• Kelly Monroe Kullberg is back in blackface: “With Election Looming, Astroturfing ‘Kullberg Network’ Reemerges.”
On May 15, 2019, Snopes published an investigation into a network of over 20 Facebook pages that pushed “overtly Islamophobic, conspiratorial content” and painted “extreme, divisive right-wing rhetoric as having broad American support.” Our investigation revealed that these pages, with names like Jews & Christians for America and Blacks for Trump, were all actually run by evangelical activist Kelly Monroe Kullberg and her family.
Nine days after our story, the Kullberg Network went dark.
The Kullberg Network effectively acted as an astroturfing campaign that supported U.S. President Donald Trump — i.e. one that fabricates or exaggerates grassroots support — pushed by a small clique of evangelical activists. The posts shared across this network had included unhinged Islamophobic claims including suggestions that the survivors of the Stoneland Douglas High School massacre were on a “leftist-Islamic payroll” and that Islamic refugee resettlement is “cultural destruction and subjugation.”
I met Kelly Monroe back in the ’90s when she was one of the 20 grad students accepted to participate in ESA’s “Crossroads program.” I’m grateful that the other 19 participants in that program did not later turn out to be rabid hatemongers employing the sleaziest, most dishonest tactics in support of white-Christian nationalism, white supremacy, and fascism.
• This is a very in-the-weeds story about an ugly fight between two litigious white evangelical grifters: “Prominent evangelicals fight in court over $3.3M raised for Holocaust survivors.”
Don’t get lost in those weeds. What I want to highlight here is just how lucrative the Evangelical Industrial Direct-Mail Fundraising Complex is.
These two guys — right-wing author Mike Evans and Georgia mega-church pastor Jentezen Franklin teamed up to raise money to support a home for Holocaust survivors in Israel, pulling in $4.5 million for the charitable cause. Sounds great so far, right? But now they’re fighting over the vig:
The dispute erupted after Evans received a list of campaign donors from Franklin’s office that reported $3.3 million more in donations than Evans thought had been raised, [The Washington Post] reported.
Franklin says the men had a verbal agreement stipulating that Evans would get $1 million dollars for causes of his choosing, while the rest would remain with Franklin to promote his own causes and pay for expenses. Franklin says he gave Evans $1.2 million as a gesture of goodwill.
So they collect $4.5 million from their donors and then they each take $1 million or so off the top. The Holocaust survivors get, what? Half of the money raised? Maybe? And this ain’t the only fundraising project for either one of these guys.
If you think the loudest leaders of the religious right aren’t in it for the money, then you haven’t yet appreciated just how much money we’re talking about.