Pharyngula

Kook warning!

Why do we put up with these insane people? This is painful to listen to: it’s an NPR interview with John Hagee, and he goes on and on about his weird biblical prophecies that soon (maybe in the next hour!) the Rapture is going to occur, war will break out with Russia and Islam against Israel, and God will make an abrupt magical appearance that will prove his existence. It’s got excerpts from his looney-tunes sermons. We get to hear that “All Moslems have a mandate to kill Christians and Jews.” And what about Hurricane Katrina? “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God…all of the city was punished for the sin that was in that city.”

Terry Gross is much, much too nice to this raving lunatic.

Comments

  1. #1 Fernando Magyar
    September 20, 2006

    Someone please tell me why this DFW is on NPR and not in an insane asylum? Where the hell are the little men in the white lab coats with the big butterfly nets?

  2. #2 Paul Merda
    September 20, 2006

    I heard the interview, what a psycho. I kept turning it off but always had to come back to see what ludicrous words would come from his mouth next. Yes, Terry was waaaaay to nice to this idiot. Sadly, about 1/3 of this Nation believes this garbage which is why I assume NPR would even bother, but alas, I can’t imagine that 1/3 actually listening to godless NPR… Canada looks better everyday.

  3. #3 j.t.delaney
    September 20, 2006

    “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God…all of the city was punished for the sin that was in that city.”

    Obviously, this guy hasn’t been to Amsterdam lately. Decriminalized soft drugs, legalized (and unionized) prostitution, gay marriage, pioneering needle exchange programs, softcore porn on major TV networks, gambling, and a comfortable atheist/agnostic majority… all in a city that’s 4 meters below sea level! Yet, for some reason Jehovah, the intergalactic party pooper, hasn’t smitten them with a flood in centuries — go figure. Those people in New Orleans must have been very naughty!

  4. #4 Orac
    September 20, 2006

    There is such a thing in journalism of letting kooks like that hang themselves, which they almost happily will do if you let them. There was no need for Terry to get nasty with him; just letting him talk revealed for all to see just what a kook he is in a way that listeners find hard to turn away from.

  5. #5 Mark Trodden
    September 20, 2006

    The guy is, of course, scary and nuts. However, by far the most frightening part of the piece came in the prelude, in which Gross mentions that at some large whackjob meeting that this guy organizes, attendees were Ken Mehlman and Rick Santorum, with greetings sent in from President Bush.

  6. #6 Ethan
    September 20, 2006

    Why wasn’t Terry Gross meaner to him? I assume this is a rhetorical question.

    Everyone says that they will welcome our squid overlords, but here is the reason why.
    Homovorous squid would be an improvement.

  7. #7 Caledonian
    September 20, 2006

    Um, by not being nasty to him, Gross induced a strong desire on the part of her listeners for someone to be nasty to him, as well as deflecting possible assertions that she had an agenda against him.

    It’s called “giving them enough rope”.

  8. #8 Zeno
    September 20, 2006

    Someone please tell me why this DFW is on NPR and not in an insane asylum?

    What does “DFW” mean? Dallas/Fort Worth?

  9. #9 Brian Dewhirst
    September 20, 2006

    Terry Gross’s voice seemed to be on the verge of breaking half of the time… she may have been polite, but was certainly upset at the things this maniac was saying.

  10. #10 cleek
    September 20, 2006

    Yet, for some reason Jehovah, the intergalactic party pooper, hasn’t smitten them [the Dutch] with a flood in centuries

    not centuries, decades.

  11. #11 stefan
    September 20, 2006

    I’ve heard Terry Gross interview a few wackos like this (someone from the Cato Institute comes to mind). Her style is pretty much to stay out of the way and let them hang themselves – as others have commented. Your own response was a case in point: it was “painful to listen to”. I’m sure most listeners to NPR had the same experience, and came away knowing more – in his own words – about yet another crazy out there influencing our foreign policy.

    The funny thing is that the wacko Hagee probably listened to his own interview – and thought it went really well!

  12. #12 Steve_C
    September 20, 2006

    DFW=Demented Fuck Wit 🙂

  13. #13 Steve_C
    September 20, 2006

    I think she’s also good at leading them to say what they really feel.
    For these guys opening up is not such a good idea.

  14. #14 Molly, NYC
    September 20, 2006

    Obviously, this guy hasn’t been to Amsterdam lately. . . . Those people in New Orleans must have been very naughty!

