Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The dark, frightening abyss that is Brannon Howse's world

It always helps to be reminded of a salient fact when dealing with the fundamentalist extremist: literally every single aspect of their lives is governed by fear. It is a dark and frightening world in which they live, made all the more grim by the way the dark fearfulness of it is so easily embraced by the believer, who disguises it under a thin veneer of righteousness and the sense of empowerment that comes from believing one is part of an oppressed minority.

I have brought up Brannon Howse and his personal neurosis factory, the Christian Worldview Network, for mockery here many times. I regularly get their email newsletters, and believe me, this guy has never met an over-the-top paranoid Obama conspiracy theory he didn't like. His contributors are a rogue's gallery of the spiritually psychotic: David Noebel, Ray Comfort, Phyllis Schlafly, David Barton, Kan Ham.

Howse's latest ridiculous rant is one of those revealing moments in fundie bloviation that serves to remind those of us in the reality-based community just what this country has to deal with. It has the ominous title "Is America at a Dangerous Tipping Point for Receiving God's Judgment?", which is entirely in character, as Howse only does ominous titles. Remember when I said that every aspect of the extremist's life is governed by fear? Well, that doesn't just apply to Obama, teh gayz, libruls, evilutionists, or (Howse's favorite villain-of-the-week) "Fabian Socialists." There's one thing the Howses of the world are even more scared of than all those things: their God. This week, Howse cannot stop wringing his hands (mostly in fear, but one detects a hint of sadistic glee as well) over the destruction he is sure God is about to wreak upon America, because, apparently...

...our nation has murdered nearly 50 million unborn children, states are rushing toward homosexual marriage, God is outlawed in our nation's public schools, the criminalization of Christianity is greatly increasing, only 1% of adults have a Christian worldview and false-teaching and pagan spirituality has become mainstream.

I must say I found a lot of that surprising. Only 1% of American adults are Christians? If only! Of course, Howse really means that, by his estimation (and it's one that lets him play the "me so persecuted" card with shameless impunity), only 1% of Americans are True Christians™ like him. The others are all misled fools who've embraced false teachings and "pagan spirituality." Hmm. Okay. Though I must admit, this imaginary Scary America that exists between Howse's ears is one I wouldn't mind living in.

And what's all this about the "criminalization of Christianity"? Seriously? You'd think if this were the case, then law enforcement would have a hard time overlooking all these hundreds of churches that appear on every fucking block in every town in the country, and be about raiding them Waco-style with greater efficiency than they seem to be employing at present. I mean, let's look at something in our country that is criminalized, like drugs. So if we lived in some bizarro parallel universe in which drugs were "criminalized" to the same degree Howse thinks Christianity is, then this would be a parallel universe in which meth labs operated on every street corner like drive-in burger joints, vending machines sold both Coke and...coke, and you could pick up Master Kush and Purple Haze marijuana buds at your local nursery or Home Depot.

Truly, Howse is a silly, silly man. But the kind of fear he spouts — an all-consuming, comprehensive existential terror in which you are literally never safe from anything, including the God you profess to love — somehow hits huge numbers of people where they live. It speaks to them. And that, more than anything, is the tragedy of the religious mind. The brighter the beliefs look to the believer, the darker the abyss they actually inhabit.

PS: I just remembered...Howse did one of his Code Blue rallies here in Austin two days ago. No idea how it went yet. I'll do some digging.


  1. I know some people are 'lactose intolerant' and others 'gluten intolerant' but Brannon Howse seems to 'Reality Intolerant'. He has a severe allergic reaction to the real world and must avoid it at all costs.

  2. i got halfway through before my eyes glazed over, my IQ dropped a dozen points, and i had to stop. he should really get somebody to proof that thing before he posts it, and he should also be reminded that one should only use a stupid image ["threw Israel under the bus"] once.

  3. I'm reminded of Lewis Black pointing out that God is exactly the kind of guy you DON'T want to work for. Even if you're a faithful employee/slave he will still turn around at the slightest provocation and beat your ass. Example: Moses

  4. "Fear will keep the local systems in line . . . fear of this [God]."

  5. Lol.... good stuff.

    I've heard this mental state referred to elsewhere as the "peasant mentality", specifically in an article detailing the radical right's response to the Obama healthcare reform bill (don't have the link handy anymore unfortunately).

    The basic idea is to blame everything and everyone else for your misery except exactly the persons/groups that are fucking you over. When the "rich planter" rides by in his carriage, you the slave instantly drop to you knees and grovel, thanking him for everything he's done for you. This after having sweated in the cotton fields for 15 hours that day and taken uncounted number of beatings for your laziness and sloth.

