Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag:

Religious Right Radio Network Broadcasts Lethal Lies About Coronavirus

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

As the U.S. coronavirus death toll passes 1000 and the World Health Organization warns that the country could become the next epicenter of the global pandemic, hosts of the extreme anti-LGBTQ group American Family Association’s (AFA) radio network have been promoting dangerous misinformation about the virus, including by telling audiences to stay away from doctors’ offices and to instead buy vitamin packs. 

Articles on AFA’s website and figures on its radio network American Family Radio (AFR) have disregarded CDC guidelines and endangered their audience’s health by falsely claiming that people infected with coronavirus who are asymptomatic “are not contagious” and that there is an existing cure and vaccine to the virus.

AFR is a right-wing evangelical radio network that regularly spreads anti-LGBTQ misinformation and bigotry. It broadcasts more than 50 shows to nearly 200 stations and affiliates across 35 states and airs 24/7 as a part of AFA’s larger media apparatus, which also includes news website OneNewsNow

AFA’s Bryan Fischer lied that people infected with coronavirus who are asymptomatic are not contagious 

Bryan Fischer — a prominent AFR host who has spewed virulently anti-LGBTQ rhetoric as an AFA employee since 2009 — falsely claimed that people who are infected with the coronavirus and do not exhibit any symptoms “are not contagious.”

In reality, CDC guidance on the transmission of COVID-19 states that “some spread might be possible before people show symptoms,” and several studies “have shown that people without symptoms are causing substantial amounts of infection.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has also said, “I don’t think there’s any question that someone who is without symptoms and carrying the virus can transmit the virus to somebody else.”

During the March 23 episode of Fischer’s show Focal Point, he falsely claimed that “if people are asymptomatic, they don’t have the cough, they don’t have the respiratory issues, they don’t have a fever, they are not contagious.” Fischer also repeated this claim in an article posted to AFA’s website.

From the March 23, 2020, edition of American Family Radio’s Focal Point:

BRYAN FISCHER (HOST): Now people that are asymptomatic — you might have heard this, asymptomatic transmission, people that don’t have the symptoms — they aren’t contagious. If people are asymptomatic, they don’t have the cough, they don’t have the respiratory issues, they don’t have a fever, they’re not contagious. And so they don’t need to be tested.

Fischer also promoted a claim about an unproven coronavirus cure originally spread on Fox News and later endorsed by Trump

Fischer also made reckless and unproven claims that the antimalarial drug chloroquine is a “vaccine” and a “cheap cure for coronavirus.” There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, and it is projected that one won’t be widely available until at least the middle of next year. Though chloroquine could eventually be effective in treating COVID-19, it requires more testing, and there are some indications that using it can be harmful, including by limiting access to it for those who need it to treat other medical conditions. Fischer’s promotion of chloroquine treatment follows the drug being touted on Fox News and by President Donald Trump.

After a lawyer named Gregory Rigano went on Fox News multiple times to tout the unproven benefits of chloroquine, Fox hosts embraced the treatment and promoted its use to an audience whose health has already been put at risk by the network’s propagandist coronavirus coverage. Fox News falsely identified Rigano as an adviser to Stanford University School of Medicine, which he is not, and Rigano based his claims on a study with serious limitations. According to HuffPost, Rigano’s “claims about chloroquine are unproven, often overstated and potentially harmful.” 

Following Fox’s unfounded promotion of the drug, Trump embraced the treatment and falsely claimed that the Food and Drug Administration had approved it to treat COVID-19. Fauci, who has been attacked by pro-Trump media for allegedly harming the economy, stated that while it could be effective, chloroquine requires further clinical study to “show it is truly safe and effective under the conditions of Covid-19.”

