Right-wing pastor Rick Joyner, the head of MorningStar Ministries, is someone who has encouraged Christians to prepare for the onset of a civil war, that racism was nearly defeated until Barack Obama was elected, and that natural disasters occur because Americans told God to leave the country.
In other words, he’s insane. He was a MAGA cultist long before Donald Trump came around. He’s not an anomaly, either, given how many conservative Christians have followed his lead.
But here’s some welcome and possibly surprising news: Joyner’s five children agree with us. The New York Times‘ Nicholas Kristof says that none of his five kids “identify as evangelical, and all deplore his politics.”
“He talks about Democrats being evil, forgetting that all five of his kids vote Democratic,” said his eldest, Anna Jane Joyner, 36, a climate change activist and podcast host (her father has suggested that climate change is a Communist conspiracy). “Who is he asking his followers to take up arms against? Liberal activists? That’s me.”
She worries that his far-right rhetoric may get people killed, so she feels a responsibility to challenge him. “I think it’s completely possible that some of my dad’s followers could pick up guns and cause violence because they think they’re defending the country,” she said.
Joyner himself acknowledges that his kids share none of his religious and political views — and there are moments when they set those differences aside because they’re family — but it’s not like there’s much he can do about it. They’re adults. He can’t control them. And some of them see it as their duty to challenge his lies.
Thank goodness they’re doing that. Maybe the question is why so many other conservative Christians aren’t following their lead.
They’re not the only ones pushing back against their nutcase dad either.
Preacher John Piper said last year that some people would catch COVID because God wanted to punish “their sinful attitudes and actions.” His ministry has claimed belief in God can cure any mental health problems.
But his son, Abraham Piper, has a sizable following on TikTok, where he posts criticism of his father’s right-wing Christianity:
It’s one thing when atheists criticize religion. It’s another when the children of prominent right-wing preachers grow up to become some of their most vocal critics. If they can do it, there’s hope for everyone.
One more point to make: In the comment thread for that NYT article, Kristof himself offers one anecdote that didn’t make the piece:
Anna Jane Joyner told me something that I wanted to include but just ran out of space. She said that she hears urban liberals say, we just need to have coffee with Trump voters and we can win them over. “I’ve been doing that my whole life, and I haven’t won my dad over,” she said. I’m all for having coffee with people one profoundly disagrees with, but I’ve no illusions about changing people’s minds.
It’s an important point to make: You can’t change everyone’s mind through logic, reason, and even compassion. What you can do is put your thoughts out there because you never know who may be listening and who may be influenced by you.
(Thanks to Jim for the link)