Saturday, August 27, 2016

News Tidbits

NPR: Clinton: Trump Is 'Taking Hate Groups Mainstream'

Politico: Trump campaign CEO once charged in domestic violence case

Mamba Online: Pastor Steven Anderson’s new secret plans for Johannesburg trip already crumbling

Associated Press: Candidates capitalize on the ever-powerful 'religious vote'

Pennlive: In Pennsylvania House, even prayer practices are proving to be controversial

Christian Today: Mark Driscoll hits out at polygamy and warns it could be legal within two decades

Reuters: 9th Circuit upholds California ban on sexual orientation therapy for minors

Outsports: Lesbian basketball coach sues Catholic school that fired her for marrying her wife

Miami New Times: Miamian Fired for Anointing Desks With Oily Crosses Wasn't Discriminated Against, Judge Rules

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Spiritually manipulated, sexually exploited: A psychiatrist used religion to ply patients for sex   (Trigger warning)

Commentary Tidbits

Revolutionary Faith: When Con Men Use the Bible to Sell Evil

Southern Poverty Law Center: What Is the Alternative Right?

Media Matters for America: What Is The "Alt-Right"? A Guide To The White Nationalist Movement Now Leading Conservative Media

The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser: The Rick Trotter Saga: Yet Another Example of Churches Not Protecting Members from Sexual Predators 

Slate: Hello Goodbye: The author of a best-selling abstinence manifesto is reconsidering the lessons he taught to millions

Daily Beast: The Right’s Favorite Anti-LGBT Doctor Strikes Again

Musical Interlude: "Universal Death Squad" by Epica

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Red Hot Preaching Conference: Booze and Botswana

Perennial misogynist and homophobe Steve Anderson, Roger Jimenez, Donnie Romero, and David Berzins came together for the Red Hot Preaching Conference in Sacramento, California on July 28-31. Hosted by Jimenez' Verity Baptist Church, the gathering was meant to be an opportunity to "meet many great men of the faith and potentially go soulwinning with very experienced soulwinners". (Hat tip to No Longer Quivering and Raw Story.)

The conference couldn't have assembled a more hysterical and offensive list of speakers. Anderson, Jimenez, and Romero were in the news this summer for making vicious comments about LGBTQ people in the wake of the Orlando Pulse massacre. Berzins has made homophobic comments of his own, criticizing supposedly weak churches for not standing up to the "homosexual agenda". The gathering's homophobic line-up drew protesters from the Love is Love Movement and Kiss Away Hate, according to ABC 10, KCRA 3, and Fox 40.

Before I focus on the main lineup, I'd like to share some quotes from a man who spoke before Anderson. In this YouTube video, Garrett Kirchway of Faithful Word Baptist Church devoted a short sermon to the evils of alcohol.

"The Bible speaks very strongly against alcohol!" he preached. In rapid fire fashion, Kirchway fired off Bible passages that condemn drunkenness such as Proverbs 20.

Kirchway reminded the audience that he was preparing for a missionary trip to Botswana, where he planned to tackle alcohol consumption. "When you teach, you need to teach against the sins of the land. Alcohol is a big sin in Africa," he claimed. At the 47:58 mark, he told listeners that alcohol consumption is a problem in Botswana because its churches are confused and its Bibles are poorly translated. The answer, Kirchway proposed, was to promote the King James Bible.
"Why is alcohol so popular there? Well first of all, it's in the churches. The reason why it's in the churches is there's a lot of confusion that people see about alcohol. There's a lot of false teachings about alcohol. Also, their Bibles are messed up. Believe it or not, John 2 in many of their versions says that Jesus turned water into alcohol, not water into wine, but water into alcohol. We need to get the King James Version to as many people as we can ... We need to preach hard against sin."
At the 48:52 mark, Kirchway promised to eject Botswanans out of their churches if they didn't stop drinking alcohol.
"I can't guarantee we're going to bring down the alcohol consumption in the country of Botswana, but I can bring it down in our church. When we preach the King James Bible, when we preach hard, if they still don't listen, we'll kick them out of church by 1 Corinthians 5:11. And if the other churches follow suit, maybe the alcohol consumption will come down."
First, this approach to missionary work reeks of the White Man's Burden. Second, alcohol consumption in moderation is not immoral, and certainly no reason to denigrate your African hosts. Third, if Kirchway is truly concerned about alcoholism in Botswana, he should be supporting medical services and mental health care providers in Botswana. Professional services will do far more good for alcoholics than King James Bibles and finger-wagging American preachers. Like so many of his brethren, Kirchway promotes fundamentalism as a cure for social problems, ignoring better solutions.

News Tidbits

Louisville Courier-Journal: Judge dismisses civil suits against Kim Davis

Vancouver Sun: Vancouver Christians collide over televangelist Franklin Graham

Associated Press: Groups press Walgreens on religious restrictions in clinics

Washington Blade: Judge: Religion permits Michigan funeral home to engage in anti-trans bias

Gay Star News: Canada: Homophobic zombies at Toronto Pride sued for $104 million

Pink News: Australia: Being ‘transgender is like anorexia’, claim conservative lobby group

Commentary Tidbits

Damned Interesting: 4 times The Gospel Coalition outdid itself for bigotry

Against the Greater Light: The C Word

Shakesville: Behold Your Roosting Chickens

Washington Post: The Breitbart alt-right just took over the GOP

The New Civil Rights Movement: Founder of Two of America's Most Damaging and Dangerous Anti-Gay Groups Endorses Trump

The Atlantic: Donald Trump Isn't Relying on Faith Alone

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hillary Clinton in League with Infernal Forces, Say Some Religious Right Figures

Many Religious Right figures have supported Donald Trump's candidacy and attacked Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Some have done so by arguing that a woman is unfit to be president. Others are doing so by claiming Clinton is knowingly or unknowingly in league with infernal forces. Who can forget Ben Carson's speech at the Republican National Convention, during which he linked Hillary Clinton, Saul Alinsky, and Lucifer? Now, several Religious Right commentators have linked Clinton with Satan and the Antichrist, pandering to the fear and superstition of their audience.

