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In the Trump era, conspiracy theories have almost become a religion unto themselves. For the first time in memory, an avid conspiracy theorist holds the highest office in the land and keeps company with some of the craziest religious right nut jobs.
It seems the link between religion and conspiracy theories is more than coincidence. One belief seems to encourage others. Acceptance of what one is told, based on feelings instead of facts, is easily applied from faith to far-fetched tales.
Following are 6 of the best — or worst, depending on how you look at it — religious right conspiracy theories in recent memory.
#1 Gay people caused 9/11
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Let’s go all the way back to the days right after the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001.
Americans were in shock, and reeling from the horror we’d all witnessed. The dust hadn’t yet settled at Ground Zero, and smoke was still rising from the Pentagonwhen conservative Christian ministers Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson had a little chat on Robertson’s “700 Club” show.
Falwell placed the blame for the attack squarely on gay people, not the actual terrorists.
“Throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools,” he said. “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad.
“[T]he pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America,” Falwell continued, “I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”
#2 Gay people control the weather
Well, we do, sort of, by merely existing. Just about every time a natural disaster occurs, you can count on some religious conservative within microphone range blaming it on us. Like failed Illinois Republican congressional candidate Susan Atanus, who told the Daily Herald, “God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions.”
And so he’s sending tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. You know, the same kind of natural disasters that have been going on since the dawn of time.
In 2017, right-wing talk show host “Coach” Dave Daubenmire blamed the flooding in Houston, Texas on the city’s lesbian mayor.
“Could some of the problems be the result of the judgment of God coming your way because of the slaughter of unborn children?” Daubenmire said. “You had a lesbian mayor who wanted to look at the prayers of pastors in their churches.”
#3 Vaccines are making people gay
In December of last year, Daubenmire claimed that we’re seeing “explosion of deviant sexual proclivities” because “because our DNA is being changed.”
“Who knows what was injected into some of these deviant sex people as children,” Daubenmire continued. “When they say they were born that way, maybe they were vaccinated that way.”
#4 Starbucks lattes are making people queer
Or gay people are making Starbuck’s lattes with a particular ingredient. It’s hard to make sense of so much nonsense, and Pastor James David Manning of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York City has spewed of it than most, even for the far right.
Manning’s most outrageous claim was that Starbucks lattes were flavored with “semen from sodomites.” The claim originated from a satirical magazine article that Manning apparently took seriously because right-wingers are allergic to things like satire and irony.
#5 Sharia law is coming
Not so much now, but for the eight years that Barack Obama was in office, religious conservatives claimed that sharia law was about to descend on the United States at any moment. The theory goes that American Muslims are undermining the constitution and planning to overthrow the government by injecting Shariah — a sometimes harsh legal code government crime, morality, and other matters in some Muslim countries — into our legal proceedings.
Except it never happened. In fact, under the constitution, it can’t happen. But that didn’t stop conservative lawmakers from invoking it around election time
#6 Barack Obama is the Antichrist or the devil
The 44th president of the United States inspired right-wing conservatives to new heights of paranoia and absurdity. To them, he was all things: a murderous, Kenyan, closet homosexual, Muslim jihadist Manchurian candidate.
But that wasn’t all. According to some religious conservatives, Obama was the Antichrist. According to Public Policy Polling, some 13 percent of Americans believed Barack Obama was the antichrist. Another 13 percent think it’s at least possible.
To others, he was the devil himself. In the New Testament, Luke 10:18 reads: “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” In Hebrew, “lightening” and “heaven” translate as Barqh and Bamah.
Now, say that a few times fast, and there you have it. Jesus Christ named Barack Obama as Satan himself. What other proof do you need?!
If you’re a religious right winger, not much.