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Rodney Lee Parsley (born January 13, 1957), an Americanmarker televangelist, is senior pastor of World Harvest Church, a Pentecostal megachurch in Columbus, Ohiomarker and founder and president of The Center for Moral Clarity. He is also founder of Breakthrough Media Ministries, Bridge of Hope Missions, World Harvest Bible College, Harvest Preparatory School, World Harvest Church Ministerial Fellowship, Metro Harvest Church, Latin Harvest Church, Reformation Ohio and The Women's Clinic of Columbus.

He has been a guest on CNN's Larry King Live and other media shows.

World Harvest Church

In 1977, Parsley's 17-person Bible study formed what became known as Sunset Chapel, and later Word of Life Church in Canal Winchester, Ohiomarker, a Columbus suburb. The church has grown into what is now known as World Harvest Church, which encompasses 400,000 square feet (37,000 m²) and has a 400-person staff.

The church's first facility was built in 1979. It is now known as Alpha Hall, which is one of four buildings on what is now the campus of World Harvest Bible College. Several years later the church built a bigger structure adjacent to Alpha Hall, which is now known as Dominion Hall. In 1986, ground was broken on to build what now includes a 5,200-seat sanctuary, Children’s and Youth Ministries, Family Life, Ministry Resource Centers, a Bookstore, and Administrative Offices. The church's main property now comprises .

Harvest Preparatory School, a private Christian prep school, operates on the church grounds.

Breakthrough Ministries

Breakthrough is the television ministries of World Harvest Church. It airs six days a week, and is available in 97 percent of the United States and most other nations. The show features Parsley's sermons as well as interviews with guests in front of a live studio audience.

Breakthrough is carried on 1,400 stations and cable affiliates, including Daystar Television Network, Cornerstone Television, World Harvest Television, The Church Channel, Trinity Broadcasting Network, TBN Enlace (which broadcasts in Spanish to 20 nations), and Vision TV (Canada).

Personal life

Parsley was born in Cleveland, Ohiomarker, but spent most of his youth in Kentuckymarker.

He was raised as a Free Will Baptist, but became a Pentecostal in the 1970s. He considers the late televangelist Lester Sumrall his spiritual mentor.

He is married to Joni Parsley. They have a son, Austin, and a daughter, Ashton, both teenagers.

Parsley holds a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry from Ohio Christian University, a Doctor of Divinity (honorary) from Indiana Christian University and a Doctor of Humanities (honorary) from Liberty Universitymarker.

Political activism

Parsley, a social conservative, is a frequent critic of liberal positions on social issues, but has tended to side with more liberal organizations on issues of social justice, such as poverty, racism, women's rights and prison re-entry.

Parsley became increasingly involved in U.S. politics following his work on the 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. During the summer of 2004, Parsley announced the establishment of the Center for Moral Clarity. He openly criticized Swedenmarker for the conviction of Åke Green under Swedenmarker's hate crimes legislation.

On October 3, 2004, Parsley gave a sermon titled "Uncensored: While Freedom Still Rings". In the two-part sermon, Parsley expressed opposition to the view that there is a separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution; to same-sex marriage; to partial-birth abortion; to hate speech legislation in Californiamarker, Canadamarker, and Sweden; to sexual orientation themes in children's books; to racism; and to poverty. Parsley has said that the U.S. government, by funding Planned Parenthood, is complicit in "genocide" against African Americans, because Planned Parenthood performs abortions in the black community.

A few weeks before the 2004 elections, Parsley encouraged his congregation and television audience to vote for Ohio's state constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The amendment passed by a wide margin of voters from both political parties. Parsley has also encouraged citizens of other states with similar marriage amendments on their ballots to vote similarly, and headlined the "Silent No More" tour to register Christian voters.

Parsley has called upon Christians to wage a "war" against the "false religion" of Islam with the aim of destroying it. Parsley claims that Islam is an "anti-Christ religion" predicated on "deception" and "America was founded in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed". The Muslim prophet Muhammad, he writes, "received revelations from demons and not from the true God." And he emphasizes this point: "Allah was a demon spirit."

Parsley is a regional director for the group Christians United for Israel, founded by fellow televangelist John Hagee.

Writings

Parsley is an author of several books, including Silent No More, which was released in April 2005 by Charisma House. The book encourages Christians to participate in the political process, and especially to make sure their votes reflect their values. Concerning poverty, Parsley writes that government should "get out of the way", removing many constraints on capitalism.

The sequel, Culturally Incorrect: How Clashing Worldviews Affect Your Future, was published in June 2007 and soon appeared on the industry's best-seller lists.

McCain 2008 endorsement

Parsley personally endorsed the presidential campaign of Republican nominee John McCain, who called Parsley a "spiritual guide". McCain had actively sought Parsley's endorsement during his Republican primary battle with Mike Huckabee, who was drawing substantial support from the religious right.

McCain later rejected Parsley's endorsement based on Parsley's statements regarding Islam. Parsley was quoted as stating that he "do[es] not believe that our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed” and that Muhammad is "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil".

In repudiating Parsley's comments, McCain stated, "I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement." McCain further distanced himself from Parsley, stating, "I've never been in Pastor Hagee's church or Pastor Parsley's church. I didn't attend their church for 20 years, and I'm not a member of their church. I received their endorsement, which did not mean that I endorsed their views."

Thereafter, Parsley withdrew his endorsement of McCain's candidacy.

Criticism of Parsley

Parsley is identified as a prominent player in the dominionist movement by both TheocracyWatch "The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party: Ohio's Patriot Pastors", TheocracyWatch, Last updated: September 2005; URL accessed May 24, 2006. and commentator Bill Moyers.

Some have also criticised Parsley for his recent book, Silent No More, because of the book's explanation of Islam and the view that the U.S. Constitution provides for a separation of church and state (among other social issues), and for his support of faith healing. Parsley has identified Islam as an enemy of the United States and Christianity.

In January 2006, a group of 31 Columbus, Ohio, area pastors charged that Parsley and another central Ohio religious leader had violated federal tax laws. The complaining clergy alleged, but never proved, that Parsley violated the tax-exempt status of his church by supporting various political causes.

Author Chris Hedges' 2006 book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America quoted Parsley as using militaristic metaphors in a sermon concerning his critics:

References

  1. World Harvest Bible College 2008-2009 Catalog
  2. The Mind Is Connected To the Spirit : Seminary for Apologetics
  3. YouTube - Rod Parsley: More on "Black Genocide"
  4. Corn, David. McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam, Mother Jones, 2008-03-12
  5. Ross, Brian. McCain Pastor: 'Islam is a Conspiracy of Spiritual Evil', ABC News, 2008-05-22
  6. Political Radar: McCain Rejects Parsley Endorsement
  7. McCain Cuts Ties to Pastor Whose Talks Drew Fire, New York Times, 2008-05-23,
  8. McCain Pastor: 'Islam is a Conspiracy of Spiritual Evil', ABC News, 2008-05-22
  9. McCain rejects televangelist Hagee's endorsement
  10. John McCain repudiates pastors' support
  11. Rev. Rod Parsley withdraws McCain endorsement, The Columbus Dispatch, May 24, 2008
  12. Bill Moyers. 9/11 And The Sport of God, TheocracyWatch, September 9, 2005. URL accessed May 24, 2006.
  13. Laws of man, God obeyed, World Harvest Church says, The Columbus Dispatch, 2006-01-17
  14. Churches could face IRS probe, The Columbus Dispatch, 2006-01-16


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