This morning* I had Hebrew homework to do, but someone shared a link in one of my Facebook groups to a story on PinkNews.co.uk called “Christian groups are handing out these creepy ‘gay cure’ comics to children.”
I read the story. The American Family Association was giving away Bibles with comics in them. “Creepy” is accurate.
Then I went down the rabbit hole. The Bibles they were distributing are called “Truth for Youth Bibles,” because of course they are.
I googled “Truth for Youth Bible,” which led me to the website of the organization that publishes it. The organization’s name is “Revival Fires International.” Because of course it is.
Were there more sample comics at the Truth for Youth Bible website? Of course there were.
The Truth for Youth Bible is the God’s Word Translation (remind me to never support them), and contains “100 pages of powerful, full-color comic stories that present the “absolute truth” about issues that young people are confronted with.” (Spoiler: They’re all evil.)
What are these issues? Just the usual fundamentalist boogeymen, including:
- Secular Rock Music
The comic on the Supernatural seems to have renamed Dungeons and Dragons (or some other role-playing game) to “Detestable Practices.” You can read them all in their full-color glorious awfulness.
Seriously, they’re like Chick Tracts, if Chick tracts were full-color and drawn by people with a modicum of talent.
Yes. They’re really that bad.
I dropped by Revival Fires International’s About page and read this paragraph:
Tim [Todd] has a special message for the church during this end-time revival. He conducts special services where God’s Word is preached under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Tim’s message is pure gospel, his delivery is dynamic, and his heart is aflame with the power of God.
…He exhibits a God-given ability to preach in a clear and powerful manner under a strong anointing of the Holy Ghost.
“Under a strong anointing of the Holy Ghost.”
“His heart is aflame with the power of God.”
The Truth for Youth Bible is endorsed by a lot of Christian leaders, including a number of dead ones.
What do I do with that?
This guy, Tim Todd, is preaching a “gospel” of awful. He’s distributing Bibles with comics in them that tell stories about how bullshit is truth and truth is bullshit. He’s basically reduced the Bible down to a book of rules about morality and how everything is bad and truth is lies and lies are truth…
And his website says that he is under a strong anointing of the Holy Ghost.
Are they lying?
Is it my place to say they’re lying?
Is there anywhere I can go to get authoritative proof that he’s not anointed? (Nope, we’re both Protestants).
Can I just say about him, as I’m sure he would about me, that Tim Todd isn’t a Real Christian™ because I consider myself a Christian and think what he believes is horrible?
This right here is why I feel so screwed up: There’s a part of me that wants to go back to being that person who saw God’s handiwork everywhere and felt like he had this almost-romantic relationship with God, but when I see Tim Todd claiming that he has the same kind of relationship, but more so, it freaks me out. I don’t feel safe.
There’s a part of me that wants to run as fast as I possibly can away from anything that feels like “the anointing of the Holy Ghost” because Tim Todd’s PR firm thinks that’s why he’s so much they way he is.
But there’s another part of me that wants to visit his Facebook page (it took some digging, but I did find it) and post “How dare you presume to speak for God?”
Honestly, it reminds me of Luke 11:52, where Jesus says,
Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.
And that’s how it feels – like Tim Todd and his ilk have taken away the key of knowledge but don’t go in to the Kingdom of God, and hinder anyone else who tries to get in.
Tim Todd would call me a compromiser. He’d say my gospel is “soft.” Just like in a Chick tract, the people who say God isn’t an asshole are always on the short train to hellfire and damnation.
I think he’s dead wrong, about God and about me, but what can I do about it?
What can you do when you’re confident that your religion has been hijacked by people who have made it about literally everything except what you believe it’s about – and when you know these people place their interpretation of the Bible as the ultimate source of authority and think their interpretation is just “the Bible” and there’s nobody around to say “these Christians don’t speak for God or for Christianity”?
* Post first composed 8/23, but went unpublished at the time because I couldn’t figure out how to land it. I still don’t have an answer, but I decided to post anyway in case you do.