by Shannon D. Hanson
Jonathan Shuttlesworth runs a business in Pennsylvania that has annual receipts a nudge north of 2.5 million dollars. He doesn’t pay a dime of income taxes on that money because Jonathon runs it as a church. Did I say church? Sorry, Jonathon says he doesn’t have a church and calls his business a “ministry” (not the band).
Shuttlesworth equates adopting sensible mitigation of exposure risk to effeminacy:
“Shame on every European full gospel church, bunch of sissies, that shut down during this thing,” Shuttlesworth said. “If you’re putting out pamphlets and telling everybody to use Purell before they come into the sanctuary and don’t greet anyone, you should just turn in your ministry credentials and burn your church down — turn it into a casino or something,” he said on social media. “You’re a loser. Bunch of pansies. No balls. Got neutered somewhere along the line and don’t even realize it.”
Right-wing evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth has no time for "loser" pastors who are canceling services because of the coronavirus, saying they should instead be holding mass gatherings to demonstrate the power of their faith. pic.twitter.com/XNXJ89AE32
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 11, 2020
Recently Mr. Shuttlesworth posted a youtube video that he titled in tribute to
a Florida man who Shuttlesworth calls his best friend. Howard-Browne also runs a business as a church – that one is in Tampa Florida – and was one of the pastors featured in a picture of several evangelicals laying hands on the falsifier in chief, AKA, impeached president Donald Trump.
Shuttlesworth uses Howard-Browne’s name in the title of the video because his friend was recently booked and released on bail for holding services in defiance of social distancing rules.
It finally came to a head where they not only arrested a pastor for deciding to have church in his church on Sunday as a Christian in the United States of America, but they did it to my best, possibly my only friend, Dr. Rodney Howard Brown.” – Jonathon Shuttlesworth
The charges, Shuttlesworth claims, are an affront on religious liberty. Both businessmen believe that the first amendment gives them the right to flout the law simply because they call their business a church or a ministry. Shuttlesworth asserts that, “I am in the lighting a fire under a behind, business.” Perhaps he figures that forestalls his activities being classified as “non-essential”.
Howard-Browne, himself, drinks heartily from the pool of conspiracy theory and has called the Coronavirus outbreak a plot by the WHO (the World Health Organization, not the band)
The World Health Organization has come in and is using a pandemic to take over not just America, but the whole of the world.” – Rodney Howard-Brown
The right reverend Rodney also claims that he has had machines installed at his church that will stop the Coronavirus. “We brought in 13 machines that basically kill every virus in the place,” Howard-Browne said. “If they sneeze it shoots it down like at 100 miles per hour and it will neutralize it in a split second.”
I hope his machines are portable. Shuttlesworth might need to borrow them because in the video I mentioned above he says he will be holding a big outdoor Easter Sunday Blowout.
Okay, I’ll admit when I read about this, I immediately put on my best monster truck announcer voice and said,
“Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, April 12th. The Really Big Outdoor Easter Blowout. Join fellow Christians as we defy sound medical advice. See Jesus Christ take on The Grim Reaper, discover the tomb of the undead savior. Easter egg hunt for kids of all ages. Free prig pie and Kool-aid, Prizes for the best Easter bunny costume.”
Reading further. Shuttlesworth says this event will be like Woodstock. I wonder how much he knows about Woodstock?
Tommy James and the Shondells were asked to perform at Woodstock but it was presented to Tommy as a pig farmer, Max Yazgur, in upstate Bethel, New York – who wanted the band to play in his field. Not surprisingly he said no.
Ian Anderson also turned down an invite for his band Jethro Tull to perform at Woodstock. Anderson had no doubt the event would be huge but he didn’t like hippies. He cited concerns about nudity, heavy drinking and drug use by participants.
Woodstock was billed as “Three Days of Peace and Music”, and it was that. An estimated four hundred -thousand people, many of them hippies, braved sporadic rain to experience rock bands playing in a farmer’s field. If stories from the concert are true, the sort of behavior that put Jethro Tull’s flutist off, was rampant.
Since 1969 there have been two additional concerts hailed as Woodstock and a planned fiftieth-anniversary concert set for August 2019 was canceled. Though Woodstock 2 in 1994 and Woodstock 3 in 1999 may have been commercially successful, attendees of all of them have said the later attempts did not have the magic, that they lacked a certain je ne sais quoi compared to the 1969 event.
It turns out that popular music and a farmer’s field don’t make Woodstock, with or without debauchery and dope. The original Woodstock stands alone as a beautiful and lasting symbol of the counter culture movement, and it always will.
If monied music moguls and concert promoters can’t reproduce Woodstock, what makes Shuttlesworth think he can? Then again he wasn’t so grandiose as to claim that his big resurrection day shindig was going to be Woodstock only that it was going to be like Woodstock. It’s hard to know what he meant by that.
I’m sure his big show would include music and it is to be held outdoors, but is that enough to make it like Woodstock? No, it can’t be anything like Woodstock unless there are lots and lots of people touching each other and sharing the same air. Shuttlesworth says the plan is to …
…bring people out to realize that God still has a remnant that will fight for freedom, fight for the Gospel.” – Jonathon Shuttlesworth
So he does want people there, but he did not indicate if participants will be asked to maintain proper social distance.
Probably doesn’t matter, no word of pastor Shuttlesworth’s Woodstockesque event appears on his Revival Ministry webpage. The Reverend Rodney’s church is not holding services either despite the vow he made after his arrest to keep his church open. Maybe they realized that even though exemptions can be carved into man’s law, the laws of nature do not yield.
That or they found out the machines don’t work.