In addition to concerns from medical professionals about its effectiveness, a man in Arizona died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate because he thought it would prevent him from contracting coronavirus. There has also been a shortage of the drug for people who use it to treat lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

During the March 19 episode of Focal Point, Fischer claimed that the drug “keeps you from getting coronavirus, and if you’ve got it, it cures it.” He then repeated this claim during the March 23 edition of AFR’s Life & Liberty Minute and in an AFA article titled “A Cheap Cure for Coronavirus Is Here”; in both, he falsely claimed that researchers discovered chloroquine “cures folks of the virus and acts as a vaccine for those who haven’t yet been infected.”

From the March 19, 2020, edition of American Family Radio’s Focal Point

BRYAN FISCHER (HOST): The good news is that we may have found the silver bullet to stop the coronavirus. It’s a cheap generic antimalarial medication. This thing has been around since 1944. It’s chloroquine phosphate. That’s what it’s called. 

If we can get this into the hands of assisted living facilities, they can inoculate their entire roster of patients with chloroquine. And it’s preventive. It’s prophylactic. It keeps you from getting coronavirus, and if you’ve got it, it cures it.

Fischer has come under fire for praising the global coronavirus pandemic, saying it “might create a fantastic, once-in-a-generation opportunity to reverse some anti-family trends” by protecting children “from being brainwashed into normalizing sexual deviancy, gender confusion, and Drag Queen story hours.” This attack continues right-wing media’s crusade against Drag Queen Story Hour, a national program in which drag queens read children’s books to kids at libraries and schools.

Fischer is a homophobic and anti-Muslim bigot. He regularly uses his AFR platform to disparage the LGBTQ community, including lying that Nazis had “no chance of advancing through the ranks unless you were a hardcore homosexual” and that only “effeminate homosexuals” were sent to concentration camps.

AFR host Bishop E.W. Jackson hosted quack doctor and anti-LGBTQ extremist Steven Hotze, who used the platform to advise listeners to “stay the heck away from doctor’s offices” and to instead buy immune packs from his “vitamin business.” Hotze also said that he is “right” about coronavirus treatment and prevention and “Harvard and all these CDC guys” are “wrong.”

Hotze is an anti-LGBTQ bigot, a disreputable doctor, and the founder and CEO of several bogus Texas-based wellness companies. He is also also a QAnon supporter who has theorized that the “deep state could have been the ones that orchestrated” the pandemic as part of its supposed war against “the patriots.” A damning 2005 Houston Press profile reported that he has inflated his credentials; that “leading experts in women’s health issues say Hotze’s methods are not supported by science and are potentially harmful”; and that “Hotze runs an expensive one-stop shop for thyroid disorder, hormone replacement, yeast infections and allergies, when no medical records show Hotze has training in any of them.”

On March 15, Fox News chose to give Hotze a platform twice in the same day, over any number of credible doctors, and Hotze used it to peddle his vitamins as a preventive coronavirus measure and to spread dangerous misinformation about the virus, including dismissing concerns about the pandemic as people going “totally crazy” and advising viewers to “conduct your life normally.”

During the March 19 edition of The Awakening with Bishop E.W. Jackson, Hotze also claimed that “Harvard and all these CDC guys” are wrong about the coronavirus and that “they don’t talk about how you can keep yourself from getting sick.” This claim, of course, goes against robust, evidence-based guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Harvard Medical School on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

From the March 19, 2020, edition of American Family Radio’s The Awakening with Bishop E.W. Jackson  

BISHOP E.W. JACKSON (HOST): We don’t hear much about prevention since this is a disease that is opportunistic and attacks those who have a weakened immune system. Obviously, anything you can do to strengthen your immune system has got to be helpful. It can’t possibly hurt, and it certainly might also be able to help.

STEVEN HOTZE (CEO OF HOTZE VITAMINS AND HOTZE PHARMACY): Most importantly, if you want to get your vitamins, I am a vitamin business here, believe it or not. And I came in, I started vitamins back in ‘89 when my dad asked me about a health problem he’d read about a cure for. 

