By Alex P. Vidal
LOS ANGELES, California – We should not blame the song if we don’t like how it is being played. It’s the singer not the song. It’s the lovers not the love – when relationships nosedive. If we don’t like the shows on TV, let’s switch channels, not destroy the whole hardware. If we hate rats, let’s spare the whole house from our homicidal wrath.
Christianity, like other religions, is not perfect. In every forest there is snake, in every paradise there is serpent. When some people give Christianity a bad name, it does not follow that the entire religion is swamped by dregs and nincompoops. Gandhi didn’t like the Christians but he loved Jesus Christ.
Jamie Frater, a California-based author of Ultimate Book of Bizarre Lists, has identified 10 people who have given Christianity a bad name. They are: Fred Phelps, Sr., Fr. Charles Coughlin, Jim Jones, Marshall Herff Applewhite, Jr., Paul Jennings Hill, Michael Bray, Matthew Hale, Pat Robertson, David Koresh, and Sun Myung Moon.
According to Frater, Phelps, Sr. had three children, four of whom have disowned him and their other siblings. The four children, two men and two women, have denounced Phelps as “a vitriolic, megalomaniacal sadistic psychopath.”
“I can phrase it better than that, and yet, it still doesn’t fully capture the man’s personality,” admits Frater, who was born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. “Ordinarily, the lister should remain objective about the list, but in this case, except for his congregation, which officially numbers 71, and 60 of whom are Phelps’ relatives, it’s highly doubtful that anyone else on the planet agrees with, or even slightly supports, Philips’ savage, barbaric perversion of Christianity and its founder. So I don’t feel quite so bad about being biased.”
Phelps’ “ministry” at the Westboro Baptist Church, which he founded in Topeka, Kansas, is based almost entirely on antihomosexuality, which is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, sin to denounce by means of quoting Bible, reveals Frater.
“God condemns homosexuality at least twice in Leviticus, and from this principle, Phelps feels he can condemn the entire world, but especially the U.S., which he has described as a liberal hellhole that supports homosexuality,” Frater explains. (That’s a very, very cleaned-up paraphrase of his graphic, disgustingly profane words).
Coughlin was a priest who used the radio to acquire a large audience for his political and religious propaganda, Frater writes. He was born in 1891 and was one of the first to use modern technology to mass communicate for such a purpose.
He started out innocently enough, using radio to decry the KKK for burning crosses on his church grounds, but 10 years later, in 1936, he started praising and defending both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini for their politics and spewing some of the most despicable virulence against Jews that the world had seen to that point. He blamed the Great Depression on “an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers,” then blamed Communism, the Russian 1917 Revolution, and Marxist atheism on “global Jewry, in its attempt to lead people astray from the perfection of Lord Jesus.”
According to Frater, Coughlin plagiarized a speech by Goebbels, then delivered it himself in a rally in the Bronx on September 13, 1935, giving the “Hitler salute.” And this is what he said: “When we get through with the Jews in America, they’ll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing.”
He acquired thousands of followers who chanted things like, “Wait until Hitler gets over here!” Coughlin was linked with a group that attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government, after which he was abandoned by most of them. He still refused to change his politics, and fought a series of radio duels with Unitarian Walton Cole, who wanted the Catholic Church to put an end to Coughlin’s vitriol.
The number of people who died with Applewhite is nothing compared to the 909 people, 276 of them children, who became enamored with the handsome, charismatic founder of the Peoples Temple. James Warren Jones started out Methodist and seemed to have fine intentions, endeavoring to bring about civil rights for blacks and integrate American society.
Somewhere along the line, however, he went patently insane. He was an aggressive narcissist. He never claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and the only reason he founded the Peoples Temple was for the money he could make via his congregation.
The strangest part is that his followers were not hopeless runaways or uneducated or uninformed. They were predominantly members of other Christian denominations. They were taken by Jones’ good looks and charm and his ability to lead and convince.
In 1974, the Temple went to Guyana with only 50 members. But Jones promised others back in the U.S. a tropical paradise, and they flocked by the hundreds to “Jonestown.” Because he had always been an outspoken Communist sympathizer, and intended Jonestown to be a socialist safe heaven, he drew the attention of the U.S. Government.
