Tuesday, March 3, 2020

#2315: Kevin Swanson

Hat-tip: Rightwingwatch
Kevin Swanson is arguably the most demented fundie in the US that is still, also arguably, part of something resembling the mainstream of the Religious Right. Hence, Swanson functions as something like a limiting test for other Taliban-style fundamentalist views and is, in short, the kind of guy who would make ISIS look tame if he got to put his ideas for America, such as the death penalty for gays and readers of Harry Potter, into action. On his radio show, “Generations with Vision”, he otherwise exhibits all the traits commonly associated with the religious right: science denialism, post-truth mongering with references to a mythical “good old days”, bigotry and a very tenuous grasp of American history and domestic and foreign politics, combined with deranged conspiracy theories (often involving demons) and finding scapegoats for current events, especially natural events, he believes are ultimately the effects of divine wrath (so: not the obvious scapegoat, if one were needed). Swanson is otherwise pastor of Reformation Church in Elizabeth, Colorado, and a writer for The World View in 5 Minutes, an online fundie newscast.

As for his position oamongn the religious right, Swanson hosted the Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines (Swanson is of course no fan of religious liberty though he is an ardent fan of what he calls “religious liberty”: giving him the necessary means to have the views of those who disagree with him on religious issues suppressed or banned), which was attended e.g. by then-presidential candidates Ted Cruz, who afterwards tried to distance himself from the event, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal. At the conference, Swanson spoke about a Biblical mandate of the death penalty for homosexuality, pointing out that both the Old and New Testament discuss “the sin of homosexuality” and that Romans 1 affirms that homosexuality merits capital punishment. 

Swanson is, in other words, an explicit theocrat, and advocates a return to the theocracy of the pilgrims, though he relies on a radically revisionist idea about what that would involve.

Swanson on weather phenomena, climate
During the 2013 Colorado wildfires, Swanson and his usual sidekick, Dave Buehner, wondered why God was punishing Colorado with wildfires, which mostly affected more conservative areas of the state. Avoiding both the obviously correct and the obvious but incorrect explanations, they went with the gays. In fact, they didn’t merely blame gay people but also women in “masculine” clothing (hats and pants, apparently – “It’s just such an oppressive, horrible, horrible world and so many of our young girls in our Christian churches are running down to Wal-Mart and buying the same clothes”), abortion and a photo in the Denver Post of State House Majority Leader Mark Ferrandino kissing his partner. “Judgement begins in the House of God,” said Swanson and Buehner, as if that somehow made anything resembling sense in the context. Swanson went on to compare Ferrandino and his partner to Ahab and Nero, and concluded that the “Colorado government is the worst in the world” and “probably even worse than the North Korean government.”

During the 2013 Colorado flooding, however, Swanson claimed that it was all the fault not only of gays, but also pro-choice advocates and the legalization of pot: “So here we have the very worst year in Colorado’s year in terms of let’s kill as many babies as possible, let’s make sure we encourage as much decadent homosexual activity as possible, let’s break God’s law with impudence at every single level, at every single level let’s make sure that we offend whoever wrote the Bible, so we have the worst year possible politically in the state of Colorado and it happens to be the worst year ever in terms of flood and fire damage in Colorado’s history. That is a weird coincidence; interesting to say the least.” It really isn’t.

In 2017, Swanson urged SCOTUS to “reverse Roe v. Wade and Obergefellbefore Hurricane Irma made landfall: “the wrath of God against this nation is intense,” and the winds are “going to blow in the direction that God ordains them to go,” said Swanson. Hurricane Harvey, on the other hand, was God’s judgment on Houston for having a “very aggressively pro-homosexual mayor.” Apparently God will punish Australia, too. Indeed, Swanson finds it hard to believe that God hasn’t judged and destroyed the US yet – yes, he struggles to take a hint. (Though in fairness, he did predict, in 2016, that God was going to make Trump president in order to destroy America, which is a bit uncanny.)

