Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Undercover: Into the Bowels of the Evangelical Movement

No matter what you’ve already read and heard about deranged herds of bookburning tongue-speaking “Christian” wackjobs, there’s always something even worse that’ll have you going “WTF??? Oh. My. God!”

Matt Taibbi went underground and infiltrated a 3-day workshop put on by John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church. Aside from being one of John McCain’s friendliest bedfellows, John Hagee is the leader of Christian Zionism. This is the belief that America and Israel should unite for the purpose of speeding up the arrival of Armageddon.

As True Believers all know, Jesus will be reappearing, but not until after Israel is involved in a final bloody showdown with the forces of Satan. And then — ooooohhhh I’m so excited! — the RAPTURE! Come on, let’s get this party started!

When you think of “Christian” demagogues, you probably think of those wacky televised presentations. As Matt Taibbi describes it: “Perfectly groomed people in pale suits and light-colored dresses, smiling and happy and full of the Holy Spirit, robotically singing hymns at the behest of some squeaky-clean pastor with a baritone voice and impossible hair.”

But: “We don't get to see the utterly batshit world they live in, when the cameras are turned off…in other words, there's a ready-for-prime-time stage act — toned down and lip-synced to match a set of PG lyrics that won't scare the advertisers — and then there's the real party backstage, where the spiritual hair really gets let down.” And does it ever!

This is a long article but it’s an excellent read. It has all the suspense of a cop show when somebody goes undercover and infiltrates a vicious gang. Obviously the author came out unharmed since his article was published. But all through the article there’s this nagging tension, this sensation of “oh my God, what if he gets recognized? What if somebody figures out he isn’t one of Them?”

During the final day of the “Encounter Weekend” (as they called it), there was a fire-and-brimstone ceremony for exorcising demons. The workshop leader (his name was Philip Fortenberry) repeatedly yelled out “In the name of Jesus I cast out the demon of _______.” These are the demons that were cast out (in order): Incest. Sexual abuse. Astrology. Lust. Cancer. Handwriting analysis. Intellect. Anal fissures. Philosophy. Pornography. Disconnect.

And the Encounter Weekend wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory Harry Potter anecdote. Philip Fortenberry (again) mesmerized the audience. His nephew had called him up one night, frantic. His two young sons had collapsed on the floor and they were writhing and gasping for air.

“And I said to my nephew, I said, 'It isn't something they've done. It's something you've done.' I told my nephew to look around the house. I said, 'Do you have a copy of Harry Potter?' And he said yes. And I said, 'That's your problem.' So I told him to go get that copy of that book, tear it in half and throw it out the window. So he does it, and guess what? Both of those kids stood up completely recovered, just like that." Praise the Lord.

Damn You Harry Potter!

Enjoy this article. You’ll laugh. You’ll cringe. You’ll clench your fist and yell out a few cusswords you haven’t even thought of since high school. And you’ll probably need a massive hit of your favorite drug.

This is a necessary glimpse into America’s seamy underside. It isn’t pretty, but we need to recognize and acknowledge it. And if you’ve ever wondered how rightwing “Christian” demagogues could have so much power — remember, there are millions of Americans who are exactly like the people portrayed in this story.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't read the whole article (too long, will finish it on way to work). But Bill Moyers has talked about this Hagee character quite a bit on his show. This guy scares me shitless with his bullshit and it's sad that politicians in our country are influenced by these lunatics. The rapture is coming alright...Bush has started it and McCain will finish it. A few years from now after our country has fallen hard and the rest of the world is looking in on us, we'll ask ourselves, where were you when the raptured hit i.e. why did we elect Gramps McWar?

April 28, 2008 at 1:30 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

I've been bitching about this dangerous crook for years. I can't wait to read the article.

April 28, 2008 at 3:07 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: "Where were you when the rapture hit" -- yup, that'll be the question for millions of people after the dust has finally settled. As lowly and despicable as these rightwing politicians and religious demogogues are, they get their power from millions of dumbfucks who believe everything they say. And someday people will be asking these Good Germans "how did you let this happen?"

Carlos: I hadn't heard of Hagee until recently. So many rightwing religious fanatics, it's hard to keep track of them all.

April 28, 2008 at 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long before this guy there was Bob Jones University that practiced racial segregation because it believed that's what the bible said (this is the basis for our Jim Crow and Slavery Laws folks)

The Reagan/Bush administrations believed that deserved a tax exempt status (totally illegal for institutions that discriminated) and had Justice file a brief supporting them to the supreme court. The Supreme Court denied it but Bob Jones still received a lot of Right Wing Support. How much?

GW made a speech there giving his support and then he was told "Hey they discriminate" He said he didn't know and apologized and Bob Jones changed some of it's rules - you as an 18 year old adult college student can hang around black people - you have to get a signed consent form from your parents.

