Charisma magazine’s spirit of hate and lies

I used to think of Charisma magazine as basically Christianity Today for the Pentecostal/charismatic branch of American evangelicalism. It was a glossy general-interest magazine geared toward that sub-set of the subculture, with church news, celebrity profiles and lifestyle-trend pieces aimed to appeal to that audience.

Like CT, it was generally conservative — reflecting the conservative social and political views of its writers and readership, but not aggressively partisan, and thus distinct from the transparently political operatives of the religious right.

But at some point — I’m not sure exactly when this happened, I wasn’t paying that close attention to it — it seems Charisma and its publisher Steve Strang have decided to embrace the religious right model. Strang these days seems to aspire to be the next Tony Perkins. He wants to be a political player and, like Perkins, he won’t let facts or truth or honesty hold him back from pursuing that goal.

Some recent examples:

• Steve Strang, “DOJ Diversity Police Seeking to Shackle Christians“: “The Department of Justice is robbing Christians and other conservative people of our rights to believe as we choose and to be free to speak in pushing a politically correct emphasis for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) agenda …”

• Os Hillman, “4 Questions to Consider in Response to the Gay Agenda“: If “government and businesses … have to offer the same benefits to homosexual couples as … to heterosexual couples,” Hillman warns, then America is on a “slippery slope” and is “headed the way of Europe” or could even “end up like Canada.” If that happens, Hillman says, then America will be judged like the Amorites: “The Amorites were a very ungodly people. God saw their sin as so great that He was going to use the Israelites to wipe them out.”

• “Did Boy Scouts of America Sell Its Soul to the Devil?” asks the headline of Raynard Jackson’s Charisma column. Not wanting to keep readers in suspense, Jackson answers that question in his first sentence: “When the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) leadership voted to allow openly homosexual kids to become Boy Scouts, they, in that one act, sold their souls to the devil.”

And in the pages of Charisma, selling your soul to the devil is not a figure of speech — as this video posted by Matthew Paul Turner illustrates:

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• “I have nothing against gay people,” writes Jennifer LeClaire, the news editor of Charisma. “That said … There is a gay agenda and it’s working overtime to send millions to hell.” LeClaire previously argued that demon rape by succubi and incubi causes people to become gay. Following the mass-shooting of elementary school students in Newtown, Conn., LeClaire cited notorious liar David Barton on the importance of prayer in school and wrote, “Can We Please Put Prayer Back in Schools Now?

This noxious stew of lies, legends and delirious fantasies about the Other can only be written and published by people who do not know and do not care about the human beings they’re dehumanizing. This is nasty, evil stuff.

I don’t claim to have any special gifts of spiritual discernment, but I can hear what these Charisma writers are shouting at the top of their lungs. This is hate. And lies. And lies in the service of hate. Whatever spirit is at work in this, it cannot be a holy one.

  • Susan Paxton

    “I have nothing against gay people.” Reminds me of Himmler griping that every German knew a good Jew. Yes, I know, Godwin, blah blah blah.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’s not that hard, surely. Why is hurting other people wrong, after all? I can think of a lot of reasons, and while I don’t agree, I can’t see how it would be unreasonable for someone to decide the reason is “Because we don’t have perfect foreknowledge of whether or not the victims really truly deserve it and whether there is really truly no better way.”

    And if that’s your reason for believing that hurting other people is wrong, then it’s perfectly fine if *God* hurts people, because God *does* know better.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Erm. Date rape is rape. And unfortunately, the direct, loud “no” or “stop that” is something far too many women are conditioned not to do — and that goes double for the kind of women PUA techniques target, ie. the kind of women who tolerate being talked into accepting a drink.

    And it doesn’t matter whether someone’s already accepted a date — advising stuff like “Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap” and “Make her push your hand away as you get closer to her vagina” is promoting harassment.

    Basically, he’s advising the predator technique of picking targets through boundary-pushing. (More on that here: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/hypothesis-the-purpose-of-the-cockshot-is-to-test-boundaries/ )

    Also, he says, “Stop being afraid to offend” and “Never, ever, ever, wait for a SIGN before you escalate!… ASSUME that she is attracted to you and wants to be ravished.” As we know, a lot of indicators of fear and discomfort are non-verbal — and he flat-out tells his readers to ignore non-verbal cues. (Archived here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3A40tT3neK7egJ%3Awww.reddit.com%2Fr%2Fseduction%2Fcomments%2F1dvnem%2Fabove_the_game_part_7_physical_escalation_sex )

    I don’t think this guy is saying “Of course no means no” because he honestly thinks that coercion is wrong. I think he’s saying it to cover his ass.

