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NO COPYRIGHTS RESERVED HERE!
If you are an elected official, please be informed that the LGBT Community may be looking for a new Party to support in 2012. This article is part of a new series which addresses why. I hope you find it informative and that it encourages you to do all you can to ensure that YOUR party will be the Party of choice for the LGBT community next year, whether you are Democrat or Republican.
When Barrack Obama ran for President, it came at a time when Americans were weary from 2 very costly wars, and on the heels of the largest bailout in American history for private enterprises, banks, insurance companies, and Wall Street that the world had ever known; some 700 BILLION dollars (but who's counting?...no seriously! Who's counting?).
After 8 years of Republican leadership in the White House, America was ready for a change to just about anyone except George W. Bush. When Barrack Obama became the nominee, I was both disappointed and excited. I was disappointed because I was rooting for Hillary Clinton. Not only had she gone from serving our country as First Lady to serving the state of New York as Senator, but had top government access to all those capitalist trade secrets her husband had put to good use to leave a legacy of the largest budget surplus in American history.
After a week of crying into my pillow over Hillary not receiving the nomination, I became excited at the prospect of America at least electing its first black President, because I saw it as a sign of the country finally putting racism and classism and inequality for minorities of every shade behind us, with the expectation that as one minority group achieved high office, the gay community would make further strides toward equality following in the same footsteps. Unfortunately, that isn't exactly what happened.
Not only did Congress go on to pass the largest economic stimulus package in American history, it unfortunately did not create the jobs President Obama said it would. In order to divert media attention away from the dollars Washington was spending on a failed economy, Congress began working on health care reform to provide the more than 40 million Americans who didn't have health insurance with quality medical coverage. Their answer: If you don't have health insurance now, then buy some or we'll MAKE you buy some.
EUREKA! Why didn't anyone think of that sooner? (Maybe because it's unconstitutional to force Americans to make free market investments against their will).
I think all Americans agree that is NOT what we had in mind. More than any other, that misguided piece of legislation helped galvanize and give rise to the Tea Party, and their "Taxed Enough Already" movement. Unfortunately, it also brought with it a lot of other social elements, like racism, bigotry, and homophobia packaged under the mantra "Taking America Back.....from the black man." It began to stress the coalition that Ronald Reagan had put together of social and fiscal conservatives in his Big Tent GOP, and in essence, what I affectionately call the Christian Political Party broke off from the Republican Political Party.
The whole thing has often reminded me of the scene from Trading Places when Eddie Murphy is in the men's room listening to the Duke Brothers talk about their little plan to switch Winthorpe back to his previously held company position that goes:
Randolph Duke: Now, what are we going to do about taking Winthorpe back and returning Valentine to the ghetto?
Moritmer Duke: I don't want Winthorpe back, after what he's done.
Randolph Duke: You mean, keep *Valentine* on as managing director?
Mortimer Duke: Do you really believe I would have a *nigger* run our family business, Randolph?
[Valentine's eyes widen with outrage]
Randolph Duke: Of course not. Neither would I.
(apologies to my black fellow Americans, but that's what he said! Rent the movie!)
What a lot of people who didn't follow along don't realize is that the rise of the Tea Party had actually already begun long before Obama was elected, and long before the Bush bail outs. These two events were simply the straws that broke the camel's back. It all really began in 2004 with the re-election of George W. Bush as President, who was strongly supported by Christian evangelicals and the Catholic Church (aka "social conservatives.") The Protestant evangelicals were largely led by televangelist leaders like Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, and John Hagee, (aka "Prosperity Preachers").
If those names sound familiar to you, they should. Eddie Long is the "bishop" that was recently accused of molesting underage boys in the care of his ministry. The rest of the names are some of the same folks who had to resign from the Board of Regents of Oral Roberts University in 2007, when it was discovered they had misappropriated funds and driven the university into debt to the tune of 50 million dollars....even as they collected enormous salaries for their "work" as members of ORU's Board of Regents, and bragged to their congregations about how their own ministries were debt free.
Interestingly enough, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar and Eddie Long were the same guys who were slapped with a Federal investigation by the US Senate Finance Committee asking for reports on donors, use of church tithes, and other financial abuses involving the use of tax free money to start up "for profit" enterprises, turn a taxable profit from those enterprises, and instead of paying taxes on that profit, used it to make tax deductible "donations" back into their tax deductible "ministries."
