Perennial misogynist and homophobe Steve Anderson, Roger Jimenez, Donnie Romero, and David Berzins came together for the Red Hot Preaching Conference in Sacramento, California on July 28-31. Hosted by Jimenez' Verity Baptist Church, the gathering was meant to be an opportunity to "meet many great men of the faith and potentially go soulwinning with very experienced soulwinners". (Hat tip to No Longer Quivering and Raw Story.)
The conference couldn't have assembled a more hysterical and offensive list of speakers. Anderson, Jimenez, and Romero were in the news this summer for making vicious comments about LGBTQ people in the wake of the Orlando Pulse massacre. Berzins has made homophobic comments of his own, criticizing supposedly weak churches for not standing up to the "homosexual agenda". The gathering's homophobic line-up drew protesters from the Love is Love Movement and Kiss Away Hate, according to ABC 10, KCRA 3, and Fox 40.
Before I focus on the main lineup, I'd like to share some quotes from a man who spoke before Anderson. In this YouTube video, Garrett Kirchway of Faithful Word Baptist Church devoted a short sermon to the evils of alcohol.
"The Bible speaks very strongly against alcohol!" he preached. In rapid fire fashion, Kirchway fired off Bible passages that condemn drunkenness such as Proverbs 20.
Kirchway reminded the audience that he was preparing for a missionary trip to Botswana, where he planned to tackle alcohol consumption. "When you teach, you need to teach against the sins of the land. Alcohol is a big sin in Africa," he claimed. At the 47:58 mark, he told listeners that alcohol consumption is a problem in Botswana because its churches are confused and its Bibles are poorly translated. The answer, Kirchway proposed, was to promote the King James Bible.
"Why is alcohol so popular there? Well first of all, it's in the churches. The reason why it's in the churches is there's a lot of confusion that people see about alcohol. There's a lot of false teachings about alcohol. Also, their Bibles are messed up. Believe it or not, John 2 in many of their versions says that Jesus turned water into alcohol, not water into wine, but water into alcohol. We need to get the King James Version to as many people as we can ... We need to preach hard against sin."At the 48:52 mark, Kirchway promised to eject Botswanans out of their churches if they didn't stop drinking alcohol.
"I can't guarantee we're going to bring down the alcohol consumption in the country of Botswana, but I can bring it down in our church. When we preach the King James Bible, when we preach hard, if they still don't listen, we'll kick them out of church by 1 Corinthians 5:11. And if the other churches follow suit, maybe the alcohol consumption will come down."First, this approach to missionary work reeks of the White Man's Burden. Second, alcohol consumption in moderation is not immoral, and certainly no reason to denigrate your African hosts. Third, if Kirchway is truly concerned about alcoholism in Botswana, he should be supporting medical services and mental health care providers in Botswana. Professional services will do far more good for alcoholics than King James Bibles and finger-wagging American preachers. Like so many of his brethren, Kirchway promotes fundamentalism as a cure for social problems, ignoring better solutions.