There are two big reasons why Donald Trump’s administration is not normal. For one thing, some of the nation’s most notorious peddlers of conspiracy theories, like Alex Jones, apparently have the ear of the president of the United States. For another, he is being propped up by pastors who have spent most of this year trying to bully evangelicals and the nation at large into bowing down to a manifestly unfit president.
Well, would you believe that one of the men propping up Trump is both a nutjob pastor and a conspiracy theorist? Believe it or not, it’s true. The man who led the now-infamous prayer in the Oval Office also traffics heavily in conspiracy theory.
Rodney Howard-Browne is probably best known as one of the leaders of the “Toronto Blessing”–a so-called revival at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship that ran from 1994 and 2006 that was characterized by people laughing uncontrollably, and even bleating like sheep and roaring like lions. Watch an example of one of the more bizarre services here.
Howard-Browne was often called “the Holy Ghost bartender” because of the frequent outbreaks of laughter that occurred at his services.
But in recent years, Howard-Browne has been engaging in hard-right political hankering as well. This isn’t all that surprising, since the Toronto Blessing helped birth the New Apostolic Reformation, an overtly fascist offshoot of the religious right that seeks to bring about the Second Coming by taking over the world.
In 2012, for instance, Newt Gingrich paid a visit to Howard-Browne’s church, The River Church in Tampa. He also helped lead a prayer rally ahead of the 2012 Republican National Convention, which took place in Tampa. He was back at it in 2014, leading a prayer rally in Washington for much of July. He was one of the earliest fundie supporters of Trump, saying in March 2016 that Trump would delay the coming of the Antichrist.
That by itself would be unnerving. But it turns out that Howard-Browne is essentially Alex Jones in a pulpit. For instance, after leading the prayer in the Oval Office, he claimed that he’d done so to avert an attack on Trump. However, he didn’t bother to furnish the Secret Service with any details.
We saw more of the same earlier this week, when Howard-Browne had a chat with hard-right Christianist podcaster and conspiracy peddler Sheila Zillinsky. Right Wing Watch got a clip.
During the interview, Howard-Browne claimed that climate change was bogus simply because the “the number one scientist”–God himself–said in Genesis that “summer and winter will not cease.” He also claimed that any changes in the weather were due to that longstanding mainstay of tinfoil hat land, chemtrails. Supposedly, the powers that be have been using chemtrails to fiddle with our weather since at least World War II.
As it turned out, that was a model of sanity compared to a sermon he gave at his church the previous Sunday. Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Howard-Browne told his flock that Eminem was about to be “put on a hood” for his freestyle takedown of Trump. He said that Eminem and others had “mocked the body of Christ for too long”–and the bill was about to come due.
As Howard-Browne saw it, Hollywood celebrities were “prophets of the enemy” who were “full of the devil”–so much, in fact, that “they can’t even be reasoned with.” Supposedly, they engage in rituals like on-set séances, devil worship, and drinking blood.
What was worse, Howard-Browne said that a lot of Hollywood luminaries “sacrifice children at the highest levels” and drink kids’ blood–an apparent reference to the Pizzagate nonsense. He claimed that “all the pedophilia that is going to come out of Hollywood and out of Washington, D. C.” was about to be blown wide open. So apparently a number of fundie tailenders are still talking about Pizzagate. Lovely.
We already knew that Trump was scraping the bottom of the barrel for fundie support. After all, Paula White is his main spiritual adviser, and the likes of Jim Bakker, Lance Wallnau, Rick Joyner, and Pat Robertson are singing his praises. It takes some effort to get loonier than that crowd. But this guy may have done just that. The mere thought that this raving conspiracy theorist has the ear of the president of the United States should send a chill down our spines.
(featured image courtesy Howard-Browne’s Facebook)