You can ask for a copy of one of my books, and just tell them you heard me on Dr. Jackson’s show. I’ll send you Hormones, Health, and Happiness or Do a 180 and Take Charge of Your Life. I’d be glad to help you out. I like, I admire, and have admired Bishop Jackson for years, and you’re part of his listening audience. And I’ll give you free, won’t charge you anything for it. We’ll ship it — just to help you guys get healthy and well naturally and stay the heck away from doctors’ offices. 

JACKSON: All right, well —

HOTZE: Because as my dad told me, don’t poison your patients like all the other doctors do, son.

From the March 19, 2020, edition of American Family Radio’s The Awakening with Bishop E.W. Jackson

STEVEN HOTZE: I ask myself, and I ask my team over here, my leaders, and I go like, “Am I crazy? Or are they crazy?” You know. “Could I be right, and Harvard and all these CDC guys be wrong?” Yeah. Because, guess what, they don’t talk — they’re all conventional. They don’t talk about how you can keep yourself from getting sick. What they are talking about, “Oh we’ve got a new drug. Oh, chloroquine.” Well, it’s not a new drug. “We could use chloroquine.” Which is fine if you’ve had the chorus virus — I’m sorry, the coronavirus, fine, get some chloroquine and take it. That’s all fine. But why don’t you just not get it. Why don’t you just stay healthy.

Hotze has an extreme anti-LGBTQ record. He has claimed that “‘Satanic cults’ were driving the ‘homosexual movement,’” compared LGBTQ people to “Nazis,” and said that Houston residents should “drive” LGBTQ people “out of our city.” He has also claimed that the movement for LGBTQ equality would give people “a free hand to come and have relations with a minor, molest a child.”

Jackson shares Hotze’s anti-LGBTQ views and often uses his AFR show to attack LGBTQ people, including saying that people who go by gender neutral pronouns are under the “possession” of “multiple demons.”

This Week In Crazy: Hear A White Supremacist’s Advice For Trump

The Religious Right civil war, the devil’s in the “no-fly” list, and a white supremacist tells Trump exactly how to “Make America Great Again.” Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Frank Amedia

The man Trump tapped to be his Christian policy advisor doesn’t quite know if Barack Obama was born in the United States, saying that such inscrutable questions were “above my pay grade.”

In an interview with Alan Colmes Tuesday, flagged by Buzzfeed, Frank Amedia dismissed the notion that his orange godhead candidate had been the slightest bit racist when he propelled himself top of the fringe nutter trashheap back in 2011 on a contrail of birther nonsense. “I think that we’re too quick to put the race card on everything, we should be careful with that,” Amedia said.

When Colmes asked if Obama was born in this country, Amedia feinted: “That’s so far above my pay grade,” he said.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Buzzfeed

Next: Bryan Fischer 

4. Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer, perennial TWIC favorite and proverbial angry old man in residence at the American Family Association, is at it again. “It” being disgorging whatever septic cocktail of Old Testament wrath and cranky Dixiecratic paranoia he has brewed up this week.

On his radio show this week Fischer explicitly likened the effort by a bipartisan coalition of senators to pass legislation that would forbid anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a gun to the machinations of Satan himself.

“That’s exactly how Satan works,” Fischer said. “That’s how he deceives us. He never tells us, ‘Look, if you do this thing I’m dangling in front of you, it’ll destroy you.’ He never says that because he knows we wouldn’t go for it.”

In pushing for “No fly, no buy” Democrats were not literally being Satan, he clarified — he just wants us to know that “this is how Satan works.” Fischer wouldn’t want us to think he’s nuts or anything.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Right Wing Watch

Next: Rush Limbaugh 

3. Rush Limbaugh

But enough about amending our laws, which currently make it laughably easy for anyone to pick up a gun and start firing in a crowded place. The real problem is Sharia law, Limbaugh helpfully explained on his show.