On November 17, 1978, investigating claims of abuse within the Peoples Temple, California congressman Leo Ryan went to Jonestown, and about 15 members wanted to leave with him. They attempted to depart via a nearby airstrip, and were fired upon by Temple security guards. Ryan was killed, along with four others, one a Temple member.
When the shooters returned to Jonestown, Jones and accomplices were preparing a mass suicide by poisoning: Flavor Aid loaded with cyanide, phenergan, Valium, and chloral hydrate. There are graphic pictures of the dead lying en masse outside the pavilion, 909 of them. The children were probably not told that the drink was poisoned. Jones shot himself in the head.
Applewhite has gone down in history as a true psychopath, write Frater. Born May 17, 1931, he proclaimed himself the prophet in 1972, and then, as all other weirdoes seem to do, called himself Jesus Christ reincarnated. He was not as handsome as Koresh, but he wasn’t exactly ugly, either; he was married and seemed for all the world to be “blameless and upright before God.”
Followers flocked to his forceful charisma when he told them that UFOs were coming to take them away to heaven. When the UFOs didn’t show, the followers left, but he kept preaching to friends and their acquaintances, and by 1975 acquired a following of 93 men, women, and children.
He eventually recruited people from all over 50 states and settled in Rancho Santa Fe, California. His wife died of cancer in 1985, and sometime between then and 1997, he had a nurse surgically castrate him, for purification. He called his church “Heaven’s Gate.” His congregation worshipped him fervently.
Om March 19, 1997, as the comet Hale-Bopp was passing Earth, Applewhite recorded himself preaching to his congregation that suicide “was the only way to evacuate this earth.” His congregation did not believe in suicide, but was so enamored with him, that 39 members took his word for it, and on March 24, 25, and 26, they killed themselves with mixtures of phenobarbital and applesauce, followed by vodka. They also put plastic bags over their heads to be sure of asphyxiation, in case the poison didn’t work.
Paul Jennings Hill was a trained and ordained Presbyterian minister, but the church excommunicated him in 1993 for taking such a militant stand against abortion and for becoming a member of the Army of God, a Christian terrorist, antiabortion organization.
This ordained minister finally let her anger get the best of him when he travelled to Pensacola, Florida, on July 29, 1994, to an abortion clinic, and murdered one of the doctors and his bodyguard point-blank with shotgun blasts. He also wounded the bodyguard’s wife. The he calmly put down the shotgun in the grass and sat and waited for the police.
He was executed. The law does not permit vigilante justice, and come to think of it, “Love thine enemies” seems a fair argument against it also, Frater reports.
Matthew Hale is currently serving 40 years in prison for attempting to solicit the murder of Judge Joan Lefkow. Not a model preacher. But actually, he calls himself the Pontifex Maximus of the Creativity Movement, which is just another offshoot from the Ku Klux Klan. The church is for whites only, and it has its own bible, in which one finds passages such as, “You have no alibi, no other way out, white man! Fight or dies!”
His church calls for a worldwide racial holy war to exterminate the Jews and all the black people in order to establish “a white world.” His reasoning: God is white; God created Jews and black people to test the faith and resolve of white people; thus, killing a Jew or black person is not a sin. After one of his followers, Benjamin N. Smith, committed a deadly shooting spree, targeting only minorities, Hale “defended” his actions on TV by saying, “We do urge hatred. If you love something, you must hate that which threatens it.” He is recorded on audiotape laughing about the shootings and imitating the sounds of gunfire.
Michael Bay is not an ordained or college-educated minister, but he does preach a lot about abortion. He served 46 months of a 10-year sentence for conspiring to bomb 10 abortions clinics in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. He and his wife stand firmly on Bible as the inerrant Word of God, and they say that because it preaches so firmly against homosexuality and adultery, anyone convicted of either in a court of law should be put to death, even though American courts have no problem with either. They might be sins, but they aren’t felonies, according to Frater.
Bray didn’t exactly help the Christian cause of conversion by allowing Richard Dawkins, the most famous atheist in the world, to interview him for a show called The Root of All Evil. Bray was thoroughly outmatched, of course, and made Christianity look like…well, the root of all evil, writes Frater.
He is now out of prison and living in Washington, Ohio; he is officially labeled as a terrorist.
