Jerry Boykin has a grotesque conception of Jesus Christ. Most (non-fundamentalist) Christians practice their faith in a manner that holds aloft the treasured values of love, peace, and good will towards their fellow humans. Boykin, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and current Executive Vice President of the ultra-right wing, fundamentalist Family Research Council (FRC), will have none of that. Instead, Boykin’s avatar is a ravenously militant and militaristic one — a deity of universal destruction, bloodshed, rabid bigotry and unadulterated hatred.
“The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he’s coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe … I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies ’cause he’s coming back as a warrior carrying a sword. And I believe now – I’ve checked this out – I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15.
…And the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical.”
Jesus Christ or “Genghis” Christ?
It is absolutely critical to understand and fully internalize that Boykin is far from alone in his nightmarish conception of the Prince of Peace’s (mainstream) redeeming message. Indeed, the retired General’s forces are literally legion with some estimating that the number of adherents totals approximately 38 million people, i.e. about 12 percent of the American public. A multi-denominational grouping known as “dominionists”, these Christian extremists see themselves as a martyred and besieged demographic. They thrill to the imagined drama that they are surrounded on all sides by, among many other constituencies of Satan, 1) sodomites (the LGBT community); 2) hellbound cowards (any non-fundamentalist Christian, non-messianic Jew, or adherents of ANY other faith group or non-faith entity); 3) domestic jihadis (pretty much any breathing Muslim American or fetuses in the wombs of Muslim American women), all of whom advocate “shariah law”; 4) demonic ‘feminazis’ (women who will not merrily submit to male domination in all matters of consequence); and, 4) godless commies (i.e. anyone who hasn’t manifestly absorbed Fox News’ talking points and/or isn’t politically to the right of Ted Nugent).
In the tortured minds of these dominionists, it stands to reason that, being conveniently beset by divinely predicted enemies from all sides, they must defend themselves to the death by all means at their disposal, including armed force. But that’s not enough. As late dominionist preacher Earl Paulk stated, “Christ in us must take dominion over the earth… the next move of God cannot occur until Christ in us takes dominion.”
Want more? The über-jingoistic words of the recently deceased dominionist Poster Child, Rev. D. James Kennedy, speak volumes: “As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government… our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors—in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”
You see, my friends, Boykin’s words of wanton war aren’t simply the idle spoutings of some crotchety, eccentric, harmless ex-soldier. They’re a de facto fatwa being issued to “American Taliban” coreligionists to forthwith forge the “Kingdom of God” through bloody sectarian armed struggle, as their twisted, dominionist version of the New Testament demands. How “bloody,” you may inquire? You want the metrics? No one describes Boykin’s dominionist wet dream with more exactitude of revulsion than the “Ragin’ Prophet” Rod Parsley who is the spiritual leader of the enormous (5,200 seat) mega-cathedral in Columbus, Ohio known as the World Harvest Church, which boasts 10,000 weekly congregant attendees. Parsley minces no words when he promises his vast flock of fanatical fundamentalists that there will be a 200 mile long river, 4 and half feet deep, filled with nothing but the human blood of those poor souls whom the weaponized Jesus has slaughtered at the Battle of Armageddon. Parsley will then remind his followers, energetically engorged with this blood orgy promise, to “rejoice, for the worst is yet to come.”
For Boykin and his wretched ilk, Revelation 19 (“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war”) is the mantra that supersedes turning the other cheek, loving thy neighbor, and other sanguine gospel messages à la The Sermon on the Mount. Per Boykin’s instructions, all good Christians need to literally become “warriors for God’s kingdom.” And they need to do it right now!
Sound familiar? Anyone? Well, it’s right out of the infamous playbook of religious supremacy and exceptionalism writ large in the blood of innocents by such villains as al-Qaeda and Anders Behring Breivik.
The Top General in the Dominionist “Army of God”
Boykin was one of the original commanders of the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force unit, which was formed in the late ‘70’s. Boykin, then 29, apparently saw his induction into Delta as a continuation of his walk with God: “God led me into Delta Force, and He said to me, this is where you ought to be.” Boykin must have been referring to the God of “blood in fury” and the “consuming fire,” described in the Book of Ezekiel.