Swanson on literature, art and film 
Swanson is no fan of popular culture (or any culture) – he has even written a book on the topic, The Tattooed Jesus: What Would the Real Jesus Do with Pop Culture? – but has nevertheless tried his hand at movie and TV criticism. For instance, he accused Star Trek: Into Darkness of promoting bestiality by showing “the good guy in the film as mating with the wrong color species,” suggesting that it was due to the alleged fact that “evolution has no basic problem with bestiality or cross-species mating.” In a similar vein, Swanson argued that God might destroy the US over the film The Shape of Water for bestiality, and also claimed it represents “the end of civilization as we know it” (Swanson has not known civilization for a while, if ever), citing Leviticus 18:23-29. He also blasted Beauty and the Beast for supposedly promoting “inter-species breeding”, saying that the movie was an “insidious” effort to “homosexualize the next generation of eight and ten-year-old kids,” ensure that they are “indoctrinated into the homosexual lifestyle” and fomenting a cultural revolution “a bit more insidious” than “the cultural revolution that Mao Tse-tung brought to China.” As Swanson sees it, Hollywood has been promoting inter-species breeding for decades. It is very unclear what he thinks will come of it. Meanwhile the show Shezow, which featured a boy dressing up as a female superhero to fight evil, was anti-Christian propaganda. Maybe he should just stop going to the movies.

Swanson has also argued that God will destroy the US for the British novels about Harry Potter (parents who let their kids read Harry Potter should drown, says Swanson), adding, for good measure, that country music, the computer-animated film How to Train Your Dragon and the Disney cartoon Frozen are Satanic, too. With regard to HtTYD, Swanson was shocked to learn that the character Gobber the Belch is gay, warning listeners that Gobber – like Dumbledore – effectively encourages pedophilia, because homosexuality and pedophilia are the same. With regard to Frozen, Swanson has argued (or whatever you call it) that the movie is a Disney conspiracy to turn children gay and that Satan is using the movie “to indoctrinate my 5-year-old to be a lesbian,” emphasizing that it would be the “worst nightmare” of parents to have their child “turn into a sodomite.” Moreover, Frozen (among other movies) “are the means that children are led into witchcraft” and part of Hollywood’s attempt to turn children away from God. And Swanson dutifully emphasized that he is most certainly “not a tinfoil hat conspiratorialist,” so there. Swanson’s cohost Steve Vaughn added that Frozen character Anna considers herself to be God – not unlike Swanson and Vaughn themselves, in fact. “If God does not exist and we are ourselves God, then we make up the rules and we can let ourselves go, we can let ourselves by, we save ourselves,” said Vaughn in something that only superficially bears any resemblance to reasoning. 

Elsewhere, Swanson has criticized Taylor Swift for her support of LGBTQ rights, predicting that “God will cut her down” (the suggestion of stereotypical kindergarten bickering style is downright disconcerting). “‘You Need to Calm Down’ is the name of the song, and she’s apparently telling God to calm down about all of his ethical concerns. I don’t think it’s going to be effective, but that’s what she’s doing,” said Swanson, adding that the Equality Act, which Swift supports, is “intended to persecute Christians if they don’t want to celebrate homosexual, heathen rites and rituals.” We don’t think the title of Swift’s song was aimed at God; Swanson has a tendency to overlook the obvious in his search for a deranged pattern that simply isn’t there while screaming “found it”. Meanwhile, Katy Perry’s promotion of lesbianism will drive her fans (and herself) to suicide, the 2014 Grammy Awards were a “satanic pagan orgy and Highlights magazine is just as bad as ISIS for acknowledging that gay parents exist.

The Hunger games movies, meanwhile, are designed to prepare Americans for a new Holocaust against Christians and homeschoolers that will happen in the next few decades. Nor is Swanson a fan of “Avengers: Infinity War,” a film designed to lead viewers into polytheism. And the “feminist” movie The Last Jedi is what “movies produced by a dying civilization looks like,” said Swanson, citing its fundamental “violation of the biblical ordinance that the husband is head of the wife.” Swanson has even suggested that the Twilight Saga might turn kids into vampires, and unsurprisingly warned parents “not to give our children books that are written by homosexuals.”

