Guest / Limited Access /

The cameras were rolling last October as Rod Parsley took to the Statehouse steps in Columbus to announce the kickoff of his grassroots group, Reformation Ohio. Bolstered by a bused-in crowd of supporters, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell, rappers, and a dance troupe, Parsley grabbed the microphone and sounded the call to arms.

"A Holy Ghost invasion is taking place!" he called. "Man your battle stations, ready your weapons, lock and load. Let the reformation begin!"

Some analysts credit Parsley for helping President George W. Bush win Ohio in 2004. As pastor of the 12,000-member World Harvest Church, Parsley used his platform to campaign for a state ban on gay marriage. When those he rallied entered the polling booth, most also pulled the lever for Bush, who won the state by only two percentage points.

Parsley has ambitious goals for the November election, which features hard-fought Ohio gubernatorial and Senate races that could also shape the presidential election in 2008. But he's not doing it alone.

Fellow pastor Russell Johnson lacks Parsley's charisma, but he has mastered the art of organizing. His group, the Ohio Restoration Project (ORP), recruited nearly 1,800 churches with "Patriot Pastors" and deputized them to draft new "values voters."

The ministers signed 410,000 Ohio homes onto Johnson's mailing list, and the ORP can tap 100,000 prayer warriors through e-mail in a moment's notice. This is more than just a group of voters ready to punch some ballots. According to ORP outreach materials, it is a "mighty army" ready to do battle.

While Johnson reaches white evangelicals and fundamentalists, Parsley appeals to both African Americans and Pentecostals. Together, the two men have forged a political machine ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedFor Southern Baptists and GOP, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
For Southern Baptists and GOP, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
Bush, Rubio interviews set at arena-sized missions conference, three months after Ben Carson controversy.
TrendingMelinda Gates: ‘I’m Living Out My Faith in Action’
Melinda Gates: ‘I’m Living Out My Faith in Action’
One of the wealthiest and most controversial women in the world believes that all lives have equal value. She’s willing to spend $3.6 billion a year to prove her point.
Editor's PickWhy True Crime Is Making a Comeback
Why True Crime Is Making a Comeback
We have all been Jinxed and Serialed.
Comments
Christianity Today
Meet the Patriot Pastors
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.