Who could forget the Freedom 2015 conference in Des Moines, Iowa last month, during which Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal shared a stage with Kevin Swanson? Who could forget Swanson's epic meltdown on stage, during which he ranted about homosexuality, manure, pus-filled sores, and Harry Potter?
More content from the conference has become available, and I'm eager to share details with readers. At Freedom 2015, Christian Patriarchy adherent Geoffrey Botkin led a workshop entitled "The Decline of Freedom: From the Bill of Rights to the Ten Planks of Communism, America's Domestic Enemies and Where They Came From". Audio from the workshop is now available at Sermon Audio, so I've extracted some quotes from Botkin's talk for your reading pleasure.
Botkin's talk focused on America's rebellion from God and the danger of God's wrath if America does not repent. The talk was peppered with praise for Leviticus, insults for the movie Frozen, jabs at women, and ideas about "freedom" that are completely at odds with America's founding principles.
Isaac Botkin (Geoffrey Botkin's son) introduced the workshop as a talk about the "demise of freedom", which happens before the restoration of God's people. After reading from Nehemiah 9, Isaac described the theme of disobedience and repentance running through the Old Testament.
"We see this happen throughout scripture. We see the people of God being blessed, straying, rebelling, being chastised, repenting, and then the blessing of God coming on them again, over and over and over."Geoffrey Botkin came to the podium and began his talk with fear-mongering. "The wrath of God is hot on this country," he warned the audience, admitting that a nation's vulnerability before the wrath of God is "scary"."We have enemies that are bearing down on us, and they're terrifying!" he asserted. "The most terrifying of all would be the wrath of God. If we get in the way of the wrath of God, as other nations have, it is terrifying."
Despite his ominous warnings, Botkin urged listeners not to be discouraged, telling them that he was optimistic about God's promises. Botkin promised to give the audience a scriptural solution to the problem of God's wrath over our nation.
Isn't that convenient? I thought. Diagnose an imaginary problem, then assure listeners that YOU have the cure.
After reading from Ezekiel 20:9, Botkin reminded listeners that God's wrath is horrifying, especially for women and children. He's laying the fear on thick, I thought.
"How many times have you heard lectures or sermons about the calamity that God may bring on his people in modern times? It's a place that most people don't go. This is how God speaks, adult to adult, and we're going to be speaking about adult things here. Calamity on a nation is a very uncomfortable place to be, and especially for women and children who suffer during times of calamity."Citing Jeremiah 2:21, Botkin likened America to a "noble vine" cultivated by God himself, a vine that has become "degenerate".
"I just want to draw your attention to the historic fact that God planted this country carefully and lovingly as a noble vine, and what have we become?"Botkin alluded to Kevin Swanson's disturbing rant about Leviticus, which Swanson was scheduled to deliver later that day. "We can't go annulling the book of Leviticus just because it makes us uncomfortable," Botkin insisted. As viewers may recall, Swanson would argue that gays were worthy of death, citing Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:32. (Swanson also spoke warmly of Deuteronomy, a similarly harsh book from the Old Testament, at Vision Forum's History of America Mega-Conference in 2013.)
"When I'm finished here, upstairs there will be a closing address by the organizer of this conference who's going to dare to take a Bible and open it up to the book of Leviticus. And the media will be there like vultures to hear the word of God read from the book of Leviticus. Who's afraid of Leviticus? It's become a pejorative, and I've even heard Christians refer to the book of Leviticus--'That's the no-go territory. Yeah right. Nobody goes there anymore.' Well, what's wrong with the book of Leviticus? Has it been ... excised from scripture? Can we not go there? Can we not go there to find hope in the will of the Lord and the mind of the Lord?"Let that sink in. Botkin exalted an Old Testament book that calls intercourse between men an "abomination" (Leviticus 18:22), provides guidelines for buying slaves (Leviticus 25:44-46), commands execution for occultists (Leviticus 20:27) and children who mouth off to their parents (Leviticus 20:9), orders honor killing via immolation for daughters of priests who lose their virginity before marriage (Leviticus 21:9), and describes menstruation as unclean (Leviticus 18:19). Leviticus is culturally outmoded at best and barbaric at worst, and yet Botkin is perfectly comfortable with its content. Botkin's special affection for one of the Bible's most vicious books should tell us something about his worldview.
I will share quotes from the rest of Botkin's talk in my next post. Stay tuned for the rest of Geoffrey Botkin's talk, in which he blasts America for having evil ideas about "freedom" and lists the three greatest threats to the U.S.