Puking for Jesus — Writer Details Hagee’s Spiritual Camp

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.

For the article, click here.

20 thoughts on “Puking for Jesus — Writer Details Hagee’s Spiritual Camp”

  1. Cindy:

    I am not so sure Taibbi has it wrong. Here is an excerpt from “The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism” signed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the local heads of Churches in Jerusalem. I do not think they would qualify as “white supremacists, theological antisemites, and other anti-Zionists.” It reads:

    “Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist programme provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.

    We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.”

    Not exactly antisemitism to preach the message of love and peace. Looks to me like another wacked-out, militant, fringe religious group awaiting an Apocalypse that will only occur if they set the fuse. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies.

    I am much more intrigued by your statement that Hagee is “horrible” but not because of his bigoted anti-Catholic remarks, or his advocacy of the divine origin of the Holocaust. One has to wonder what could be worse. It would be rather like Mrs. Lincoln saying she was repulsed by her visit to Ford’s Theater, not because of the unpleasant altercation in the viewing box, but simply because she detested the play “Our American Cousin.”

  2. The writer has no credibility as the article has inverted the truth about what Christian Zionists believe regarding Zionism and Armageddon, and merely reports the popular but counterfactual myth repeated by white supremacists, theological antisemites, and other anti-Zionists about Christian Zionist motivations and theology. (That said, I do think Hagee is a horrible pastor, but for reasons other than what’s been mentioned here or in the news re: Catholicism or his preaching about God’s allowing the Holocaust.)

  3. With or without Taibbi Bulshi++ing his way into Hagee’s camp, Hagee was determined to get that “demon of handwriting analysis.”

    ROFL!! Why, is Hagee (the “Hamsterville” of nutjob preachers) afraid of the HWA “demon” getting hold of HIS handwriting and analyzing it? Does he have something to worry about? Now I’m REALLY curious; where can I get a sample? 😉

  4. Bob/JT:
    That was the precise ruling by the 4th Circuit in the Food Lion v. ABC News case. You both are in good company with your analysis.

  5. “Legally, there is an interesting question of trespass and fraud.”

    At this moment I’m drafting a motion to dismiss a cause of action for fraud (resting on a repeating and re-allegation of a contractual claim) for failure to state a cause of action — with specificity.

    copied and pasted:

    A complaint in an action for Fraud should allege, at the very least: (1) character of parties; (2) defendant made certain representations to the plaintiff; (3) the representations made by defendant were false at the time they were made; (4) at the time of making the representations, defendant knew they were false or made them recklessly without knowing whether they were true or false; (5) defendant made the representations with intent to deceive plaintiff and to induce him or her to act in reliance upon the representations; (6) plaintiff was ignorant of the falsity of the representations and believed them to be true; (7) plaintiff relied upon the representations made by defendant and, as a result, paid money or conveyed or delivered property to the defendant or to another party; (8) plaintiff would not have paid the money or delivered or conveyed the property to defendant or to the other party, except for his or her reliance upon the representations made by defendant; (9) plaintiff sustained damage as a result.

    Fraud claim fails on point (5); since Taibbi did nothing to induce Hagee into instructing his followers to “cast out the demon of handwriting analysis” by vomiting into a bag.

    With or without Taibbi Bulshi++ing his way into Hagee’s camp, Hagee was determined to get that “demon of handwriting analysis.”

  6. Quackers,

    Reminds me of the song It’s in the Book.

    From Wikipedia:

    “”It’s in the Book” is a recorded comic monologue, partly sung, partly an exhortation in the manner of a revivalist preacher on the subject of Little Bo-Peep. “It was marketed as a pop song, and actually made the Billboard charts in 1952, reaching number one.”

    “It was performed by Johnny Standley.”

    “It is illegal to sell or broadcast the song on the radio in Fort Wayne, Indiana.”

    As I recall, a lot of foot stomping in the song and the remedy…Grandma’s Lye Soap!

  7. This is better than The Mississippi Squirrel Revival by Ray Stevens.

  8. Patty,

    That’s working against righteousness! If I have the bulimia demon I can’t, as a christian, use that demon to lose weight. I am then consorting with a devil.

    Thanks for passing that along.


  9. You’re not far off-I caught Taibbi on The Daily Show last night with Jon Stuart and in fact he stated there were people who viewed this as
    a way to weight loss…

  10. Jill,
    I think you’ve uncovered a flaw in Hagee’s demon war that he would want to remedy ASAP. Perhaps though, he views bulimia as a step on the road to fight the demon of gluttony. As sort of stopgap self treatment until one can be ministered to by the Reverend.

    My wife and I watched “Jesus Camp” last night. Although I’m Jewish I’m familiar with the Gospels and I can’t comprehend how the Christian message can be transformed into something so alien to Jesus’ teaching.
    Reading this article and seeing “Jesus Camp” provides insight into the Nazi transformation of Germany. It can happen here!

  11. Doesn’t this technique send a mixed message to anyone who has the bulimia demon?

  12. I do not like Matt’s reporting. He has many unexamined social predjudices, quite noticably, he dislikes women a great deal. He seems to lack compassion. In many ways I find him the secular flip side of the fundamentalist’ coin he’s criticizing. That said, I am glad this information is in the wider public forum.

    I think his final anaylsis is correct. I wish a more compassionate and wise person had explained how people end up there-hating/fearing knowledge and “the other” with no compassion in sight, not for themselves, not for anyone else.

    Nevertheless I am grateful for the expanded knowledge of demonic typology. I had not yet been initiated into knowledge of the demon of anal fissures, of hand writing anaylsis, astrology and intellect. Whew–I guess I’ve been living life on the edge. I’ll be MUCH more careful now.

  13. With this attitude, Mr. Taibbi needs a lot of work to be rapture ready. I suggest Pendulum therapy.

  14. I just love Taibbi’s reporting. I wonder why the Courts, supposedly on a perennial search for truth, impose liability on those persons who uncover wrongdoing and thus serve a public good. Food Lion was the classic case of protecting the public from contaminated food by surreptitious breach of fiduciary duty. If I could get those robes for one day,I would not allow suits for breach of fiduciary duties where the complainant did not come to court with clean hands. Can the mob sue Donnie Brasco/Joe Pistone?

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