This tactic is nothing new. Fundamentalists have repeatedly claimed that President Obama is the Antichrist, or that he is at least playing a sinister role in Biblical prophesy. The claims began during his run for the 2008 presidential election and have continued ever since. Desperate to unite their followers against Clinton, fundamentalists have started making the same claims about her.

First, Trump supporter and New Apostolic Reformation preacher Lance Wallnau lionized Trump as a "wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness" during a recent podcast. During the August 17th edition of the Strang Report on Charisma Podcast Network, Wallnau gave a political talk dripping with Seven Mountains Dominionism. He argued that Trump could help the Religious Right gain control of social institutions that are supposedly controlled by Satan.

After reminding listeners about the next president's power to appoint Supreme Court justices, Wallnau spoke of Hillary Clinton and the devil in the same breath. At the 11:14 mark, he claimed that a Clinton victory would play into Satan's "end game" and help him consolidate his control of society. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"If Hillary Clinton has the power in this culture to promote radicals to the Supreme Court, that process of redefining the meaning of words I can almost guarantee is going to continue to extend itself right on down to the free speech of Christians to be able to speak biblical truth. That’s the end game the devil’s at. And so, I’m talking to Christians now, we must understand -- Satan wants to wrap up his institutional control of high places in government, media, arts, academia, and business is about to come under assault with Hillary Clinton. And the end game will be a redefinition. The ultimate redefining will be what America is, and it’s going to happen in her administration and it’s going to affect our children. For forty years they’re going to have to live with it."
Radio host Bryan Fischer, who opposes a Clinton presidency on account of her gender, has linked Clinton with the Antichrist. During the August 15th edition of Focal Point, Fischer claimed that Hillary Clinton was animated by an "Antichrist impulse". At the 34:47 mark of the second hour, he said the following. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"Hillary Clinton is not a friend of religious liberty. In fact, she is hostile to religious liberty. She's an enemy of religious liberty. There's a profound anti-Christian impulse in Hillary Clinton. I would go so far as to call it an Antichrist impulse. The same spirit that will one day animate the Antichrist is the same spirit that is at work in Hillary Clinton. She opposes Christ. She opposes biblical Christianity. She's hostile to it. She seeks to repress it. She seeks to punish it, and she seeks to stifle it. That is the spirit of the Antichrist and it is at work in Hillary Clinton."
After blasting Hillary Clinton for allegedly siding with the "homosexual agenda" over religious liberty, Fischer repeated his accusation at the 43:10 mark.
"Hillary Clinton is motivated by the spirit of the Antichrist because she is against Christ. She's against Christianity. She is against the free exercise of the Christian faith. She doesn't want the Christian faith to be a part of the public square, to influence public policy in any way. She's against everything that Christianity stands for. She is for same-sex marriage. She is for the promotion of homosexuality. She is against the sanctity of human life. She is against religious liberty."
Anti-abortion activist Alveda King also linked Clinton with the Antichrist. During the August 12th edition of The Jim Bakker Show, King accused Hillary Clinton of asking Americans to abandon their religious beliefs, thereby ushering in the Antichrist. At the 3:02 mark, in the midst of a disjointed diatribe against ISIS, Margaret Sanger, and Planned Parenthood, King had this to say. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"Mrs. Hillary Clinton .. said basically Christians and religious people in America need to set aside their religious beliefs and serve secular humanism, and in that point she was saying abortion or the thing with ISIS ... and she really has said we're going to have to learn in America to set aside our religious beliefs ... What's she's really saying is usher in the Antichrist."
Jim Bakker also hosted Don Colbert of the Divine Health Wellness Center on his show, who accused Hillary Clinton of acting under the aegis of the Antichrist. During the June 9th edition of The Jim Bakker Show, Colbert claimed that the "spirit of Antichrist" rested on Hillary Clinton at the 35:00 mark. Colbert's comments followed a pro-Trump segment in which a retired firefighter prophesied that God had chosen Trump to restore America, as well as something about horse races. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)

"That spirit of Antichrist is majorly on one of these candidates, and that’s Hillary Clinton, and Jesus even said there will be many Antichrists in the world. Well, that spirit of Antichrist is on our president right now. And so, as Christians, we have got to turn out and vote. If we don’t turn out and vote, we are electing Hillary Clinton."
After Colbert's comment, Bakker warned listeners against hatred and venom in politics, oblivious to his hypocrisy.
"As I have been speaking to a lot of leaders that know history, really know what's going on, they're saying there is such hatred, there is such venom that they said that--be careful. Pray the power and the blood of Christ over all your leaders, because there will be people falling dead if we're not careful. The hatred right now, and the lust for power--you don't understand how deep this power thing goes."
Literally demonizing a political candidate is a cheap, dirty tactic. Are these Religious Right figures knowingly manipulating their listeners with dire warnings about Satan and the Antichrist? Or do they actually believe their own propaganda as they grow more paranoid about the End Times?

Either way, these tactics may inflame the fears of a small segment of the population, but they will not work with the larger populace. If these fundamentalists are resorting to devils and boogeymen in their fight against Clinton, they're scraping the bottom of the barrel.