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Truth & Liberty Coalition Expands Culture War to 30 Colorado School Boards

By Steve Rabey
andrew wommack
Andrew Wommack speaks at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colo., in September 2023. (Video screen grab)

In 2021, Andrew Wommack told his followers to “take over” Woodland Park, a mountain town of 8,000 near Colorado Springs. The televangelist and Charis Bible College founder had been saying for years that “the time has come” for Christians to stop focusing only on their faith and start working to gain political influence.

“We have enough people here in this school we could elect anybody we want,” he said at a meeting of the Citizen’s Academy, an event held at Charis by the Truth & Liberty Coalition, a nonprofit organization also founded by Wommack. “This county ought to be totally dominated by believers.”

In recent months, Wommack has been making the same argument to Christians across Colorado. He’s also provided candidates who fit the bill. When voters in 30 school districts go to the polls Tuesday (Nov. 7), they will find ballots primed with candidates recruited and trained by Transform Colorado, a movement, launched by Truth & Liberty, “that unites Christian leaders to restore biblical values in the public square,” according to its website.

The group is promoting its picks in local churches and through voter guides that include candidate answers to five questions about hot-button topics common to conservative Christian campaigns nationally: transgenderism, “boys in girls’ sports,” sex education, parental rights, and social studies and history curriculums.

The effort spans from Colorado Springs, the state’s second largest city, to remote rural districts such as Holyoke, on the border with Nebraska, and Burlington, both of which have seen spikes in the number of candidates this year.

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andrew wommack
An example of a vote guide produced by Transform Colorado. (Image via Transform Colorado)

As in Woodland Park, where Wommack succeeded in getting his chosen candidates elected to City Council and gaining a majority on the school board, the goal, in the words of one victor, is to oppose “the teachers’ union and their psycho agenda.”

Wommack, who was mentored by the prosperity gospel preacher Kenneth Copeland, did not attend college himself, nor seminary, and is not formally ordained. After launching a small Texas radio ministry in 1976, he took to television and moved his headquarters to Colorado in the 1990s, making steady appeals for donations to fund his rise. He is briefly featured in “American Gospel: Christ Alone,” a documentary claiming the prosperity gospel movement distorts Christ’s gospel in the U.S. and around the world.

In 2019, the last year it released financial information, Andrew Wommack Ministries had revenue of $68 million. Its CEO, Billy Epperhart, told the Colorado Springs Gazette in 2021 that revenue had since topped $100 million.

Truth & Liberty, founded in 2019, has its own livestreamed programs featuring guests such as Christian nationalist author David Barton, who is also a board member. It took in $1.2 million in 2020. Spokesman Michael Perini declined to provide any information for this article.

In September of last year, the organization held a weekend-long conference where the speakers included U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Pastor Lance Wallnau, another board member, who promoted his Seven Mountain Mandate, a vision for Christian dominion in seven key areas of national life, including education.

Truth & Liberty has lately served as Wommack’s main tool in reversing Colorado’s shift from red to blue, a tragedy he blames on “demonic” liberals. As proof, Wommack has claimed his “spies” in the local school system had found hundreds of obscene books. He warned that public schools taught fourth graders how to have anal sex and that they placed litter boxes in classrooms for students who identified as dogs or cats.

colorado springs nightclub
Dallas Dutka of Broomfield, Colo., prays by a makeshift memorial Nov. 22, 2022, for the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. Dutka’s cousin, Daniel Aston, was killed in the shooting. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Wommack is harsh in his opposition to LGBTQ rights. The day after five people were killed and 18 injured in a Nov. 19, 2022, shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Wommack said he was “not endorsing” violence against LGBTQ people but complained they received too much sympathy, calling homosexuality “one of the major threats of the devil.”

Critics complain that his efforts to protect public education are political stunts that transform normally quiet local elections into hyperpartisan battles funded by outside groups and money.

In Woodland Park, Carol Greenstreet, a former school board president, said the district already reflected the town’s largely conservative and Christian values long before Wommack began his campaign.

Wommack and his followers have “created a war that didn’t have a reason to be fought,” said Greenstreet, whose husband, Kirk, is senior pastor of the evangelical Woodland Park Community Church.

But once elected, Woodland Park’s new conservative majority worked quickly — sometimes meeting in private, she alleged, in violation of state law — to turn the district upside down.

The district became the first and, so far, only locality in the U.S. to adopt the controversial American Birthright social studies curriculum, which has been rejected by Colorado’s State Board of Education. Since it was adopted, some students have been required to perform make-up work to qualify for college admission.

(The Civics Alliance, the group behind American Birthright, did not respond to a request for comment.)

