03 May 2009

John Dorhauer on the steeplejacking of AWARE

Guest writer MS05L contacted Rev John Dorhauer on his views about the takeover of AWARE by a fundamentalist Christian group. Dorhauer is the co-author of the book "Steeplejacking", which details the war between mainstream religion and the right-wingnuts. Guest essay.


Anonymous said...

A pleasant surprise.

Deep inside that Mother Teresa/Florence
Nightingale kindly and motherly
demeanor of the Old Guard is
bare knuckles raw Don Corleone

I had worried that the corporate
savvy red-shirted storm-voters backed Thiocrats had everything perfectly planned.

Look at the pathetic state Josie
pussycats at the end!

Looks like they underestimated
our favourite gals :)

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Never heard of "Dominionism"
until now!


Makes me wonder if the PAP got
worried and helped the old guard
retake AWARE.

Remember the LKY generation of
the PAP was very secular (atheistic

Thanks for the education YB :)

Anonymous said...

This makes me glad that Singapore
has large numbers of Muslims,
Buddhists, Taoists and Hindus.
The relative ease of their defeat
is due a lot to this.

If Singapore is 95% Christian,
they would be much harder to

Let's do everything we can to maintain religious diversity.

Anonymous said...

I agree with poster #3. What can easily work with a majority Christian culture such as AmeriKKKa may not work in Singapore because of our very different religious composition.

Anonymous said...

Not all influence from these people are so overt or even deliberate. I used to go to church with some of these types.

If you know religious people, you know that they always strive to be more 'Christian'. These people go attend seminars, buy books, listen to music, read forwarded email, surf Christian websites... These things define their life. They go back to church and share what they learn.

Guess who dominates the 'Christian' market?

Why do you think that Anglican and Presbyterian in Singapore seem to be synonymous with far-right American Christian?

Most of these people are very sincere, very earnest but very misguided. Secular is a negative word to them. From time to time they fantasize and plot to make Singapore more godly.

Needless to say, I decided I didn't want to hang out with them any more after listening to their fantasies.

deviant said...

In this climate, it is easy to link the notion of 'Dominionism' to the Christians of the far right persuasion but it is also important to note that it is just as easy for other religions to be hijacked to promote some other insipid stuff. I remember receiving an email a couple of years back of a bunch of Muslims calling for the boycotting of some shops in Bugis because the shoes that were sold were made from pig skin. I am not trying to belittle the issue but to call for a boycott is pushing it a tad too much. Imposition of extreme religious views onto others should not have any place in a civil and secular society.

allytan2003 said...

what scares me more is that not only will these people who tried to hijack AWARE persecute gay people, but they will soon openly offend other religions as well if they suceed in effectivly persecuting gay people. We have seen how their arrogance and extreme self righteousness have played out in weeks past since the whole issue erupted. In fact their Pastor has in an earlier time made statments to the effect of wanting to make Singapore a self righteous christian nation. This shows no respect for our Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist compatriots.

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry but I just had to leave a comment.

like all of you, i'm horrified and disgusted at poor behaviour behind the takeover, but please don't tar all of us with the same brush.

there are plenty of christians---moderates and i'm post-modern myself---who haven't been heard and who do not see ourselves represented by what had happened.
if you go to gwee li sui's facebook comment, u'll find christians too, who are disgusted.

in addition, i grew up in a fundamentalist church and was miserable for most of my years until i decided to leave. i went back to church, albeit only to moderate churches only after a few years because i found it so scarring.

as one of the posters mentioned, lots of them genuinely believe they are doing good.

but there are moderate christians out there too.

just as we won't want to tar all muslims with the same brush, please don't tar all of us.

singapore's particularly vulnerable to hardline christianity. it's peculiar, but it's something i noticed after coming back from studying overseas.

as much as i don't like it and find it hard to fit into churches in singapore, i still coinsider myself a christian, albeit a liberal one who has many, many homosexual friends.

a singapore christian woman.

Missus Purnsey said...

What shocked me is how Straits Times completely covered up the huge turnout of proud, brave lesbian women and gay men at the Aware EGM.
You could read about the laudable Muslim mothers of two, Christian fathers of three, who supported the original members.
WHERE ARE OUR HEROES? Not a single lesbian or gay man was interviewed despite the hundreds present I could gaydar on TV. After ST's fantastic and pivotal reveal of the takeover, this lost the EGM-covering journalists a lot of credibility.

Well, I don't read ST for the unbiased viewpoints.

The more we are hidden by the media in the closet, the more we can be used for steeplejacking. A hidden minority group.

The best way to win these steeple jacks is to expose the fundamentalist's lies for the hurt they cause to Singaporean daughters and sons. Bring the majority behind us.

