Megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne came to the United States some three decades ago from South Africa, bringing his brand of evangelical Christianity, referred to as “Holy Laughter.” It’s a version of the religion in which one laughs a lot, and in doing so gets closer to God.
Back in the summer of 2017, Howard-Browne posted this image to his Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
Yesterday was very surreal for @ahowardbrowne & I. 30 years ago we came from South Africa to America as missionaries. Yesterday I was asked by @paulamichellewhite to pray over our 45th President – what a humbling moment standing in the Oval Office – laying hands and praying for our President – Supernatural Wisdom, Guidance and Protection – who could ever even imagine – wow – we are going to see another great spiritual awakening #ovaloffice #westwing #whitehouse #washingtondc
The caption read:
Yesterday was very surreal for @ahowardbrowne & I. 30 years ago we came from South Africa to America as missionaries. Yesterday I was asked by @paulamichellewhite to pray over our 45th President – what a humbling moment standing in the Oval Office – laying hands and praying for our President – Supernatural Wisdom, Guidance and Protection – who could ever even imagine – wow – we are going to see another great spiritual awakening #ovaloffice #westwing #whitehouse#washingtondc
Lay those hands on him! Maybe Rodney was trying to get all of Instagram to begin uncontrollably laughing that “Holy Laughter”? Well, Howard-Browne wasn’t feeling particularly humble today. After seeing that the New Zealand mosque mass murder suspect allegedly wrote a manifesto professing his admiration and love for white supremacy, Donald Trump, and Donald Trump’s white supremacy, Howard-Browne tweeted this out.
There is no doubt that what happened in New Zealand as horrific as it is, is a false flag that will be blamed on conservatives when it’s all said and done! Only a total nutjob lunatic, insane demonized freak goes into a building and kills people, it’s unacceptable on every level!
— Rodney Howard-Browne (@rhowardbrowne) March 15, 2019
“False flag.” If you’ve never heard the term “false flag” before, it refers to the idea of military-like secret operations in which the intent is to create blame and incite anger towards a group one wants the public to consider dangerous. It is something that has a very real history in the United States. But, in recent years it’s been a co-opted conspiracy-theory term used to argue that (usually) Jews are secretly manipulating the world in an epic and melodramatically gothic takeover of the United States and every other white-dominated country.
Howard-Browne’s thoughts on this matter are not his alone. The evangelical communities cross the United States have really abandoned some of the most basic Christian doctrine in order to promote a white supremacist version of Christianity. So, while many evangelicals would bristle at the concept of “false flag” conspiracy theory, they seem to fine with supporting the people that float this kind of super-charged misinformation.
Offensive conspiracy theory isn’t just for the evangelicals, it’s also for people like Rush Limbaugh. If you forgot how large a waste of space Rush Limbaugh was, never fear, as Media Matters points out, even bag of putrid air Rush Limbaugh is pushing this garbage fire narrative today.
Limbaugh: The idea that there is far more crazed right-wing terrorism in America than there is any other kind is nothing more than a media narrative manufactured out of whole cloth, and it’s just waiting for events like this to take place, and this is what happens, folks. I don’t know, you probably get up and you see this news story and you just — in addition to all of the emotion you have over the sheer shock, terror, and horror of it all, then you realize you’re going to face a whole day of the politicization of it. You realize you’re going to face a whole day of Donald Trump being blamed for it, or you being blamed for it, or things you believe in being blamed for it.
There’s an ongoing theory that the shooter himself may in fact be a leftist who writes the manifesto and then goes out and performs the deed purposely to smear his political enemies, knowing he’s going to get shot in the process.
All you need to do is listen to Rush Limbaugh and Rodney Howard-Browne talk for a few minutes to realize that there is nothing particularly supreme about them. The most tragic and grotesque thing about all of this is that all the hatred and betrayal of fundamental Christian values is in service of a man who wouldn’t cross the street to pee on an evangelical if they were on fire.