The reason I make fun of this stuff is because, as ridiculous as the lies and the posturing of these folks are, their fever-dreams and the false witness they bear have real-world consequences.
And I don’t just mean the obvious political consequences — like for example 130,000 low-income women in Texas losing their access to health care (“I was sick, and you cut off funding for my health care”).
This literal demonizing of others can also provoke actual violence when others confuse this fantasy role-playing with reality. It can lead to very strange behavior among the followers of the leaders spouting this stuff. And by separating those followers from reality, it tends to make them easy pickings and sitting ducks for hucksters and con-men of all varieties. Let’s look at three recent stories illustrating each of those consequences.
1. The Satanic baby-killer myth leads to violence by those who don’t realize it’s just a self-indulgent game.
This was, of course, dismissed as an “isolated incident.” The latest in a very long string of similar isolated incidents.
2. The fantasy role-playing mentality of this sometimes leads to very strange behavior.
They covered the teens’ heads with pillowcases and bound their hands. One man waved an unloaded gun, and another yelled, his face daubed with camouflage paint.
The kids gathered at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church and had planned to partake in youth ministry activities at 7 p.m. Wednesday (March 21).
Instead, they found themselves face down, hugging the linoleum floor, said the Rev. John Lanza, who described what happened. If they listened, they wouldn’t get hurt, their assailants said.
It sounds terrifying, but there’s a catch: The raid was fake, staged to show the teens the perils faced by Christian missionaries in the world’s trouble spots, Lanza said.
(Matthew Paul Turner has video from local news coverage.)
When you construct a mythic self-concept based on imagined “persecution” and an epic struggle against evil, then the day-to-day faithfulness of simple ministry — a cup of cold water, feeding the hungry, bringing hope to the hopeless — won’t seem like it provides enough of an adrenaline rush. This insanely irresponsible youth minister (his mock-raid used real guns) was simply acting out the persecution fantasy at the core of his community’s delusional sense of identity.
3. Those caught up in this mythology are easy prey for hucksters and con artists.
“There is a war going on every day, being waged against us,” Brynne said. “Satan hates us. We know how the enemy is, we know what he’s attacking and we can fight back.”
Those are the magic words. That’s catnip for those who seek and find their purpose in spiritual warfare against the Satanic baby-killers. Brynne would be happy to take their money.
And that’s what she’s after — their money. Most of the folks peddling the Satanic baby-killers fantasy narrative are just trying to funnel votes. They’re after political power. But Brynne and her cohorts just want their money.
She’s one of three teenage “exorcists” now working for longtime con-man Bob Larson. He’s trying to get their exploits chronicled on a reality TV show. It would be just like Charmed, except less true.