By Craig Hardegree | 

Evangelicals have developed a neat self-purifying definitional paradigm that automatically washes their hands of all responsibility for their own. If an evangelical preacher says something no less radical than what an ISIS cleric says, evangelicals say he wasn’t a true Christian to begin with, or he wouldn’t have said such.

You can’t get by with that.

Not as long as you insist on tagging all members of Black Lives Matters with the conduct of three or four who burned a CVS.

Not as long as you tag a billion Muslims with the conduct of a few.

If every black person who appears on TV after a riot by black youths has to suffer the humiliating obligatory yes-sir-master-I-denounce-that ritual before being allowed to speak….

If every Arab or Persian or Muslim has to self-flagellate on national TV and denounce the violence of religious extremists of the Muslim variety…

…then you Christians need to put on your denouncing britches and start speaking out against the hate-speech and violence-inciting talk erupting from ethereal evangelicals.


When I first started practicing law on my own 25 years ago, I was on nine day-glo-yellow billboards at one time. I had a large ad running in the yellow pages. I advertised on the local cable channel. I was on the big-screen between trailers while you were up getting your buttered-popcorn. I was on a mini billboard over Lane 5 at West Georgia Bowling Alley. And my mud-splattered face graced the fence-rail at the rodeo.

I finally quit asking new clients what prompted them to come to my office. Because they were never sure. Somewhere in their minds, I was familiar to them, because I had created an atmosphere of being everywhere. The exact location of the advertising and the precise wording of the ad, could rarely be concretely connected to the final conduct of them walking into my office. Somewhere, on some level, all of my different ads put the idea in their minds that calling me was what they should do.

The Orlando shooter was born and bred in America. He didn’t crawl under a fence or over a wall. He didn’t slip in unnoticed between two orphans found adrift on the Aegean Sea. He had no connection to a terrorist organization. He was as American as you and me. The Constitution says so.

We will never truly know what motivated him. It may have primarily been a radical cleric. It may have been the soul-rending guilt and consuming self-loathing experienced by a person born different from others in a religion that says his divinely-designed difference is a disgusting aberration of nature worthy of death.

But if you ever said “man lying with man is disgusting,” you bear part of the responsibility. It doesn’t matter if you whispered it behind a mud-splattered fence-rail at a VFW rodeo. It doesn’t matter if the terrorist was out getting buttered-popcorn while you were holding up a sign at Target falsely equating born-male-identifying-female persons with pedophiles and child predators. It doesn’t matter if he didn’t actually drive by one of the shockingly day-glo-sermons by no-different-from-ISIS evangelical preachers who say the Bible calls for the death penalty for homosexuals — all of that contributes to the environment of hate; all of that instills in deranged minds that people who are different are filthy disgusting aberrations of nature engaging in conduct “that even the animals don’t.”

So that’s it. Calmly. Without sermonizing. Void of emotion. No tears on my keyboard.

That’s why the blood is on your hands.


Influential Teaching Elder Kevin Swanson heads one of the many evangelical churches located strategically at the center of the country in Colorado Springs. “Influential” because he had the juice to get Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz to attend and speak at his National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa back in November.

As the three most-evangelical of all Republican candidates — representing millions of evangelical voters — listened, Swanson expounded unto them his teachings on how to stop a gay marriage, explaining he would sit in bovine excrement at the door of the church and smear excrement all over his body. He added:

“I’m grieving! I’m mourning! I’m pointing out the problem. It’s not a gay time. These are the people with the sores. The gaping sores. The sores that are pus-e and gross and people are coming in and carving happy faces on the sores. That’s not a nice thing to do. Don’t you dare carve happy faces on open pus-e sores! Don’t you ever do that! Don’t you ever do that! I tell you don’t do it!”

I think he means people who are different are sores on society and you should treat them like excrement, as opposed to trying to make them feel better by accepting them as they are and trying to make them feel good about who they are — “drawing happy faces on a sore.”

Just before he handed the pulpit over to Ted Cruz, he frantically and fanatically screamed about both the Old Testament and New Testament calling for the death of homosexuals.

Surely…Jesus wept.

And ISIS beamed with pride.

Yes, in the next few sentences, he explained that even though the Bible calls for the killing of gay people, he does not personally advocate it.

But deranged minds can’t parse that.

Similarly, after evangelical leader Pat Robertson said Christians should just sit back and let Muslims and gays kill each other, he tweeted an elaboration…he meant politically kill each other.

But we can’t be sure deranged minds got the tweet.

Arizona Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson:

“The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles. That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of just-disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, okay?”

He also called for America to have a theocracy (“righteous government”) that would kill all gay people.

But he can’t ensure deranged minds will wait for the government.

In Sacramento, Verity Baptist Church Pastor Roger Jimenez said he was only sorry more gay people did not die. He said the government should round up all gay people and “stand them against a wall and blow their brains out.” No video — YouTube removed it for violation of community standards against violence.


So there you have it, evangelicals. That’s four of your own who are calling, in varying degrees, for the death of people who are different.

The burden is on you to denounce these evangelical preachers; the burden is on you to speak out against this hate-speech; the burden is on you not to engage in it yourself; the burden is on you — as Trump says — to sniff out this evil among your ranks and stop it before it harms others.

You have a moral obligation and a civic duty.

It’s your turn.


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