Monday, April 19, 2021

#2464: Frank Amedia

Touch Heaven Ministries is an Ohio-based ministry founded and run by televangelist Frank Amedia and his wife Lorilee. Amedia is best known for being Donald Trump’s “liaison for Christian policy”. He also runs the website POTUS Shield, a deranged and incoherent “shield and weapon of spiritual force”, and is a regular feature on various fundie TV shows, including the Daystar network and occasionally the Trinity Broadcasting Network, claiming for instance that God has been using Trump to sweep clean the federal judiciary. As you’d expect from a “Trump liaison for Christian policy”, Amedia has a history of involvement in shady business practices and bribery.


Amedia as a prophet, evangelist and miracle worker

Amedia claims to be able to control natural events by using his supernatural powers – i.e. to command God to perform the miracles Amedia wants performed. For instance, he claims to have single-handedly stopped a tsunami from striking an island in Hawaii using his apostolic powers: In 2011, when his daughter was in Hawaii and in imminent danger of being swept away by a tsunami, Amedia ostensibly jumped out of bed, turned in the general direction of Hawaii and declaredthat that tsunami stop, that it cannot touch [Hawaii], that is my inheritance, that is my child and as a prophet of God, I command you to stop now (For some reasons he cannot be bothered to use his magical powers to pray away other tornadoes or hurricanes). He also told his daughter to look into the ocean where she would “see an angel stirring in the waters.” Apparently his daughter also got it on video, though that video has yet to be released to the public. And importantly, according to Amedia, the fact that he stopped the tornado proves that he is “right about Trump!” The reasoning involved is in many ways instructive.


Amedia is also a faith healer, and claims to have cured cancer with the power of prayer, including healing a man with tongue cancer just by reciting some words on television (no medical records were shown to bolster the claim). In an undated broadcast on for Isaac TV, for instance, you can see him assisting people with jaw problems, bleeding teeth and gums, ringing in their ears, tongue cancer, and parched lips – none of those purportedly healed are actually seen on screen, but you wouldn’t doubt the testimony of a man who stopped a tsunami with the powers of prayer, would you? In March 2018, on the Christian television network TCT, he even claimed that he brought an ant back to life by talking to God; apparently, this was his “most incredible” feat ever, even more amazing than all those times he healed disease, regrew organs, controlled the weather or even resurrected people from the dead, those “[t]housands of wondrous records of miraculous testimonies of healings, deliverances, re-creative miracles, and physical gifts” that his website says “follow him wherever he goes.”


In 2010, Amedia and his ministry traveled to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, officially to assist in disaster recovery but really to proselytize and “foment religious discordand hate. In particular, Amedia’s presence led to some clashes since his group only wished to give aid to Christians (as defined by him); Amedia gave the locals an ultimatum: “We would give food to the needy in the short term, but if they refused to give up voodoo, I’m not sure we would continue to support them in the long term because we wouldn’t want to perpetuate that practice. We equate it with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel.”


Trump shilling and political analysis

During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Amedia served, as mentioned, as a volunteer “liaison for Christian policy for Trump, and was responsible for arranging meetings between Trump and various Christian Taliban leaders. Apparently God at some point told him that He (God) had selected Trump to run to pave the way for the Second Coming of Christ, which of course means that any criticism of Trump (or Amedia) or opposition to his efforts is part of a “demonic” plot of “murderous spirits” to prevent the return of Christ. As part of the presidential campaign, Amedia repeatedly claimed that Trump had been called by God to tear the walls down of division in the country, even calling on audiences to join him in a “Jericho shout. One is excused for having thought at this point that he must obviously have been some kind of poe.


After the election, and apparently as an extension of his effort to create a “shield of prayer” around Trump on his inauguration day (“It is our time to storm heaven for a New America, revival in our land, and to bring our country back to God! We are the redeemed of the Lord who are coming to raise up a shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit” – participants in the effort apparently included Darrell and Belinda Scott, Herman Martir, Rick Joyner, Lance Wallnau, Alveda King, Lou Engle, Mani Erfan, Cindy and Mike Jacobs, Mark Gonzales, Mosy Modugba, Anwar Fazal of Isaac News, and Jennifer LeClaire), he created POTUS Shield, an insane mess of a website, the goal of which seems to glorify Trump and try to put a fundie spin on his policy decisions. Here is one example of the group deploying the political tool of prayer. In fact, the name of the website doesn’t only refer to the President of the United States, according to Amedia, but also to the Prophetic Order of the United States that God is using the group to bring to fruition; according to Amedia and his supporters, Trump’s election would spark a spiritual revival that would make America a Christian nation and help, you know, bring about the return of Christ. In the meantime, the group would pray for God to “sweep away Supreme Court justices who might stand in their way they celebrated hard when Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away.


