The Church at Kaweah
The church seems to be linked with the freeman on the land, Neo-Confederate, and the tax protester movements. They use terms like "free church" and "Commonwealth," and want to get away from the 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, while hosting men like Joe Banister and Neo-Confederate John Weaver.
The church provides training in many areas, ranging from relatively benign things like public disaster response, first aid, and wilderness survival, to more aggressive things such as combat team tactics, guerrilla warfare, and house-to-house fighting. Even though they claim to only train in firearm safety and disaster, the products in their book and video store include "The Church Militant is on the rise, To Teach Them War", "THE CHRISTIAN AT WAR", and "The Five Levels of Competence, –Skills at Arms and Christian Maturity–".
At the end of the video "To Teach Them War," Warren Mark Campbell says:
“”We’ve produced this DVD to encourage Christians to acquire military skills and be militant in the kingdom of God. It’s our desire that fathers will learn these skills and pass them on to their children, and that Christians everywhere in this great land will train together martially.
|—Warren Mark Campbell |
Sounds like another Becky Fischer.
Christian History Conference
Every year the church hosts a Christian History Conference. This is where the consultant on the film Innocence of Muslims Steve Klein spoke with many other speakers. Others who have spoken are tax protester Joe Banister,
Creationist Creatard Eric Hovind, Neo-Confederate John Weaver, Missionary Peter Hammond, Sheriff Richard Mack and many more wing nuts.
Oh no! The atheists are attacking!
In 2009 The church had Creatard Eric Hovind speak. A group of atheists in the central valley posted on this event on their forums. When the Kaweah church saw this, they went into fundie panic and claimed that these atheists were coming to disrupt the conference by screaming with megaphones and pulling the fire alarms, but they were afraid of getting shot so they didn't. However, there is no evidence that this atheist group has ever done such a thing nor did they say anything to suggest they were going to. By the look of their posts they were just going to see how nuts Eric was going to get.
Bad history and teaching
On the Church's main page it claims that the motto of the American Revolution was "No King, but King Jesus". This claim originated out of something John Adams and John Hancock supposedly said to Major Pitcairn, but
- John Adams seems to have been included in the narrative by mistake for Samuel Adams.
- Neither John Adams nor John Hancock (nor for that matter Samuel Adams) was present at the time the alleged statement was supposed to have been made.
- Jonas Clark, who was there, and who, according to an earlier version of the story, may have actually made the statement, says nothing of it in his account.
- Nobody seems to have written anything of this statement until John Ashcroft misquoted the "No governor but Jesus" line in a 1999 speech at Bob Jones University.
- In 2001, it turns up grafted onto an account of the opening of the Battle of Lexington at the Truth in History website. John Adams is mistakenly substituted for Samuel Adams in this version, but the "No king but Jesus" slogan is attributed to Jonas Clark or one of his associates.
- In 2006, the same account turns up word-for-word at the Eads Home Ministries website with John Adams and John Hancock substituted for Jonas Clark or associate.
- The next year, the story starts turning up in printed books. (At least one of them credited the Truth in History website as its source for the story.)
The sequence of events seems reasonably clear. Not only did John Adams and John Hancock not say it, nor Jonas Clark nor an anonymous minuteman, it is quite possible that nobody said it at all in connection with the American Revolution until John Ashcroft threw it into a short speech at Bob Jones University. Further debunking can be found at Fake History. There actually has been a political movement marching under the banner of "King Jesus", but this was the so-called Fifth Monarchists of the English Civil War and they were viewed by saner heads of their day with about the same attitude as the mainstream views the Church of Kaweah with today. After trying to overthrow the restored English monarchy the Fifth Monarchists found that the king was not amused and had them executed...
In week 73 of his study in "Americas Providential History," Pastor Warren Mark Campbell defends slavery as a valid biblical teaching. Campbell brought up Exodus 21:20-21 — you know, the one about beating slaves.
“”20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.
21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.
Campbell spent a few seconds answering this by basically saying it's permitted but not a good idea, and he spends the rest of the time on this verse attacking atheism, straw manning the works of Charles Darwin and saying evolution is about slavery. Campbell used that good old chestnut, the argument from morality, and that since Charles Darwin's book was titled "The Origin of Species and Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" there is a favored race which means that there must also be an unfavored race, and therefore slavery is OK from a secular POV and that "survival of the fittest" is "might makes right". Unsurprisingly, this is completely wrong and merely shows Campbell's lacking understanding of evolution.
The term "Race" to a 19th century naturalist simply meant distinct populations within a specific species. Charles Darwin referred to cabbages as a race. If the good pastor had actually bothered to read "On the Origin of Species" he would know that the book never refers to human evolution. The term "favored races" is simply referring to natural selection which creationists usually have no problem with. A race (distinct populations in a species) is favored by nature while the others who are the unfavored die in nature. Campbell appeals to the Webster's 1828 Dictionary and to old English quite a bit, yet he demonstrates a (convenient) lack of knowledge of antiquated lingo here.
Campbell says that survival of the fittest means we can enslave a lesser race, but this is the naturalistic fallacy. "Survival of the fittest" is an observation about how the natural world works; it is not an imperative statement about how ethics should function. Survival of the fittest isn't even about how "fit" or "strong" you are. For example, a rabbit is a very fit animal for survival: Instead of being strong and combative, a rabbit is small, inconspicuous, and has *ahem* other advantages useful for the species' survival. Fitness is not solely about aggressiveness and brutality, but also about senses, speed, camouflage, social systems, and defense as well.
- Church's website
- Old Paths Christian History Conference 2007
- "from patrolling the banks of the Kaweah River to conducting joint exercises with Minuteman groups along the Mexican border."
- From SPLC article
- Rational Valley, Eric Hovind Speaking in Kaweah California
- 12:45 is where Campbell attacks Darwin and Evolution
- Cue Ravi Zacharias applauding furiously
- "during many generations, the several races, for instance, of the cabbage, in very poor soil." On the Origin of Species, Chapter 1 p.15