Not over yet

Not only is Bob Jones still getting right wing support where many GOP members of congress go to their sermons and fund raisers BUT that attorney from Justice that argued for their tax exempt status GW is trying to promote to Federal Judge (one of the biggest appointments the Democrats are stalling) because she said she BELIEVED in what BJ (how appropriate) University is doing.

Remember that next time somebody screams about Obama's Pastor


April 28, 2008 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I don't think Bob Jones was the first either. From what I've read, racist organizations (Nazis, KKK, etc.), Big Business and the Religious Right have been working hand in hand behind the scenes since the 1930s; maybe even earlier. There are certainly millions of Christians who aren't hateful or racist, but a few leaders of the above-mentioned groups have been collaborating and manipulating events and public opinion for a long long time.

Google the name Wayne Madsen for some real eye-opening history of America's underside. I don't know how credible he is; he's pretty over-the-top. But he sure makes you think.

April 28, 2008 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Great article. Just read it and passed it on to my lovely, temporary houseguest for a read. She's diggin' it too. What a sad state one must be in to fall for the shit those fucktards sling at their followers. How can any rational person believe that shit? Oh, wait. It's faith. That's right. Pffft....

April 28, 2008 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: Yeah, that article was unreal. They use a lot of the same psychological techniques that were used by "new age" type organizations in the 1970s, but for much more sinister purposes. There's so much cold calculation and manipulation by the leaders of these groups. Don't forget, Dr. James Dobson has a Ph.D. in psychology, not Divinity.

April 28, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the motherfuckin rapture would come on, then, so these sons of bitches would get the hell out of here.

April 28, 2008 at 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just realize that when I posted I forgot to put my initials. The first post was mine.


April 28, 2008 at 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just realize that when I posted I forgot to put my initials. The first post was mine.


April 28, 2008 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: Yeah, it'll be nice to have them out of here. And the rest of us can have their cars and houses when they're gone.

Jo: Yes, I thought that was you.

April 29, 2008 at 12:50 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

So, the unholy demons cavorting in Tartarus with the other unholy demons are going to tempt our souls to an eternity of blasphemy with the black mark of handwriting analysis. That's some sneaky shit. It's a good thing these lunatics don't have the ear of the current and possibly future president.

April 29, 2008 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said...

I'm with Jo--the Rapture needs to hurry up and get here. Then we'll have the earth to ourselves.

April 29, 2008 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Ah, the seamy underside of things... what the media won't touch! Now that Hagee has given his endorsement to John McCain, how COULD they report things like this? Even if it is just about the freakiest, nuttiest stuff ever conceived? Eeeek!!!

April 29, 2008 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: Yes, wouldn't that be awful if those fanatics had connections with the White House and the Republican Party. Whew! Perish the thought.

Miss Kitty: Yup, good riddance to them.

Snave: Hagee needs to be an albatross around McCain's neck. If the "media" won't do their jobs then it'll be up to us bloggers. And Rolling Stone -- among all their celebrity gossip they still have some hardhitting articles.

April 29, 2008 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I know Bob Jones wasn't the first but given the Rev Wright controversy the media is telling people this is the first time a politician has had a controversial preacher while giving Bob Jones a free ride.

There is another controversial Right Wing Minister who enjoys Lots of GOP and Right wing support. He's a Korean , manufactures and deals munitions yet says he is the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

Yes it's Rev Moon

20 years ago he was corrupting your kids now He owns the Conservative Washington Times and pours money into Conservative causes and he can claim he's Jesus - just keep pouring in the money.

He gets a free ride too


April 29, 2008 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Yeah, it really sucks that all of these rightwing preachers, and the politicians who pander to them, have gotten a free ride. Like you said, conservatives are suddenly just shocked that a radical preacher (Wright) has ties to a politician. But they never had a problem with 30 years of spewings by Falwell/Dobson/Robertson.

I've read stuff about Moon. Funny, 30 years ago he was just this weirdo that only hippies ("Moonies") cared about. Now he's pulling all sorts of strings within the Republican Party and different rightwing causes around the world.

April 29, 2008 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

OMG,I read the whole thing. And the last paragraph was very scary. It's true. You can't reason with people like this.

April 30, 2008 at 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's got to be a coalition when a Korean calls himself the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ (I mean Christ was never in Korea and everybody knows he's an American right?) and these Right Wing Preachers don't bat an eye


April 30, 2008 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mauigirl: True, that article was scary, in addition to being funny, sad, maddening...

Like the author said, these organizations have a way of trumping any sort of intellect or reasoning ability and going straight for the Id.

Erik: Yup, that's ironic all right. A bunch of xenophobic bigots sucking up to a Korean (and he's originally from North Korea if I'm not mistaken). I guess if it's for the sake of a neocon master plan, they can put aside their differences.

May 1, 2008 at 12:47 AM  

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