Dennis Terry is pastor of Greenwell Springs Baptist Church and a dominionist. He is most famous for introducing then-presidential candidate Rick Santorum (and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins) at an event in Baton Rouge in 2012 with a rousing speech in which he laid out his political views and sympathies. It is the stuff you’d expect – he opens by saying how he’s tired of being told he’s not allowed to state his beliefs and pray in public and then goes on to state his beliefs and pray in public without being stopped, before he starts railing against liberals, non-Christians, abortion rights, “sexual perversion,” same-sex marriage and secular government – all those who ostensibly prevented him from doing what he just did. According to Terry, America “was founded as a Christian nation” (it was not) and those that disagree with him should “get out! We don’t worship Buddha, we don’t worship Mohammad, we don’t worship Allah!” (non-Christians should, in other words, certainly not be allowed to state their beliefs and pray in public). Terry otherwise has a long history of attacking the gay community, and in his 2012 speech he claimed for instance that the economy could only recover when we “put God back” in government and got rid of things like marriage equality – no, these are hardly surprising views given this kind of source, but that doesn’t make them any less loony. At the end of the speech, Terry also asked God to “have favor upon Rick Santorum” and to “do a mighty work” in President Obama’s life, a claim that probably merits some attention.
At least the speech generated some media coverage, forcing Santorum to distance himself from Terry. Terry himself responded to criticisms by trying to play the victim, claiming that “people are misquoting” what he said (they were not) and “twisted and edited” his words, which they didn’t – in fact, most outlets covering the story showed the video of Terry’s speech in its entirety, which might be why Terry and his crew subsequently made an effort to scrub the Internet of the video. He also said that all he meant was that “I love America”. If that was all he meant to do, his inability to fulfill his intention is so striking as to merit professional help. But it was of course not all he meant to say.
Diagnosis: Unrepentant liar for Jesus and deranged fundie extremist. And as the audience in the video shows, his wanton hate and lies are rather widely cheered and accepted. We all know this, of course, but again: that a crazy and hateful view is common doesn’t make it any less crazy and hateful.