How One Meeting Changed American Culture – Intercessors for America

… because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools … (Romans 1:19–22 NKJV).

On Sept. 12, I opened a devotional I own and saw this heading: “A Case Study in Changing a Nation’s Culture.” Even though I read regularly from this book, The One Year Christian History, by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten, I had never read this particular entry. I dug in eagerly, in search of clues for bringing a nation to Christ. But this entry was unusual — the plans for change described there involved nothing Christ-centered; instead, it detailed the meticulous planning of a group of intellectuals meeting in 1905 in New York City to strategize the overthrow of the Christian worldview undergirding American culture. In place of a biblical worldview, these “planners” desired a Marxist ideology they could marry to the theory of evolution. Their “theology” of secular humanism is what has in our day come to be labeled “progressivism.” So, that was one of the early battles in the war to secularize American culture.

Who is praying on the wall?

I confess that I was utterly astonished, not at the description of this ideology that has pervasively overcome education, religion, politics, business, family, media, and the arts (the “seven mountains of influence in our culture”), but that these people met with this specific purpose in mind. I immediately thought of IFA’s mission to bring to light the spiritual roots of issues that face our nation. The details of this gathering definitely expose a demonic root system!

Bottom Line

Everything the progressives believed and promoted was based on two doctrines: Marxism and Darwinian evolution. As my husband often says: “When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Among people who think that way, any eternal, foundational, or static structures like the Bible and the Constitution are seen as transient and evolving. Can you hear in this language the echoes of all that we’re battling currently — in education, gender politics, and general wokeism?

The organization that was formed that day came to be called the Intercollegiate Socialist Society (ISS). Members included some famous names in American culture: authors Upton Sinclair and Jack London; and Clarence Darrow, the famed trial attorney of the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. The main strategy of ISS was to infiltrate academia with Marxist ideology by organizing chapters in colleges and universities. By infiltrating these schools, they hoped to train the minds of the upcoming generation of leaders with an ideology devoid of God as Creator and of any moral system grounded in the truth of His law and word. Today, we can see the effects of this takeover in virtually every facet of our lives.

ISS grew, and by 1917 it boasted chapters on 61 college campuses and in a dozen graduate schools. In 1921 ISS renamed itself the League for Industrial Democracy (LID). (Here is another common strategy of the Enemy: changing language to make his poison more palatable.) LID’s purpose then was “education for a new social order based on production for use and not-for-profit” — in other words, Marxism. The college chapters of what had been ISS became called the Student League for Industrial Democracy.  As members graduated from college, some entered the pulpit, others the classroom, still others wrote textbooks, and some entered the labor movement for either of the main political parties.

“The League for Industrial Democracy was so successful that those who held membership in the movement, or were cooperating with it, could have been a list for who’s who in America: Robert N. Baldwin, founder of American Civil Liberties Union; Charles Beard the historian; Carroll Binder, editor of the Minneapolis Tribune; Helen Gahagan Douglas, congresswoman and U.S. senator; Felix Frankfurter,  Supreme Court justice; Sidney Hook, education social philosopher; Edna Saint Vincent Millay, the poet; Henry Morgenthau Jr., a government economic adviser; Walter and Victor Reuther, United Auto Workers; Will Rogers Jr., the humorist; Franklin Roosevelt Jr., the president’s son” (4).

By 1941, John Dewey, who has been called the father of the modern education movement, was LID’s honorary president, and  theologian Reinhold Niebuhr was treasurer. Dewey had already organized the Progressive Education Association and the American Association of University Professors. As Dewey proclaimed in his Pedagogic Creed: “I believe that education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness, and that the adjustment of the of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction (3). He called teachers the “prophets of the true God and the usherer-in of the true kingdom of God” — that “god” being progressivism.

Religion was another area infiltrated by progressives. Because progressives saw history as a march toward what they called “genuine democracy,” a strong religious current undergirded their thought. History was the “means by which God gradually made Himself present on the earth with the result being the modern democratic state. The state then became the god to which all citizens owed their undivided devotion” (3). Cooperation with history, yielding one’s political and moral self to the evolving pressures of the current age, became a “test of one’s faithfulness to God. It became the social gospel which embraced evolutionary theory and saw orthodox religion as ‘insufficient for the times.’ Evolution became the ‘Divine plan for rational social advancement. These progressive theologians asserted that government — because of progress — was now poised to bring about the utopia of ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ ” (4).

A full exposition and understanding of the many facets of culture that progressivism reinterpreted — including history, religion, education, the American Constitution, the entire political realm — is beyond the scope of this article. I refer readers to American Progressivism (by Ronald J. Pestritto and William J. Atto) and Taking the Mountain of Education (by Nancy Huff) for a more thorough exposition. What we see is that a cadre of luminaries and intellectuals, whose positions in American institutions afforded them a place of influence, shaped intellectual thought and inculcated a generation (now many generations) with an unbiblical worldview. Now we are reaping the bitter fruit of the ideologies that were sown in the battle over the LGBTQ agenda, transgenderism, abortion, and the secularization of many mainline denominations.

