The pastor whose prayer Sarah Palin says helped her to become governor of Alaska founded his ministry with a witch hunt against a Kenyan woman whom he accused of causing car accidents through demonic spells.
At a speech at the Wasilla Assembly of God on June 8 this year, Palin described how Thomas Muthee had laid his hands on her when he visited the church as a guest preacher in late 2005, prior to her successful gubernatorial bid.
In video footage of the speech, she is seen saying: "As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he's so bold. And he was praying "Lord make a way, Lord make a way."
"And I'm thinking, this guy's really bold, he doesn't even know what I'm going to do, he doesn't know what my plans are. And he's praying not "Oh Lord, if it be your will may she become governor," no, he just prayed for it. He said, "Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that's exactly what happened."
She then adds: "So, again, very, very powerful, coming from this church," before the presiding pastor comments on the "prophetic power" of the event.
The pastor speaks of his offensive against a demonic presence in the town in a trailer for the evangelical video "Transformations," made by Sentinel Group, a Christian research and information agency.
"We prayed, we fasted, the Lord showed us a spirit of witchcraft resting over the place," Muthee says.
After the spirit was broken, the crime rate dropped to almost zero and there was "explosive church growth" while almost every bar in the town closed down, the video says.
The full "Transformations" video featuring Muthee's story has recently been removed from YouTube, but the rest of the story is detailed in a 1999 article in the Christian Science Monitor, as well as on numerous evangelical Web sites.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, six months of fervent prayer and research identified the source of the witchcraft as a local woman called Mama Jane, who ran a "divination" center called the Emmanuel Clinic.
Her alleged involvement in fortune-telling and the fact that she lived near the site of a number of fatal car accidents led Muthee to publicly declare her a witch responsible for the town's ills and order her to offer her up her soul for salvation or leave Kiambu.
Says the Monitor, "Muthee held a crusade that 'brought about 200 people to Christ.'" They set up around-the-clock prayer intercession in the basement of a grocery store and eventually, says the pastor, "the demonic influence -- the 'principality' over Kiambu -- was broken," and Mama Jane fled the town.
According to accounts of the witch hunt that circulated on evangelical Web sites such as Prayer Links Ministries, after Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python they believed to be a demon.
After Mama Jane was questioned by police -- and released -- she decided it was time to leave town, the account says.
Muthee has frequently referred to this witch hunt in his sermons as an example of the power of "spiritual warfare." In October 2005, he delivered 10 sermons at the Wasilla Assembly of God, the audio of which was available on the church's Web site until it was removed around the time Palin's candidacy was announced. The blog Irregular Times has listings and screen grabs of the sermons.
It was during these sermons that Palin, who was then preparing for her gubernatorial run, was anointed by Muthee. His intercession, she says, was "awesome."Her June 8 speech was to mark the graduation of students from the Wasilla Assembly of God's Masters' Commission, which, as Pastor Ed Kalins explains, believes Alaska will be the refuge for American evangelicals upon the coming "End of Days." After her speech, Palin was presented with an honorary Masters' Commission diploma.