Speaker explains that Elsa is from the Devil and "Let It Go" is Satan's anthem. Seriously pic.twitter.com/SrOKGU6tXA— Brian Tashman (@briantashman) November 7, 2015
For an introduction to the Freedom 2015 conference, click here. To read about Kevin Swanson at Freedom 2015, click here. To read about Cruz, Jindal, and Huckabee at Freedom 2015, click here. To read an earlier post about Geoffrey Botkin's talk, click here.
Christian Patriarchy proponent Geoffrey Botkin delivered a talk at the Freedom 2015 conference in Des Moines, Iowa on November 7th. Audio from "The Decline of Freedom: From the Bill of Rights to the Ten Planks of Communism, America's Domestic Enemies and Where They Came From" is now available at Sermon Audio, so I have extracted some of Botkin's quotes for my readers.
In part I, Botkin warned his audience that God's wrath was looming over America due to the country's rejection of God's law. In part II, Botkin describes America's alleged depravity, lists America's three greatest enemies, and offers steps for how America can return to God.
Botkin defined the terms he would use in his talk, including an odd definition of "freedom" that defies both common parlance and the definition used in America's founding documents. Freedom is not license to disobey God or commit treason against sovereign authority, he added.
"Freedom is the liberty to obey and apply and enjoy the wisdom of God's law. It's a yoke that's not sorrowful. It's not a burden to us. It's not heavy. It's a yoke that we should be so willing to take on us. Freedom is the God-given right to serve the one who defines freedom."This definition of freedom is yet another example of fundamentalists playing fast and loose with word definitions. Botkin's idea of freedom is essentially "obey my faith's rigid rules, or else". This definition of freedom leaves no room for autonomy, the power to make choices, or genuine human flourishing.
Botkin likened those who seek freedom apart from God's laws to his two-year old granddaughter, who cried because she didn't want to follow her grandfather's rules. At the 20:48 mark, he shared a story of how the toddler chafed under his rules and longed to "be the daddy all the time".
"Got a little granddaughter who wants her freedom, okay, to do what she wants to do. Earlier this summer, she was two years old, I was correcting her about something little, something little, and she started to cry, and I picked up her and held her in my arms and I said, 'Why are you crying?" And she said, "I DON'T WANT TO BE GOOD!". Okay. She wanted her freedom to do what she wanted to do ... I asked her if I could tell this story, and she said yes, okay.Botkin was particularly angry at believers who exercise their freedom by leaving churches. Christians "church-hop" so that they can find a church that justifies what they want to do anyway, he insisted. Yeah, because they never leave due to spiritual abuse, scandals, or toxic theology, I thought.
'Catherine, what is it that you want?' She's the most most honest counselee I've ever had in my life. She said 'I want to be the daddy all the time.' She wants to get to decide what's right and wrong, good and evil, and make the decisions herself, and be the authority at all times and therein find her freedom, so she can justify everything that she does, and she knew exactly what she wanted. She was morally honest. She admitted it."
In a bizarre swipe at pop culture, Botkin mocked the song "Let It Go" from the animated movie Frozen, calling it "Satan's rebellion anthem". Elsa's longing to "test the limits and break through" was an example of society's evil idea of freedom, devoid of any respect for God's law, he sneered. The conversation quickly turned to Satan's encounter with Eve in the Garden of Eden, in which Satan tempted Eve with promises of freedom and power. (Right Wing Watch devoted a post to Botkin's rant against Frozen here.)
Botkin demanded that listeners "chasten" their children, arguing at the 25:54 mark that parents represent God in the home. Disciplining children so that they follow God's law is crucial, since God will chasten America if it neglects his law, he insisted.
"How many preachers will tell you that you need to chasten your children as the authority who represents God in your family? How many churches still teach that we need to be doing that in our homes to be faithful to the law of God? Very few. How many tell you that God, our heavenly father, will chasten us according to his promises in scripture and even chasten our nation?"Citing Proverbs 28:9 -- "If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable" -- Botkin raged against Americans who pray to God but neglect his laws at the 28:09 mark. Prayers from the unworthy are mere "whining" that makes God angry, he claimed.
"If we have come up with one weird trick so that we can have our license and our liberty and the freedom that we think we need to correct, just by plugging our ears so that we don't hear the word of God, or finding a church that will never teach it, what's our relationship like with God Almighty? Even our prayer would make him angry, and what if the whole nation is doing that? Do you see what scripture says here? Even his prayer is an abomination. There's to be a number of prayer meetings held this coming year, 2016, on the steps of every state capitol of America, organized by Christian leaders concerned about our country. I'm concerned too. But I'm also concerned that if the Christians of a lawless nation with a lawless attitude who don't like God's law gather together and WHINE TO HIM, will it just make him angry?"This being Geoffrey Botkin, he couldn't resist a few jabs at mothers. He claimed that the wicked kings of the Bible had "wicked, selfish mothers" who led them astray.
