Did you know that President Barack Obama’s name is really “Barry Soetoro”? Did you know that he “obviously hates Christianity”?
Were you aware that Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is an “atheist Jew” who deserves to be thrown into a swamp?
Have you heard that God was so angry over a recent court ruling striking down the National Day of Prayer that he sent a fireball soaring over Wisconsin?
These are just some of the things I learned today after listening to a recent radio show called “TruNews” hosted by a West Palm Beach, Fla., pastor named Rick Wiles.
I decided to listen online after noticing that Wiles had interviewed Erik Stanley, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). The ADF was founded by a collection of right-wing radio and TV preachers in the early 1990s to push the Religious Right’s legal agenda, and it’s always interesting to hear the group’s spin on the church-state news of the day. It often has only a passing resemblance to reality.
This time, I got more than I bargained for. In the space of just 25 nutty minutes, I entered a whole new world of crazy, a veritable Religious Right Bizarro World where simply asserting something makes it true!
Consider Mikey Weinstein, for example. Weinstein started the Military Religious Freedom Foundation after he exposed a series of church-state violations at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Most recently, he pointed out to the Pentagon that evangelist Franklin Graham might not be a good speaker for a May 6 National Day of Prayer event since he is an appalling bigot who has repeatedly attacked Islam. Graham was duly disinvited.
According to Wiles, Weinstein is a “Christ-hating, atheist leftist.” (This would no doubt come as a surprise to Weinstein, who served in the Air Force for 10 years as a military attorney and who later worked in the Reagan White House.) Wiles opined that had Weinstein complained about religion in previous historical periods, “he would have been dumped in swamp somewhere and forgotten.”
Stanley’s response to this rather grim assertion was to chuckle and say, “That may be.”
Wiles went on to claim that it’s not a coincidence that a “massive fireball” was seen in Wisconsin after a federal judge in that state, Barbara Crabb, ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. For good measure, he went on to state that Crabb “looks like a flaming feminist – her hair’s shorter than mine.”
Asked about the fireball, Stanley’s response was again to chuckle and say, “That may be.”
(Actually, it was a meteor – and it was part of a meteor shower that took place the day before Crabb’s ruling.)
From there, Wiles careened into the issue of pulpit politicking, one of the ADF’s favorite topics. He informed Stanley that some years ago, the head of large accounting firm told him that the Internal Revenue Service maintains two lists of churches – those that accept tax exemption and those called “constitutional churches.” The IRS will put a church on the right list if you just ask, he explained.
Stanley muttered, “Hmmmm.”
Even though the provision barring tax-exempt groups from intervening in politics has been around since the 1950s, Wiles opined that it’s all a plot by Obama – I’m sorry, “Barry Soetoro” – to destroy the church because the president “obviously hates Christianity, hates evangelical Christians” and is the “most anti-Christ man ever in the White House.” (This would seem a bit strange from a guy who belongs to the United Church of Christ and is pretty upfront about his personal religious commitment.)
If the IRS dares enforce this law, Wiles said, “it really could provoke an uprising in this country.”
Stanley challenged none of this insanity. In fact, he seemed to spend most of the time egging Wiles on. The ADF, in fact, was so proud of the exchange that it distributed an e-mail containing a link to the show.
I’ll admit that Wiles has not been on my radar screen. I’ve since learned that some of his critics online consider him a “false prophet” and even a flimflam man. I don’t know if any of that’s true, but it should be obvious to anyone who listens to his show for even a few minutes that the man is an extremist.
Wiles’ Web site says the show, which is broadcast over shortwave, focuses on the following topics of interest: “Christian news; Bible prophecy news; End Time news; Last Days news; Antichrist and Mark of the Beast; New World Order news; true news; Big Brother and surveillance news; Implanted microchips; Apostasy and falling away.” (Again with the implanted microchips?!)
Yet I noticed that when Wiles introduced Stanley to his audience, he welcomed him “back” to the show – indicating that Stanley has been on before.
Sensible people would keep a crank like Wiles at arm’s length or, better yet, challenge some of his offensive comments on the air. Apparently, Stanley and the ADF have no problem embracing the guy.
So, Erik, I’d like to ask if you agree with Wiles’ offensive nonsense or did you simply lack the courage to call him out on it?
Either way, it doesn’t look good for the ADF.