Rod Parsley is a televangelist and Jerry Falwell wannabe – he runs multiple “ministries” (he is in particular associated with the World Harvest Church), his own Christian college, and is heavily involved in politics (pandering hysteria, paranoia, bigotry and the good old fundamentalist persecution complex – ‘there are people who disagree with me, therefore I am persecuted and a martyr’).
Parsley is an honorary “doctor of divinity” – granted by Liberty University – and a regional director for John Hagee's group Christians United For Israel. Fortunately, since Parsley lacks the intellectual integrity of Oral Roberts and the jovial amiability of Pat Robertson, his following, while substantial, will probably remain limited. A lot of his outreach (Bridge of Hope, Breakthrough) is focused, naturally enough, on poorer and conflict-filled parts of Africa, apparently fertile grounds for the kind of violent fanaticism that would not go over particularly well even in the States. As is common with such people, Parsley is constantly on the lookout for money. In 2009, a “demonically inspired financial attack” made times difficult for him, so he asked his followers to “help me take back what the devil stole”. The “devilish theft” was apparently a court settlement concerning instances of child abuse at one of the church-run childcare centers (also here). His pleas for money seem to have become an annual thing, by the way, since he is apparently high on Satan’s list of favorite victims.
Parsley is a staunch theocrat (denying any separation of church and state in the Constitution), proud member of the dominionist movement, and staunchly opposed to gay rights and to abortion (employing the “the U.S. government, by funding Planned Parenthood, is complicit in “genocide” against African Americans, because Planned Parenthood performs abortions in the black community”-argument). In 2006, he even called for his followers to take up arms against the “thirty, forty liberal pastors who filed against our ministry with the Internal Revenue Service.”
Relying on his expertise on religion Parsley claims that Islam is an “anti-Christ religion” predicated on “deception”, and – surely historically accurate – that “America was founded in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed.” Furthermore “Muhammad received revelations from demons and not from the true God” (there is probably a reason why this particular argument fails to be popular even among more extreme Christian apologetics given its tu quoque potential); to clinch it, he proves (by assertion) that “Allah was a demon spirit.” Keep in mind that this comes from a guy who was an actual advisor to the McCain campaign, even though McCain admittedly cut his ties to Parsley (and Hagee) after these screeds.
If you want to see Parsley warn his followers that the end times are imminent (“the Antichrist is waiting in the wings”), you can watch this one (but you don’t really want to see that). He is also an ardent critic of moral relativism except when he wants to defend his own actions.
There’s a good Rod Parsley resource here.
Rod should not be confused with Ross Parsley, the guy who (temporarily) took over the New Life Church after Ted Haggard’s fall from grace.
Diagnosis: Endlessly insane fundamentalist power channeled into a tireless howl of rage against reality, packed into the kind of serpentine charisma that drives even moderately insane theocrats away. Dangerous nonetheless.