Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
Throw Every Nation an anvil!

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]blueboy2000)

A few months earlier, I wrote about Every Nation (formerly known as Morning Star International)--a pentecostal/charismatic church network.  In reality, it is a reincorporated and repackaged version of Maranatha Campus Ministries, one of the more notorious campus cults of the 80s and a major player in the religious right back then.  I was suckered into joining the Carolina outreach of one of their more important churches during my freshman year (read all about it here).

Now it looks like the whole thing's about to come home to roost--and there's something we can do on our end to help.  While perusing for info on the Tennessee Senate race, I came upon this story at WTVF-TV/NewsChannel 5 in Nashville.

Thursday, two families filed a lawsuit against their daughters' public high school because of religion. The girls claimed a school club put their lives in danger. It's a lawsuit that may stir up new controversy over the role of religion in public schools.

Jane Doe: "They encouraged me to be saved and take victory over my life, accept the holy spirit and speak in tongues."

You'd expect something like that in a church, but that actually happened at Hillsboro High School as part of a school-sanctioned religious club that, parents now, say crossed the line.

Mrs. Doe: "My daughter could have died."

The Victory Club, as it was known, was sponsored by the Bethel World Outreach Center, a fundamentalist Christian church based in Brentwood.

Victory Club is Every Nation's outreach to high schools, and Bethel is Every Nation's flagship church. According to this story, this is just one of many instances of highly abusive and controlling tactics at this school's Victory Club. The club's advisor is a music teacher at the high school. According to the suit, another girl suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the goings-on in there. She spent weeks in psychiatric hospitals and has been diagnosed with religious indoctrination.

Even though it wasn't part of the old Maranatha, its board of directors is made up entirely of former Maranatha pastors who all came on after the current senior minister, Rice Broocks (who is also Every Nation's president and CEO) joined the staff in the early 90s.

The stories being told by the kids at that school are eerily similar to tactics that got Maranatha in a pack of trouble in the 80s.  Rick Ross has some stories about what happened here.

WTVF was supposed to air a second part, but hasn't yet because several people who are still working to blow the lid on Every Nation got in touch with the station and the Nashville attorney representing the parents.  They now realize they're dealing with a real monster here.

As I see it, there's virtually no good news for Every Nation. Even if they do settle out of court, their decade-long attempt to hide their Maranatha past is about to end.  But there's something we can do for now. I don't know about you guys, but it is highly inappropriate for an organization facing allegations this serious to be allowed to operate at a school. Here's a list of their churches--if any of them are near you, call your school or school board and find out if there's a Victory Club chapter there. If there is, insist that the club not be allowed to operate on campus until this is settled.  They can't cry First Amendment here--I'm sure that this falls under "time, place and manner" guidelines.