"Take a look at the most wicked kings, and then look at the king's mother or the king's wife and the influence that she had on that wicked king. Take a look at the good kings and look at the mother or the wife. Have you ever done that study? It's fascinating to see. The WICKED, SELFISH MOTHERS produce kings that lead their people in a very wicked, selfish direction."This isn't the first time that Botkin has spoken ill of mothers. Recall that Botkin criticized "mommies" during a 2013 webinar and warned listeners about "emasculation", "maternalistic necessity", and "mommy states" at the 2013 History of America Mega-Conference.
Botkin listed five theological laws of judgment that frame God's wrath against nations.
- God governs nations by judging them. He administers blessings and curses accordingly. Those who refuse to acknowledge God's authority become "morally stupid" as a punishment from God.
- God's judgment follows due process.
- God's judgment always begins with believers.
- Without God's law, no nation can truly serve Christ.
- Those who reject God's law become enemies of God. God will go to war with them.
Botkin described the three supposed enemies threatening the U.S.: Islam, which he described as a totalitarian "death cult"; the "self-righteous, politically correct left"; and "evangelical Protestant Bible belt Christians who believe that they are above the law". Botkin's described Islam in scathing terms, insisting that it has not changed in twelve centuries, despite ample evidence of Islam's evolution throughout its history.
"The third most lethal threat to you and your country right now is Islam ... Islam is a totalitarian political death cult. It's a religious law system of a false god. Did you catch that? It's a religious law system. It has its alternative law system that's different from God's law system. It has a supremacist ideology that has not changed or reformed in 1,200 years."He spoke of Islam in apocalyptic terms, warning the audience that Muslim girls are being raised to hate America and bear children who will someday spill blood for jihad. Mosques are teaching Muslims that Sharia law is the highest authority, he insisted. Botkin conveniently ignored the existence of law-abiding Muslims, including progressive Muslims and Muslims who serve the common good.
"God has used this sort of Islam to chastise wayward and negligent Christian nations for 1,200 years. Could he do it here? Yeah," he told listeners. If Islam gains ascendancy, "quiet" Muslims will be killed if they refuse to join the impending jihad, Christian history will be erased, and Christian women will be enslaved, he claimed. Botkin made a point of reminding listeners that European women with light complexions were "very valuable" in the old slave trade. "Next thing that happens is Jew and Christian males are executed, and then the women are seized as war booty and marked for punishment or slavery or then genocide," he said.
Translation: scary brown men will destroy America and bang all the white women! Be afraaaiiiid! I thought.
Botkin's apocalyptic picture of Islam was ridiculous for several reasons. First, there is a huge difference between ISIS jihadis and law-abiding Muslims, just as there is a huge difference between Christian extremists who attack abortion clinics and law-abiding Christians. Muslims are not some implacable, monolithic threat, nor are they a fifth column inside the U.S. Second, plenty of Muslims despise Islamic extremism. Most of ISIS' victims have been Muslims. Many of the refugees fleeing the Levant are Muslims, suggesting that they want no part of ISIS' vision. The countries inflicting the heaviest damage against ISIS are other majority-Muslim nations. Third, while terrorist attacks against U.S. targets remain a real threat, the chances of ISIS invading the U.S. are nil. They don't have the manpower, and they already have their hands full in the Levant.
Also, I find it ironic that Botkin demonizes Muslims as fanatics who slaughter nonbelievers, take slaves during war, and rape conquered women, since his own holy book condones the same horrors. Deuteronomy alone contains multiple passages commanding or condoning the very atrocities Botkin condemns, to say nothing of the rest of the Bible. When Botkin demands that believers uphold Old Testament laws, does he mean those laws too?
Botkin's caricature of the "politically correct left" was so cartoonish that no sensible person could take it seriously. He described the left's supposed plan to abolish private property, seize property from "rebels", and establish state ownership of factories and farms.
"The self-righteous, politically correct left ... They're represented by the nationalized educational curriculum, the politically synchronized media, the self-accredited academia, the elites who run the colleges and the seminaries, the political leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties, the socialistic labor unions, and the regulatory bureaucracy with police powers, which is the civil government at the federal and state level."Christians are allegedly in a "moral war" with these three forces, Botkin claimed. All three reject Jesus Christ, chafe under God's moral rules, see themselves as righteous, and cannot discuss morality without abusing people who disagree with them. Just like Botkin, I thought.
America was once "free" under the law of God in the 17th and 18th centuries, Botkin said, because people were not ashamed of the Gospel. America must return to this mindset, he insisted. Frankly, I doubt that Native Americans, women, indentured servants, or slaves felt very "free" in the colonies during that time. Botkin's golden age wasn't nearly as golden as he wants to believe.
This is the man who spoke at the same conference as Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal: a man who uses fear to push a radical religious agenda, who demonizes and scapegoats whole communities, and who has no tolerance for people with different beliefs. A future president who breaks bread with people like this would be disastrous for the U.S.