The Circus is something that is alive and well and make no mistake, the Circus is a thing. You may recall from my previous writings in the ‘Circus’ category that there are more than enough wacky, narcissistic people who manipulate God to give me writing material for eternity.

These people provide endless entertainment but sadden me at the same time. I admit it may seem judgmental but it genuinely angers me that they belittle legitimate faith, manipulate the innocent and turn the beauty of God into a sideshow.

Today I’m not even including the cheap, goofy ones who peddle themselves and rip off the most gullible so they can order new private jets. No, today’s assortment of clowns are serious crusaders in mainstream power and religion.

In any case, all Circus acts still have one thing in common; they use God to get their own way. These, like most, have an endless capacity for self-indulgence and self-abasement.

So welcome to another instalment of the Circus. Consider your ticket bought (you’re welcome): grab some pop corn, pour your boisson de choix, settle in to your seat and hold your loved ones close.

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, prepare to be amazed and embarrassed as you witness more guileless Acts of the Circus!


Let’s begin with something fun but not unusual – a pastor who thinks that speaking for God requires a performance. Pastor Michael Thompson, senior pastor of Jubilee Church in Boston, regularly illustrates his sermons through the use of visual aids and his now near-legendary near-athleticism. In today’s episode, a hurdle and a mini trampoline. And no, I don’t know either…

That’s embarrassing, sure, but at least he knows it and owns it. Most of the other acts in the Circus don’t have the capacity to be embarrassed.


Naturally we heard from self-proclaimed Christian and friend of the Circus, Donald Trump. Not long ago he tweeted about possible state legislation requiring schools to teach ‘historical’ classes on the Bible (worst idea ever). This prompted him to stroke his evangelical base with this tweet: “Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!”

Which in turn prompted his former pastor in New York to tweet, “I was @realDonaldTrump‘s pastor for 5 years @MarbleChurch. I assure you, he had the “option” to come to Bible study. He never “opted” in. Nor did he ever actually enter the church doors. Not one time.”

The pastor went on to share a thoughtful quote attributed to Irish politician Edmund Burke: “Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.”


Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Dallas is often in the spotlight as a pseudo-religious adviser to President Trump. I’m proud to say he recently called me a moron. Seriously! He said, “Let me say this as charitably as I can. These ‘Never Trump’ evangelicals are morons. They are absolutely spineless morons and they cannot admit that they are wrong.” At least he was trying to be charitable.

In support of Trump’s controversial border wall he said that, “Heaven itself is going to have a wall around it.”

The implication, I suppose, is that heaven will have literal concrete walls or steel slats anchored deeply in the clouds and will be patrolled by armed angels. One assumes that heaven will need walls to keep out undesirables like refugees, socialists, Catholics, Colin Kaepernick and other sinners.

Really joyful picture of heaven Rob, thanks.

This prompted Fr. James Martin to respond on Twitter with, “God’s mercy has no walls around it”.  One of Martin’s followers, William McInerney quoted from the book of Revelation that the gates in heaven’s walls will remain eternally open, then further speculated that this info was near the end of the Bible so Jeffress probably hadn’t gotten to that part yet. Ouch.


Circus performer Dave Lubal from Intercessors For America (because only America needs prayer) seems to have access to mysterious, other-worldly sources of knowledge. He is also an outspoken Trump supporter as you may gather from the mystical words he shared on his website about some Trump opponents:

“It’s been widely publicized that there is a coven of witches that cast spells on President Trump 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This particular coven is found in the southern portion of New York City and operating through the likes of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, federal judge Kimba Wood, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”

So, thanks to Lubal’s dark arts, we know that a good principle for Christians to follow is to pray against the witch covens that exist wherever there are people who disagree with us.

And really, how could the idea of witch hunts possibly go wrong?


Lance Wallnau is another spiritual warfare guy who came up with the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for us to give to our sweethearts. In the weeks leading up to the special day he was promoting his CD (or MP3) Breaking Controlling Spirits as the perfect romantic gift so your little lovey-bear can learn to “… use supernatural battle strategies to conquer the enemy” and “…render powerless the global mind control attempt to manipulate your thoughts and emotions.”

I only wish I had known about it earlier – I could have gotten it for Cheryl. She would have been speechless! Wait … 40% off the regular price, you say? I can’t afford NOT to buy it!

Anyway, while I’m getting out my credit card to order a bunch of those CDs for family birthday presents, here is his lucid explanation of why one of his previous prophecies didn’t come true. (Note: I won’t be interpreting this one for you.)


And while we’re on failed prophecies, there’s Firefighter Prophet, Mark Taylor. Sure his prediction of a ‘Red Tsunami’ of Republicans getting elected in the last midterm elections didn’t happen – but that’s only because the prophecy isn’t finished yet.

Let me explain: when his prophecy didn’t happen he figured out that it couldn’t happen yet because every tsunami needs to begin with an earthquake. So obviously there needs to be a spiritual earthquake first in order to start the spiritual tsunami he predicted.

Sooo… just to clarify a bit more: his prophecy is on hold until the late-breaking pre-prophecy he missed prophesying actually happens, but he won’t prophecy what the first prophecy will be until the prophecy that follows that prophecy is fulfilled. And it would obviously be inappropriate for him to prophecy when the aforementioned prophecies will happen because … well, because.

Wait, I get it: ‘earthquake’ is a metaphor for ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ and ‘tsunami is a metaphor for ‘I’m totally making this up as I go!’ Makes more sense now.

Question: why don’t these people just give up this part of the job-description and do something easier like taming tigers or getting shot out of a cannon?


Franklin Graham, close friend of the Circus, offered a prayer at the NRA Prayer Breakfast (I’m guessing there is a coven of witches at NRA headquarters). Anyway, when someone urged him to support universal background checks for gun purchases he sidestepped it by saying, “God has already done universal background checks on all of us.”

My only response to that is, What does that mean? What does that mean? And, Seriously, what does that even mean?

The next week Graham offered this tweet without irony: “Our prayers are with the families of the five people shot and killed today at the Sun Trust Bank Sebring FL.”


You would think that he learned to stop talking after that but soon there he was on MSNBC defending the President’s practice of habitual lying – without actually defending it. He actually did a good job of answering the question without answering the question. He sidestepped and twirled so gracefully that I assume he must be auditioning for Dancing With the Stars. (Full disclosure: I’m lying about the Dancing With the Stars thing. ‘Course if it does happen I wouldn’t miss it.)


Finally, new Ohio governor Mike DeWine was sworn into office while laying his hand on a stack of nine Bibles. Refreshingly, it wasn’t some sort of stunt where he was trying to be really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really Christian.

But alas, although I wanted to poke fun, I actually found his reasoning quite endearing. Okay, enough self-abasement for one day – here is a sentimental list of what each Bible represented for him:

  • His late daughter, Becky DeWine’s, childhood Bible
  • His great-grandmother Gertrude Budd’s Bible
  • His grandmother Ruth Perkins Liddle’s New Testament, given to her by her father, a minister, on her 18th birthday, 100 years ago
  • His grandfather Albert Liddle’s New Testament, issued to him by the United States Navy while he has was serving during World War I
  • His Aunt Mickey’s (Elizabeth Ann DeWine Harwood’s) Bible, given to her by her grandmother
  • A New Testament that the Governor and First Lady acquired many years go in Jerusalem
  • A Study Bible given to the Governor by Lloyd Ogilvie, chaplain of the United States Senate
  • His mother, Jean DeWine’s, Bible
  • A Bible that Fran gave to Mike on their 10th wedding anniversary


Now somebody bring me a box of Kleenex…