    Or insufficiently white, or affluent.

  15. #15 George
    September 20, 2006

    The only time I’ve heard Terry Gross on the verge of being angry is when she interviewed Gene Simmons from Kiss.

    Terry Gross: No. Let’s get to the studded codpiece.

    Gene Simmons: Oh yes.

    Terry Gross: Do you have a sense of humor about that?

    Gene Simmons: No.

    Terry Gross: Does that seem funny to you? Are you —

    Gene Simmons: No, it holds in my manhood.

    Terry Gross: [laughs] That’s right.

    Gene Simmons: Otherwise it would be too much for you to take. You’d have to put the book down and confront life. The notion is that if you want to welcome me with open arms, I’m afraid you’re also going to have to welcome me with open legs.

    Terry Gross: That’s a really obnoxious thing to say.

    Gene Simmons: No it’s not, it’s being — why should I say something behind your back that I can’t tell you to your face?

    Terry Gross: Wait, it — it — has it come to this? Is this the only way that you can talk to a woman? To do that shtick?

    http://www.maniahill.com/funny/Gene_Simmons_Terry_Gross_Fresh_Air_02_04_2002.htm

    It was all downhill from there.

  16. #16 thwaite
    September 20, 2006

    As already noted, not only is ‘give them enough rope’ an effective technique for a semi-conscious audience, it also relieves concerns about civility (the good pastor ended with a seemingly sincere thank-you to Terry) and concerns about liability.

    I’ll add that the 20-minute interview with Hagee was only the last third of her hour program. She also had two earlier guests, who established nutjob context pretty clearly:

    * Journalist Gershom Gorenberg former associate editor and columnist for The Jerusalem Report… author of the book, The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. His new book is The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977

    *Max Blumenthal a Puffin Foundation writing fellow at the Nation Institute… a research fellow at Media Matters for America. He has written extensively about the conservative movement, and the Christian right. His recent article in The Nation is “Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism.”

    Nutjob, yes – but even here in silicon valley we get mass-mailed fliers (slick & expensive) every so often for multi-night lectures on the signs of Armageddon as revealed in Revelations.

    As Gross’s program pointed out, this nut-case logic does influence American foreign policy in that region. Can anyone comment on the historical precedent in Britain about 1900 when fundamentalists there apparently influenced imperial policy in the middle east?

  17. #17 Skemono
    September 20, 2006

    This is painful to listen to: it’s an NPR interview with John Hagee, and he goes on and on about his weird biblical prophecies that soon (maybe in the next hour!) the Rapture is going to occur, war will break out with Russia and Islam against Israel, and God will make an abrupt magical appearance that will prove his existence.

    Pfft. What nonsense. Everyone knows that the Bible predicts nuclear war that will kill 1/3 of the Earth. It even tells us what day this will happen–September 12, 2006!

  18. #18 FishyFred
    September 20, 2006

    “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God…all of the city was punished for the sin that was in that city.”

    And Las Vegas isn’t even worthy of a power outage?

  19. #19 mark
    September 20, 2006

    On the other hand, this morning’s “Morning Edition” on NPR had a piece about Charles Darwin, based on David Quammen’s The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, including an example of prediction in evolution science.

  20. #20 oldhippie
    September 20, 2006

    “Obviously, this guy hasn’t been to Amsterdam lately. Decriminalized soft drugs, legalized (and unionized) prostitution, gay marriage, pioneering needle exchange programs, softcore porn on major TV networks, gambling, and a comfortable atheist/agnostic majority… all in a city that’s 4 meters below sea level! Yet, for some reason Jehovah, the intergalactic party pooper, hasn’t smitten them with a flood in centuries — go figure.”
    God never does anything on its own, it always uses materials at hand, therefore it needed the badly maintained levees to help it punish people.
    Moral – if you are going to be wicked, build good walls.

  21. #21 decrepitoldfool
    September 20, 2006

    The sins most relevant to floods and failure of infrastructure are corruption and incompetence. While probably rare in Amsterdam, those sins are a way of life in New Orleans.

  22. #22 Rienk
    September 20, 2006

    As a Dutch citizen living in New Orleans (pre and post ‘K’), I think John Hagee’s blatantly idiotic blabbering is offensive and proofs that some Homo sapiens sapiens did not evolve higher brain functions.