    Believers have pretty much the same mentality. Their god fails to materialize and do anything them whatsoever over and over and over again, so the most logical resort is to blame the victims. You just didn't pray hard enough, you didn't memorize enough passages from the bible, you let your behavior slip in even the most minor ways one too many times.

    Your god's failure to do anything at all for you is fully your fault, so your only proper response to that failure is of course to worship harder and redouble your efforts to conform to your god's rules.

    And on and on it goes as you spiral on into the event horizon of the black hole of xian misery and torture.

    Personally, I think it's hilarious. Not because of the suffering but because the solution is so simple and easy to implement......


  6. Fear is certainly the tried and true method for controlling people. Machiavelli long ago wrote that it is better for a Prince (leader) to be feared than loved. That is certainly the philosophy of the god of the bible.

    I agree with (Is) that accepting this mentality from religion caries over to other aspects of life. Fear of health care reforms, the patriot act to protect us from "terrorists", the fear of changing leadership in a "war" are other examples.

    Being a "god fearing" person is not a good preparation for living in the real world and being able to enjoy life. If you disagree and opt for faith, I have a bridge to Brooklyn for sale at a very good price. If you don't act fast you will lose your chance and have to live forever with regret.

  7. Exactly.

    It's also worth pointing out that religious case is even worse than other extant examples of oppression in that the perp has never really ever been identified!

    In the case of a despotic govt. or some other criminal enterprise allowed to run amok in a society (i.e. the insurance industry in the US vis-a-vis the healthcare issue) at least the criminal is known to exist.

    That's why being eaten alive by a real predator is awful, but being eaten alive by an imaginary one is, well, IMO, funny.

    All you have to do is stop jamming that fork into your eye - there's nothing else pushing the sucker in there.....

    Just Say No to the Lawrd and all is well!


  8. But... what's wrong with receiving "God's Judgment"? Isn't that what they are looking for? Get raptured and let god clean the earth from all kind of sinners and evildoers... Which is exactly the reason why they support so strongly Israel, not because they are the god's chosen people and that is their "historic" land, is just a matter of forcing the world into a conflict that will signal the start of the "Armageddon"...
    What a pile of bullcrap!... Give me a break!

  9. Why don't these people trust their own god/Bible?

    Romans 13:
    1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

    It's amazing how they trash this passage the moment the government doesn't do exactly what they think it should. Screw the fact that their Bible says this is the authority god put in place and instructed them to obey. Nobody knows better than god, in their minds, until the Bible says something they can't agree with--then they know better than god, what god _really_ wants or meant to say.

    Too funny.

  10. If I'm supposed to fear God and worship God, isn't that just 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' mentality?

  11. Brannon Howse is just so Orwellian! His dystopian views of the future, his rampant political manipulation of language, the breeding of fear of the "other", his own role as 'Big Brother' (at least among those in his movement). The overwhelming parallels are uncanny. He simply needs a few more doublespeak terms on that website (war is peace, give up your liberty for freedom, etc) and he could be a living, breathing sequel to the novel, 1984! I wonder if he has an agent yet?

  12. "Machiavelli long ago wrote that it is better for a Prince (leader) to be feared than loved. That is certainly the philosophy of the god of the bible.

    Off topic, most people forget his next advice. That a Prince must NEVER be hated.

  13. Tracie,

    A common apologetic counter to the Romans 13 is that it is a translation error. Submitting to the governing authorities just means submitting to higher authority, and most likely in this apologetic's view that means God. Whether or not it is a translation mistake or not, I do not really know, but that is the usual counter I hear.

    Thinking about all the problems of Romans 13 is now making my head spin....

  14. For anyone with an hour to kill:


    it's Jan Markell interviewing Brannon, and it's absolutely fantastic. My favorite part is near the end of the hour, where they both agree that they're putting their lives in danger by talking about their theories.

    A few weeks ago Jan was nearly moved to tears because she was convinced that before the week was out she might be in an Obama re-education camp. You can't make this stuff up!

  15. Pretty much standard apocalyptic/persecution complex neuroses, which has been used to sell religion since forever.

  16. When, O when will this rapture come and take away all the christians? it's getting really tiresome.

  17. >our nation has murdered nearly 50 million unborn children, states are rushing toward homosexual marriage...

    Is it just me, or did anyone else read this and think, "Hold on here--if we all rushed into homosexual marriages, wouldn't the abortion rate be cut WAAAAAY down?"

  18. No no nononononono.

    Whenever the gays have sex God aborts a fetus out of spite.

  19. Haha imagine being able to go to Home Depot for some purple haze... No but seriously, this fear of god is partly why I deconverted. Threatening your children to love you or else you will eternally punish them doesn't make sense at all. Not only that, but it's just plain horrible, leading me to that idea many atheists hold: that even if god was real, he's not something I'd want to worship anyway.


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