“If Obama, if the president of the United States is serious about using the law to stop acts of terror, such as what happened in the gay bar in Orlando, then he had better try to change Sharia law, because that’s the only law those people listen to. They don’t care about U.S. law. And no criminal does,” Limbaugh said.

There’s a tired illogic to this idea that making it more difficult to buy a gun wouldn’t, you know, make it more difficult to buy a gun. And Limbaugh’s sly insinuation that Obama has some kind of jurisdiction over Sharia law is pretty old hat.

Rush is starting to sound like his own worst tribute band. Just a friendly reminder, Rush, that your sponsors are fleeing you in droves — and why shouldn’t they, when the median age of your listeners hovers around 70 and you can’t even be bothered to cook up fresh nonsense for them?

Next: Jared Taylor

2. Jared Taylor

Jared Taylor, fervent Trump enthusiast and the face of well-scrubbed American white supremacists, reminded us that what Americans really long for, and hope to return to under a Trump presidency, are the good old days of Jim Crow.

In an open address to Donald Trump, dredged up by the blog Hail to the Gynocracy, which tracks the white supremacist “alt-right,” Taylor encourages the GOP’s presumptive nominee to deport all illegals and “take a hard look at” Muslim Americans.

“Mr. Trump, your campaign slogan is ‘Make America Great Again.’ I have bad news: You can’t make America great with a Third World population,” he declared.

He says that while, sure, white people want their jobs, “what they really want is their country back. The country they had in 1964.” As in, before the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. When things were “Great,” like the baseball cap sez.

Taylor, whose American Renaissance webzine is a cesspit of pseudoscience proclaiming the supremacy of the white race, once expressed his enthusiasm for a President Trump in an interivew. Trump’s elevation to the Oval Office, he said, would be “extremely useful to us.”

Read more gems at HTTG and watch the video below.

Hat tip and video courtesy of Hail to the Gynocracy

Next: Religious Right Can’t Deal With Trump

1. Religious Right Civil War

One of the small pleasures of the election has been watching the great minds of the Religious Right twist themselves into knots making a tepid peace with the crass and blatantly secular Trump.

Despite his naked and incompetent pandering to the conservative Christian movement (“Two Corinthians”), more and more evangelical figureheads are exposing themselves for the craven and feckless stooges they are by turning tail and voicing their mealy-mouthed support for the thrice-divorced Orange Julius in a red cap.

So it was this week when Trump summoned evangelical leaders to New York in order to convince them that he was their guy. Tony Perkins, virulently anti-gay leader of the Family Research Council, was charmed by Mr. Trump, writing in a blog post that “one thing Trump and social conservatives do have in common is the shared experience of being the target of vicious and often vile attacks from the Left for refusing to surrender to the terms of political correctness.” It’s true that Trump as well as Perkins and his FRC ilk are often criticized from the left. Espousing retrograde beliefs that consistently demean other people will reliably attract that kind of “attack.” Perkins added that he hoped this “ongoing conversation” between Trump and evangelicals “results in a concrete plan to protect the values we hold dear.”

Not everyone on the Religious Right can stomach Trump, of course. Glenn Beck, the #NeverTrump stalwart, who once averred that God killed Antonin Scalia in order to pave the way for President Ted Cruz, posted a lament on Facebook in which he even called out Trump for his reprehensibly hypocritical tack of trying to debunk Clinton’s religion: “For leaders to endorse and tolerate the lecture of ‘no evidence that Hillary is a Christian’ is obscene,” he wrote.

Michael Farris, writing in the Christian Post, was more blunt: “This meeting [with Trump] marks the end of the Christian Right.” He added: “In 1980 I believed that Christians could dramatically influence politics. Today, we see politics fully influencing a thousand Christian leaders.”

“This is a day of mourning,” he concluded.

Pass the popcorn.

Image: DonkeyHotey

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.

