The religious right would like us to believe that all it wants is to give Americans with “traditional values” a place at the table. But occasionally, when prominent fundies think no one else is listening, they reveal their true agenda–turning this country into a Christianized version of Taliban-era Afghanistan, or the portions of Syria and Iraq ruled by ISIS. The latest evidence of this came on Friday, when a leading religious right talk show host declared that there was but one solution to public schools’ growing tolerance of the LGBT community–burn them down.
There are a lot of loathsome characters on religious right talk radio–like Bryan Fischer, E.W. Jackson, Janet Mefferd, Sandy Rios, and others. But they sound like squishes compared to Kevin Swanson. For more than a decade, Swanson and his ministry, Generations, have supplied a steady diet of commentary that is staggeringly extreme even by religious right standards. Among other things, he has suggested that 9-11 was intended to put a Muslim in the White House and encouraged Christian public school educators to cram religion down kids’ throats.
He is also viciously homophobic. He believes that the only reason Christians should attend gay weddings is to hold up signs saying “Leviticus 20:13” on them (“If a man sleeps with a man as he sleeps with a woman the two of them have committed an abomination and they shall both be put to death.”) For good measure, he thinks Christian cakemakers should write “Leviticus 20:13” on cakes intended for gay weddings.
But this was mild stuff compared to what Swanson said on the Friday edition of his “Generations Radio” show. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Swanson and co-host Bill Jack were none too pleased about kindergartners in Washington being taught about gender identity this year. Indeed, he didn’t think it was a coincidence that Washington was rolling out this new curriculum at the same time news got out about a highly sexualized environment at the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, including a rape allegation against a division manager. He also claimed that there was a connection with allegations of sexual misconduct by Washington governor Jay Inslee, though there is no evidence such allegations have been reported in any reputable media outlets.
To Swanson’s mind, Inslee, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the public schools were all “violating God’s law with high levels of flagrancy.” And yet, he didn’t understand why there was such a furor over suspected rape at the Department of Fish and Wildlife when “the other forms of crimes are not against the law in the state of Washington.”
Swanson thought that it made no sense to talk about moral standards in a state where “the worst possible abominations are accepted.” For that reason, he believed that “it’s time to get kids out of the public schools,” which he denounced as “whorehouses.” But Jack didn’t think that was enough. As the show went to break, he said, “We need to burn ’em down.”
I had to listen to this twice to believe it. A supposedly Christian talk show host was actually calling for public schools to be burned down. Even more telling was Swanson’s reaction. He simply went to break, as if nothing happened.
Any hope that this was anything more than an oversight was quickly eliminated when Swanson returned from break. He mused that if parents from the 1950s were somehow transported to today and saw what was happening in the schools, “they would want to burn these schools down.” Jack agreed, saying that those parents would “tear the bricks out of the walls” and use them to “stone the apostates.”
It says a lot about Swanson that he didn’t tell Jack to pack up and leave during the break. No responsible broadcaster or podcaster would condone what essentially amounted to a call for a riot, regardless of how they may feel. Can you imagine what would happen if Joy Reid, Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, or Lawrence O’Donnell even suggested that Christian private schools should be burned down? They’d be canceled in the middle of the next break.
Generations is a ministry of Christian Home Educators of Colorado. Hmmm–does CHEC condone Swanson merely twiddling his thumbs while Jack called for public schools to be burned down? Additionally, Swanson’s day job is serving as pastor of Reformation Church, an Orthodox Presbyterian church Elizabeth, halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs. Are the elders and deacons of that church, as well as the OPC’s Presbytery of the Dakotas, okay with one of their pastors allowing a call for violence to go out over the air?
Jack is a founder and faculty member of Worldview Academy, which operates a number of Christian summer camps across the country. Is Worldview Academy even remotely okay with one of its faculty members engaging in such violent rhetoric?
The bottom line–there are a lot of people who have a lot of questions to answer about this pigweed. And Swanson is at the top of the list. Let him know what you think of this on his personal Twitter, as well as Generations’ official Facebook feed.
(featured image courtesy Generations)