Following September 11, Boykin, at the time the Commanding General of the sprawling Fort Bragg, N.C. military facility, would preach that the United States was engaged in nothing less than an all-out holy war. In paid junkets financed by influential dominionist entities, Boykin would appear onstage in churches and other locations around the nation in his full Army uniform, pointing to posters of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and stating that “Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army… [they] will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus.” It was around this time that then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld successfully nominated Boykin for a third star, placing the dominionist fascist Boykin only one rank/grade below the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
From 2002 to 2007, Boykin served on George W. Bush’s team as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence in what Bush referred to as “this crusade, this war on terrorism.” It was in this lofty capacity at the highest levels of the Pentagon that Boykin became thoroughly convinced that the opponents of the U.S. were “satanic” and thus less-than-human. He became Rumsfeld’s point-man on the secretive program to restructure the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison along the lines of Guantánamo Bay’s Camp X-Ray, or in other words, to “Gitmoize” it. It was not long before Abu Ghraib became infamously plagued by horrifying reports of systemic human rights abuses. Query the role played there as a result of Boykin’s dehumanizing sectarian rhetoric of weapons-grade, inflammatory Islamophobia? After all, Boykin has made it publicly quite clear that he believes that Muslims in America do not deserve Constitutional First Amendment protections.
Commanding Officer in the Domestic Hate Lobby
Now retired from military life, Boykin is the Executive Vice President of the FRC, one of the leading anti-gay dominionist organizations in the United States and a designated Hate Group according to the venerable Southern Poverty Law Center. Birds of a bigoted feather flock together. Indeed, the FRC (which I always thought stood for “Fascist Rally Center”) is a truly vicious organization that has supported Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s “Kill the Gays” Bill (now the “Imprison-Gays-for-Life” Bill), as well as the anti-LGBT crackdown in Russia. The FRC also furiously supported Arizona’s defeated SB1062, the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which basically would have fully legalized the civil “right” to practice atrocious forms of discrimination and prejudice against gay and lesbian residents.
I head-up a foundation that comprehensively clashes with Boykin on an all too frequent basis. We wage these fights on behalf of our 36,000-plus active duty and veteran clients within the U.S. military, 96% of whom are practicing Christians themselves, who’ve had their Constitutionally-guaranteed, religious rights and protections egregiously violated by unconstitutional mafiosi such as Boykin. As Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), I’ve even been the central subject of a scurrilous recent article entitled “One of the Most Dangerous Men in America,” published in the July/August 2013 edition of Decision Magazine, a flagship publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Ironically, the cover of that magazine featured a prominent photo of a coyly smiling Boykin himself juxtaposed with the incredibly duplicitous, deceitful and dishonest headline of “Religious Freedom Under Attack in our Armed Forces: Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin Warns of Efforts to Trample Liberty in the Military.” And, just so you know, this month’s issue proudly trumpets Russia’s anti-gay legislation and features Vladimir Putin on the cover.
Dominionist Christian Extremism: A Dire Threat
Without the slightest tacit nuance of hyperbole, one can easily assert that the militant, dominionist fanaticism of Christian fundamentalism which Boykin, and his ignominious swarms spew, mirrors the explicit extremism of the Salafi-Jihadist monsters who’ve torn the Middle East asunder. Indeed, the cruel and callous fundamentalist bigotry of Christian dominionists isn’t limited to gays and Muslims. On the contrary, it is aimed at all “blasphemers” in general, especially including other Christians whom Boykin and his fellow travelers disparagingly deem to not be “Christian enough.”
Americans who value their remaining Constitutional religious freedoms should rail against Boykin’s incitements to his vast flock to arm as for war. The dominionist “faith” is a frightening, contorted vision of theocratic tyranny dripping with unbridled hostility towards the bedrock rights and protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The damnable dominionists such as Boykin, the FRC and their awful fundamentalist allies are not merely wolves in sheep’s’ clothing. They are wolves in wolves’ clothing.
Our American brothers and sisters must recognize the seething and barbarous danger wrought by this sectarian theocratic cabal before it becomes too late and it engulfs our precious freedoms rendering the rest of us impotent to resist its terrible tyranny.
We cannot merely request them to stop. We must demand it, and remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”