Wedged in history between 2004 when George W. Bush was re-elected and 2007 when the ORU and Senate Finance Scandals broke, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005. If there's one thing I learned by following these "Prosperity Gospel ministries" is that there's nothing better for "business" in the televangelism industry than a good old fashioned natural disaster.
Under the mantra of being the "hands and feet of Jesus," these "ministries" flew in supplies (in their own aircraft, no less), prayed with people, gave them Bibles, rebuilt their churches, distributed food, and made those rescued and rebuilt churches official (tax deductible) "outreach ministries" of their larger (tax deductible) televangelist empires. In reality, these "outreach ministries" became little more than a tax deductible money laundering/ponzi scheme, designed to keep all income in a tax deductible status by moving (er, that is "donating") tax deductible income from one associated (tax deductible) "outreach ministry" to another (tax deductible) "outreach ministry" until it finally made its way back to the (tax deductible) "headquarter ministry."
In return, these "headquarter ministries" got a brand new lot of grateful people who now have to show up and become members of these (tax deductible) "outreach ministries" in order to get the food and other supplies provided by the (tax deductible) "donating" ministries. On its surface, it appears to be nothing more than neighbors helping neighbors, and churches doing their "Christian duty" to clothe the naked and feed the poor. But take away the smoke and mirrors, and we see that it's really about control for these televangelists. Control over food, supplies, money and other basic human needs...indeed, control over people, their tithes, their income, and their votes.
In short, it's theocratic slavery, and it is the vision of many power hungry evangelical leaders to initiate a government takeover in order to install a theocratic society run by a religious cabal, even as they spread fear among Americans about the Taliban and Islamic Sharia Law doing so instead. In short, many "social conservatives" only want to make America another Christian ruled Rome, with the Church in charge of the state, and the people completely dependent upon the church for food, water, and shelter. (No wonder the Catholic Church is so involved in politics).
These power hungry "church leaders" want to control how much food and basic necessities people receive, they want to control where people can get these supplies (churches), and they want to control your sense of obligation to give back to these churches once they are rebuilt and added to the televangelist empires.....only to have your tithes going back into their (tax deductible) coffers, and get once again funnelled back into those "for profit" enterprises whose taxable profits are then funnelled back as (tax deductible) "donations" to "the ministry"....or "political campaigns."
If you think back a bit, you'll recall the big hoopla about how the government didn't do enough in terms of providing basic needs and recovery efforts for the Katrina and Rita victims. Now as to why that is, I can only guess, but the best I can reckon is that these "headquarter ministries" struck a deal with the government to allow THEM to go in instead of the government, in order to capitalize on these natural disasters as a way to get more church money pouring in. In such an admittedly hypothetical scenario, it would seem that they assured the government that they could do a better job at delivering much needed aid and for less money than the government.
The President would (theoretically) find this aspect one of those appealing "Faith Based Initiatives" he was always talking about. He (er, the government) actually gave at least one of those ministries (Eddie Long's) a rather sizable contribution, only to find that maybe Eddie put that money into his pocket, and President Bush later realized that he had been scammed with the overinflated promises of these "ministries" which proved to be too little and too late for the Katrina victims. (The wikipedia entry "Eddie Long" reads):
In 2006, Long was chosen by the family of Martin Luther King, Jr. to host and officiate the funeral for Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of the late civil rights pioneer. The event was attended by four Presidents (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter).
Long was a prominent supporter of George W. Bush's faith-based initiatives. His ministry received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Administration of Children & Families. Rev. Timothy McDonald suggested a link between Long's anti-gay activity and the grant saying "If you look at the black pastors who have come out with the faith-based money, they're the same ones who have come out with campaigns on the gay marriage issue."
But in the end, it appears these "faith based initiatives" simply were not the "force to be reckoned with" they painted themselves to be and so a lot of people got really angry really fast that the aid from the government took as long as it did, creating one of the worst embarrassments to George W. Bush's presidency that didn't involve a war, a microphone, or slurred speech.
All that explains (to my mind at least) why the government response to Katrina and Rita were so piss poor, and why these televangelists managed to stay so royally rich (oh yeah, and tax free). Now I don't have any problem with rich televangelists making a lot of money, or for a legitimate charitable organization getting a tax break, but if the GOP TRULY wanted to cut some of those "entitlements" they are always talking about, it seems to me that every church's tax deductible status should be revoked. That will bring MILLIONS of dollars into the US Treasury EVERY year (and on a permanent basis). It would eliminate the financial corruption in the televangelism world as described herein, and ease the tax burden on all Americans who are subsidizing these folks plans to take over the government. For every tax dollar these organizations don't pay, you and I pick up the tab instead. It may not solve ALL of America's tax burden issues, but it's a start. It may not completely prevent an armed take over of the government in order to install a theocracy, but it would delay it.