The district let go of its mental health workers, social workers and therapists. “We are not the Department of Health and Human Services,” said new district Superintendent Ken Witt, who led a conservative takeover of the Castle Rock school district before being recalled in 2015.

The school board also put a gag order on faculty and staff who disagreed with the changes, firing some who aired their concerns anyway. Recently, more than 80 teachers and staff signed a letter condemning the new “culture of fear and silence” and calling for solutions that “prioritize our children’s futures over politics.”

Around 40% of the district’s workforce did not return for the 2023-2024 school year, and many families in the district have become “refugees” who transferred their children to different schools miles away.

The district now budgets more than $200,000 a year for legal fees, more than 10 times its legal budget five years ago.

andrew wommack charis
Andrew Wommack speaks at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colo., in September 2023. (Video screen grab)

Despite the controversy, Wommack has given the new board his full support. Charis bused nearly 100 students to a May meeting where a vote was being held to elect a new superintendent, displacing hundreds of parents and teachers who were barred by capacity regulations. Some citizens now gather as much as five hours early at board meetings to make sure they can speak and vote.

Students from Charis, which operates a Practical Government school, also often sign up for many of the limited public speaking slots, using their allotted time to criticize “violent, extreme radicals, communists and socialists taking over our schools.”

The test for Wommack in Tuesday’s election will be whether his machinations have alienated voters who broadly share his principles. Sharon Roshek, a longtime local Realtor who calls herself an “extremely conservative evangelical Republican,” voted for Wommack’s school board candidates in 2021 and “never thought much of it.”

But after hearing horror stories from district teachers and staff who are members of her evangelical church, she came to regret her vote and is voting for opponents to Wommack’s agenda this time around.

“It is sad, sad, sad that people in this community now hate Christians” because Wommack and his followers have tried to move the city “so far to the right,” Roshek said.

“They appear to be battling a national agenda that does not exist in Woodland Park. This is a conservative community. What could be a good thing has turned into divisive positions among neighbors.”

Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy.



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8 Responses

  1. Sadly, the candidates who Wommack backs know little or nothing about running a school district effectively. Their brand of extremism drives away students and good teachers because the extremists are repressive and toxic. Instead of moving school districts forward, they drag them back to a mythical Father Knows Best world. School board elections should be a local matter. They don’t need outsiders like Wommack and his lackeys stirring up the pot.

  2. “”Mixing politics and religion is like mixing manure and ice cream. It doesn’t do much to the manure but it surely does ruin the ice cream”.
    Will Rogers

  3. “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews, for what they were and summoned men to fight against them, and who, God’s truth! Was greatest not as a sufferer, but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian, and as a man, I read through the passage, which tells us how the Lord at last rose in his might and seized the scourge to drive out of the temple, the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight for the world against the Jewish poison… As a Christian, I have a duty to my own people.”

    Hitler said this in a speech on April 12, 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922- August 1939. Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20. Oxford University Press, 1942).

    Power, greed, money, fame all corrupt.
    Christian nationalism is extremism.
    Teach me or repeat me.

  4. “Truth & LIberty” – such a Righteous and Wholesome-sounding name.
    Just like “People’s Democratic” in the official name of a Third World Dictatorship.
    “The more Virtue-Signalling, the greater the Corruption.”

  5. In other words Wommack is going to be busy creating more boogeymen for Evangelicals to be afraid of in order to gain more power.

    I guess if the Holy Spirit isn’t doing what they want then politics will give him a hand.

  6. Ooorrrrr everyone like most of us are tired of our schools becoming breeding grounds for groomers or cowardly stand back and do nothing enablers. The pendulum is swinging back from evil. And as for experience, most have no experience and if yuh think being a teacher or administrator is experience, then yuh may be part of the problem. Because they sure are.

    1. “ breeding grounds for groomers or cowardly stand back and do nothing enablers”?

      Seriously, sir? The propaganda arm of the media has gotten to your apparent bias.

      “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
      Martin Luther King, Jr.

  7. I read articles like this, see some of the comments that are posted and think to myself, “if we were to go back 8yrs and have this conversation would we say the same thing?”

    The answer most would say is…”of course not!” And while that may be true in some cases, I don’t think it’s actually the reality of the situation.

    Everything has become soo polarized in our world over these past 7-8yrs. If you’re a liberal you’re demonic and if you’re a conservative you’re basically a racist nationalist. WHAT!!!

    There are soo many false narratives being told about what’s going on in our public schools it’s ridiculous! The spooky “liberal agenda” is being indoctrinated into your children. What about the racist conservatives and their crazy religious agenda they want to push into the classroom? What happened to sitting down and listening to each other? Compromise? Finding a common ground? The best for the children?

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