    @decrepitoldfool and j.t.delaney: right on! Except Amsterdam is really not that sinful as many Americans believe. It’s actually quite a boring city, besides the violence directed towards certain minority groups who are ‘evil’ according to certain scriptures.

  23. #23 tacitus
    September 20, 2006

    Ah yes, John Hagee, another “family values” advocate who divorced his first wife and married a newer model (12 years his junior) barely six months later.

    Curious how often that happens…

  24. #24 catherine
    September 20, 2006

    Commenters are being way to nice to Terry Gross, who is the most overrated radio personality I know. The issue of whether or not she’s being to nice to Hagee and others misses the point. The issue should be why she should even have these people on, to take up time that could be given to legitimate speakers on some important subject. Is is possible that TG and NPR don’t care about anything except ratings, which they get when they have nutjobs on?
    Naaawwwwwww

  25. #25 Noone
    September 20, 2006

    This is just one of the many reasons I no longer give to PBS/NPR.

  26. #26 amphioxus
    September 20, 2006

    “Obviously, this guy hasn’t been to Amsterdam lately (…) Yet, for some reason Jehovah, the intergalactic party pooper, hasn’t smitten them [the Dutch] with a flood in centuries”

    |not centuries, decades.

    Amazingly, in 1953 He hit the south-west of The Netherlands, the Dutch version of the bible belt, hardest. Obviously, good Christians would argue that ‘God works in wondrous ways’; on the other hand if Amsterdam would be swallowed by the sea, they would know exactly why He decided so.
    BTW, most of the attractions of the Amsterdam summed up by j.t.delaney are more recent than 53 years ago.

  27. #27 Rienk
    September 20, 2006

    Oh yeah, that reminds me amphioxus: Amsterdam flooded too, back in 1675 and, if I recall correctly, in 1918 (well, that was north of Amsterdam: caused quite some famine on the European Battlefield because most of the lost harvest was intended for the soldiers in the trenches)… God punished them for being heathen Calvinists, I guess.
    The most recent incident was back in the 90s: some eastern Bible Belt villages (Ochten, et cetera). God did not flood the areas with more unbelievers and Muslims. Oops. Guess He’s not omnipotent afterall.

  28. #28 Bro. Bartleby
    September 20, 2006

    Well, what can I say, we have “Rev.” Hagee, and you have Professor Irwin Corey.

  29. #29 GH
    September 20, 2006

    No Bro. Bartleby,

    You have legions more like that all the way to the Pope.

  30. #30 Steve_C
    September 20, 2006

    I think it’s important for people like this who have alot of power
    to be heard on NPR so the more mainstream/progressive of us
    can hear first hand what we normally not exposed to.

    It’s important to hear the unaldulterated crazies firsthand.

    Most of us would never watch the 700 Club.

  31. #31 Emanuel Goldstein
    September 20, 2006

    Hg nly thrzs bt th nd f th wrld.

    thstc scntsts hv prvdd th mns t mk t rlty.

  32. #32 Steve_C
    September 20, 2006

    And the religious have given the religious the power to use them.

    Atheists don’t have their finger on the button, troll.

    Atheists want to live in this world not the hypothetical “next”.

  33. #33 Warren Terra
    September 20, 2006

    I think you should point out in Ms. Gross’s defense that she gave him about a third of the show, and the other two thirds were interviews with Gorenberg and Blumenthal warning of the phenomenon he embodies.

    If letting him expose his craziness is what it takes to also air others explicitly warning of it, it doesn’t seem like a bad trade.

  34. #34 Aa
    September 20, 2006

    My brain is gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wait, his brain is gone!!!!!!!!!

    Aughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  35. #35 Mena
    September 20, 2006

    I got this little gem of junk mail the other day. It was addressed to “resident” so they probably paid out quite a bit to get the word out. The crazies are just too empowered right now! Check out the qualifications of the presenter. To me it translates as he flunked out of chemical engineering school somewhere nameless, may have said “Jesus Christ” when that happened, and then went on to get a degree in theology (to me that kind of like getting a degree in Star Trek) at a university without a name. Wanna bet that it’s an internet diploma mill? No more junk mail from nutcases just because I live in the vicinity of Wheaton College please!

  36. #36 Bro. Bartleby
    September 20, 2006

    “You have legions more like that all the way to the Pope.”

    I thought the Pope was a scientist? After all, his “speech” was certainly a setting up of the experiment titled “Can we reason together?”, and at the conclusion of the speech, he was heard to mutter, “Let the experiment begin.” And lo and behold, the morning after, the results were published in headlines the world over.