PhotoUniversity of the Philippines students display glasses with lit candles and a placard as a tribute to those killed in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, during a protest at the school campus in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines June 14, 2016.   REUTERS/Erik De Castro

This Week In Crazy: Thank A White Man Today

The post-campaign follies of Glenn Beck, the “imams of sexual sharia,” and the sad fact that white men just get no respect. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Roger Stone

Speaking to InfoWars host Alex Jones Tuesday, Trump’s master of darkness Roger Stone sounded off on what voters can expect from Trump’s VP pick.

Whoever it was, Stone said, they would be a “nationalist, not a globalist” and someone “who shared Donald Trump’s views on a cross-section of issues.” None of that is especially surprising, but Stone’s adamantine insistence that Trump will be making the decision without respect to the input of any experts or advisers is disconcerting in a familiar way.

As combustible and irrational as he is, Trump can be counted on to always act by fiat. Stone asserted that Trump’s campaign manager and lawyers would not be making the decision. “Only one person knows what Trump is going to do, and that’s Trump,” Stone said,

Stone might be more out of the loop than he lets on, though, as he floated New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez as a potential Veep just as Trump, ever thick-skinned and secure in his power, shot down the Republican governor for “not doing her job,” simply because — many speculated — she had not yet endorsed him.

“That’s exciting, it’s also common sense,” Jones said.

Just one week ago, Stone insisted that President Trump should pull CNN off the air, a stance that I’m sure has nothing at all to do with the fact that the news network has banned Stone from appearing on it because of his history of inflammatory, racist tweets.

It’s very nice of Jones to keep letting Stone on his show to peddle his wares: Note the background image — Stone has a new book to sell. But I think Media Matters‘ Brennan Suen has it right when he writes;

Stone is not a typical political adviser, and when the press treats him as one they miss out on a key election story: the extremism of Trump’s supporters. Stone’s decades-long history of dirty tricks includes playing a role in Watergate that later caused him to be fired from a job in the Senate. He has a record of racist and misogynistic rhetoric that caused MSNBC and CNN to ban him from their networks. Stone also regularly calls for public figures to be executed.

So maybe it is a good thing Trump doesn’t listen to his advisers.

Next: Glenn Beck

4. Glenn Beck

You kinda have to feel sorry for Glenn Beck, militant supporter of loser Ted Cruz and captain of the floundering ship TheBlaze.

It seems clear now that the incident in late April when Beck mashed his face into a bowl of Cheeto crumbs to make some kind of point should have been taken as an early indicator that all was not well in Becklandia.

This week he was caught rolling back on his own insane conspiracy theories just as soon as he said them aloud. He aired a notion on his radio show Wednesday that Obama was intentionally allowing the investigations into Clinton’s emails to proceed in an attempt to derail her because Clinton is not enough of a radical to carry out Obama’s long-term Marxist agenda.

“I think it’s wrong,” he said of the thing he was saying just then on his own show. Nevertheless, he added: “I think you could make a case, a bad case, that he’s looking for an ideologue to replace him. He’s done the work of bringing this country to the brink of Marxism and he’s not going to have it flushed away by Hillary Clinton.”

Poor Glenn doesn’t even have the conviction of his own confetti-headed notions anymore. If Beck can’t at least be relied upon to believe his grand conspiracy-laden fugues, who can?

Oh and there was the whole wondering-if-any-patriots-out-there-would-be-willing-to-step-up-to-the-plate-and-“remove”-Donald-Trump thing that arose in a discussion between Beck and his guest, author Brad Bird.

“With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President?” Bird asked. “If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that? If — if — he overstates his constitutionally-granted authority I should say as president, if he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office, because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.”

“I would agree with you on that,” Beck said.

But I’ll say this about Beck. While other conservatives all over the map are taking their principles out behind the woodshed and lining up behind The Donald, Beck has militantly held fast to his anti-Trump position. But he’s not going to sit silent. The man has grand ambitions to devise a “100 year plan” to redeem America through the magic of conservative and libertarian values. To which I say, Godspeed, Glenn. Never change.