By now, you may be thinking I'm some kind of conspiracy theorist, but I know I'm not simply because I wondered if that was my problem too. But a true conspiracy theorist doesn't know they are one, just like a mentally unstable person isn't aware of their instability.
To prove it, let's turn our attention now to the 2008 election and I think you'll see what I've been watching develop over the past few years. Do you remember when John McCain refused to accept the endorsement from John Hagee for President in 2008 after Hagee made anti-Catholic comments? Do you remember seeing John Hagee's name as one of those ORU Board members who resigned? Cool. Now you're connecting the dots....and so has the GOP....and maybe Hillary Clinton was on to something none of us were aware of when she mentioned that "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy."
But why is all this important? Well, one is because in the lead up to the Republican primaries, Mike Huckabee was on Kenneth Copeland's televangelist program (but only in the capacity as a pastor--(wink! wink!)--and not as a political endorsement--(wink! wink!)--because churches who endorse candidates lose their tax exempt status). Next thing I know, Huckabee is winning the primary in Iowa with a HUGE turn out in evangelical voters. Soon after, his campaign quickly lost steam as John McCain and Mitt Romney emerged as the front runners for the Republican nomination. So a lot of church folks were disappointed right out of the gate that they had made a bad bet on Huckabee.
And then SUDDENLY: Sarah Palin, a folksy, whimsical character (who just happened to be an affiliated member of an Assemblies of God Church)--(which just happens to be the umbrella group of most televangelists)--appears out of nowhere and is thrust onto the national stage as John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate (much to most of America's chagrin).
Speaking of which, if you listen closely to the rhetoric and talking points of most candidates in the Tea Party, we hear the same memes over and over:
- No separation of church and state (and if you're a televangelist like Eddie Long, you now know why....there's money being funnelled from the government in the form of "grants" to churches, which gets funnelled into campaigns to elect the government officials who are vested with the authority to give these grants out, apparently at will)
- Defund the Department of Agriculture (because when we get done with you, all you'll be doin' is workin' in the fields pickin' crops because we are self reliant around here)
- Defund Planned Parenthood (because the more babies we get from you, the more kids we can indoctrinate and they won't even feel the transition of going from being free citizens to becoming slaves to the church, plus we'll grow the Christian faith at the same time!)
- Defund the Department of Education--Let Parents Home School (which would explain all those misspelled signs we see at the Tea Party rallies)--(as an aside, I actually had a Tea Party gentleman explain that "those signs were hand made, and were not a product of a liberal Kinkos print job." I reminded the right honorable gentleman that so too had the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution been "hand made," and by quill and ink, and with (SURPRISE!) no misspelled words!).
- Personal Liberty (to choose to be controlled by the church instead of the state, and we can teach kids new words like "refudiate" and "nukular" and "strategeries"...but only if we keep them off those damn internets.)
- Personal Armaments (aka "Second Amendment Remedies" and "Don't Retreat, Reload!", presumably for when the time comes for the theoretical government coup)
- Protecting the Family (which is code for "ban and/or burn the gays", as if we are the cause of divorce or adultery, which are the TRUE enemies of "the family"...and they're heterosexual in nature too)
- Cutting Entitlements and Becoming Self Reliant (which is code for don't make the taxpayers care for the elderly, retired and disabled, let the church do it instead, because it gives us more control. We'll pray for them when they get sick and if God don't heal them and they die, well what good is it to have them around anyway?)
- Islamaphobia (which is code for "the Christians would prefer to take over the government instead of letting another religion do so"...besides, fear works and gets folks to the voting booth.)
- Taking Our Country Back....(especially from the BLACK man!) (which is code for take control away from the State and give it to the Church, and put a rich televangelist with his own jet in charge, because if he has his own jet, surely he can figure out how to bring peace to the Middle East...or at least get there really fast if he had to).
- Get the Government out of our Private Lives (which is code for "we'd prefer the church be over our private lives instead of the state....even though we don't realize we don't HAVE to be under the control of either, since we are Americans and that's what true liberty is all about and why we fought Britain to attain it....unless of course you're gay in which case, both the church and government should ensure that life is made to be pure bloody hell for you all your living days!)
