow pushpins,” said researcher Bruce Wilson. “The Harvard conference is part of that strategy – in that it is an effort to mainstream the movement’s leaders. Harvard does not officially endorse the conference, but the conference is being co-branded with the Harvard name.”

This movement looks very different from garden-variety antigay movements associated with the US religious right. It is multiracial, multi-ethnic and wears a facade of cultural inclusivity. It organizes differently, has different funding mechanisms, and different models for the creation of churches and ministries. It is also anti-gay beyond belief.

“If we’re struggling with a homosexual, same-sex desire, let the bible kill you, rather than make it easier for you, and say well, there must be a better scriptural answer to this,” Lou Engle, one of the movement’s leading lights, bellowed at a St. Louis revival last year. “Brothers and sisters, let the Bible kill you rather than you twist the scriptures! And in that killing, it will break you so that you can find a redeemer and a savior!”

This crazy crowd is the emerging new Christian right. It has operated largely under the radar of media and academia and is currently on the ground organizing political efforts in major US cities.

The Harvard Social Transformation Conference represents a major opportunity to shine a spotlight on this movement, which has for years been advancing through stealth operations. Let’s hope that LGBT advocates in Massachusetts will stand up to these biblical bullies and let people know that their presence at Harvard is poison ivy.