March 5, 2010 6:45 AM

So, the difference between these folks and the Taliban would be....?

An evangelical Christian hate group called “Repent Amarillo” is reportedly terrorizing the town of Amarillo, Texas. Repent fashions itself as a sort of militia and targets a wide range of community members they deem offensive to their theology: gays, liberal Christians, Muslims, environmentalists, breast cancer events that do not highlight abortion, Halloween, “spring break events,” and pornography shops. On its website, Repent has posted a “Warfare Map” of its enemies in town…. According to a new exposé by the Texas Observer, Repent set out earlier this year to destroy a discreet club of swingers they discovered in town. On New Years eve, the harassment began, with Repent members, almost exclusively young men, showing up in military fatigues and bullhorns, blaring Christian music at the swingers’ club building. The swingers, made up of “regulars” of middle aged, working class couples, were then stalked at every following visit to the club. Repent not only took video of each member, but obtained the swingers’ license plates and dug through their trash, informing neighbors and coworkers of what was once private.

We’re all familiar with stories of what the Taliban has done (and continues to do) in Afghanistan, and what Wahabists do in the name of Islam in Saudi Arabia. It’s easy to cluck disapprovingly at such an intolerant, corrupt interpretation of Islam and how ignorant thugs have succeeded in enforcing their prejudices upon the general population. Well, guess what, y’all? This sort of thing is not endemic to Islam. American Christianity has it’s own rabid band of ignorant, intolerant, hyper-aggressive zealots. You might think I’m talking about Fred Phelps and his merry band of inbred followers at Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church…but you’d be wrong. No, in this case I’m referring to a group that could easily wear the moniker of “Texas Taliban”. Repent Amarillo is a collection of young, White, Christian zealots determined to force their morality upon the city of Amarillo, TX. When it comes to morality and Christian ideology, it’s their way or the highway. Failure to conform will result in all manner of harassment and public shaming.

Say hello to the American Mutawwa’in. Did these folks not get the memo about religious freedom? Did they sleep through the lesson in their American History class that talked about how this country was founded by people fleeing religious oppression? Somewhere warm and breezy, Jesus is weeping into his Corona….

I’ve long written of my disdain for Texas. After living there for 10+ years (3722 days; not that anyone was counting), one of the things I came to detest was the latent strain of intolerant Christian zealotry. Repent Amarillo takes that intolerance and zealotry and raises it to truly Taliban- and Wahabi-like levels. This in a country founded by people fleeing religious persecution….

The fine folks at Repent Amarillo are quite open about their “mission” is. Here’s a list of their primary targets, stunning in both its arrogance, intolerance, and ignorance:

  1. Gay pride events.
  2. Earth worship events such as “Earth Day”
  3. Pro-abortion events or places such as Planned Parenthood
  4. Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.
  5. Opening day of public schools to reach out to students.
  6. Spring break events.
  7. Demonically based concerts.
  8. Halloween events.
  9. Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.

Breast cancer? Earth Day? Really?? How is it that these causes manage to offend the Texas Taliban’s tender sensibilities?? Apparently, what these knuckle-draggers is lack a functional sense of irony.

As if the above list wasn’t enough to keep these troglodytes busy, Repent Amarillo also plans to hit:

  1. Sexually oriented businesses such as pornography shops, strip joints, and XXX-rated theaters.
  2. Idolatry locations such as palm readers, false religions, and witchcraft. Many of the smaller missions listed above may be just prayer oriented missions for tearing down demonic strongholds or they may involve more aggressive use of soldiers and prayer warriors. Some other missions occasionally employed may be “undercover operations” where the groups show up together but are not publicly visible together to effect the outcome of a public meeting such as city commissioners meetings, etc.

Being a Buddhist (“false god”), I’d be on Repent Amarillo’s list, as would be any place I and my fellow “idolators” would gather for meditation. Thankfully, I don’t live in Amarillo (like that would ever be even a remote possibility), but Repent Amarillo has no problem with determining that their religious ideology allows them a blank check to harass those who happen to think, live, and believe differently.

By choosing to harass innocent members of an Amarillo swinger’s club, Repent Amarillo has taken their free speech rights to a place no American individual or group should be allowed. Their methods went far beyond mere harassment:

….employing such apparently “Christian” tactics as posting names, employers, and license plate numbers of club attenders online, resulting in lost jobs and social ostracism—which, I guess, was the point—for several members.

Whether or not you happen to agree with or condone swinging, these folks have a right as free human beings to engage in activities involving consenting adults. Repent Amarillo’s harassment succeeded in shutting down the swinger’s club, which they no doubt count as a victory in their battle against immorality and godlessness. The problem here, though, is that Repent Amarillo’s ideology is based far more on hatred than the teachings of Jesus Christ. The list of targets and groups they hate is so long that it would be easier to figure out who they approve of: themselves. The arrogance and intolerance inherent in their dogma is truly stunning. That this sort of thing is allowed to take place here in America, a country founded by those fleeing religious oppression, is something that every good and decent American should be fighting with every fiber of their being. Thankfully, there is a group…well, a Facebook group…that’s dedicated to fighting Repent Amarillo. It’s not much, but in the battle against Evil, no step is too small.

Ask me how much I miss Texas…and how little any of this has to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ….

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on March 5, 2010 6:45 AM.

The truth isn't Left or Right. It doesn't need to be massaged. It just is. was the previous entry in this blog.

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