Writer Matt Taibbi has a hilarious account of going undercover to the camp of former John McCain supporter Rev. John Hagee. One highlight is requiring the faithful to throw up “demons” that range from “incest” to “hand-writing analysis.”
One of the funnier moments came with Taibbi sharing his “wound” and the best he could come up with was that his alcoholic circus clown father would beat him with his over-sized shoes. Yet, the greatest moment came with the spiritual puking when the faithful were told not to pray because the demons would not leave through their mouth if Jesus was there.
“When the word of God is in your mouth,” he said, “the demons can’t come out of your body. You have to keep a path clear for the demon to come up through your throat. So under no circumstances pray to God. You can’t have God in your mouth. You can cough, you might even want to vomit, but don’t pray.”
The crowd nodded along solemnly. Fortenberry then explained that he was going to read from an extremely long list of demons and cast them out individually. As he did so, we were supposed to breathe out, keep our mouths open and let the demons out.
And he began.
. . .
“In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of incest! In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of sexual abuse! In the name of Jesus. . . .”
. . .
“In the name of Jesus,” continued Fortenberry, “I cast out the demon of astrology!”
Coughing and spitting noises. Behind me, a bald white man started to wheeze and gurgle, like he was about to puke. Fortenberry, still reading from his list, pointed at the man. On cue, a pair of life coaches raced over to him and began to minister. One dabbed his forehead with oil and fiercely clutched his cranium; the other held a paper bag in front of his mouth.
“In the name of Jesus Christ,” said Fortenberry, more loudly now, “I cast out the demon of lust!”
And the man began power-puking into his paper baggie. I couldn’t see if any actual vomitus came out, but he made real hurling and retching noises.
. . .
“In the name of Jesus Christ, I cast out the demon of cancer!” said Fortenberry.
“Oooh! Unnh! Unnnnnh!” wailed a woman in the front row.
“Bleeech!” puked the bald man behind me.
Within about a minute after that, the whole chapel erupted in pandemonium. About half the men and three-fourths of the women were writhing around and either play-puking or screaming. Not wanting to be a bad sport, I raised my hand for one of the life coaches to see.
“Need . . . a . . . bag,” I said as he came over.
He handed me a bag.
“In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of handwriting analysis!” shouted Fortenberry.
Handwriting analysis? I jammed the bag over my mouth and started coughing, then went into a very real convulsion of disbelief as I listened to this astounding list, half-laughing and half-retching.
“In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I cast out the demon of the intellect!” Fortenberry continued. “In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of anal fissures!”
In fairness to Hagee, Taibbi may have just confused the last call with “I case out the demon of Amy Fishers.”
I looked for a denial from Hagee’s church, but could not find one. Legally, there is an interesting question of trespass and fraud. His going undercover raises some of the issues in the Food Lion case where ABC reporters documented horrific practices in the meat section. Yet, courts have been less protective in cases where patients and customers go undercover as opposed to faux employees.
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