Greg Locke

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Greg Locke (1976–) is an American transphobic, homophobic, climate change-denying[1] Baptist pastor and professional grifter at the Global Vision Bible Church, in Tennessee.

Locke's first notable foray into the public sphere (after his many arrests, of course) was an example of the "stopped clock" saying: it was a takedown of Israeli Arab (i.e. Palestinan) faith healer Benny Hinn in a self-published book entitled Blinded by Benny (2005).

Locke uses his substantial online following on Facebook, Twitter,[2] and YouTube to transform his childhood propensity as a class bully into the literal bully pulpit, with his vision of "always being filled with hate and rage"[3] directed toward transgender people[4] gays, and cross-dressers,[5] just as Jesus surely would have wanted him to.[citation NOT needed].

Locke came to prominence when he criticized Target's decision to provide gender-neutral toilets.[3][4] Locke's prophetic and godly status was somewhat tarnished when it was reported that he cheated on his wife with the church secretary and packed the wife and children on a bus out of town so he could focus on the sinful delights of his new girlfriend.[6] He eventually divorced his wife to marry his girlfriend,[7] so no doubt God has forgiven him for his breach of the Ten Commandments.

If so, however, some of his fellow Christians have not. He has been roundly criticized among other things for abandoning the Church of the King James Version,[8] but much more seriously for having allegedly abused his wife both physically and psychologically.[9]

From pastor to pundit[edit]

Wingnuttery and Christian Nationalism[edit]

Increasingly in the 2020s, Locke's church started looking less like a temple dedicated to worshiping Jesus and more like a proxy of the radicalized Republican party, dedicated to a pro-Trump (until he renounced his support) vein of Christian nationalism.. [10]

Locke continued to be vocally supportive of Donald Trump, rumbling about how Joe Biden stole the 2020 U.S. presidential election,[11] right up until Trump urged people to get their COVID vaccinations.[12]

In late August 2021, Trump political operative Roger Stone was a guest speaker at the church, and the congregation accordingly was decked in MAGA paraphernalia. [13] Later, Locke hosted the conservative youth activist Charlie Kirk as a guest. [14]

In a late June 2021 sermon, Locke's tone even took on shades of QAnon when he called Joe Biden a "sex trafficking, demon-possessed mongrel" and Kamala Harris a "jezebel demon", with non-sequitur references to typical QAnon targets like "pedophiles in Hollywood", Pope Francis, Oprah Winfrey, and Tom HanksWikipedia. [15][16]

On October 24 2021, Locke's guest speaker was Mark BurnsWikipedia, a pastor who also happened to be a Republican Congressional candidate. While guest preaching, Burns spread transphobic lies concerning the "bathroom" debate and relished when the crowd spontaneously erupted into a chant of "Let's Go Brandon"Wikipedia (a minced oathWikipedia for the phrase "fuck Joe Biden"). [17] Burns and Locke later, in September 21 2021, appeared at a "Salt and Light Conference" (hosted by an organization run by Ralph ReedWikipedia, the first executive director of the Christian Coalition) along with several other prominent Republican politicians, and other noted conservative figures such as Joe Arpaio and E. W. Jackson. [18]

In mid-November 2021, Locke appeared at an event (that was part of a tour called "Reawaken America") at John Hagee's Cornerstone Church alongside many other far right conspiracy theorists, such as Roger Stone, Mike Lindell, and Alex Jones. The event notoriously featured Trump associate and QAnon nut Michael Flynn calling for America to have only "one religion under God", rejecting the freedom of religion principle that is a major part of America's foundation. The event was also marked by yet another "Let's Go Brandon" chant erupting in a church. [19] [20]

All of this, of course, attracted much attention from media. Reportedly Locke was extremely angry about media coverage about him, and in a late June 2021 sermon announced his plans to sue CNN and NewsweekWikipedia for the "defamation" of accurately quoting him and posting clips of his "sermons". [21]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

See the main article on this topic: COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Locke displayed unusual hostility towards public health measures and vaccines, and even the notion that a pandemic was happening at all (Locke called COVID-19 a "fake pandemic" in December 2020). [22] In fact, Locke has been so openly hostile to COVID restrictions and vaccinations, he has threatened to kick anyone out of his church simply for wearing a face mask during his services. [23] Likewise, in early August 2020, Locke posted a video threatening violence against a Dunkin' DonutsWikipedia employee (who he referred to as "Nazi Skippy") for merely trying to enforce a store face mask policy. [24]

