Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Gay Hating Pastor Bankrolling Ted Cruz

As noted in previous blog posts, much of Ted Cruz's rise in the polls in Iowa stems directly from the fact that he has garnered the endorsement of virtually every major anti-gay hate group.  In exchange for such backing, Cruz has shown himself more than willing to back efforts to undo the U.S. Supreme court's marriage ruling and to support "religious freedom" bills that would provide special rights to Christofascists in the form of a license to discriminate LGBT individuals.   A piece in The Daily Beast looks at one of Cruz's most scary and extreme backers, Farris Wilks, who has more money that common sense or true morality.  Here are excerpts:

The church is the Assembly of Yahweh, and its pastor, Farris Wilks, happens to be one of the most powerful new players in presidential politics. Farris, along with his brother Dan, made his fortune off the fracking boom and is using part of it to back Sen. Ted Cruz in his bid for the White House.

[W]ealth didn’t dint his commitment to old-time religion—and to the culture war (read: anti-gay) politics that defined George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns. Now, Cruz is taking a page out of Karl Rove’s playbook, looking to galvanize evangelical voters as a way to make the Republican Party competitive again. And Farris Wilks is just the guy to fund that effort.

The Wilks brothers and their wives have given $15 million to one of Cruz’s super PACs—one of the biggest contributions of this campaign cycle, in either party.

Farris Wilks didn’t speak with The Daily Beast for this story, but a visit to the church he pastors may shed light on the way the billionaire’s faith informs his commitment to bankrolling a culture warrior like Cruz.

At the end of December, the brothers hosted Cruz and conservative Christian leaders for a fundraiser at Farris’s homestead in Cisco, as The Washington Post detailed. And it recalls a central element of Cruz’s campaign: He’s said he can win the White House by dramatically boosting turnout among evangelical Christians (never mind that his strategy may have a math problem).

It’s affiliated with the Liberty Counsel, the group that represents Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis. This is no accident, since Farris Wilks supports Liberty Counsel (according to Reuters, which reports he’s given the group $1.5 million). Cruz recently told backers at a private Manhattan fundraising event that marriage wasn’t one of his top three issues, but it gets top billing at his benefactor’s church.  

Like Kim Davis’s Apostolic Pentecostal Church, the Assembly of Yahweh rejects the doctrine of the trinity—that God is one but exists as three persons, the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. Instead, the church teaches that Yahweh is the only god and that Yahshuah (Jesus), is a separate being.

According to sermons transcribed by the liberal group Right Wing Watch, Wilks has preached that LGBT people endanger children. “If we all took on this lifestyle, all humanity would perish in one generation,” he said in one sermon. “So this lifestyle is a predatorial lifestyle, in that they need your children and straight people having kids to fulfill their sexual habits. They can’t do it by their self. They want your children…

[T]he congregation does not observe “the religious holidays of the Gentiles”—including Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween. Instead, they celebrate feasts mentioned in the Old Testament.

They follow the Old Testament teachings on eating laid out in Leviticus 11, which means no pork and no shellfish. And the church teaches “[t]hat homosexuality is a serious crime—a very grievous sin.” So is getting drunk. “It is debauchery,” the pamphlet on doctrine says. “Drunkenness is classed with such grievous crimes as robbery, sexual perverts, adultery, and idolatry.  

There's more, but the take away is that Wilks and his parishioners are nuts and way, way out of the mainstream of America.

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