  37. #37 beccarii
    September 20, 2006

    I’m in the “give them enough rope” camp with regard to Terry Gross’s interview. She let this guy speak for himself, without aggressive questioning, and that certainly was enough; I was thinking that while listening to the interview. I’ve heard and read ideas such as Hagee’s during my entire life, but this interview is the purest jewel of expression of the ideas that I can recall. I think that it’s important for an audience of people who usually don’t read/hear the primary sources of these ideas to occasionally interact directly with them. I think that NPR was an excellent vehicle for this interaction, and hope that coverage of what are, after all, ideas that are held by large numbers of U.S. citizens (and others…) will continue. There’s a flip side to this, as well – people who are sympathetic to ideas such as Hagee’s might start listening to NPR. That has to be a good thing.

    Not that my psychological stability was improved by the ordeal (see the commentary by Aa above)…

  38. #38 beccarii
    September 20, 2006

    There probably should be more than a “kook warning” associated with this piece. Aa’s brain disappeared under the onslaught (perhaps retreating to shelter under a convenient rock), while mine tried to evert. Be forewarned before listening.

  39. #39 complex_field
    September 20, 2006

    “Is is possible that TG and NPR don’t care about anything except ratings, which they get when they have nutjobs on?”

    It is important, nay, crucial, to know what “the others” are doing. As the Romans said: Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.

  40. #40 Karl M
    September 20, 2006

    Phlsphrs nly prvd th mns t ntrprt th wrld.

    Scntsts prvd th mns t dstry t.

    (Krl Mrx, dptd.)

  41. #41 Kagehi
    September 20, 2006

    to me that kind of like getting a degree in Star Trek

    Heh!!! At least Star Trek can claim to make vaguely accurate predictions. When has religion ever predicting flip-open satallite phone (or just cell phones), isolinear memory/computers and the ability to replicated objects (well, “print” facimilies of some anyway and maybe soon printable computers, etc.) They have predicted what exactly, which has ever actually happened? lol A PhD in Star Trek would at least net you *some* potential to eventually have someone prove your goofy ideas right. Even warp speed is “theoretically” possible, just prohibitively inefficient, to the point where, short of something that lets you take short cuts, you would need to use more power than produced by every star in a galaxy to generate a big enough field, and the same amount every second to sustain it. Not exactly “useful”, but still way more valid as science than magical bushes that talk to you. 😉

  42. #42 bernarda
    September 21, 2006

    Here are a few more nutcases for you.

    You have a long way to go to beat these guys.

    http://www.presidentialprayerteam.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ppt_homepage

    They even dare to ask their members to pray for Dick Cheney!!

    How perverted is that?!

    Here is another great site–about the importance of sacred relics!!

    I kid you not.

    http://www.ichrusa.com/

    One would almost think that this site is a parody.

  43. #43 j.t.delaney
    September 21, 2006

    Oh yeah, that reminds me amphioxus: Amsterdam flooded too, back in 1675 and, if I recall correctly, in 1918 (well, that was north of Amsterdam: caused quite some famine on the European Battlefield because most of the lost harvest was intended for the soldiers in the trenches)… God punished them for being heathen Calvinists, I guess.
    The most recent incident was back in the 90s: some eastern Bible Belt villages (Ochten, et cetera). God did not flood the areas with more unbelievers and Muslims. Oops. Guess He’s not omnipotent afterall.

    Yes, but all of these are places around Amsterdam, not in it. It’s been centuries since XXX-City has been flooded, in spite of a history of being consistently ahead of the curve in terms of tolerance of libertine behavior. Maybe God has been trying to flood Amsterdam, but his aim just sucks, and he keeps hitting religious farmers in nearby provinces instead.

    Or, maybe God decided that flooding was too good for Amsterdam, and he decided to dispatch a more perverse punishment: rather than plunging the semi-submerged city completely underwater, he delivered a plague of belligerant drunken yobs and pain-in-the-ass hippie tourists…

  44. #44 Stanton
    September 21, 2006

    “Or, maybe God decided that flooding was too good for Amsterdam, and he decided to dispatch a more perverse punishment: rather than plunging the semi-submerged city completely underwater, he delivered a plague of belligerant drunken yobs and pain-in-the-ass hippie tourists…”

    If anything was worse than a fate of flaming sulfur and wives of salt, that would be it.

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