According to the website, Trump’s election was a “divine mandate” that would proved “a shield and weapon of spiritual force.” Most of the stuff on the site is barely coherent, fundie extremist chaos and prayers to protect Trump from a “storm” of conspiracies driven by “evil forces” and “witches and warlocks.” It doesn’t seem to be updated with any regularity, but given the nature of its contents it probably doesn’t matter.


The website does, however, contain some instances of Amedia’s attempts at political analysis. An example of the style (January 2018): “I perceive that this timing is critical and strategic as I have been advising that I have received that February is a time of chaos in our nation politically, with flash points on the coasts and in the heartland, as well as the caution of the ‘ides of March’ looming which will try to swallow up the spiritual surge of progress and pierce the heart of our political and church reformation.” Yes, that kind of analysis. Unsurprisingly, Amedia’s political analyses have mostly been based on various prophecies and revelations he has received, ostensibly from God. Early in Trump’s presidency, for instance, he told Jim Bakker that he had heard from the source itself that God had given Trump a “breaker anointing” that had allowed him to break up the Republican and Democratic parties and the news media (so North Korea better watch out). He also suggested that Trump’s Twitter habits somehow reflected his God-given gift of “discernment”: “I believe he receives downloads that now he’s beginning to understand come from God,” said Amedia, who is evidently not the most qualified person to assess anyone else’s discernment skills.


To underscore the power and importance of his organization, Amedia credited POTUS Shield for stopping the string of deadly bombings that terrorized Austin, Texas, in March 2018. He also claimed that although his efforts have been repeatedly attacked by “one of the most difficult Soros groups” (he seems to have been referring to RightWingWatch), even that group has ostensibly admitted that “POTUS Shield is the most amazing, inexplicable prophetic move that they have ever seen in Christianity in all the years they have been covering it, that has an impact on the nation”, which RightWingWatch of course has never done, of course. When you don’t actually name the group – purportedly Amedia didn’t want to name it because he “didn’t want to glorify” them – you can of course freely accuse them of whatever you want. In 2018, God ostensibly also gave Amedia permission to reveal that Trump would win reelection in 2020. Now, prophets like Amedia obviously tend to be more accurate when they wait to reveal their prophetic visions they had until after the event in question has passed; Amedia, however, manages to get those “prophecies” completely wrong, too.


During and after the 2020 election between – apparently – Trump and the “spirit of Antichrist, Amedia commanded God to “surge specific senate candidates by shifting the polls in key races (what would God do without Amedia's guiding hand?) and urged Him to control Chris Wallace and mess with Biden: “we have the authority to pray confusion” on Biden, said Amedia, because Biden had blasphemed God when he said, in August, that there would be no miracle to save the United States from the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to what Trump had suggested. He also warned voters that unless real Christians got out and voted, people would start having sex with cows. And in the wake of the election, he led prayer efforts to change the outcome. Now, Amedia did, prior to the election, indeed assert that his church would accept the election results “whatever they are,” but that was of course stated before they turned out to be different than he wanted them to be.


General hate

It is probably little surprise that Amedia is a virulent bigot staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage, and he has shared the stage with fundie wingnuts who claim that God is actively preventing the development of an AIDS cure and believe themselves to be in a battle with militant homo-fascism. According to Amedia, AIDS is caused by “unnatural sex.” Indeed,many of the diseases that we receive is because of exposure that we have to things that we should not be exposed to, lifestyles that are unhealthy – such as homosexuality. Apparently, homosexuality is being spread by demon hornets that have been sent by Satan to “sting with homosexuality, sting with abortion, sting with adultery” and inject people with a “putrid liquid” filled “with all the vile characteristics and the power of witchcraft and occult, of abortion and murder …” Amedia got this information in a dream.


When Obama had the White House lit up in rainbow colors after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, Amedia apparently went berserk because he saw how much it hurt God’s feelings, and it was only through extensive praying that Amedia and likeminded fundies managed to prevent Him from really taking his rage out on us. Amedia’s God seems to be unusually petty, snowflakey, sensitive and hateful compared to normal humans.


He has also toyed with birtherism. As Trump’s “liaison for Christian policyhe claimed that it’s “so far above my pay grade” to say whether Obama was born in the US. He also brought up doubts about whether Obama was Christian, ‘diplomatically’ concluding that it was a matter “between him and God” – he did add (falsely) that Obama once admitted to being Muslim, though.


Here is Amedia weighing in on COVID-19. According to Amedia the Chinese government’s putatively intentional spread of COVID-19 was an “act of war”, but he did hope that God would decide to take care of the Chinese government Himself so that Trump wouldn’t have to. Apparently, the Chinese released the virus as a deliberate attack on Christianity.


There is a good Frank Amedia resource here.


Diagnosis: A sort of religious fundie version of Trump, including Trump’s penchant for post-truth rhetoric and conmanship. He even enjoyed some influence for a while. Dangerous.

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