On January 19, 2012, one C. Peter Wagner was awarded an official tribute from the Delaware House of Representatives, sponsored by Representative Daniel Short and officially signed off by Speaker Gilligan. The House awards tons of these, but this one is spectacularly different.
Why? Dr. Wagner is a leader in the Christian Dominion movement – they believe that Christians (or at least certain ones of them) should have Dominion over government, the media and business in order to be prepared for the end times. (Michelle Goldberg has a great article on this here.) Called the New Apostolic Reformation by Dr. Wagner, its front line associates are called Apostles and meant to focus on the work of taking over these institutions. You may have heard his name when Governor Perry was showily organizing his state-sponsored prayer rally, called The Response.
The great blog Right Wing Watch picked this up when they received a copy of an email that Wagner sent out to his people. In it, he replicates the text of the Tribute awarded to him from the House:
State of Delaware House of Representatives. Tribute. Be it known to all that the House of Representatives recognizes Dr. C. Peter Wagner As an Apostle For the Occasion of Commissioning Apostles in the State of Delaware. On this special day of the Commissioning Service, we honor Dr. C. Peter Wagner for his many years of faithful service to the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and the advancement of His Kingdom. ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: I know your works. See I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.” Rev. 3:7.’ The House of Representatives extends its sincere congratulations and directs this tribute to be presented on this 19th day of January 2012. (Signed) Robert F. Gilligan, Speaker of the House; Richard L. Puffer, Chief Clerk of the House, Representative Daniel B. Short, Sponsor.
This is highly unusual and an abuse of what was intended for legislative tributes. The history of ‘tributes’ dates back only about 12 years or so. Before tributes, the General Assembly would wade through scores of non-controversial resolutions, Eagle Scouts congratulations, stuff like that, each resolution requiring a print run and somebody to write the empty ‘Whereas’ clauses, and a legislative body to vote on it. Plus, they didn’t exactly look like ‘keepsakes’ when received by the honorees. Richard B. Carter, Administrative Assistant for the Delaware State Senate Majority Caucus, came up with the tribute concept, a one-page document enclosed in a navy-blue binder, tribute prepared on a faux-parchment stock, and signed only by President Pro-Tem or Speaker, the Chief Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate, and the sponsor of the tribute. The program has served its intended purpose and has generally worked well. The advantages are considerable: No print runs, no votes, and a genuine keepsake for the recipient. It works and works well, as long as tributes comport with the non-controversial intent of the program, and someone doesn’t try to slip something like this through. Especially since this document implies the imprimatur of the Delaware State House of Representatives on a particular type of religion. Did they really have to quote biblical scripture in the tribute? One would hope that that would have served as a red flag to someone concerned about separation of church and state. If anybody was.
An official tribute from the House (a scanned copy of the document is here), for these “apostles” in the service of making our government and institutions look more like those in Iran. Substitute Ayatollahs for Apostles and you get the drift here. Take a look at how he describes how he got this thing:
As part of the ceremony, I was officially welcomed as an apostle and authorized to help commission apostles to the state. The mayor of Seaford (a committed believer) read the Commendation from his office and presented me with the key to the city. This was followed by a Tribute complete with the seal of the Sussex County Council, a Tribute with the seal of the Senate of the State of Delaware, and a Tribute from the House of Representatives of the State of Delaware read personally by the representative of the district.
So his haul included keys to the city of Seaford and a tribute from the Sussex County Council. And this is from people who are screaming that their country is being taken from them, screaming about socialism, screaming that no one follows the constitution and yet they turn around and kiss the butt of a guy who would transform the leadership of this country into ayatollahs.
It is important to pay attention to this stuff and shine a light on it and push back on it as much as possible. This is not harmless – you can see the influence of these people around Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann. And just because you are Christian doesn’t mean you are OK with these people. He has been waging a “prayer war” against Catholics in Argentina and urging that Catholic statues be burned (scroll down). He told a group that the Emperor of Japan and the “Sun Goddess” sleep together and apparently this is the cause of Japan’s stock market troubles. And we have official government institutions in our state using our tax money to provide Tribute to this very extreme theocratic business. Aren’t you curious as to how our House of Representatives could sign on to this craziness?
h/t and thanks for this story to Kyle Mantyla at People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, a blog vigorously documenting the right wing atrocities.