On April 1-2, an event called “The Social Transformation Conference: Social Transformation by the Power of God” is scheduled to take place at Harvard University, and it’s raising a few red — or perhaps crimson — flags. Sponsored by a student group, the Harvard Extension Service & Leadership Society, the conference is billed innocuously as a meeting of invited religious leaders to discuss how faith-based social transformation efforts can improve society.
But a harder look at the speakers tells another story, and the conference’s own agenda notes that it has specifically targeted Harvard in an effort to bring the famous educational institution back to its Christian roots. Many of the speakers are associated with the “Seven Mountains” movement, which is a type of Christian dominionist theology. Dominionism generally calls upon Christians to establish “dominion” over every aspect of our culture and government — that is, create a kind of theocracy — and use that to create God’s kingdom on Earth in order to ensure the return of Jesus Christ. Dominionism is a highly conservative and often radical-right theology whose leaders are often virulently anti-gay and anti-Muslim.Consider some of the scheduled speakers:
- Lance Wallnau, a leader in the Seven Mountains movement, who believes that Islam is invading America and that homosexuality, abortion and financial collapse are “an apocalyptic confirmation that when you remove God from public discourse, when you don’t line up your thinking with kingdom principles, you inevitably hit an iceberg like the Titanic and you go down.”
- Os Hillman, president and founder of a group called Marketplace Leaders Ministries, who is a close friend and financial backer of Julius Oyet, one of the most vocal religious leaders in Uganda in support of the so-called “kill the gays” bill in that African nation. Hillman has also accused the Harry Potter books of pushing a “gay agenda” because character Albus Dumbledore came out.
- Bill Hamon of the Christian International Ministries Network, who says at the group’s website that God’s word for 2010 included strictly observing Leviticus 20:10, which prescribes death for adulterers.
- Larry Bizette of the Antioch Family Church, who argues that same-sex couples will destroy the institution of marriage.
The conference seems tightly tied to the Seven Mountains movement, and its website highlights a video called “Transforming the Seven Mountains of Culture.” That refers to its adherents’ desire for Christians to gain control of key areas of America life — business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family and religion — and extinguish secularism. One of the things that Christians must do is “expel demons” who block the path to achieving this.
Bruce Wilson, an expert who researches the intersections of religion and politics, explained to Wayne Besen in the Bay Times that in the Seven Mountains movement, “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.” The Harvard conference is part of a conscious strategy aimed at mainstreaming the movement, Wilson said.
Wallnau, the Seven Mountains leader, is on the board of the Oak Initiative, founded by Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries. The Oak Initiative’s mission is to “find and help develop principled and effective Christian leaders who can mobilize and organize a cohesive force of activated Christians.” Then, they’d like to place them “on every level where government is found, from the most local to state and national levels.” They’d also like to develop their own media empires and their own Christian “intelligence service” skilled at “discerning important events as they unfold” and at collecting information that is “accurate and trustworthy.”
Serving alongside Walnau on the Oak Initiative board are Lou Sheldon, chairman of the virulently anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition hate group; Janet Porter, the stridently anti-gay and anti-abortion founder of Faith2Action; and Cindy Jacobs, a “prophet” who claimed in January that the recent mass bird die-offs in Arkansas were the result of support for gay marriage and the overturning of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military’s recently abrogated policy toward gay and lesbian soldiers. More recently, Jacobs said that the reason a tsunami hit Japan was because the gospel hadn’t reached it, due to Japan’s “direct link with the Imperial family and a direct link with the sun goddess, Amaterasu.”
The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student-run paper, editorialized on March 24 against the “egregiously anti-pluralist views” of the conference speakers and said they “should not be allowed to take advantage of speaking under a Harvard banner and [allowed] the legitimacy that banner naturally affords them.” Instead, it suggested, the university “must do everything in its power to show its compassion for and extend its eternal welcome to the LGBT community.”