June 3, 2019

This AM Joy segment from Sunday is well worth the watch:

JOY ANN REID: Reporter Lisa Guerrero's "Inside Edition" interview with Kenneth Copeland was conducted last month. We played it for you just now so you can get a sense of who he is. Just this week we learned Kenneth Copeland signed his name to a list of conservative evangelical leaders calling for today to be a national day of prayer. For Donald Trump. You know who is leading the call to prayer? Here he is, this guy, Franklin Graham. Absolutely nothing wrong with Donald Trump's immoral and unethical behavior and went so far as to call on Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to repent for being gay. Joining us is Frank Schaeffer, a religious reform activist and author of "Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God." And Jonathan Capehart is back with me as well.

He bought Tyler Perry's plane. He can't fly commercial because of demons on the plane. He lives a luxurious lifestyle on the backs of the people who donate in his churches. He is now the guy that is part of leading this call to prayer with Franklin Graham. Your thoughts?

FRANK SCHAEFFER: I come from an evangelical background. In the '70s and '80s, I knew these guys. I grew up with Franklin Graham. He used to visit our house. We go way back. You have to look at Franklin and Copeland and these other people as opportunists who are out for power, out for money, and they are the same sort of con artists when it gets to their basic genetic structure. They understand each other. So when you look at what Franklin is doing this is a fund-raising opportunity for him, period. These, quote, days of prayer are nothing more than that. The same thing with Copeland. They are about the jets, all these little perks and that includes a lot of people on the trump team including his press secretary and lawyer. The amazing thing is when they also asked Pete Buttigieg to repent, when you look at the quality of his Christianity, if two lines were forming and one looks like religion and the other like a theme park, he's the man with the authentic Christ-like demeanor, the kindness, reaching out, the compassion, the religious tolerance and the rest of it. It's a triple irony. That's where we're at. Religion is a fiasco when it gets to big buck evangelicals, and this is just the latest manifestation of that. These are flakes.

REID: The wing that has Tyler Perry's plane because he can't fly commercial and that does seem to be focused on the luxurious lifestyle of being a pastor, let me just play you because you were at the 92nd street Y. You asked Mayor Buttigieg about this condemnation calling on him to repent.


JONATHAN CAPEHART: What would you say to the Franklin Grahams of the world, the Mike Pences of the world who have an issue with the LGBTQ community?

BUTTIGIEG: I guess I would say that we all have a lot to repent for. I have a lot to repent for when it comes to my marriage. Moments I've not been as caring as I should be, moments I've been selfish. Moments I've said a harsh word that I wish I could take back. But one thing I absolutely should not be repentant for in the context of my marriage is the fact that I'm in love with my husband.


REID: You asked ironically, he has only had one marriage, right, and these leaders disdain the one marriage but don't have a problem with Donald Trump's treatment of his previous wives. They just don't have a problem with it.

CAPEHART: They're willfully blind. I'm glad you played that clip. That is a visual manifestation of what he was talking about on the stage listening to Mayor Pete say those words. I don't know if you could feel the intense energy coming through the screen, but sitting just feet from him as he said those words. I could see the emotion on his face was pretty incredible. This is a person who is certainly comfortable in his own skin, proud of his husband, proud of their marriage, proud that they were able to get married, they are embarking upon this incredible journey together but proud of the fact that he is a believer. He is a Christian, and he is not running away from his faith. He talks about it all the time. And he's not willing to ignore nor will he cede the ground of religion to the Republican Party, to conservatives and certainly to so-called evangelicals like Franklin Graham and all of these other folks who are living in the lap of luxury and buying private planes and casting judgment on other people's lives while he is living out the true tenets of his beliefs.

REID: And, Frank, you do have evangelicals not of this sort, people like Bishop Barber, where they are going to call on the nation to return to prayer for the moral health of the country. That's happening on Wednesday. Inside of this sort of world of evangelical Christianity is, who cares about kids in cages and the ones who just want to follow Donald Trump or has the Trump version subsumed it?

SCHAEFFER: Evangelicals who are more progressive unite in not only opposing Donald Trump but the kind of compassionate Christianity that is revolted by children in cages, by the overt racism and the call to white nationalism. Sadly that is not the Trump voter, and I think this brings up a point that needs to be made even if it's offensive. The white Christian community that voted for Trump is no longer a Christian community as a bloc. They have voted for a man that not only denies the basic teachings of Jesus Christ but a man who has turned their former religion into a cult. They no longer see President Trump as a political figure judged like other political figures. They're doing not only days of prayer for him but saying he has been brought by God to America to save America in order to do everything from recognizing the American embassy (so Jesus can come back), to closing down every abortion clinic and making women's choice go back into the 1950s, not even 1960s and the '70s. This is a program of authentic theocracy that is far more like Trump's friends, the Saudi Arabians than with anything traditional about American religion -- even back to the colony here in Massachusetts where I'm sitting.

REID: It is a watershed moment; I will put it that way for those of us who grew up in the church. Frank Schaefer, thank you, Jonathan Capehart, thank you both so much and have a wonderful Sunday.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.