This is quite possibly the most crazy thing I’ve ever heard a politician say out loud. I know. That’s a bold statement, but I’m not even kidding. Keep in mind as you hear it, unedited and with no explanation at first, that Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (Tea Partier) is speaking to a group of pastors about something he reads to his KIDS at bedtime:
Okay. Now let’s break this down into what is, or is not, going on, which makes no sense, at best, and at worst, he’s telling people to break the law and go on a murderous rampage. Even then, it makes no sense.
He starts out by asking a group of pastors how many churches, since 1954, have lost their tax exempt status because of political speeches and political action at the pulpit. This group (who seem to already know) says, “Zero.” Someone says, “praise God.” To be clear (and the IRS tax code is very clear), to maintain a tax exempt status:
“Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
He then says the reality is that it (the tax code for non-profit status) is a “Paper Tiger.” He says there is “no reason to fear it” (the tax code), no reason not to preach from the pulpit about politics. So, he’s telling pastors to break the law. There is no more accurate way to put that. This, while bad enough, is nothing compared to what’s coming.
Next he tells a stupid “joke” about ham and eggs, equating one who is merely involved (eggs?) vs. one who is committed (the pig who gets eaten and who didn’t have a choice?).
I think he’s saying I have no idea what he’s saying.
Now we’re going to veer off to Crazy-ville, Bad-Parent Land, and quite possibly someone who is listening to so many voices in his head that even he can’t remember how this all fits into some sort of political call-to-action.
He tells people to write something down that is SO amazing that they must learn more about it. Stay with me here…
He tells them about a book he reads to his (poor) kids at night about 131 totally awesome Christians. The one he’s most amazed with is Ambrose of Milan, who was a bishop in the year 390AD. Keep in mind that the totally great person he’s referring to, and who is somehow related to his desire for pastors to speak out about politics from the pulpit today, comes later in his story of slaughter and massacre.
Okay, so everyone needs to be amazed by Bishop Ambrose of Milan, remember that, because now we’re sliding into homophobia, which is a zip code that Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has been living in for years.
Back to our story…
In April 390AD, some guy named Butheric had one of his popular charioteers (no name given) arrested for a homosexual offense. The charioteer gets thrown in prison. The citizens of this town (called Illyricum) get angry that their popular charioteer is in jail. They riot and break him out of prison and kill Butheric and some other hypocrites (the Romans are known to have participated in their fair share of orgies and other things like bestiality which would make their jailing of anyone for almost any sexual activity hypocritical).
The Emperor Theodosius hears about the ruckus. He gets angry and, according to Bevin’s book, gathers them in a stadium to view a chariot race (I’m not sure this part is historically correct), so now there’s 7,000 people in a stadium waiting for a chariot race who, according to Bevin, are just happy to have been “heard” by their Emperor (?). Bevin says that Emperor Theodosius has set this up this bogus chariot race just to trap these people, and he has the army bolt the stadium doors shut and orders them all massacred. 7,000, more or less.
According to Wikipedia, Emperor Theodosius had second thoughts and tried to cancel the order to slaughter everyone, but, since texting was not yet invented, they didn’t get the message in time and everyone was already dead.
Keep in mind that this story is (apparently) about 1) speaking out politically at your churches and don’t worry about losing your tax exempt status, and 2) Ambrose of Milan is awesome. Also keep in mind that Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is reading this to his kids at bedtime and you can BET that if any of those kids has so much as half a homosexual dream, they’ll be wetting themselves in terror while mapping their escape route.
So now, enter the much-lauded Bishop Ambrose of Milan, who hears about Emperor Theodosius’ bad impulses and murderous rampage, and the Bishop gets very angry, stomping his holy foot and banning Theodosius from mass. Being the whiny little bitch that he is, Theodosius began “weeping and sighing” at the palace, so, basically, pouting, that he couldn’t go to church. Apparently,
that big baby Emperor Theodosius moaned and sobbed at his palace for 8 months before he begged a higher-up to go ask for forgiveness from Bishop Ambrose of Milan because, you know, he was afraid (the surrogate guy was named Rufinus).
Hesitantly, and acting like the coward that he was, Theodosius followed way behind Rufinus as he approached Bishop Ambrose of Milan (remember, Governor Matt Bevin is extolling the virtues of Ambrose of Milan) imploring the Bishop to allow poor old Theodosius back into the church. I guess there was a lot of finger wagging and sighing and ultimately Ambrose of Milan forgives Theodosius for trapping and killing 7,000 of his citizens.
Now, I’m not sure that even this much makes sense, and particularly when related to tax exempt status of churches, but here’s where THE WHOLE THING just goes off the rails. Even if everything I’ve written above made sense (which it does not), this isn’t even what Bevin is telling the pastors to do. Amazingly (and terrifyingly), they sound confused but still praise and nod whenever they hear something that sounds like they should be supportive. I’m having visions of way overly compliant and unquestioning people here being whipped into a murderous rage, or, at the very least, tax evasion.
Okay, so, at this point in the video, just when you are so confused about what the actual point is (and justifiably so), Bevin tries to connect dots THAT DO NOT EXIST in the creepiest and most inappropriate way possible. Just the sound of his oft-repeated command that they should all have:
gives me the creeps. What the hell does that even MEAN? Are we talking about the bravery required to attend a chili cook-off or something?
I’ve added some prompts and some context to that same video (below). Where it says, “Get ready for it,” I’m alerting you to where he thinks he’s tying it all up for the listeners. Keep in mind that this
Aesopian tale Tale from the Crypt started out about a) tax exempt status and b) his admiration of Bishop Ambrose of Milan.
Holy intestinal fortitude, Batman!
I had to literally make a diagram on a white board to even make any sense of what he was trying to say. Alas, I could not.
He tries to whip up the pastors to speaking out politically in church by saying that “we need God’s people” to have intestinal fortitude to kill people, willing to “call out the Emperors if that’s what it takes (wait, didn’t the Emperor do the killing?), but then he says it was Theodosius who was “called to task” by people “like yourself” (would that be Theodosius who was punishing homosexuality, or would that be Ambrose who was angry about Theodosius killing 7,000 people for nothing?).
For those of you who don’t know what kind of crazy Matt Bevin is (he thinks Mitch McConnell is liberal, so…), he’s actually said, out loud, that same sex marriage will lead to the kind of “redefinition” of marriage which will lead to a parent marrying a child. I’m not even kidding. On the positive side, you can be sure that none of his kids will want to marry him, so at least there’s that.
A friend of mine sent the secretly videotaped video of Matt Bevin (thanks, Julia!) which appeared on the Facebook page of a group called, “Kentuckians against Governor Matt Bevin.” They are working very hard to get the word out about just how crazy Matt Bevin is, and their Facebook page can be found here.
Massacre of Thessalonica, Wikipedia;
Theodosius I, Wikipedia;
IRS Tax Code information for churches and non=profits, IRS website.