  • Lori

    I love a chocolate croissant, and I give France all the credit in the world for gifting us with them and many other yummy bread items. That doesn’t change the fact that the “French Spring” is a nasty business. The fact that SSM is legal is great, but the fact that multiple city officials have refused to abide by the law and gay rights advocates have been killed and actual fascists are using the issue to gain power is terrible. At this particular moment in time I have no interest in the US becoming like France. I think we’d get way more fascists than breakfast chocolate and we have enough problems already.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That. That is what I’ve been trying to figure out how to say. Because his whole statement read to me like an example of the thing where nobody in a given survey admits to committing sexual assault but a bunch of people in the same survey admit to doing X sexual act without consent from the other participant, and I couldn’t put a finger on why.

  • Lori

    Erm. Date rape is rape.

    Yeah, I’m aware. In this conversation I was trying to draw a distinction between what happens between people who know each other and random attacks on the street.

    And unfortunately, the direct, loud “no” or “stop that” is something far too many women are conditioned not to do

    Yeah, pretty sure I acknowledged that.

    And it doesn’t matter whether someone’s already accepted a date — advising stuff like “Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap” and “Make her push your hand away as you get closer to her vagina” is
    promoting harassment.

    Harassment: The act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands

    Assault: In criminal and tort law, an act, usually consisting
    of a threat or attempt to inflict bodily injury upon another person, coupled
    with the apparent present ability to succeed in carrying out the threat or the
    attempt if not prevented, that causes the person to have a reasonable fear or
    apprehension of immediate harmful or offensive contact. No intent to cause
    battery or the fear or apprehension is required so long as the victim is placed
    in reasonable apprehension or fear. No actual physical injury is needed to
    establish an assault, but if there is any physical contact, the act constitutes
    both an assault and a battery.

    Also, he says, “Stop being afraid to offend” and “Never, ever, ever, wait for a SIGN before you escalate!… ASSUME that she is attracted to you and wants to be ravished.” As we know, a lot of indicators of fear and discomfort are non-verbal — and he flat-out tells his readers to ignore non-verbal cues.

    Yes, the way he’s approaching the issue is misogynist PUA bullshit and I wish this book didn’t exist.

    That doesn’t change the fact that there’s a germ of truth to his advice to go ahead and make a move and not try to read the woman’s mind. Telling guys that once a couple gets to a certain point the move needs to be made and that they shouldn’t wait until they’re sure they’re not going to be rejected is not, in and of itself, wrong. Part of the problem with Nice Guys is that they won’t actually make a clear move and then get pissed that things don’t effortlessly fall into place.

    PUA is obviously not an appropriate way to deal with that.

    I don’t think this guy is saying “Of course no means no” because he honestly thinks that coercion is wrong. I think he’s saying it to cover his ass.

    Possibly. It’s also possible that he actually believes the PUA line that if you’re just man enough coercion won’t be an issue because the babes will want you.

    Again, I think this book shouldn’t exist and that Kickstarter shouldn’t have hosted it.

  • Fusina

    I don’t want the US to be like France…except for making SSM the law of the land. And having chocolate croissants for breakfast. But in some ways we are like them…Fred Phelps, for one, and there are people who kill people for the “crime” of being gay. I have no idea how to beat the bigots, aside from outliving them. And converting their children. I hate that anywhere in the world any person is being killed for the crime of being themselves. I used to have great hope the human race would survive to grow up. But I am rapidly losing that hope.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    We may be talking past each other here. Sorry about that.

  • Arresi

    You know, for a long time the problem was that the liberals knew how weather worked and were too honest (or too worried about the backlash) to try and pretend that being more liberal would fix things. I think the real reason the conservatives want to pretend that global warming isn’t a real thing/anthropogenic is because if it is, liberals can horn in on their “be more like us, lest ye be smote by really bad weather” routine.


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