Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Bible-thumper who wants your money?

It always troubles me deeply to see how much money there is in propagating Biblically-informed right-wing twaddle to racist cretins. It's mesmerizing watching Glenn Beck in front of his chalk-board, talking about how atheism leads to Nazism, socialism, and Universal Healthcare, then tying it into an explanation of how Obama hates white people. Ann Coulter shills her bestselling books portraying the American right-wing as jews in Nazi Germany, trying to rally against the oppressive movements of gay-rights, abortion-rights, and rights for anybody other than white anglo-saxon christians. There's money in scaring comfortable fat white people.
Brannon Howse
Today's villain.

Every now and again, out of sheer boredom, I'll turn on the 'Christian channel' at my girlfriend's house to see how long it takes for my hackles to be raised. Venturing into the heart of the echo-chamber isn't a particularly comfortable experience, but I get to learn about a whole new cadre of assholes. Just the other day, I learnt about the existence of Brannon Howse. He hosts 'Worldview Weekend Rallies' - a traveling roadshow broadcast on Christian TV channels, in which he talks about the evils of liberalism and pluralism, and praises Jesus and capitalism. Think of a low-rent Glenn Beck and you're halfway there.

I watched a few minutes of his programme - it flogs the usual canards of fundamentalist nonsense with a forced sense of urgency and a ham-fisted attempt at fitting red herrings to biblical prophesy on the end-times. I can't recall the exact quotes, but the gist of it was 'educated people want to turn your child into a hedonistic pervert'. I'll mine from the sizzle-reel posted on his website:

"Philosophy 101 should be called Atheism 101 - Religion 101 should be Religious Pluralism 101. Biology 101 is more like Evolution 101!"

Worlds like 'pluralism' and 'globalism' are dirty words to Howse and his followers, who can also tune into his talk-shows on Christian radio. Let's look at some choice topics covered in these shows:
  • Brannon reveals Bible verses that God will cause someone to die for their continued rebellion. [02/03/11].
  • How unions are and the communists work together, how Muslims and Marxists work together and why the National Education Association is run by people that do not carry about [sic] the teachers or children. [22/02/11]
  • If Obama sees that he is not going to be re-elected as President of the United States of America will he and his team do everything within their power to destroy America and thus really accomplish what has been their goal since taking office? [20/10/10] 
  • Topic: Obama's Reeducation For Social Change. Understand The Goals of Obama's Radical, Anti-Christian, Socialist, Feminist, Pro-Homosexual Public Service. [19/11/10]
  • Brannon also discuss [sic] how America is becoming a third world country with the increase in illegal aliens that are taking jobs from Americans, increasing crime, our nation's debt and bringing disease to our country.

The word 'environmentalism' appears 32 times on the archive page, and only six times is it not preceded by the word 'radical'. 'Obama' appears 615 times.

I don't think I need to delve any further into his level of discourse - the guy is an asshole, using this religious soapbox to hijack his audience's reasoning, and to coax money from fools. Let's have a look at what's on offer at his online store:

Tat. Brought to you by America
His website pimps his e-books on the front page and enthuses that "The Worldview Weekend E-Gift Card makes a perfect gift!" His radio shows are free for 14 days, after which the price jumps up to $5 each. Devotional music performed by Mr. Howse is available for $0.99 a track. An atrociously badly put together PC Game costs $19.99, which is apparently marked down from the 'standard price' of $24.95. (Back of the box features include "Sound effects")

I'll assume that these are not indicative of the '3D graphics' boasted on the game-cover
A sister organisation called 'Worldview Weekend Foundation' solicits donations to pay for the rallies (sneakily making 'weekly donation' the default option). To inspire urgency they're called 'Code Blue Rallies' (likely because their benefactors are acquainted with cardiac arrest themselves), and have posted articles like "Losing it in College" and "The Storm before the Bigger Storm" on the frontpage.

Sure, I scoff at these products, but they clearly hold some value to a stupider person, so I can't entirely begrudge Brannon for earning a crust filling this niche. Where things get really sinister is the 'free' offering posted on the front page:

The Truth about Money? A free Educational CD & DVD on Money Truth? It's got Brannon Howse's face on the front - if you trust him with on his religious and your political advice, why not money?

So what is the Truth about money? The truth is you need to buy gold, Jerry! GOLD!

Why yes, that is Obama riding a paper-airplane made out of a US dollar. He's about to crash it, you see.
I'm not particularly au-fait with investing, but everything I've heard from people in the know leads me to believe that it's a terrible investment for all kinds of reasons. That said, tinfoil hat wearing troglodytes who fear everything they've worked for will be taken away by that Kenyan-born moslem in the white house (read: conservative nutjobs) think that filling their nuke-shelters with gold will insure against financial apocalypse.

The info-pack is from a company called Swiss America, who must be giving Howse a commission on every sucker he sends their way, given his commitment to the schtick. A special hour-long talk with Michael Weiner of Swiss America is available for free on the website, and Howse also incorporates pimping gold into regular programming on his radio show: "Utah considers return to gold, silver coins and alternative currency along with 11 other states" [04/03/11]. I think this exemplifies the level of cynicism we're dealing with here.

This subject exhausts me. Every now and again I try to convince myself that people so aggressively against the forces of progressivism are the bitter old pensioners who will throw money at hucksters with backwards, racist opinions until they all die off and the rest of the sane world won't have to put up with any more of the dishonest and lazy rhetoric that pays the bills for people like Beck and Howse. There's money in taking advantage of people who can't think for themselves, which means that people who try to do the thinking for you will continue to pop up on our radars.

tl;dr version: Conservative religious people are stupid and are paying people to say things they want to hear. Stupid free-market.

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