Swanson is no fan of classic works of literature either. Having claimed that Mark Twain was (literally) possessed by demons (see below), his book Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West also denounces William Shakespeare for planting “seedbeds for homosexual themes and homosexual behavior” in his plays. He also rages against Nathaniel Hawthorne for his “psychotic” critique of the Puritans when he dared suggest that the Puritans weren’t particularly puritan, and refers to Shakespeare and Hawthorne, together with the rest of their “shadowy cabal”, Charles Darwin, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rosseau (“utterly ruinous”) Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Dewey, for instance, as the “Nephilim”. Meanwhile, an online ad for Swanson’s book, which was promoted by the WND, portrays Swanson in prison for quoting Leviticus – yes, it’s your idiotic myth that speaking out against the “homosexual lifestyle” will get you in jail, just because that’s what you’d like to do to anyone who disagrees with you

Demonic possession
Swanson thinks that Mark Twain was possessed by demons. Not only was Letters from the Earth one of the most acidic, horrific, evil books I think ever, ever written by any human being in the history of mankind” and obvious evidence for demon possession; also Huckleberry Finn is an “attack on the Christian church” by exposing Christian hypocrisy on issues like slavery; Twain “mocks Christianity throughout and Huckleberry Finn is an atheist himself” and “his book is extremely, powerfully, cynically against the Christian faith”, and that is because Twain was possessed by demons.

Twain was not the only one: also Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Aristotle and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, were possessed. Charles Darwin was apparently not, but instead suffered from multiple forms of insanity and produced ideas that became the foundation for any ill, including Nazism, Swanson can think of (he has, however, later added Darwin to the list of people possessed by demons). Steven Spielberg and Lady Gaga, however, are definitely “possessed by Satan” or “under the sway of the devil.” Beyonce, too, is demon possessed because she created a persona named Sasha Fierce and people who do that are either demon-possessed or mentally ill and therefore demon-possessed (Fierce is probably, according to Swanson, the demon that brought the pop star into Satanism). Elsewhere Swanson has claimed that Karl Marx “was a Satanist” who has won adherents among “most of the world” and “most of the universities,” concluding, in a piece of reasoning so circular it ought to be dizzying even for people of Swanson’s caliber, that it is “interesting how the most evil people in the world who bring about the Marxist, Communist, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agendas typically revert back to the worship of Satan.” 

Demons were also behind for the push for the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay members in order to accelerate the nation’s demise – allowing gay members is just like letting serial killers teach preschool, as Swanson sees it, and he wondered when the Boy Scouts would introduce a badge for incest or even a “cannibal merit badge.”

Some demonic stuff is definitely going on at Halloween as well, with Halloween really being a way to ignore God by celebrating “the departed souls and spirits of those who had vanquished in the Flood.” Just like the real goal of the Burning Man festival is to bring back human sacrifice because Burning Man is all about “radical inclusion”, which is just another name for “radical polytheism [and] radical human sacrifice. This is what they’re headed for. They want to bring human sacrifice back.” That the demented mass of rot that is the mind of Kevin Swanson still manages to produce grammatical sentences is something of a miracle.

Swanson on American history
According to Swanson, fueled by the ideas Neo-Confederate ideologue Walter Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln introduced Marxism and Communism to America – not only as political ideologies, but as actual governmental policies that are still in force today. Yes, you read it right: The US is already a communist nation. And Lincoln used “The War Against the South” to impose socialism everywhere.

According to Swanson the abolition of slavery was only a move “from decentralized forms of fiefdom slavery to a big federal state that enslaves hundreds of millions of people unlike any time in all of human history. Thanks a lot, Karl Marx; thanks a lot, Abe Lincoln; thanks a lot, whoever you were that centralized power in Washington, D.C., and enslaved an entire nation since 1865.” Speaking of slavery, Swanson later turned to various passages in the Old Testament in which God commands soldiers to kill all the men but treat women, particularly virgins, as plunder, saying that this was not slavery but actually a good thing for women. The Canaanites, for instance: they “were extraordinarily wicked, we know that, and God wanted to wipe out all remnants of them off the earth. Part of the reason is they […] were big on abortion and homosexuality. […] That’s the way he treated the Canaanites and that’s probably what’s going to happen to America as well.” Ok, but what about women being treated as spoils of war? Well, Swanson thinks that such a fate was better than having them go on government welfare, at least! With defenders like Swanson, the Bible doesn’t need detractors, and it’s fascinating to ponder what kind of mind would come up with the kinds of ideas expressed in those statements.

As mentioned above, Swanson advocates a return to the theocratic governments of the pilgrims. His understanding of what that involves is, however, somewhat revisionist – according to Swanson, relying on his most trusted source, the pilgrims had a society “with a divorce rate of .01%, fornication rate of 1%, and a homosexuality rate of .0005%, if we’re going to have a stable society, we’re going to have to get back to biblical law.” 