Next: Gavin McInnes

3.  Gavin McInnes

Vice Media founder Gavin McInnes thinks white males deserve a long overdue “thank you” for ending slavery. He also said that white males had nothing to do with beginning slavery in the first place, but he may have misspoke.

During a segment on his show late last week, McInnes lamented that Curt Schilling had been fired from ESPN for posting transphobic memes (“creeps,” McInnes called transgender people). Although he could not remember Schilling’s name (“I’m not into sports”), he sympathized with the plight of the onetime baseballer and would-be video game magnate.

His conclusion: “It really is an upside-down world. You start looking at the data and you say: Wait a minute, I’m noticing a pattern here. Everything that is depraved and wrong and sick is good, and everything that is good we should be ashamed of.”

“White males, we built society,” McInnes exclaimed, “we separated church and state! We didn’t end slavery…I mean, sorry, we didn’t begin slavery, we ended it!

“How about a thank you?” he demanded.

Hat tip and video Hail to the Gynocracy

Next: Scottsdale, Arizona

2. Scottsdale, Arizona

The city of Scottsdale, Arizona is doing everything in its power to stifle religious freedom and religious expression. Ted Cruz would be just appalled.

Except that in this case the people seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights happen to be Satanists. So, you know, the Constitution doesn’t apply, and they can go straight to Hell.

Please note that Satanism does not refer to a worship of the literal Satan — it’s basically a doctrine for all who are opposed to arbitrary authority and celebrate individual sovereignty in the face of corrupt, illegitimate institutions (like, I don’t know, state religion). Accordingly, Satanism attracts a broad spectrum of atheists, agnostics, and basically anyone who wants to turn the tables against a conservative Christian establishment, by using the same legal machinery that the Moral Majority has abused for decades to advance its own religious agenda.

Which is pretty much exactly what happened in Scottsdale, which barred the Satanic Temple from leading a prayer at a council meeting in July, even though it had already been scheduled. The Temple is fighting back, calling the decision arbitrary and baseless. A city spokesman told reporters that only “representatives from institutions that have a substantial connection to the Scottsdale community” should be allowed to give the invocation, hence the ousting.

Friendly Atheist’s Hermant Mehta writes:

That’s not necessarily an unreasonable rule, as the [Satanic] Temple’s chapter is based in Tucson and not Scottsdale, but why did it only become an issue after the Satanists were given the green light? And doesn’t it count if some of the Temple’s members live in Scottsdale?

It sounds more like city officials feared what would happen and scrambled to find a reason to boot them from the list.

Indeed, back in March, Scottsdale’s mayor Jim Lane admitted that city officials were working to “find a clean path, one that is legal,” to bar the group from giving the invocation.

AZ Central reports:

“We’re not in the business of entertaining an invocation that makes a mockery,” Lane said. “I’m not an advocate of it, of course.”

Thousands of emails filled Scottsdale officials’ inboxes over the prayer issue this spring, and religious groups were preparing to organize in protest.

Lucien Greaves, the Satanist Temple’s national spokesperson, told Mehta in an email that the Temple was considering legal action, pending the city’s response to a number of questions. Namely, how did Scottsdale determine exactly wheat the Temple’s connection to the city was? And do they apply this level of scrutiny to anyone (a Christian, say) who wishes to give the invocation?

Or might this have been, you know, religious discrimination?

Next: Bryan Fischer 

1. Bryan Fischer

The spokesman for the American Family Association took aim at the “Gay Gestapo” in his latest blog post, published Tuesday on the AFA blog.

“The Gay Gestapo is on a mission from the Dark Lord,” Fischer writes, “to relentlessly harass, intimidate, punish, and silence every advocate of sexual normalcy. Now the deviancy cabal intends to send preachers who speak the truth about transgenderism and transvestitism to jail for two years.”

