HOW CAN WE SAVE AMERICA FROM #ChristianAltFacts?
Last week the #ChristianAltFacts hashtag reappeared on Twitter. You might call it a miraculous resurrection. It’s a proven marketable angle if nothing else.
Recovering fundy writer and historian Chris Stroop invented the phrase in 2017. “The hashtag can inform outsiders on the Christian Right’s ideology, psychology, and tactics,” Stroop wrote on his blog.
So Twitter users paired the #ChristianAltFacts tag with the craziest shit that parents, teachers, or priests ever told them in the guise of religious tutelage. As you may imagine, this gets pretty surreal. Like some straight up Jefferson Airplane shit in here, except presumably Airplane are all going to Hell.
Are you ready for a total clusterfaith? Let’s sample some of the highlights and lowlifes.
-1. “Birth control is a mini abortion. Taking the pill is killing babies.”
“Mini-abortion” sounds so convenient. Like a travel-size shampoo, or those fun size mini Snickers at Halloween.
-2. “Masturbation was wrong because it was basically gay sex.”
Wow, just doubled my sin count for the morning without even trying.
-3. “Feminism isn’t biblical.”
-4. “Disney has a secret gay agenda, and they only hire gay people.”
Goofy is an obvious power top, so this seems plausible.
-5. “Music with Satanic rhythm is played constantly in elevators and stores so we’ll subconsciously be tempted to have sex.”
I mean who doesn’t want to fuck in the deodorant aisle at Walgreens like every time?
-6. “Women have more ribs than men because god took one from Adam.”
And from that one rib he somehow made 24 additional ribs, so you’d think he could have spared one back.
-7. “Abstinence until marriage almost guarantees that you won’t end up divorced.”
Or from another point of view, non-abstinence before marriage gives you a potential escape hatch later.
-8. “Got home from school more than once to an empty house and was sure my family had all been raptured.”
Uh, Mom, Dad, maybe start leaving a freaking note or something?
-9. “You will always be technically married to the person you first had sex with, and you are committing adultery with every person after them.”
-10. “Tampons will spoil your virginity.”
Those who know the least about the workings of genitalia always have the strongest opinions about them.
-11. “Had an opinion different from my husband’s, was sure I’d left myself and kids open to demonic attack.”
Talked to some demons and they’re willing to haunt the shit out of your husband if it’d help.
-12. “When I went through a bit of depression I was told there were demons entering my apartment through my Harry Potter books.”
Ridiculous, unless of course we’re talking about Half-Blood Prince.
-13. “Going to the doctor will send you straight to Hell.”
I mean, if your insurance covers that, sure. But being damned is usually a preexisting condition.
And of course it just goes on like this.
Now, that’s good fun. I mean, it’s horrifying down to the marrow. But it’s also easy to make light of.
Other #ChristianAltFacts Twitter testimonials are even worse though: stories of sexual abuse, bullying, psychological manipulation, casual racism, and belligerent homophobia, all under the guise of religious moralizing.
If a godawful thing can be done, somebody somewhere does it for god.
I bring this up for two reasons. One, as Stroop points out, we probably don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about the fact that many millions of people live in a sort of Matrix alternate reality of their own creation. A world where sexual harassment is barely a real thing, but Harry Potter and Pokemon are an evil that must not be brooked.
(Oh yeah, didn’t even have time to cover all the weird fundie anti-Pokemon shit out there…)
Two, glaring fundy absurdities are naturally alienating. Hearing about this ideology makes me want to brick these people up in the cellar with the Amontillado. Surely it’s better for everyone?
But admittedly, a more compassionate and empathetic first response would be not just to hate the people who spread #ChristianAltFacts but first to worry about the people subjected to them.
Many of the great Satanists I know came from communities who taught these same things, or worse. The hashtag helps ID others who got out.
But I wonder how many more are still stuck inside? And what is it that finally breaks the hold that #ChristianAltFacts may have on them?