Swanson’s trouble with facts and accuracy is of course not limited to history. According to Swanson, there is “almost a perfect correlation between degree of faithfulness to God’s Word and the piece of the pie they get out of the gross world product,” which is why secular Protestant nations that allow gay marriage are doing well and Italy, where “the faith has faded” is struggling. It would seem that a lot hinges on “almost” here. Here is another commentary on some current affairs.

Swanson is, of course, also a creationist, and though most of his attempted arguments of creationism consist of standard creationist PRATTs, such as Hoyle’s fallacy, he does have some novel ones, such as the claim that “punctuated equilibrium is where a prince kisses a frog” and that “Richard Dawkins isn’t a scientist,” topping it with a bit of wishful thinking: “Honest scientists are abandoning the theory left and right, because there is no evidence. They have no data.” No, Swanson has, ironically, no data to back up that assertion.

Gays and similar undesirables
Swanson has elsewhere claimed that gays love each other the way “cannibals love their victims (gay people are, in fact, exactly like both axe murderers and cannibals, so promoting [i.e. recognizing] homosexuality is just like encouraging axe murder.). God also hates men who do “the metrosexual thing with the skinny pants and the little fairy shoes” because “God ... hates it when men are not manly in their approach” and “does not want men to be androgynous and feminine like in their approach;” after all, He gave them facial hair for a reason. On the other hand, God sent AIDS as a punishment on gay people because he just loves them so very much.

Now, Swanson thinks it’s OK to attend a same-sex wedding, but only if you carry a sign calling for the couple to be put to death, like a good Christian. After all, gay marriages will inevitably also lead to laptop marriages and pet rock marriages; allowing gays to marry, in short, “drags feces” over the institution of marriage.

He blamed the Orlando shooting on gays as well, of course, citing Luke 13, where Jesus responds to a mass killing with unless you repent you will likewise perish”, adding that “humble homosexuals that fall on their faces and plead for God’s mercy as the publican did in the parable will go to heaven” and “proud gays will go to hell.” In fact, Swanson is very upset that he is not allowed to kill gay people himself anymore.

According to Swanson homosexuality has always “been important to humanism, and whenever you get a humanist, classical approach to education, you’re probably going to get the gymnasium. The gymnasiums were all built around the idea of pederasty and pedophilia. Now, I don’t want to get into a lot of the details on this, because it’s very very very gross, but they trained young boys in homosexuality. This is part and parcel of the homosexual vision, still is, by the way, to this day. This is the goal, this is where they’re headed, if you read the homosexual literature, which I encourage you not to do, but this is the direction that they’re headed. This is the goal of humanism. The goal of humanism is to make it to Sandusky. The problem is Sandusky was prosecuted and that’s an indication that we’ve got 2,000 years of Christianity, and these guys are not going to get away with it.” Yes, Swanson making things up as he goes along provides a fascinating glimpse into an utterly deranged mind.

The purpose of recognizing gay marriage is of course partially political: Democrats are deviously working to strip back” government control (an unusual accusation from this kind of source) over marijuana and homosexuality “in order to maximize the immorality of the people” and “increase the size of government;” the “Democratic vision in a nutshell,” is “to make sure everybody is committing homosexual acts and they’re high on drugs, and then they vote for Democrats to increase the size of government and provide pretend security for the people high on drugs.” To underscore his vision, Swanson predicted, in 2013, that if Colorado were to pass a bill allowing civil unions for same-sex couples, then as soon as 2022 the government will snatch kids from homeschooling families and deliver them to members of NAMBLA. You can probably all see how homosexuality “destroys nations and why it must be punished. (His predictions for 2013 also included “the Muslims and the liberal Presbyterians getting together to form Chrislam,” which might not be as big of a deal as it sounds since “chances are, at the end of the day they’re all Muslims anyway.”)

Taking a page out of Scott Lively’s writings, Swanson accused gay “fascists” of attacking the Oregon bakery in 2013, telling his audience, completely falsely of course, “that the Nazi Party had their birth at a homosexual bar in Berlin … This is what homosexuals do best and they will engage in their Pink Mafia effort to control and shut down businesses that do not cooperate with their agenda.Christians are in fact being persecuted “all over the place” these days – indeed, people in the quiverfull movement, in particular, are the most persecuted people in the history of the country – because they are not allowed to execute or even discriminate gays anymore. An obvious example: people are criticizing his own anti-gay comments, thereby persecuting him and trying to shut down Christian media. Meanwhile, schools that teach things contrary to his interpretation of the Bible should be burned to the ground and public schools are whorehouses” that are teaching kids to be transgender communists.

