Anti-LGBTQ author and religious-right activist Michael Brown was a guest of California pastor-politician Rob McCoy’s Sunday evening “fireside chat,” during which Brown claimed that Black Lives Matter protesters engage in “witchcraft” when they call the names of people killed by police. Brown, who has said that President Donald Trump was elected “by the sovereign intervention of God,” claimed in a book last year that “radical feminism” and “witchcraft” and “emotionally castrated males” are all evidence of a demonic plot to destroy the United States.
McCoy, whom California-based Christian nationalist political operative David Lane and right-wing activist Charlie Kirk describe as their pastor, has shared his platform with Kirk and was the inspiration for Lane’s effort to get conservative pastors to run for political office. McCoy resigned from his city council post earlier this year in protest when he decided that his church would defy pandemic-related public health restrictions.
McCoy and Brown discussed a range of issues, from End Times theology to the church’s role in the political arena. Brown portrayed himself as a supporter of civil rights while criticizing the BLM movement for being founded by “radical feminists.” He said that when BLM movement leaders speak aloud the names of people killed by police violence, they are “calling on spirits of the dead.”
“When you say the name, you’re also calling on the person to come forth, for those spirits to come forth and empower the movement,” Brown said. “So, it’s basically witchcraft.” He continued:
And you think this whole thing is very Jezebelic in that regard, in terms of joining together radical feminism, attack on gender, attack on family structure, emasculating men, and then you bring in the appeal to the spirits of the dead. So, I have been warning people for months: Separate from the movement. It is anarchist. It is anti-Christ. Show your solidarity with Black friends in different ways. Where you see injustice, confront it, but separate from the movement.
Brown described what he called “a dramatic shift in culture” that grew out of the “counterculture revolution” of the 1960s:
And I see things now with mobocracy and the cancel culture and the move towards socialism. And to me, it’s not so much socialism versus capitalism, but socialism seeking to shut down the Gospel. As I see this shift, to me, it feels like we’re right at the edge of a cliff. And if the church does not respond properly now, we go over the edge. And four more years of Donald Trump’s not going to save America. At best, that’s a wedge in the door, where the church can really cry out to God, truly repent, truly engage in the Gospel, and usher in revival and awakening because that’s the hope of the nation.
Brown, a Jewish convert to Christianity, described some of his spiritual and political journey, recalling his growing belief during the 1990s that “there had to be radical change within the church” if the church was going to make “radical change in society.”
Brown claimed that in 2004, “quite out of the blue,” God “began to deeply burden me” about homosexual activism, which he said he immediately saw as “the greatest threat to freedom of religion, speech, and conscience in America,” what he called “the great moral, spiritual question of this generation.”
McCoy recounted that the Calvary Chapel movement, of which his congregation is a part, grew out of the Jesus movement of the 1960s and 1970s. There are 350 Calvary Chapel churches in Southern California, he said, but their tradition of teaching the Bible and remaining apolitical—a tradition from which he and some other pastors have aggressively departed—has meant that the spiritual revival fostered by that church growth did not translate into an impact on California’s increasingly progressive political culture. He described California as having changed from a conservative “epicenter of evangelism” to a “mess” where “they’re shuttering churches and censoring what we say.”
McCoy disparaged “superficial pew potatoes that roll over and let Gov. Newsom scare them into a worthless vaccine.”
Engaging Brown a bit on the question of sexuality, McCoy said it is the church’s fault that people who “struggle with their sexual identity” feel like the only way they can participate politically is to “embrace the leftist theology and a leftist ideology.” Brown described his strategy of dealing with LGBTQ people as “reach out to the people with compassion, resist the agenda with courage.”
Brown cited the use of LGBTQ-inclusive materials in schools as evidence that an “aggressive agenda” was targeting children; McCoy said he sees it more as a reflection of “the absence of Christians on a school board contending for truth.”
McCoy suggested that conservative Christians should welcome conservative gays and lesbians into the conservative political movement, citing the way Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk engages with conservative gay people. By associating with people like Kirk, he said, gays and lesbians can become acquainted with Christian and natural law views.
McCoy said that conservative Christians lose public policy battles because not enough of them are in office or voting at levels that will make politicians pay attention to their concerns. There are 60 million to 80 million evangelical Christians in the United States, he said, and half of them are not registered to vote. McCoy added that only half of those who are registered vote in a presidential election year and only 12 percent in a non-presidential election.
You want an awakening? You awaken when you open the law again and dust it off, and the people rejoice, and they have a system that governs them. And then a God who infuses it. This is missing. We have to awaken to that. I’m not talking about legalism. I’m not talking about dominionism. I’m not talking about a theocracy. I’m talking about people participating with wisdom.
McCoy, who appeared to be enamored by Brown’s scholarly credentials, said he hopes to continue to engage Brown in public conversation.
Brown was a replacement for Stella “Demon Sperm” Immanuel, who McCoy said had been scheduled to appear but has gotten too busy since she became a right-wing folk hero by energetically but falsely promoting hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19.