Are Churches Becoming Theaters of Violence?

This remarkable video is the latest evidence of a disturbing trend in American religion: the Sunday-morning church service, once the kindly domain of church ladies in flowered hats, is becoming a vehicle for representing and even enacting (God’s) violence.

Blood sacrifice is back, folks. Symbolism is dead. No substitutes. We want the real thing.

I’m not talking metaphors here. By any measure, this preacher’s accounts of his own physical violence strongly suggest that he—or the character he is playing—is psychopathic, and yet his audience appears awestruck and approving.

Framing is everything, as they say. If he were not telling his stories from the pulpit and claiming God’s sponsorship of his violence, his audience might possibly see the psychopath standing before them and flee in terror.

What’s next for this preacher? Why, he’ll have to assault an audience member during one of his “sermons.” The kindly lady in the flowered hat with the potluck dish tucked under her seat will have the devil thrashed out of her and end up in ER.

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