Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#725: David Grisham

David Grisham, a security guard at the nuclear-bomb facility Pantex, is the leader of the quasi-militaristic Christonazi organization Repent Amarillo, a branch of the Texas Taliban whose motto is “Army of God”, a rough translation of “Hizbollah”. The group advocates the “spiritual mapping” and targeting of specific local areas and venues in order to exorcise “demons” from those areas. Of course, they generally target minorities and vulnerable or small groups, something that has earned them the well-deserved epithet “hate group”. Among their more notable actions are their protests against a small, discrete swingers group, LGBT people, abortion clinics, Muslims, Buddhists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Universalists (who “teaches that everyone is going to heaven. This calls Christ a liar. You cannot be a Christian if you call Christ a liar,” according to Repent), Unitarians (“Pagan and witchcraft headquarters for Amarillo; pagan and witchcraft celebrations and rites are performed here”), and other groups deemed “not Christian”, as well as events such as gay pride events, “Earth worship events”, “Pro-abortion events” or places such as Planned Parenthood, breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” (they claim that they want more focus on the – thoroughly discredited – alleged link between abortion and breast cancer), opening days of public schools to reach out to students, spring break events, “Demonically based concerts”, Halloween events, and other “events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.” “As Christians, we cannot stand by and watch 67,000 of our neighbors walking through the gates of hell,” states the group, and accordingly views it as their mission to forcibly stopeveryone else from doing what Grisham doesn’t think he would like to do if he got the chance. As for the swingers case, Repent set out to destroy the club through harassment after discovering its existence. On New Years eve, they showed up in military fatigues and bullhorns, blaring Christian music at the swingers’ club building, thereafter stalking the members at every following visit to the club, took video of each member, obtained the swingers’ license plates, dug through their trash, and informed neighbors and coworkers of the activities. Their tactics have frequently involved attempting to get people associated with viewpoints they don’t like fired, but since their charges often include accusations of “witchcraft” their success rate is variable. Their attempt to burn the Quran was unsuccessful as well. Their execution of Santa Claus by a firing squad was more, uh, successful, but only given certain particular criteria for success.

Grisham has also tried to run for office on a dominionist platform, asserting that “so as far as I’m concerned there is no separation of church andstate.”

In fairness, quite a few of Amarillo’s inhabitants have grown tired of the group’s antics, and the groups evangelizing outreach campaigns seem to have backlashed.

Repent Amarillo is part of  RAVEN International, headed by one Troy Bohn. Bohn takes credit for the spiritual mapping (i.e. recognizing where the evil demons lay hidden in Amarillo), and it was Bohn and RAVEN leader Alex Hill who initiated the “Adopt-a-Block” program to organize efforts to remove the demons.

Diagnosis: The group and its members resemble the groups one reads about in horror stories from parts of Africa or Afghanistan. In short, there is really absolutely nothing to distinguish this group from the Taliban or Grisham from a zealous, fundie Taliban mullah. Or a raving madman, which he is.

1 comment:

  1. Grisham was fortunately not active at the time I lived in Amarillo (1976-1981), but the town is a hotbed of wingnuttery. Back then, Amarilloans saw Judy Mamou, a forgotten Pentecostal evangelist, protest a Kiss concert as "Satanic" (meaning something they didn't like.) We also saw T. Cullen Davis buy his way out of a murder conviction (his trial was moved from Tarrant County on a change of venue) before evangelist James Robison saved him. From what I understand, Grisham's antics cost him his job at Pantex in 2011, although his union filed a protest. Recommended future honorees for the Encyclopedia: Jim Sedlak, Jill Stanek, Raylan Alleman (the wingnut who doesn't believe in sending his daughters to college,) Doug Phillips and Geoffrey Botkin of Vision Forum, Michael and Debi Pearl of To Train Up A Child infamy, Matthew Heimbach of Traditionalist Youth Network (and budding neo-Nazi,) and Mississippi attorney and outed racist Paul Bryant Caston.