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Inside the International House of Prayer

Today we're publishing a fascinating, troubling investigation into something called the "International House of Prayer", the center of a charismatic Christian movement located just outside of Kansas City. It is a hive of young believers with branches across the world and a theology with a world-leaders-murdering Jesus which many evangelicals claim is distorting Christianity or even heretical. The movement has admirers and severe detractors within the broader charismatic and evangelical movements. And it has thrived on reputation for a less "muted", more radical and heroic version of the Christian message. One sermon, since removed from the group's website, speaks of the power of members' prayers which will soon bring a day "when every head of state in the United Nations will be killed by the prayers of the saints answered in person by Jesus."

The founder and leader is "prophet" Mike Bickle. And despite the extreme views on virtually everything, Bickle's movement put deep roots down into the right-wing of the Republican party, with ties to top leaders like Govs. Sam Brownback, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and many others. AIPAC has also partnered with one of the group's key members, despite a theology which claims Jews are consumed with hatred of Jesus which will soon change on a dime as the Israeli Knesset embraces Jesus as the world hurtles toward its end.

Reporter Sarah Posner looks at IHOP's activities in Kansas City, Uganda, Jerusalem and other global locales and the internal strain of authoritarianism which gives IHOP many of the characterized many of us would associate with a cult. The organization 'prayer warriors' are made up of idealistic young people who serve as "interns" at the Kansas City headquarters and are often convinced to forego college and other planning for the future in light of imminent end of the world.

The piece is part of our TPMPrime longform series, so it's published for Prime members only. But we've put a sizable chunk of the piece available to all readers. So even if you're not a Prime subscriber there's enough to read which you'll find fascinating and likely appalling. Click here to read "A TPM Investigation: The International House of Prayer."

Really Politico?

I'm wondering what the editors at Politico were thinking when they let through this bizarre line about Obama being such an abysmal manager that only his death by assassination is likely to bring about needed reform of the Secret Service.

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This Ain't Gonna Fly

In a terrible (for him) local TV interview, the GOP Senate nominee in Colorado brings the spotlight back to his support for anti-abortion "personhood" legislation by denying any such legislation exists at the federal level. It does. He is co-sponsoring it.

The interview with Rep. Cory Gardner (R-TV), who has been trying to disavow his support for personhood legislation since the early days of the campaign, comes as polling over the last three weeks showed Gardner with a consistent lead over incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).

NFL Just Demonstrates How It Treats You If You're Different

It's worth reading this piece from Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund Executive Director Jasjit Singh on the controversy surrounding a later-withdrawn penalty given to Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah for his "unsportsmanlike" touchdown celebration of kneeling in Muslim prayer. The NFL just demonstrated how it thinks about diversity:

Unfortunately the fans watching the game felt, if they, as a Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, or Buddhist have a different way of praying than let’s say Tim Tebow, who has become known for his trademark prayer stance, they too would be quickly and swiftly ostracized.

A History of Violence

With George Zimmerman's recent threat to kill a fellow motorist and his father's account of him waiting at home ready to blow away any FBI agents who come to arrest him, we thought it was time to put together a simple timeline of the various people George Zimmerman has beaten or threatened to kill or simply the times he's tried to put himself in a place where he might be able to kill someone in the little more than a year since he was acquitted in his last killing, that of Trayvon Martin.

And here it is: the George Zimmerman Post-Acquittal Timeline.