- Return Our Country to the Founding Father's Vision (which is code for let's go back to pre-Civil War days where some states could have slaves if they want)
- Immigration Reform (which is code for "I hate brown people as much as I hate black people" even though our company does use a lot of undocumented workers because my boss doesn't like to pay taxes on them....which of course is why they come to America in the first place, but we can't say so out loud or he'll get arrested and I'll lose my job, because after all, he's my boss too)
- Tax Reform (which is code for "vote for me and I'll lower your taxes....so you can afford to pay more tithes so we can have tax deductible income with which to prepare to take over the government....via Second Amendment remedies, if necessary)
- Other various talking points, including the "thou doth protest too much" stylized insistence that nobody cares that Obama is half black and half white, because they aren't racists (which only racists seem to have to say out loud in order to attempt to convince folks)
Time and again, as if being read from a teleprompter, these are the coded messages and talking points from one kookie cookie cutter Tea Party candidate to the next.
So it seems to me that as as the first group of televangelicals fell out with the Bush administration over Katrina and later the ORU investigation and then the Senate Finance Committee investigation, by 2008, these (tax deductible) churches' ability to keep throwing money at Presidential campaigns began to wane--perhaps even intentionally so. Perhaps...just perhaps, the Bush Administration began realizing their plot, got hold of his buddies in the Oil and Gas industry to raise gas to $4.00/gallon so church folk couldn't tithe as much, and in essence deprived the coup attempt from achieving its goals of installing a theocracy by cutting off its funding at the source; tithing from the faithful (and gullible).
Further, perhaps...just perhaps....the whole Fannie and Freddie deregulation was intentionally designed to force the housing bubble to burst and cut off credit to all Americans in an effort to kill the money source of the attempted coup attempt. One thing's for sure, it happened fast, and it affected church incomes as it affected Americans' incomes, and the next thing you know, "social conservatives" are forming their own group known as the Tea Party, led by Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Paul Rand, Joe Miller, Carly Fiorina and anyone else Palin endorsed lately....and oddly enough, MANY were running AGAINST Republicans! Admittedly this is largely just a theory, but you have to admit it certainly makes a LOT of sense. But that's nothing compared to what happened next.
Let's back up again to the 2008 election. Now considered little more than "useful idiots," the GOP realized it still needed the "social conservatives" to win an election, even after it (theoretically) succeeded in draining money from the church. So they began a new search for someone who could still salvage the "social conservative" vote, even if they didn't have a lot of money to contribute to their campaigns. They needed a new draw to bring in evangelicals (which is code for "social conservatives"), (which is code for "church folks", or what you and I may affectionately refer to as "right wing nut jobs.")
Both Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin fit the bill perfectly, because not only were they part of the "social conservatives," and both of them were Republican Governors, at least neither were leaders in the then scandal-ridden evangelical community, and likely not privy to any (theoretical) coup attempt designed to overthrow our democratic government and install a theocracy. As far as I can tell, both Mike and Sarah had simply used their church affiliations to gain free audiences to pander to for votes, which is exactly what the Republican Party needed to not only bring in the "social conservatives", but also what was left of all that wonderful church folk money....but without the (theoretical) coup. And since the American public had little knowledge of either Mike or Sarah, they seemed to be immune from enough public scrutiny for the media to crucify them in time for the election....or so they thought....but they had not yet become acquainted with Tina Fey....and they STILL don't know who the hell I am!
Between the ORU scandal, the Senate Finance Committee investigation, and (perhaps an intentionally artificially inflated) $4.00/gallon for gas at the time, (theoretically driven by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's ties to the Oil and Gas Industry), evangelical organizations began to see their tithing incomes wane. Once the Wall Street bailouts came along and the financial downturn paralyzed the majority of our capitalist society, suddenly not only had the housing market bubble burst, but so too had the televangelist market (and that theoretical coup attempt). What I believe happened with the crash is that people who used to sit in church thinking they were not only going to get in heaven, but would become rich while here on earth too if they just tithed every week...found that they had just entered hell and were not going to become rich...at least not any time soon.