Frater describes Pat Robertson as “worse” (than Sun Myung Moon and David Koresh) because “he doesn’t even know how to lie convincingly. He swear that “the spirit of God comes mightily upon (him)” and enables him to leg press 2,000 pounds even though he’s 79 years old. This claim has been thoroughly debunked by weightlifting experts, and yet he persists in claiming it without proving it.
He has claimed to be able to deflect hurricanes by praying to God, and stated that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for abortion throughout America, thus showing that he did not pray for Katrina’s deflection. He believes that the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina might be divinely connected.
He denounced Haiti after the January 12, 2010, earthquake, stating that Haiti deserved what it was getting because it swore a pact with the devil back in 1791 in order to drive out the French. Whether that pact was sworn or not, his comments were obviously intended to inflame and hurt, and they did so. How Christian of him. He was roundly denounced by most Christian denominations and still refuses to retract what he did.
He predicted doomsday in 1982. He predicted a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest in 2006, then a terrorist attack on American soil sometime in 2007. He defended this failure by saying, “All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God, in his mercy, spared us.” He has made many other predictions, none of which has come true.
He has many times called for the destruction of Islam and all its followers and calls Islam “satanic.” He calls Hinduism “demonic.” He even claims that some Protestant Christian denominations harbor the spirit of the anti-Christ. He has made quite a few anti-Semitic remarks, notably about Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel, whose stroke and subsequent vegetative state Robertson calls “an act of God.”
David Koresh (born Vernon Wayne Howell) was a handsome, charismatic Texan, considered so poor a student in elementary and middle school that he was enrolled in special-ed classes. He memorized the New Testament by age 11, and impregnated a 15-year-old when he was 19. He must have forgotten a few verses, says Frater.
By 1983, after being kicked out of a Seventh-Day Adventist Church for fooling around with the pastor’s daughter, he began calling himself a prophet. He was able to recruit followers because of his good looks and magnetic personality, eventually proclaiming himself Jesus Christ, “the Son of God, the Limb who could open the seven seals.”
He taught that monogamy was the only proper relationship, but that polygamy was perfectly fine for him and him alone. After his first wife died, he quickly had sex with Karen Doyle, called her his second wife, and proceeded to have sex with as many as 140 different women.
Karen Doyle did not get pregnant, probably because she was 14 years old, so he slept with Michael Jones, who was 12 years old. By proclaiming this is to be God’s will, he was able to have sex with any woman or girl whenever he liked. He tried to gun down George Roden, who was also a high-ranking member of Koresh’s sect, and escaped conviction by mistrial.
By the time of the Waco Siege, he had, by his own admission, fathered at least 12 children, some by girls as young as 12. And the followers just kept coming. Frater says in his option, the NBI seriously botched the siege and used unnecessary force, but Koresh was the primary culprit of his followers’ death, 82 of them by fire. Which side started the fire is hotly disputed and will never be known, but Koresh told his followers, “Don’t move until you see God.”
They didn’t see God before they burned alive, Koresh with them.
Sun Myung Moon is the founder of the Unification Church, which has spread worldwide since its origin in 1954. Moon was born in 1920 and has set himself up as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. A lot of people go around saying, “I’m Jesus,” but they’re usually dismissed as insane or attention-seeking.
Moon has convinced anywhere from several hundred thousand to one million people to join his church and consider him “Jesus reincarnated.” He is vehemently opposed to homosexuality. He is also extremely anti-Semitic, championing the Holocaust as divine vengeance against the Jewish because they didn’t support Jesus, which Moon claims brought about his murder by the Roman government.
And Moon leads an extraordinary lavish lifestyle. Modern church founders typically make a lot of money, but Jesus didn’t make one cent. Moon has been known to spend $2,000 a day and give his children as much as $50,000 monthly allowances. His “True Family’s” home is a huge mansion on 18 acres in Irvington, New York, with 12 bedrooms, a dining room complete with pond and waterfall, seven bathrooms, and a bowling alley. He also has mansions in Korea, England, Scotland, and Germany, and his kids have Thoroughbred horses, private tutors, Ferraris, motorcycles, and black checks to take on their vacations (on which they travel first-class, of course — Frater).
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
The funniest part, Frater reveals, is that he was convicted of tax fraud and served 18 months in prison. Remember the fish Jesus told Peter to catch? It had two coins in its mouth, one for each of them, to pay the tax. “Render therefore unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.” Even Jesus paid taxes.