What Happened in the Spirit Realm?

The belief that man is basically good and has no need of a savior – secular humanism – puts us back at the Tower of Babel. If we are to reinforce the victory of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, and His subsequent disarming of all spiritual powers and authorities, then we must repent of these sins of our fathers, specifically repenting of embracing this false religion and ceding authority over these places of influence to the Evil One. As goes the Church, so goes the nation. We stand in the gap, taking an axe to the roots of the tree of secular humanism so that the fruit can no longer manifest. As Nancy Huff writes: “Change will require dedicated intercessors committed to long term efforts. The ancient thrones of iniquity — like the 1905 meeting — must be identified and properly disengaged” (5)

How Then Do We Pray

I am suggesting a prayer strategy that comes out of Romans 1:18–25. In these verses, Paul accurately describes how people and cultures end up in a mire of sin and depravity when they honor man’s “wisdom” above God’s. Paul writes that unrighteous humans suppress the truth of who God is despite God’s having shown them who He is through His attributes, manifested clearly in all that He has created. Next, we fail to glorify Him or express our gratitude. The result is that our thinking becomes worthless and our hearts are darkened. Laying claim to human “wisdom,” we become fools. In the end, our actions are debauched, and we worship and serve what has been created — ourselves and our ideas — instead worshiping and serving the Creator Himself. This is a breathtakingly precise description of what was going on within the people who met in that 1905 meeting.

Let’s pray together now:

Father, in the name of Jesus, we come asking You first to forgive our enemies, the members and leaders of ISS/LID for exalting human wisdom above You and Your word. With Jesus we say: Forgive them, for they know not what they do. We forgive them, and all of those they’ve influenced, for exalting secular humanism as god and intentionally inculcating the nation with this wicked ideology. We forgive them for suppressing the truth about who You are as Creator and for not being thankful for all that You have made and suppressing our need for salvation through Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

Father, forgive us, Your church, for allowing this humanistic takeover of universities and other places of influence in our culture. We became fools and our hearts — and the hearts of our children — became darkened. We exchanged a lie for the truth and have come to worship and serve not You, but the idol of secular humanistic ideology. We have bowed to other gods, not loving the truth, that we might be saved. Cleanse us from pride and deception and every unholy fruit that has grown from this wicked tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

We reject Marxism and evolution utterly and come out of agreement with all teachings and structures based in these doctrines. In their place, we release the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of the Most High God, Creator of all. We ask You to remove every word curse and every defilement of this belief system from our universities and schools, our churches, the political realm, and all other places thus defiled. We use God’s mighty weapons to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture every rebellious thought, and instead desire to teach all to obey Christ. We exalt You alone as God, and we embrace all truth as revealed in Your written word. We worship You alone, and we are thankful.

Finally, we ask You to reveal Yourself to all leaders in every mountain of influence in our culture. You are THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Light, and there are no other gods. Pour out Your Spirit upon this land, and bring us revival! Amen.

Declarations (adapted from Huff’s book):

  1. We declare that there will be a demonstration of the Lord’s power in every place where secular humanism was formerly ruling so that faith will not rest on man’s wisdom but in God’s righteousness and power.
  2. We declare that God’s word, and His revealed attributes as Creator, are the true foundations of our culture and that the beginning of wisdom and learning is the fear of the Lord!
  3. We declare the release of the wisdom of Jesus to replace man’s wisdom and the fear of the Lord to replace the fear of man, which is a snare.

Last, for any who live in New York City, praying on location at 140 Fulton Street, in Lower Manhattan, is encouraged. Find a partner or join a team and be the boots on the ground to reclaim the land for Jesus and His kingdom. Take communion at the site, declaring that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to break any curses.

There are many other events in U.S. history that were demonic entry points and created demonic root systems that must be discovered, uncovered, and prayed over. Ask Him, and He will reveal!

(Sources cited in this article: American Progressivism: A Reader, ed’s. Ronald J. Pestritto and William J. Atto, Lexington Books, 2008, pp. 10,11,12; The One Year Book of Christian History, E. Michael and Sharon Rusten, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2003, p. 513; Taking the Mountain of Education: A strategic Prayer Guide for American Schools, Nancy Huff, 2014, Teach the Children International, p. 33.)

Share your prayer below for revival in our nation.

Lori Nicole Meed (Bachelor of Science; Bachelor of Education, Special Education) is a wife, mother, and grandmother who home-schooled her now adult children. In 2004, God moved her family from Canada to the U.S., imparting His heart for the U.S. and for revival. Having walked out her own journey of freedom after being radically born again in 1992, Lori has a heart to see others set free to walk fully in their destiny. She is a leader of an inner-healing and deliverance ministry at her home church in Pennsylvania. She also gathers and equips prayer groups for the U.S. and Israel. Lori has a passion for teaching on aliyah (“going up,” the return of the Jews to the land of Israel), the feasts of the Lord, and the rich connections of the gentile churches to Israel. She is a prayer leader on IFA’s Headline Prayer, as well as being a contributing writer. Photo Credit: kostsov/Getty Images Pro.