This made a LOT of church folk angry (and rightly so!) The trust people put into ministry leaders is sacred, and to have it betrayed is blasphemous. In the ensuing months after the crash, ministry after ministry began being scrutinized even more closely by parishioners themselves, as the faithful began to realize from learning about the ORU scandal, the new ministry airplanes being bought, and the Senate Finance investigation of their church leaders, that they had been had. They had been paying 10% of their income in order to buy the miracle cure to their poverty that the televangelists gave them, drank the kool-aid, and found out it was actually laced with financial cyanide...like Jim Jones, only they lived.
As these ministry leaders felt the heat from their parishioners about these unmanifested "blessings" their ministry leaders began to blame the government bail outs, and the high price of gas. And when those events all combined with the loss of John McCain to Barrack Obama, that is what really led to the up rise of the Tea Party and gave it legs upon which to stand and rouse up a group of under educated, lower middle class, beer drinkin', gun totin', home schoolin', Bible thumpin,' homo bashin,' racial slurrin', white, evangelicals, (or again, what you and I refer to as "right wing nut jobs.") Not only had these parishioners been bamboozled by their churches, but these ministry leaders got them to believe they had been hoodwinked by their government too.
Of course what REALLY happened here was that these preachers used peoples' own greed (and gullibility) against them, so it's hard to put all the blame on the so called "prosperity preachers" who keep saying "get off the Babylonian system of finance, and get onto GAWWWDDDD's way of doing business" (which of course is code for:
"Just give me more of your money and control over your life, and as long as you continue to do everything I tell you to, you MIGHT have a chance at getting a free ride in my shiny private jet one day, or I might let you follow me around in case some of these wads of cash fall out of my pocket by accident.....but don't stand too close to me, because after all, this watch is a Rolex, and I'm scared you may steal it, which is why I have all this armed security here in church (of all places).
Oh yeah, and while you're at it, you're gonna vote for the politicians I tell you to, you'll be paid what I say, you'll sit down when you're told, you'll shut up when you're told, and you'll learn the "social conservatives script for dummies" for use at any cocktail party wherein you may encounter a feminist, an abortionist, or militant homosexual Nazi, because those are all attackers on "the family" out to recruit your children.
You'll be part of the "Army of GAWWDDD!" You won't retreat--you'll reload! You'll march Onward Christian Soldier and take up arms and we'll use you to take this country back (from freedom loving Americans...and that BLACK man!) and install a New World Order (Theocracy....run by WHITE men...no women, Jews, fags, blacks, hispanics or asians allowed....after all, THAT's what our Founding Fathers envisioned!).
You'll believe what I tell you the Bible says, and you won't read it for yourself (because you'll realize I've lied about the gays and the women).
You won't question me, my motives, or my means. I'll be rich, and you'll be poor, but since it won't turn you on if I actually say it, I'll just lie and tell you that you'll be rich too if you'll just keep tithing.
You'll home school your children so they'll stay as ignorant and gullible as you are, and they won't become infected by all that human secularism, intelligence, enlightenment, thinking for themselves, science, truth, facts, fairness, democracy, justice, freedom, liberty, pluralism, tolerance, or equality. You'll be counted among the "faithful" and I'll be:
....and you'll be a member in good standing In The Church of the Poison Mind.
We'll never tell you all this face to face, but a militant homosexual Nazi like that faggot fudge packin' Brian Anthony Bowen just might so don't pay him no mind, because he's just a conspiracy theorist, left wing LIBERAL, trying to approve a RADICAL homosexualistical agenda who thinks there weren't any dinosaurs on Noah's Ark and that the earth is BILLIONS of years old! Plus, he's a facist! You just can't believe anything he says. After all, let God be true and every man a liar (except me of course, because I'm a pastor...and a cosigner on Jesus' very own checking account!)
Yes, brother, just keep payin' your tithe, and everything's gonna be alright! Hail Mary, Amen, and His Truth Is Marching On! GLORY!"
(Don't you just love the "Family of God"?)
I mean between Depeche Mode, Boy George, and Kenneth Copeland, I just don't know WHO to believe anymore! But right now, my money is on Boy George....(and Jesus, of course).
What does all that have to do with the Democrats and their betrayal of the trust that gays put in them to work on ENDA and DOMA? I answer that question in the next article:
"This Ain't Your Father's GOP" (February 15, 2011)
Brian Anthony Bowen
Member of the Worldwide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community
Music Producer, "The Gemini Enterprise: Stellar Trance"
Blogger, "The Gemini Gayzette"
Author of upcoming new book, "The Bed Keeper: A Biblical Case FOR Gay Marriage"
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