The 7 Evangelical Training Principles that Promote Wild Propaganda, Dangerous Misinformation & Outlandish Conspiracy Theories
In the past, buying into baseless, tin-foil-hat conspiracy theories didn't tend to have any real-world consequences. But with the recent rise and proliferation of the dangerous QAnon ideology, America is starting to feel the tangible effects of misguided conspiracists acting on their half-baked theories. From "Pizzagate" to the plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor, to the Nashville bombing, to the home invasion and violent attack on Paul Pelosi, to the deadly insurrection on January 6, the real-world consequences of conspiratorial thinking are spilling out into society faster than we can mop them up. And while conspiratorial thinking isn't the domain of any one single demographic, leading the pack as the #1 single greatest predictor – according to Pew Research – of embracing and promoting QAnon was: Evangelical Christians.
Why is it that Evangelicals have such a strong inclination towards wild propaganda, dangerous misinformation, and outlandish conspiracies? Why are they more susceptible to it than any other group? These people aren't crazy. They’re not delusional. They are educated, some of them highly so. They’re well-read. They’re financially secure. What is it, specifically, about Evangelical Christianity that so predisposes its adherents to latch onto absurd, borderline-incoherent nonsense? Almgren, a former Evangelical himself, thinks he has the answer: training – the rigorous Thought Training regimens believers undergo from the moment they’re drafted into the faith until they take their final breath. Or eventually escape.
Conspiracy Christianity is Almgren’s humorous and irreverent attempt to unpack the 7 Training Principles the faithful are conditioned with – and subjected to – throughout their Church experience that finally explain how and why Evangelicals embrace the utterly insane things they do.
The Trumpland Diary
A Journal of Bigly Proportions
Quick, think of someone you know. Ideally, the very worst person you've ever known. Now imagine that person goes on to become President of the United States. Pretty surreal, right? Something you might want to document and journal for posterity, should the need ever arise to prove in an extraterrestrial court of law that this period of time was an actual part of our history, and not, say, something conjured up while tripping on bath salts, right? Right?
Shane Almgren figured out a while back that there are two types of people on this planet: those who love Donald Trump and hail him as the would-be savior of America...and those who aren't suffering from multiple concussions.
Once upon a time, Shane had the...um..."privilege" of working for The Donald at Mar-a-Lago. There, he had a front row seat to Trump's vapid, out-sized, cartoonish grandiosity, racism, misogyny, the non-stop boasts about insanely unethical (or even illegal) behavior; and the incessant, pathological lying. He also witnessed the mind-numbing incompetency Trump regularly deployed around the club to make tiny problems he had zero expertise in infinitely worse with his involvement. So, when Trump announced his [third] run at the presidency, Almgren decided he needed to warn all his friends and family on Facebook before the unthinkable happened.
Alas, the Universe had other ideas (landing Almgren in an 0–17 hole in his best-of-39 series against the Universe).
What is one to do when one of the most grossly incompetent, irredeemably stupid, unapologetically corrupt, reprehensibly vile and morally bankrupt figures America has ever managed to produce suddenly gets put in charge of everything...and half the population is happy about it? Why, you document every freaking moment of it in the most scathing, satirical manner possible, that's what!
Almgren also learned a long time ago that when life gives you lemons, you can either recite hollow platitudes and make lemonade…or you can shove those lemons down into a Tube Sock of Truth, whirl it around your head, and launch a full-frontal assault with your new improvised, citrus-based Street Weapon of Justice. (Plus, your sock ends up smelling all lemon-y fresh if you whack enough skulls with it, so, two birds…).
Laid out as a series of journal entries, and set over a period of 6 years, The Trumpland Diary is one man’s attempt to unpack the madness unfolding around him to friends and loved ones too caught up in the madness to pay any attention to what he had to say.
Half The Daily Show, half investigative reporting, half unbridled snark (and a third utter nonsense), The Trumpland Diary leaves no stone unturned in this sprawling, satirical, acerbic de-frocking of one of the most reviled characters in American culture. It uncovers and spotlights the lies, feuds, tweets, scandals, idiocy, affairs, bankruptcies, scams, frauds, grifts, swindles, back-dealings, corruption and nonsense that oozed from The Orange One as far back as the 1970’s. With blisteringly astute analysis, rapier-like wit, and a seemingly boundless supply of good humor, Almgren lays waste to the Myth of Trump and all that emanated from it: endless Right-wing culture wars, Republican cowardice, Evangelical hypocrisy (a former Evangelical himself), and Fox News.* Especially Fox News.*
The Trumpland Diary is equal parts hysterical, sobering, informative, insightful, and thought-provoking – a rip-roaring good time that'll leave you face-palming yourself is utter disbelief, and wondering how in the ever-loving hell anyone could've ever voted for this man.*
*We already answered that puzzler up top: multiple concussions.
COMING SPRING 2024
"The greatest story since Argo!"
- Steve Feldman, Emmy-winning Director
A True[ly Insane] Story of Covert Missionaries, Counterfeit Rock Stars, and the Music Hoax of the Century
In the late ‘80’s, at the age of 10, my parents moved our family from a small town in Texas to China as undercover Christian missionaries in the city of Changsha. Following the Tian An Men Square Massacre in the summer of ’89, we were "asked" to leave the country, instructed never to speak of what we'd seen or heard, and told never to come back. There was just one problem: my mother believed God had given her a divine mission to organize the ﬁrst-ever Christian concert in Communist China, where Christian activity of any kind is highly illegal and strictly forbidden.
Upon returning to the US, she set out on a decade-long journey to (1) vaguely familiarize herself with the ins-and outs of the music touring, booking, and promotion business, (2) contact and convince a world renowned Christian act to visit China for no pay, and with no guarantees of a safe or even certain return, and (3) somehow convince the Chinese government to not only allow all of this to take place, but to sponsor and promote the entire thing themselves.
Through a series of synchronicity, miraculous occurence, dumb luck, chance encounters, divine intervention, serendipity, kismet, coincidence, a pinch of duplicity, and sheer audacity, a deal was reached, and a series of dates were booked for October ’99 with the multi award-winning Australian Christian rock band the Newsboys. And then, two weeks before the concert dates – after 10 arduous years in the making – the Newsboys backed out.
Not one to a let a little thing like “not having a band” get in the way of throwing a concert of global proportions, my mom hastily improvised: she found a local church drummer, bass player, and lead singer where she was living in Pittsburgh; enlisted me (in Florida) as the keyboardist, and told me to go ﬁnd a guitarist. Our mission (should we choose to accept): with the ﬁve of us living in different states and unable to rehearse together, become a uniﬁed band in under 2 weeks, prepared to go to China under threat of arrest and/or possible death, and masquerading as the real Newsboys with all of China none the wiser.
With potentially international consequences, what unfolded was one of the most improbable, harrowing, exhilarating, often-hilarious, and ultimately triumphant tales of courage, resourcefulness, teamwork, perseverance, mental toughness, creativity, the power of intention and positive thinking, faith, and a steadfast refusal to let obstacles or fear stand in the way of the mission.
Desperados is now the subject of a major motion picture.