He has also ranted against vaccines, making a mostly false claim that they are made with "aborted fetal tissue". [25] [note 1] In May 2021, he also spouted a bizarre conspiracy theory where vaccinated "political elites" are actually getting "a bunch of sugar water" instead of the vaccine. (If one thinks otherwise, according to Locke, they are "smoking meth in your mamma's basement".) [27] In early August 2021, he even ranted against Republican Tennessee governor Bill LeeWikipedia for signing an executive order that merely ensured that hospitals had adequate staffing and support during the pandemic. (This order unfortunately was necessary because the Tennessee healthcare system was in danger of being strained by, say, people who listened to people like Locke, refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, got sick with COVID, and ended up in hospitals' ICU units,Wikipedia overwhelming them.)[28][29]

At a late August 2021 rally, Locke encouraged people to "quit playing the coward" and "stir your school board meeting up for the glory of God", which in this case for some reason meant fighting against pandemic restrictions. [30]

Sadly, Locke's misinformation-filled preaching probably helped contribute to the death of one congregation member of his church, who believed everything Locke said and ignored all health precautions on COVID-19, and later ended up dying from the disease. [31] [25]

On September 14 2021, Locke was banned from Twitter for spreading COVID-19 misinformation.[2]

Support for insurrectionists[edit]

See the main article on this topic: 2021 U.S. Capitol riot

Locke was present during the 2021 Capitol riot, preaching to a crowd of Trump supports at Freedom PlazaWikipedia with a bullhorn on the day before event. [32] Shortly before this, Locke referred to himself as part of the "black-robed regimentWikipedia" in a Facebook post. [33] This obscure term was popularized among certain crowds by Glenn Beck and David Barton in a 2010 political rally, and referred to ministers that supported the American revolution. Naturally, this became a battle cry with a few dominionist Christians. [34] [note 2].

Later, Locke called Mike Pence a "Judas" for merely stating in a speech that the violence at the Capitol riot was a bad thing. [35]

Demons, demons everywhere[edit]

In January 2022, Locke continued his unabashed fundamentalist crankery by blaming autism on demonic possession.[36] In early February 2022, he revived the old fundie tradition of book burning, targeting both old targets like Harry Potter and new targets like Twilight for being full of "spells, demonism, shape-shifting and occultism".[37]

In mid February 2022, another insane clip of a Locke sermon went viral. In this clip, he claimed that, while supposedly casting out a demon out of a woman who recently had begun coming to Global Vision, he learned the names of six witches supposedly had infiltrated his congregation. During this unhinged rant, he accused the alleged witches of wanting to destroy the church, blamed recent illnesses in the congregation on the alleged witches, and also threatened to doxx them. [38][39]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. COVID-19 vaccines were tested against immortalised cell linesWikipedia, such as HEK 293 cellsWikipedia, a line that came from a fetus of unknown origin. However, these type of cell lines are used in the testing process of multiple vaccines and medications, to the point where your pharmaceutical options would be quite limited if this truly was an ethical concern. [26]
  2. The origin of the "black robe regiment" quote is based on a bastardization of a quote made by a loyalist named Peter OliverWikipedia. [34]

References[edit]

