Stephen Strang has crammed almost as many falsehoods into his endorsement of Mitt Romney — “‘Charisma’ Publisher Urges Americans to Vote for Romney” — as Romney himself manages to pack into a campaign speech.
If you’re not familiar with Charisma and Strang, here are the relevant points:
1. Charisma is big, with a circulation of about 275,000 (more than twice as big as Christianity Today), and it’s the primary paper of record for American Christians in the Pentecostal and charismatic branches of evangelicalism. The ads — particularly the smaller ones — are a depressing tour of the most credulous and cynically corrupt grifters in the revival racket. Every Gantry-esque Benny Hinn- or Cindy Jacobs-type huckster fleecing the flock by hosting a conference or revival wants to buy an ad in Charisma. And Stephen Strang is always happy to sell them one.
2. Strang has a ton of money and influence in evangelicalism. He is not a fringe figure, but he promotes some far-right whackaloon fringe ideas. Think of him as a print version of Pat Robertson — too nutty to take seriously, but too established and influential (i.e., too rich) to dismiss.
And here is a third point, massively underscored by this endorsement column: Stephen Strang is not an honest man. Nor does he care about being an honest man.
The list is astounding of ways [Obama] has diminished religious freedom, like celebrating Muslim holidays but making no mention of God in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation, or not having a White House observance of the National Day of Prayer. David Barton documents many more examples on his website.
Stephen Strang is bearing witness. That witness is false.
But Stephen Strang isn’t done bearing false witness:
Obamacare forces religious institutions to provide abortions in health insurance or morning after medications.
This is not true. The Affordable Care Act does not force religious institutions to provide abortion coverage. It does not force anyone to provide abortion coverage.
The original act did not provide abortion coverage, and then the redundant Stupak amendment underlined that in bold type. Charisma covered the debate over the Stupak amendment, so Stephen Strang knows that what he wrote there is not true.
Stephen Strang is deliberately lying.
It is disturbing and dangerous that somebody as manipulative and dishonest as Stephen Strang is permitted to wield such influence in American Christianity.
And it is beyond depressing that “mainstream” evangelical leaders will never criticize or challenge a shameless liar and partisan hack like Strang because he’s too rich to question, and because they are too busy patrolling the “progressive” border of the tribe, parsing every statement for anything that smacks of liberalism.