They lived in Woodland Park, Colo., for a decade or two or three before Andrew Wommack’s Charis Bible College came to town a decade ago.

“I went to Bible college, so I thought, what could be wrong with that?” said one unnamed resident. “I assumed they would be quiet neighbors.”

In 2017, Wommack created his political group, Truth and Liberty Coalition, and in 2021 he publicly announced his plan to use his students and employees to “take over” the mountain city near Colorado Springs.

He exploited scorched-earth political tactics to successfully place his preferred candidates on the city council and gain a 4-1 majority on the school board. Firings, resignations, enrollment declines and chaos ensued.

“We were sitting ducks,” said one conservative Christian resident, who requested anonymity due to safety concerns. “This was all brand new to me, this idea of Christians taking over. I had no idea what would happen to our local schools and I’ve been in utter shock and grief.”

One military veteran talked of being called unpatriotic and un-American for opposing Wommack’s candidates: “I’m sad, overwhelmingly sad, over the changes to my town, which was so open and so loving and gave a very strong positive impression of what it meant to be a Christian.”

“It has been very eye-opening to see all of these so-called Christians doing what they are doing in the name of what they think is God,” said another resident.

Earlier this year, these and other Teller County residents organized a group called TUFF, Teller United for Facts and Freedom.

They’ve organized an evening forum on “Christianity and Christian Nationalism” for Thursday, Feb. 29. They hope they can bring some clarity to the spiritual confusion sown by Wommack’s brand of Christian nationalism and bring healing to people who have felt its blunt force.

They’re hoping to set up a website and stream the event.

With a donor’s help, they’re flying in Samuel Perry, who was in Colorado last fall to speak on Christian nationalism at Denver Seminary. Perry is a “public sociologist” who teaches at the University of Oklahoma and has a master of theology degree in New Testament studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.

“We’ve seen a variety of social movements that tend to conflate the Christian religion with some political ideology,” said a resident, “and we’re hoping to have experts come to Teller County and discuss key trends and facts.”

TUFF chose Perry because members — many of them Christians — wanted to learn from an expert who is a person of faith. “We do not want people who are against Christianity,” they explained.

[Editor’s Note: Colorado Times Recorder columnist Logan Davis, who has written extensively about Woodland Park and Christian Nationalism and spoke at another TUFF-organized forum earlier this month, will also be speaking at this event.]

None of the residents behind TUFF were “activists” before, and some doubt they can win a David vs. Goliath battle at the ballot box when they’re up against Wommack’s $100 million empire and more than 1,000 employees and students, all of whom are urged to register and vote.

Wommack helped create a group of school board candidates who ran together on a conservative platform, the first time anything like that had ever been tried here.

Facebook posts claimed some locals were pedophiles and groomers, another unprecedented development, but such rhetoric came straight from Wommack’s Truth and Liberty Coalition.

Richard Harris, Truth & Liberty Coalition

“THEY ARE COMING FOR OUR CHILDREN. LET’S STOP THEM AT THE SCHOOL BOARDS,” wrote Richard Harris, the group’s executive director a month before last year’s Woodland Park School District elections: “This November, we have a chance to stand in the way of those who would use our children for their dark agenda to normalize perversion and attack God’s plan for the family. The satanic inspiration of the LGBTQ lobby’s effort to target children is apparent to all with open eyes.”

He added: “The LGBTQ lobby and its woke and corrupt allies in media, business, government and education are sacrificing our children to a depraved and predatory ideology unlike anything we have seen before.”

Longtime residents yearn for the days when people talked about potholes or snow removal.

Everything became liberal vs. conservative,” said one resident who supports TUFF. “Every board meeting was hostile, angry.”

Residents report being harassed and threatened for posting yard signs for the wrong candidates, another community first.