Fischer is responding in characteristically reactionary and spurious fashion to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement last week that the government was introducing legislation to “help ensure transgender and other gender-diverse people can live according to their gender identity, free from discrimination, and protected from hate propaganda and hate crimes.”

The bill (which you can read here) proposes to amend an anti-discrimination statute, the Canadian Human Rights Act, to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, a list which presently includes race, sexual orientation, sex, disability, and religion, among other grounds.

Or, in Fischer’s gloss, “Soon in Canada, it will be a crime to proclaim what the Bible and science teach about gender.” Fischer’s punting to “science” is particularly risible in light of his young earth creationist viewpoints.

I would not give Fischer points for credibility, since this is, after all, the same man who once likened erections to God’s radar alert system, or for originality, since his post is almost a paragraph-by-paragraph crib from this article in Christian Post.

But when he rhapsodizes about the “imams of sexual sharia” making sure that all good Christians like him are “appropriately chastened and punished,” well, it does make me chuckle.

Illustration: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.

This Week In Crazy: Our Long National Nightmare

Prognostications of the apocalypse, puritanical fools, and punditocratic blowhards. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Rick Santorum

Erstwhile presidential candidate Rick Santorum has made clear that deeply felt dedication to the cause of religious liberty is strictly limited to establishing his own extremist brand of conservative Christianity as law. And his utter ignorance of Islam has not stopped him from implicating every Muslim wholesale in his condemnations of terrorism. (““Islam is not just a religion; it is also a political governing structure,” he said at the fifth GOP debate.)

The depths of his ignorance about Islam were neatly and rather pathetically laid bare recently in a confrontation with college student Hamzah Raza, which was captured on cell phone video (below). Santorum sounded his usual notes about the monolithic evils of “Sharia law,” but when asked to clarify exactly what that was — other than a convenient talking point — the former senator was unable to do so.

Raza wrote Monday in Alternet:

I asked Santorum to name the 5 foundations of Sharia, which he was unable to do. It was also difficult for him to fathom the fact that Muslim scholars across the religious spectrum have all condemned ISIS. And that ISIS does follow not a legitimate interpretation of Sharia, according to basically every Muslim in the world. Although he could not name a single Muslim scholar who supports ISIS, he still insisted that ISIS is very popular (a claim that is statistically untrue). Santorum also found it difficult to fathom the fact that religion is up to interpretation. 

Hat tip Raw Story

Next: Rick Wiles & Mark Taylor 

4. Rick Wiles & Mark Taylor

Perhaps the only thing more alarming than Donald Trump are his fans, who can count among their dubious ranks apocalypse prognosticator Mark Taylor. Taylor recently appeared in Rick Wiles’ TruNews program to enlighten listeners on his frankly insane visions of a cosmology in which Trump is an avatar of God himself, and his enemies are the armies of Satan.

Right Wing Watch’s Brian Tashman writes:

Naturally, Wiles was overjoyed by his “amazing” prophesy.

Taylor also alleged that God made Fox News host Megyn Kelly “violently ill” for asking Trump “gotcha” questions at the first GOP presidential debate: “God was firing a warning shot: Don’t attack my anointed. Period.”

“The kingdom of darkness is attacking this man like never before,” Taylor said. “God is using this man — he’s not rattling the gates, because when you rattle the gates you don’t make entry — this man is literally splitting the kingdom of darkness right open.”

He claimed that protests at Trump rallies are a sign that “the kingdom of darkness is actually noticing the authority that God has put on this man and those are demons manifesting at this man’s rallies.”

“God is using him to literally split hell right open and stop this New World Order,” he added.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Right Wing Watch

Next: Bryan Fischer 

3. Bryan Fischer

If you are a conservative in favor of comprehensive tax reform, surely you can make a cogent argument without literally comparing income tax to the Dred Scott decision and literal slavery. Unless of course you are American Family Association (AFA) mouthpiece (and perennial, but richly deserving, TWIC piñata) Bryan Fischer.

