Back in 2016, when Donald Trump was campaigning to be governor of Vladimir Putin’s new vassal state, the Democratic People’s Republic of Ivankaland (fka the United States), he made a truly shocking statement suggesting that America’s “Second Amendment people” could stop a future President Hillary Clinton from picking Supreme Court justices.
In any other election cycle, that alone would have been enough to disqualify a candidate, but compared to all the other disqualifying things about Trump—ranging from his attacks on a Gold Star family to the mendacious mound of sweaty Gouda bobbling about on his shoulders—it inevitably washed down the sewer with the other hair-on-fire outrages.
So now such violent rhetoric is often seen as de rigueur in MAGA circles, instead of dangerously irresponsible. Enter Pastor Greg Locke, a prominent MAGA preacher who appears to believe literal witches have infiltrated his church. Not only has he fought tooth and nail to stop COVID-19 from affecting his flock (sorry, I meant “COVID-19 regulations”; he’s a huge fan of the virus itself), he’s apparently willing to spill blood on top of the barrels of freedom phlegm he’s already oozed out into the wider world.
At the Save America Freedom Tour in Tennessee on Monday, Locke suggested that anyone who might try to wheedle one of his congregants into wearing a slightly uncomfortable, potentially lifesaving piece of cloth would get a Daffy Duck shotgun blast to the face.
LOCKE: “And we have to stop compromising to the propaganda, so I say this and we volley back. One of the things we did to push back against the nonsense is not only put up a sign, but we told our folks, we so believe in our First Amendment right to gather under this tent and to worship Jesus Christ that if you show up with your propaganda machine and you try to impede on our First Amendment right, I said our boys will meet you at the door of this tent with our Second Amendment right because we’re not playing your Democrat games. This is a church and we’re gonna stand.”
Okay, for folks so ostensibly steeped in biblical blather, they appear to have completely missed the bit where Jesus admonishes his followers to pray in secret. Why are they at a big vaudeville church show to begin with? They hate Jesus that much?
Secondly—you’ve convinced me. I won’t show up at your church, Pastor Locke. I was thinking of disguising myself as a Trump supporter, but I ordered the MAGA hat too early, and by the time D-Day arrived it smelled a tad too much like weed and Whole Foods, so I had to abort the mission.
That said, Roger Stone and The Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider were there! One has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back and the other drove around for six years in a car with a Confederate flag on its roof, so you have some idea where these folks are coming from.
All kidding aside, though, it’s more than a little alarming that this kind of thing has become ordinary, acceptable rhetoric among those on the uber-Jesusy far-right. And it’s similarly alarming that they’re now making generic threats against Democrats. How long before that extends to small-d democrats of any stripe?
We’re in a fight for the soul of this nation, folks. Don’t be afraid to step into the ring.
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