demon, shadow, spooky, horror

While this weekend’s 2022 Truth and Liberty Conference, a gathering of right-wing Christians near Colorado Springs, didn’t tread any new ground ideologically — evangelical voters have long been opposed to LGBTQ rights and progressive policies — it did illustrate the continuing influence that Andrew Wommack’s entities — Truth and Liberty, Charis Bible College, and Andrew Wommack Ministries — have on politics.

“I’m honored to represent Andrew Wommack Ministries in Congress,” said U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) at the beginning of his prerecorded message for the conference.

“I represent all of Teller County — mostly Charis Bible College,” said Colorado Rep. Mark Baisely (R-Roxborough Park), who addressed the audience alongside Wommack.

In addition to Lamborn and Baisley, U.S. Rep Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow) also spoke at the three-day event where speakers urged an end to gay marriage and for Christians to seize control of politics.

Richard Harris, the executive director of Truth and Liberty, told the audience that both Lamborn and Boebert were addressing the conference goers in their official capacity, as elected officials in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the conference, Harris also told the audience that Islam, transgender people, and abortion were “the spirit of the Antichrist.”

Boebert, who shoehorned her appearance in Woodland Park on Friday in between a constituent call on Thursday and a debate with her Democratic opponent, Adam Frisch, on Saturday, reiterated many of the conference’s main themes.

“We are not one piece of legislation away from fixing this country,” said Boeber. “We need God back at the center of our country. We need revival in our communities. We need revival in the hearts of our children. We need revival in the hearts of our neighbors.”

Lance Wallnau, one of the event’s keynote speakers and an advocate of the “Seven Mountain Mandate,” which posits that Christians should control all seven mountains of cultural influence to usher in the second coming of Christ, explained the distinction between “reformation” and “revival” the night before Boebert’s speech. 

“To usher in a reformation, all the demons are manifesting,” he said, drawing a diagram of the seven mountains on a whiteboard. “In a revival, all the saints manifest. In reformation, all the sinners manifest. Reformation is about the systems in the mountains, and revival is about the individual experience of God.” 

David Barton, a faux-historian whose claims that the founding fathers were evangelical Christians who wanted America to be a Christian nation have found fertile ground in churches, homeschool networks, and throughout the conservative media sphere, also weighed in on revivals.

“If you want to stop a revival from occurring in a nation, just stay out of politics,” he said. “If you want to see a revival, you’ve got to get involved because righteousness exalts a nation.”

Not only did Boebert reference Barton in her comments to the audience, but she also shared an equally credible anecdote about the state of public schools.

“I think when we have a large portion of the population who can’t tell us what a woman is, there’s a crisis,” Boebert said. “I was in Michigan, and a man told me that his son got in trouble because he stepped on a furry’s tail in school. I said, ‘What’s a furry? I’ve never seen one.’ We got bears. We got wolves. Praise the Lord. Thanks, Boulder. We got eagles. What’s a furry? He said, ‘Well, it’s someone who thinks they’re a cat or a dog.’ I said, ‘Dear Lord, that sounds like an identity crisis.’ I think your son needs to go to school and identify as a trapper.”

Boebert’s claims about furries, the nerdy, primarily LGBTQ, subculture dedicated to animal art and costumes, are not that different from those recently made by Scott Bottoms, the Republican candidate for Colorado’s House District 15 seat. Bottoms claimed that school districts were allowing furry students to use litter boxes in school bathrooms, a claim based on false statements made by a Nebraska Republican legislator.

These apocryphal stories about furries in schools from Republicans looking to score points with evangelical voters can also be traced back to the misinformation account “Libs of TikTok,” which, in addition to inflaming tensions around drag queen events, has been blamed for recent bomb threat at Boston Children’s Hospital, shared a clip of a school board public commenter with the caption, “At a recent school board meeting, it was revealed that a Michigan school placed a LITTER BOXES in the bathroom for students that identify as cats.”

In addition to attacking furries, Boebert also mocked the existence of transgender men, people assigned female at birth who transition into a masculine gender expression.

“For the record, men, please stop trying to chest feed, or figure it out so we can get this baby formula shortage under control,” Boebert said, to laughter and cheers from the crowd. “If they can figure that out, we might be all right. Or just men, stop getting pregnant. Gosh, they keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. There is a feminine product shortage — because they’re all in the men’s bathrooms. All we gotta do is go in there and get them.”

Lamborn, in a prerecorded address, focused on his work in support of Israel. Despite Wallnau’s comments about Jews and their “influence,” evangelical Christians are firm supporters of Israel.

​​“And we moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem,” said former President Trump at a 2020 rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, referring to his decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv. “That’s for the evangelicals.”

While many evangelicals support Israel due to their belief in end-times Christian prophecies, the country’s brutal apartheid policies also appeal to evangelicals’ fervent anti-muslim sentiment, demonstrated not just by Harris, but many of Truth and Liberty’s influencers, like John Guandolo and John Hagee. 

Baisley kept his comments focused on his work as a legislator, while putting Rep. Kyle Mullica (D- Northglenn) and his wife, Julie, who is the Vice President of the Tri-County Health Department’s board, on blast for the approximately 3,500 attendees of the Truth and Liberty conference. “He is married to the president of the Tri-County Health Department,” said Baisley. “Isn’t that something? That is where, in the counties, the health departments, that’s where the bullying happens. That’s where these laws are enforced. Well, 70 years ago, three counties, Douglas, Adams, and Arapahoe teamed together, they pulled their forces to create the Tri-County Health Department. It just made sense, for efficiency’s sake. Well, two years ago when they decided to declare an emergency, they’re going to force this law, these new regulations, on people forcing vaccinations and masking and shuttering businesses and picking on churches and so on. They warned folks like me, those of us in the legislature who represent those three counties, ‘Hey, we’re going to tell you 30 minutes before we put out the emergency directive, we’re going to email that directive to you guys so you can see it ahead of time.’ So we’re all waiting for it. It comes in by email. I read it and it’s what you would predict. I mean, it was masking and distancing and shuttering and all that, but it ended awfully. It ended with, ‘And if you do not comply, you could suffer $5,000 fine and five years in jail.’ I went through the roof. I got hold of them immediately and I said, ‘You will not put this out. You will remove that last paragraph. You will not threaten my constituents.’”

Baisley ended his remarks by encouraging the audience to heed Wallnau’s advice. “So those instructions that we got from Lance Wallnau, let’s start taking our moves,” he said. “It’s within reach. Our foot’s in the gate.”