In 2012, Swanson defended Uganda’s draconian anti-homosexuality bills, lauding the country’s policies as a model for everyone to follow. In particular, the US should criminalize homosexuality for the sake of freedom; in particular, we should work to “impose God’s laws upon our systems, especially our political systems,” and “God’s laws require that we prosecute homosexuals who are caught in the act of homosexuality or the act of sodomy on the basis of two or three witnesses.” Criminalizing homosexuality would enable Christians to “press back the line upon those who are impressing their rights upon Christians who really need that religious freedom.” “Freedom” means whatever you want it to mean, of course. Swanson suggests waiting to introduce the death penalty (stoning, specifically) for gays until they’ve had time to repent, however. But he did add adulterers, divorcees and anyone watching porn to the list of people who should eventually be put to death.

Women and feminism
No fan of women feminism, Swanson claimed in 2016 that “feminism’s greatest victory” in the feminist movement’s war against America – a Hillary Clinton presidency – will supplant men: “If they can achieve the ultimate zenith of power, this will become the final chapter, in a sense, of the present war that feminists have waged over this nation,” said Swanson, having as usual no clue to what’s going on but plenty of rage to fuel his ignorance. (Swanson was not alone in these kinds of sentiments.) In particular, Clinton will turn a majority(!) of kids gay, and efforts backed by Clinton to improve women’s economic status will “destroy the nuclear family and society at large by convincing a woman to “divorce her husband and walk away with her own cow.” Swanson added, for good measure, that Obamacare will inevitably lead to the introduction of North Korean-style death camps to the United States. He had already in 2013 said that Obama’s re-election “solidified our doom and would encourage the election of “a bunch of softy-wofty, weeny socialists for the years to come” – and women were to blame for electing him since women tend to have “more communist” views.

Thus far, feminism has succeeded in getting women to stop loving their children; survey results on the rise of  “breadwinner moms” is evidence that “women care less about their children” than men do, and it’s all because of the “feminist zeitgeist” beating women with the message that “you do not love your children, you kill your children.”

Here is Swanson and Dave Buehner parsing the feminist movement: some feminists are “cute” (but dangerous), like Sarah Palin, some are “ugly” and will only find careers in academia and in government agencies, but all are “selfish, narcissistic, family-destroying whores” that together with “the homosexuals” are “destroying society.”

As you’d expect, Swanson has little aptitude for science (here is his interview with Ken Ham) and just as little understanding or ability to distinguish science from his own febrile imagination. According to Swanson “certain doctors and certain scientists” have researched the wombs of women on the pill and found thatthere are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb … Those wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.” Even his guest, fundamentalist Kevin Peeples of the anti-contraception documentary Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?, wasn’t quite ready to run with the suggestion. Swanson also said that a new strain of gonorrhea is divine punishment for sexual immorality: “God is in control and he can send a superbug to wipe out a lot of people who are engaged in this kind of sexuality and if that be the case then I guess we don’t need a political magistrate to do that work for us,” Swanson said. If you add that the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks were “a message from God, Swanson’s God doesn’t sound particularly sympathetic. 

In 2015 he issued a dire warning to his followers to refrain from eating the evil lesbian communist Girl Scout cookies, since doing so may turn your daughter into, well, a lesbian communist; accordingly, the leaders of the Girl Scouts are worthy of death. Another lesbian-recruiting cesspool is the U.S. women’s national soccer team, and Swanson was shocked when even Republican presidential candidates congratulated them on their 2015 FIFA WWC win, an occasion that, Swanson reminded us, was also “celebrated, of course, by one of the lesbian players doing her lesbian thing with her lesbian whatever.”

There is a good Kevin Swanson resource here.

Diagnosis: If you read some Kevin Swanson you’ll quickly realize what’s going on: the guy is scared witless. He genuinely, truly, thinks that God might destroy the world at any moment for any mundane reason, and is sad, confused, frightened into incoherence, and – most obviously – deeply angry about it all.

Hat-tip: Rationalwiki

1 comment:

  1. Apparently, to Mr. Swanson, all roads lead to homosexuality. Gosh, I wonder what he's *really* afraid of?