Stephen Baldwin: "I am going to break your face."
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 03:51:25 PM EST
It seemed like it was only a matter of time before actor Stephen Baldwin emerged as as a person of interest on the religious right. That's why when I read a very strange profile of him last year, I made note of it in a short diary last year.  In light of Max Blumenthal's report for The Nation about Baldwin's role in Operation Strait Up, which seems destined to be much discussed around here, I thought I would reprise that diary on the flip.  First a word from Max:

Baldwin became a right-wing, born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks, and now is the star of Operation Straight Up (OSU), an evangelical entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the US military. As an official arm  of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. OSU is also scheduled to embark on a "Military Crusade in Iraq"  in the near future.
Here is what I wrote last year:

Stephen Baldwin, of the Baldwin acting clan and a protege of mega evangelist Luis Palau, is a rising star.  Baldwin is doing outreach to young people, and unfortunately, like many before him, his version of Christianity is laced with a pugnacious variety of rightist politics.

He is also a cultural advisor to president Bush and his book is reportedly doing very well. In it, he writes:

"God has called me to go and make disciples of the youth of America. That is what I am going to try to do, and if you try to stop me I am going to break your face."

Even as the likes of Rick Warren are putting a mellower face on conservative evangelicalism, showing concern for victims of AIDS and concerning himself with such matters as poverty and global warming, Baldwin is clearly headed in another direction altogether.

Lauren Sandler reports in Salon.com:

These days, Baldwin not only has the ear of young boys who cleave to his fundamentalist reading of the Bible, and whatever skein of celebrity still clings to his Jesus T-shirts. He has been named a cultural advisor to President Bush, a formidable follow-up to his invitation to speak at the Republican National Convention, where he announced proudly from the podium, "I'm here because of my faith."

Now Baldwin has released a memoir, "The Unusual Suspect," a reference to the one critically acclaimed film for which he's known. The book, the "Gospel according to Stevie B.," is part testimonial and part evangelical manifesto, a cocktail of anti-intellectualism and a biblical interpretation that would have Jesus spinning in his grave, had he stayed there. Baldwin preaches that free will is a lie of Satan -- we must shut off our brains, he says, and be led by what God tells our hearts. Furthermore, he writes, efforts to end global poverty and violence are just the sort of "stupid arrogance" that incur God's wrath, which we'll be feeling any day now in the coming apocalypse.




Display:
Obviously.

But he is being trotted out as the posterboy for a certain strain of apocalyptic milennialism that is apparently being pushed on some of our soldiers in Iraq by our some of our military commanders.

That this is happening in the context of dissemination of Left Behind: Eternal Forces (the video game based on Tim LaHaye's series of novels) to those same soldiers should be disturbing to all Americans.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 04:40:22 PM EST


OSU might as well name their venture:

Operation Nine Inches

by NancyP on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 08:15:09 PM EST



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