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Christian minister to Ohio lawmakers: Trans rights supporters are "possessed by demons"
"The only thing that makes sense... is that demons are influencing people"
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A Christian minister in Ohio implied that all non-Christians were Satan-loving demons during a hearing on Wednesday, and his attempt to explain that statement didn’t make anything better.
Republicans in the state legislature are currently debating House Bill 68, which would ban all gender-affirming care for transgender children. People under 18 would be ineligible for hormones, puberty blockers, or surgery. Any child currently on those treatments would have to stop within 180 days. Ohio’s attorney general would also be allowed to punish doctors or therapists who refer patients to a more welcoming state. It’s a bill that serves no purpose other than inflicting cruelty upon trans kids. So naturally, conservative Christians love it.
That’s why Stuart Long came to the Capitol. The preacher (who works with a non-profit and not a church) decided this was the issue that motivated him. He even urged other Christians to join him, writing on Facebook the day before, “IT’s TIME TO PUT UP AND SHOW UP!”
And when he showed up, he regurgitated all kinds of biblical nonsense:
I’m a minister. I think the heart of this issue—the root issue, of course, there’s the money part. Pharmaceutical companies putting people on a residual income to raise their, uh, EBITDA [Note: That’s “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.”]. That’s a while ‘nother issue.
But the root issue is identity and our battles are not among flesh and blood, powers and principalities, and powers in high places. Everybody’s after identity right now. And when they can confuse your identity, they can destroy this country. And We The People who have imbued our power into the representatives can run another agenda that’s, frankly, demonic.
The only thing that makes sense for what’s going on in this country is that demons are influencing people, allowing their bodies to be possessed, to run Satanic agendas. That are out here running. So if nobody’s gonna say it, I sure will. That’s what’s going on in this country. And if you can't say Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, your body is possessed, most likely, by demons, or you haven't invited him in.
So I think that’s what I would like to see. People that are possessed by demons don’t get to make demonic agendas and demonic doctrines that affect our people and our children and our laws and our country. So I just want it to be said since no one’s got up and said this.
There is only one rational response to that tirade:
To sum it up, Long claimed that pharmaceutical companies were on the side of trans kids to make money, implying that trans kids never need any kind of hormone therapy. Then he claimed the people supporting trans care were demonic and under the influence of Satan, all because they refused to accept Jesus. (Never mind that many progressive Christians support trans rights.)
Nothing Long said made any sense in the world of reality. Maybe it works in his right-wing media bubbles or whatever conspiracy-laden corner of the internet he gets his information from, but to everyone else, it was faith-based gibberish.
Thankfully, and to her credit, Democratic State Rep. Beth Liston called him out on it before they could move forward in the hearing:
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LISTON: It was fast, but did you just call our Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish members demons? I heard you say if they did not have Jesus Christ in their heart…
LONG: No, if you have the Holy Spirit inside you, there’s a phrase you can say: “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” And if you are open to those other gods, based on that faith, you’re allowing other gods… to possess your physical form… If you're not down with that, so to speak, if you're of another religion that's not of that, you've given access to non-godly entities to make your decisions.
That’s a long, thoughtless way of saying, “Yeah, I called them demons.” Or, more technically speaking, that all non-Christians are enabling themselves to be taken over by demons.
Which is just as idiotic as everything he said earlier.
Liston then added, “Any opposition to this bill, I will strongly say, is not from possession by demons."
The only thing I found surprising in that interaction is that Liston seemed surprised to hear any of it. It’s not like the anti-trans crowd has any sensible arguments, so filling the time with Christian conspiracy theories is all they’ve got. Democrats should be used to this.
Even the Republican chair of the Public Health Policy Committee, Rep. Scott Lipps, seemed embarrassed by his side’s proponent. He said afterwards that Long was not a formal witness, just a dude who asked to speak in support of the bill. Even the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Gary Click, later distanced himself from Long, saying “That was just an ignorant statement... I cannot emphasize enough how much I don't support those statements.”
None of that changes the fact that the Christian demon nut and the Republican bigots are on the same side of the issue. They all want trans kids to suffer. They just have different ideas about how to talk about it. It’s not like Gary Click has a defense of the bill that’s any more reasonable.
That’s the point that House Democrats made later on:
But the spokesman for Ohio's House Democrats said he wasn't surprised to see this kind of support for HB 68 surface.
"When you promote extremist legislation, this is the extremist proponent testimony you’re going to get," David Meyers said.
And one of the two Jewish members of the House agreed.
"As much as I’d like to laugh this off, this kind of deranged bullying is all too common these days at the Statehouse," Rep. Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson, said. "I’m incredibly thankful that my colleague Rep. Liston stood up for the millions of non-Christian Ohioans targeted by these comments."
The fact is: The Republicans in the Ohio House would rather have the Christian nut dictate policy hurting trans kids than support trans kids who say gender-affirming care is life-saving and necessary in certain situations.
They’re not embarrassed by Long. They’re just upset that their carefully crafted and pseudoscientific rhetoric was superseded by Long’s Jesus-fueled hate speech. But it’s all two sides of the same coin.
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