Strategic level spiritual warfare is the central idea of the various “prayer warrior” networks existing across the US, whose main proponents include people like C. Peter Wagner, John Dawson (of Youth With A Mission), Cindy Jacobs, Jack Hayford and George Otis, Jr. Otis is the author of the 1999 book Informed Intercession, a textbook on spiritual mapping, one of the fundamental strategies in spiritual warfare: Geographical areas are culturally evaluated for nefarious influence from heretical or heathen religious views, liberal political ideas, drugs, crime or whatever the fundies in question don’t like, in order to identify “demonic hotspots” (“[c]enters of political influence and authority, or portals through which new or important influences enter a community,” according to Otis) that the spirit warriors then endeavor to take out by praying or (especially outside the US) threatening or violent action to make the population there change their behavior or leave. The targets, in particular, are “territorial spirits”, “[d]emonic powers that have been given controlling influence over specific sites, peoples, and areas.”Spiritual mapping, which according to Jacqie Tyre of the Georgia Apostolic Prayer Network gives us the “‘military intelligence’ that we need in order to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom into an area effectively,” is particularly common in what is known as “character cities”, where the administration has made attempts to bring its citizens into alignment with theocratic rules and get freethinkers and other undesirable elements to move out, such as Gilbert, Arizona or – more famously – Amarillo, Texas.
According to Otis, “strategic level spiritual warfare” is “[a] term that pertains to intercessory confrontations with demonic power concentrated over given cities, cultures, and peoples,” the goal being “[n]eutralizing the deceptive hold or enchantment that demonic powers have over human subjects.” Targets include in particular “high places”, “[s]pecific locations where a community or its leaders pay obeisance to tutleary deities and/or idolatrous philosophies,” but also other groups engaged in “corporate sin,” “[g]roup rebellion against God’s law and purpose that typically results in corollary injury to a particular person or group;” these being “a family, clan, tribe, neighborhood, city, nation or church.” Yes, he is truly living in a poorly written fantasy/horror movie, where his opponents – homosexuals, liberals, evolutionists and so on – are literally controlled by Exorcist-style demons that can be fought by prayers but fully controlled only through the implementation of full-scale theocracy. At least the main weapon (again: in the US; other countries see literal death squads) is prayer, and Otis and his followers will engage in prayer expeditions – “[l]ong-distance, trans-territorial prayer-walks along strategically developed routes. Intercession is offered for entire countries and regions” – and prayerwalksto achieve the desired effects.
Otis is also the producer of the Transformation series of movies, which have been pushed across the world and resulted in the creation of numerous groups with close connections to governments and religious leaders in several countries such as Uganda. The movies – there is a thorough description of their contents here – demonstrate spiritual warfare with lots of happy-looking people claiming to have had their communities miraculously transformed through militant prayer efforts. The producers emphasize, though, that bliss is achieved only if the demons – portrayed in the movies as demonic witches and warlocks – are purged from a community, and insofar as they are demonic, it is of course entirely legitimate to pray for and celebrate their demise. I leave it to readers to imagine what effects these propaganda pieces may have in places where people are already being hunted down and killed on accusations of witchcraft, especially since the movies themselves show how people and places are miraculously healed of diseases like AIDS when the demons die.
Diagnosis: Ironically enough, Otis is rather hard to distinguish from the cartoon demons he thinks are controlling more or less everyone and anyone who disagrees with him. A thoroughly evil person.
Hat-tip: Rachel Tabachnik @ talk2action