Now that Texas Governor Rick Perry is officially running for President (though not yet “officially announced”) one has to wonder if the Versailles media is ever going to actually cover him. Texas Observer investigative reporter Forrest Wilder—whose recent article, “Rick Perry’s Army of God”, is must reading to understand the New Apostolic Reformation, the religious movement that Perry is courting—is justifiably skeptical of the media’s track record so far, as he spelled out this week in “The Mainstream Media’s Shallow Coverage of The Response“.
First, regarding the over-all context, Wilder quotes Slate‘s Dave Weigel:
That’s the brilliance of what Perry has done here: These ideas don’t contradict each other at all. He doesn’t need to talk about politics, or do anything besides be here and understand this event. The religion is the politics. These worshippers understand that if they can bring “the kingdom of God” to Earth, economic problems, even macroeconomic problems, will sort themselves out.
But Wilder also points to some pretty startling things that should have stood out. Some were evident on their face. Others, perhaps not so much. So he talks about Alice Patterson, whom Perry “ hugged and thanked” just before speaking.
Patterson’s big thing is “racial reconciliation” between whites and blacks based, in part, on a fraudulent reading of history she borrows from Texas-based fundamentalist historian David Barton.
In Patterson’s telling, it was Christian conservatives and the Republican Party that were on the side of civil rights. Contemporary liberals and the Democratic Party, she writes in her book Bridging the Racial and Political Divide: How Godly Politics Can Transform a Nation, are actually the racists because, for example, Dixiecrats in the South opposed desegregation and civil rights legislation and now oppose private school vouchers and support abortion rights (“It is tragic how the Black community is unknowingly embracing the genocide of their own race.”)
Wilder also provide a few of the more sizzling quotes from her book, such as:
Why are Black and Hispanic Christians voting against their values? I believe it’s because of a structure – a diabolical governmental structure that manipulates the two political parties.
[The Democratic Party is] an invisible network of evil comprising an unholy structure” released by Jezebel.
I saw Jezebel’s skirt lifted to expose tiny Baal, Asherah, and a few other spirits. There they were–small, cowering, trembling little spirits that were only ankle high on Jezebel’s skinny legs.
Quotes like this are so obviously crazy talk that there’s a natural tendency to simply dismiss them out of hand. But Patterson is actually a very important myth-maker, so her words deserve a much more careful examination. At the very least, it’s helpful to quote more extensively, in order to see what she’s doing.
Here’s what she says about how she came to think about the demonic structure of the Democratic Party:
“In 2004 my husband John and I traveled to Louisiana as Texas coordinators to meet with other United States Strategic Prayer Network (USSPN) Coordinators from Mississippi, Oklahoma and Florida. Roger and Charlotte Mereschbrock, Coordinators for Louisiana, convened the meeting. Dr. Chuck Pierce, who presided over the USSPN, spoke in church in Baton Rouge. ‘Let the Lord show you Saul Structures in your life and ministry and how to dismantle them,’ Chuck admonisthed. As Chuck described Saul Structures, my thoughts raced to politics. Oh my God, Chuck is describing the Democratic Party! This was the first time I’d ever considered that an evil structure could be connected to and empowered by a political party.”
Now, don’t check out on me here. I’ll describe the structure connected to the Republican Party later. Separate in your mind any person or group of people. The structure is not about human beings like President Barack Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter or your local Democratic official. It’s not about the millions of people who vote for Democratic candidates. It’s an invisible network of evil comprising an unholy structure.
In other words, it really doesn’t matter what any of the people involved with Democratic Party say or do. It’s all the work of invisible demons! [Well, invisible most of the time, anyways.] So what’s the point in any sort of normal political discourse if that’s the case? Demon-hunting and witch-hunting it is!
Oh, and so far as the GOP being tainted, too? Not to worry, really. The Democrats are controlled by a pagan demonic structure. But the GOP is merely under the sway of a temporarily misguided Christian (okay, he’s a Jew, but the true Jews are all Christians, don’tcha know?):
I called my friend Connie Fisher in Houston. Connie told me that she had been studying Elijah and was convinced that the structure in the Democratic Party is a Jezebel structure and the one in the Republican Party is an Ahab structure.
Next, here’s how Patterson projects the GOP’s manipulation of the Religious Right onto the Democratic Party. Note how she argues that an all-white base or elite (she uses the two opposite terms interchangeably) controls the colored masses:
Why do Democrats, especially Black Americans and Hispanics, whose values many times are biblically based, have to change their positions to run on the Democratic ticket? Because the base of the Democratic Party demands it. Who comprises the bas of the Democratic Party? The Democratic Party is controlled by the White elite: trial lawyers, labor union members, pro-choice (pro-abortion) activists, i.e., National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), gay lestian bisexual transgender activists (GLBT), entertainers, academia, anti-religious liberty proponents under the guise of separation of church and state, anti-war activists, radical environmentalist, feminists and those who believe that government programs are the answer to America’s problems. The elite make the rules, choose the platform and select the leadership of the Party. As I mentioned previously, Black Democrats are the most loyal voting block of the Democratic Party, but are not involved in the party process. So they are not a part of the groups I listed above who control the Democratic Party.
So, academia (all-white, in Patterson’s telling) is in control. But Black Democrats “are not involved in the party process”. Not President Obama. Not the Congressional Black Caucus. Not any of the thousands of black state and local elected officials, almost all of whom are Black. And surely not any of the countless Black Democratic Party activists. It’s a fascinating world in which Patterson lives.
There’s also no black trial lawyers (at least now that Johnny Cochrane is dead), no black labor union members, no black pro-choice activists, no black GLBT activists, no black entertainers (at least now that Michael Jackson is dead), no black academics (as previously noted, sorry Skip Gates, the Beer Summit? Never happened!), no black environmentalists, etc., etc., etc. The pretense that none of these people exist (much less that they have produced significant movements and bodies of analysis) according to Patterson speaks volumes about her own persistent racism, despite all her conscious protestations to the contrary. It is this wholesale denial of black (and brown) agency that stands behind Patterson’s flight of fancy into demonological explanations:
Why are Black and Hispanic Christians voting against their values? I believe it’s because of a structure–a diabolical government structure that manipulates the two political parties.
Republicans have spent decades developing a rhetoric that attacks Democrats for seducing and betraying Blacks (and, to a lesser extent, Latinos), maintaining their inferior status in order to control them. But Patterson’s argument here quite clearly shows how this GOP rhetoric simply projects onto Democrats the GOP’s own view of people of color.
“Oh but, Patterson didn’t say any of that at The Response!” You might say. “In fact, she didn’t speak at all!”
She didn’t have to. To the very minimal extent that Perry has been questioned about his association with the NAR, he’s been defended with the old canard, “Just because they endorse me, doesn’t mean that I endorse them.”
No, he doesn’t. He just hugs them real tight, and sticks his tongue out at the ever-clueless media.