As a good and fervently Christian friend told me lately: "I had bad experiences with gay people before. You are the first gay friend I have learnt to respect. You are just like any other friend to me." He was homophobic till he learnt I was gay.

Continue telling others your pride as a gay person. Tell them how fundamentalist lies cause insecure gay sons and daughters to be bullied and persecuted.

If not us, who will support US?

To a moderate Christian woman -

I'm glad to say I believe you are one of many moderate Christians. I'm a Humanist, and I have a brother who is attending one of the largest churches in Singapore (the Ho Yeow Sun one;). This church is more moderate by Christian standards, and do not preach against homosexuality although volunteers have to declare, as though it was a criminal record, if they have been tempted by same-sex attractions. A hilarious Christian hangover.

Anonymous said...

As a result of the coordinated hijack of AWARE by religious extremists, people clearly want to keep a look out for further potential hijacks and encroachment into the secular space. It’s useful to know how such groups may operate a pyramid system of “cells”, as in America. During this whole saga I came across the concept of “cell churches”, which I hadn’t heard of before, when looking at the COOS website. I had to look this up, I had only come across the concept of “cells” in relation to terrorists. I was surprised to find that it is now a way of organizing religious groups in a sort of pyramid, controlled from above. People in different cells don’t necessarily know each other personally, but can be equally mobilized by someone above them in the pyramid. In America they appear to be related to mega churches, and the hijack of moderate churches by extremist groups.

It looks like cells, or “cell churches” are operating in Singapore. They may be perfectly innocuous, but the potential for mobilization in matters such as the AWARE saga is clearly there.

Here is how COOS refers to cells:
“The best way to get connected to church life is to join a cell group! Generally, a cell group consists of 7 to 15 people who meet regularly to "do life" together. A cell group can be a place where meaningful relationships are cultivated through ministering to God and each other, and being ministered to.”

Here’s a link to an article on how they operate in practice in America,
“Divide and Conquer: Cell Churches and Hijacks”:

H t tp://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/5/10/112924/148

Here’s an intro:
“What a cell church is isn't entirely obvious to most people who aren't members of churches which contain them. Essentially, a cell church is designed as a "church within a church"--the setup of churches where the concept originated is much like a pyramid, with pastor, then deacons, then "cell leaders" who are heads of groups of anywhere from five to fifteen members of the congregation (and occasionally more than that, in sub-churches). The closest analogue is actually not in church structures but in multilevel marketing schemes such as AmWay (and this is not by coincidence, as I'll note).

"In this post, I will focus on the history of cell churches in dominionist movements, with specific emphasis on how the use of cell churches was largely designed to hijack mainstream congregations...in at least one case, with frightening success, which has disturbing implications for mainstream churches having issues largely resulting from this.”

It also includes extracts from an article by the Rick Ross Institute, which exposes cults.

It’s not just the secular that need to stay vigilant to these extremist groups, if this article is correct. Regular churches may be at risk too.

Raymond Tham said...

Dear Yawning Bread,

It amazes me to see the self-righteousness of bystanders. Would Rev. Dorhauer not also be steeplejacking the Singapore church with his own combative agenda, considering he is not conversant with nor witness to the tactics and actions of the Old Guard? Did they not also use combative and underhand tactics - tit for tat? If he supports that, what does that teach our society, whatever your faith? If he claims to be so enlightened - what results has he to show for Australia?

Instead of engaging the many facets here and encouraging them to talk to each other, he is encouraging a fight within the Singapore church. What good did that ever do for Australia? I can tell you, having lived here over a span of more than 15 years, that nothing good came out of that self-righteous battle (by any group right or left).

Non-believers find the taking of sides rather than dialogue just as much a mockery as the extreme right and left wing views of the church, and all the other scandals that go along with it. Such a combative stance makes a mockery of our Lord Jesus Christ! I am saddened that you would promote his agenda.

MS05L said...

Raymond Tham:

I can assure you, as the writer of this article and the previous one, that Dorhauer is definitely not planning on making any inroads into Singapore. He is very busy. Also, he is not from Australia. I am in Australia, but I am not a minister or religious head of any sort. Rather I'm just a Singaporean who has faced serious abuse from dominionists when I was twelve, and have been waiting years to expose and counter them.

Singapore and the AWARE issue has become an interesting case for those pushing against dominionists as AWARE's old guards' approach has been uncommonly successful...this is why Dorhauer and dogemperor are involved. I believe dogemperor's email address is present in the link towards the end of my article and I'd encourage you to contact him if you'd like to see proof that exposing and resisting dominionism has resulted in a positive outcome in the USA. I can't speak much for the case in Australia as I have only migrated here recently.