Christian radio host Janet Mefferd is not a fringe figure. Her syndicated radio program plays on over 110 affiliates in the United States, and often brings on big-name figures like Herman Cain, Franklin Graham, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann. I wanted to make that clear, because one of the first defenses for extreme rhetoric is that this or that person is “fringe” (ie not representative of their movement). I wanted to make that clear before I shared this quote from her show on Monday.
“But this is the mindset, it’s more of a pagan mindset, I go back all the time to the movement of ancient paganism because it is on the rise. Whether people call themselves pagan or not that’s what is at root here: people challenge the traditional authority of God. And when you challenge the authority of God, what happens next? It’s like a sea of dominoes, one goes over it hits the next one, it hits the next one, it hits the next one. If there is no God, if I don’t go to church, if I reject Christianity, if I reject the Bible, all bets are off; I can do whatever I want. I can go down to the Occupy Wall Street protests and scream about the bankers; I can go out in the woods and beat a drum and worship an owl if I want to; I can have sex with whomever I want as often as I want with no consequences and if I do become pregnant I can just go get an abortion and then I can march in the streets and talk about women’s rights and reproductive health; and eventually, I can talk about how wonderful homosexuality is and how it’s just another alternative lifestyle and it’s all about love.”
According to Mefferd, Pagans (or “pagans,” though I don’t think there’s a distinction in her mind) destroyed marriage once (really?), and are poised to do so again.
“Marriage may be done for this culture in certain sectors, in certain pockets, but marriage most certainly is certainly not done because it is the God-ordained institution that mirrors the analogy of Christ and His church, it is the human institution that most closely reflects the heart of God the Father in Christ Jesus our Lord. That’s why they’re attacking it, they don’t know that that’s why they’re attacking it, they’re attacking it because they’re looking at all the advances in medical technology. I can have a baby without a man, so why do I need a man? I can earn more than a man, so why do I need a man? You can have a baby by adoption, and you can do it with a same-sex partner, so why do you need marriage? This is exactly what the pagans did, way back when, this is exactly what they did: destroy marriage. It’s shaking a fist in the face of God.”
“I think the homosexuality issue is an excuse, I think it’s an excuse. I think it’s an excuse of the pagan mind to begin what they have wanted to do for a very long time and that is to wipe out Christianity. Maybe that’s overstated, maybe I’m being a little bit over the top, but I really don’t think so. I think it’s an excuse. I think it’s the pagan who doesn’t want to hear about sin. I think it’s the pagan who doesn’t want the word of God to be believed by anybody because it’s an offense. And I think homosexuality is the perfect issue for them to use to shut Christians up.“
This unhinged mindset repeats on her show again and again. Giving time to figures like Bradlee Dean, so he can try to obfuscate the clear and well-documented cases of him calling for the persecution of gays. Invoking the specter of some nebulous gay-pagan axis hell-bent on destroying Christian religion. As Heathen political commentator Hrafnkell Haraldsson so aptly puts it, “simply declining to be persecuted apparently makes a person a persecutor of Christianity.”
“Obviously, at no point in history has there been a plot (by anyone) to wipe out Christianity (scholars recognize that until the mid-third century there was not even one government-sponsored attack on Christianity let alone centuries of persecution) and there is none now. Unfortunately, simply declining to be persecuted apparently makes a person a persecutor of Christianity. Declining to allow them to spread their hate is apparently itself hate. It’s a weird and wacky world fundamentalist Christians inhabit. Sadly, we get to share it with them.”
This would all be laughable were it not for two things, the reach and influence of Mefferd’s show, which as I pointed out earlier is not inconsiderable, and the fact that her crusade against equality for LGBTQ individuals and adherents to minority religions, or even those who simply disagree with her perspectives, unequivocally paints us as the enemy. There’s a disturbing resonance with the recent freedom of the West Memphis 3, thrown in prison for believing and liking the wrong things in the wrong town, and the idea that those times could come again thanks to people like Mefferd. It’s yet another reason why the Pagan conference with a Republican candidate for president is so important, as it creates a tiny crack in the alliance between conservative politics and the religious rhetoric displayed here.