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20190622031928/https://twitter.com/pastorlocke/status/1128011898761486336
  2. 2.0 2.1 Alund, Natalie. "Tennessee pastor Greg Locke accused of spreading false info about COVID banned from Twitter." Tennessean, September 14th 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 Schmitt, Brad. "Target-blasting pastor Greg Locke channels anger in new way." Tennesseean, May 1st 2016
  4. 4.0 4.1 Humbles, Andy. "Mt. Juliet pastor’s video blasting Target goes viral." Tennessean, April 25th 2016
  5. http://web.archive.org/web/20210814100740/https://twitter.com/pastorlocke/status/1126699699434426370
  6. "Greg Locke Divorces Wife, Finds New Girlfriend." Pulpit & Pen, January 8th, 2018
  7. Dunn, Seth. "Pastor Greg Locke: 'Adulterer in God's Eyes' Marries Church Secretary." Pulpit & Pen, August 7th, 2018
  8. Steven L. Anderson, "Pastor Greg Locke Exposed" (blog entry), February 10th, 2017. Accessed May 15th 2019.
  9. Hemant Mehta, "An Evangelical Pastor’s Ex-Wife Is Finally Talking About How He Abused Her" (blog post), The Friendly Atheist, March 8th 2018. Accessed May 15th 2019.
  10. "The Pastors: They preach the Bible — and the big lie. With it, Pastors Ken Peters and Greg Locke are tapping into the pro-Trump vein of Christian nationalism." by Rob Kuznia and Majlie de Puy Kamp, CNN, 2021 January 3
  11. Pastor Greg Locke Continues to Insist Trump Won Election, Biden 'Is Still a Fraud' by Christina Zhao, Newsweek, May 30th, 2021
  12. Sky, Palma. "Far-right pastor Greg Locke turns on Trump: ‘He was lied to and he knows it — and his arrogance won’t change his mind.’" DeadState, January 10th 2022.
  13. "Roger Stone and Pastor Greg Locke deliver energetic church service in Mt. Juliet" by Andy Humbles, Nashville Tennessean, 2020 August 30
  14. "GOP activist Charlie Kirk to speak in Mt. Juliet with Pastor Greg Locke at Global Vision Bible Church" by Andy Humbles, Nashville Tennessean, 2020 October 16
  15. "WATCH: Right Wing Pastor Greg Locke Insists Biden, ‘Jezebel Demon’ Kamala Harris are Leading ‘Sex Trafficking’ Ring Below the Capitol in INSANE Rant" by Leia Idliby, Mediaite, 2021 June 28
  16. "Pastor Greg Locke's Speech Against 'Pedophiles in Hollywood' Viewed Over 1.5M Times" by James Crump, Newsweek, 2021 June 28
  17. "GOP Candidate Laughs As Church Crowd Yells Anti-Biden Slogan 'Let's Go Brandon' by Hemant Mehta, Friendly Athiest, 2021 October 24
  18. "Radical Right-Wing Pastor Greg Locke to Join Multiple GOP Politicians at North Carolina Conference" by Kyle Mantyla, Right Wing Watch, 2021 September 21
  19. "Just a Church Full of People Chanting ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’" by Relevant, 2021 November 15
  20. "Michael Flynn calls for ‘one religion’ at event that is a who’s who of the new Christian right" by Bob Smietana, Washington Post, 2021 November 19
  21. "Christian Hate-Preacher Greg Locke: I'm Suing CNN and Newsweek for Defamation" by Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, 2021 June 27
  22. "Political debate as heated as ever: Wilson County pastor calls COVID-19 'fake pandemic'" by Fox 17 News Digital Staff, Fox 17 News, 2020 December 14
  23. ""I meant what I said," pastor doubles down on church's mask ban" by Alex Heider, News 4 Nashville, 2021 July 27
  24. "Trump-loving pastor threatens Dunkin’ Donuts employee, chain changes mask policy" by Eilish O'Sullivan, Daily Dot, 2020 August 1
  25. 25.0 25.1 "How a pastor's spread of Covid misinformation divided one Tennessee family" by Elle Reeve, Samantha Guff, and Lacey Russell, CNN, 2021 May 29
  26. "If Any Drug Tested on HEK-293 Is Immoral, Goodbye Modern Medicine" by Matthew P. Schneider, Patheos, 2021 January 28
  27. "TN pastor under fire for making false claims about Covid vaccine, calls it 'sugar water'" by Fox 17 News Digital Staff, Fox 17 Nashville, 2021 May 24
  28. "Tennessee pastor: Governor a 'coward,' 'chicks' in hospitals doing 'Tik Tok dances'" by WZTV Staff, 13 WHAM, 2021 August 10th
  29. "Ballad Health: 91% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 unvaccinated" by Mackenzie Moore, WJHL, 2021 December 22
  30. "Post-Trump, Christian nationalists preach a theology of vaccine resistance" by Jack Jenkins, Religious News Service, 2021 September 14
  31. "Family Speaks Out Against Hate-Preacher Whose COVID Lies Led to Uncle's Death" by Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, 2021 May 28
  32. "Middle Tennessee pastor says he was censored on social media following Capitol riots" by Jackie DelPilar, WGXA News, 2021 January 13
  33. "How White Evangelical Christians Fused With Trump Extremism" by Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham, New York Times, 2021 January 11
  34. 34.0 34.1 "What the Black Robe Regiment Misses About Revolutionary Pastors" by Jonathan Den Hartog, Christianity Today, 2021 January 20
  35. "Pastor Greg Locke Calls Mike Pence 'Judas' Following Speech on Capitol Riot" by Darragh roche, Newsweek, 2021 June 4
  36. @hemantmehta. "Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke said this morning that children with autism actually suffer from demon possession. 'Your kid could be demonized and attacked, but your doctor calls it autism.' He added: 'Ain't no such diagnosis in the Bible.'" Twitter, 23 January 2022, 2:25 PM, twitter.com/hemantmehta/status/1485332826799149059
  37. "Tennessee pastor burns 'witchcraft' 'Harry Potter,' 'Twilight' books" by Brooke Migdon, The Hill, 2022 February 7
  38. "Pastor Greg Locke threatens to dox ‘witches’ that infiltrated wife’s Bible book club" by Justin Vallejo, Independent, 2022 February 15
  39. "Tennessee preacher Greg Locke says demons told him names of witches in his church" by Bob Smietana, Religion News Service, 2022 Februrary 15