In a post published this week on the AFA’s Stand blog, Fischer outlines his philosophy of how income tax is both “immoral and unconstitutional.”

(As a side note, it is awfully precious for Fischer to express any grievance over taxes since he operates — and spews his virulent, hateful garbage — from under the aegis of the AFA hate group, which enjoys non-profit status even as it militantly campaigns to erase people’s civil rights.)

He ends his screed thusly:

In essence, every wage earner is now in a state of involuntary servitude. We are obligated to pay an unjust and unconstitutional tax or face the full wrath and fury of the federal leviathan.

What the American people need is a second Emancipation Proclamation to free us from this bondage. Such an Emancipation Proclamation can be issued by Congress in the form of a law in line with the 16th Amendment that prohibits the federal government from collecting a tax on wages and salaries. Or an Emancipation Proclamation could be issued by the Supreme Court led by originalists who would issue a ruling that bound the federal government down by the chains of the Constitution and declared that it was not allowed to collect a tax on the wages and salaries of working Americans. Until that day comes, we will continue to be in the same condition as Dred Scott, slaves to an immoral, illegal, and utterly unconstitutional edict from the central government.

An Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863. There is no reason another cannot be issued in 2017. [emphasis added]

On a separate episode this week, Fischer claimed on the radio Wednesday that Reuters — yes, Reuters — had written an article disproving the Theory of Evolution and validating Fischer’s own brand of young earth creationism.

The only problem — as I pointed out to him on Twitter — was that his main source was not an article by the venerable news organization, but rather the heavily slanted Christian Times, which used a Reuters photo. Fischer, in effect, confused the photo caption for a byline, and so went on the air boasting that the secular media was writing articles confirming his unintelligent designs. “The Bible forbids evolution,” he said. “This book. This book does not lie.

He later tweeted that he was “Not perfect. Just forgiven.” By whom, he did not say.

Next: Brigham Young University

2. Brigham Young University

After a female student at the Mormon institution of higher learning Brigham Young University told police that she had been raped, her school busted her for violating the university’s bylaws.

BYU’s “honor code” — essentially a catalogue of puritanical, religion-inflected prescriptions — allows for the student to be punished for having had a member of the opposite sex in her home or for consuming alcohol.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the university is magnanimously allowing the student to complete her semester but has barred her from registering for future classes. The Tribune‘s Annie Knox writes:

[S]he filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, saying BYU denied her services available to victims under Title IX, a federal law barring sex discrimination at schools that receive funds from the U.S. government.

If a school is found to have violated Title IX, it usually reaches a settlement with the Office for Civil Rights and must show it is making new efforts to comply with the federal law.

She “is one of several students at the school, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have said they were investigated by the school’s Honor Code Office after reporting a sexual assault.”

Next: Sean Hannity

1. Sean Hannity

The Fox News host is finally coming under fire from both within and without his network for treating Donald Trump with the breathless adulation of a fawning fanboy. (To cite just one example, Hannity teed up the exact same obsequious question, “Do you have a nickname for Hillary?” at both last week’s and previous week’s town hall.)

When the host lost his cool at Ted Cruz this week for playing politics with the delegates, he all but laid his bias for The Donald naked on the table. Hannity then went on a long Twitter tear, blasting his critics and asserting that any pro-Trump, anti-Cruz agenda was “BS.”

“Now let me go back to this other idea about the media,” he said on his radio show Wednesday. “The media has accused me of going soft in interviews on Republicans. I plead guilty. I absolutely plead guilty. You know why? Because I want one of them to win.”

Here he echoed remarks he had made last week, when he said: “If I’m interviewing Hillary Clinton, it’s gonna be a hundred times harder than any Republican, because I believe the Republicans represent, and have, a far better vision, one that I agree with.”

“I’m not a journalist,” he admitted. (No kidding.) “I’m a talk show host.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.