The formula for fame & fortune: Hate + Christianity

Say you’re a poorly educated little man with no redeeming qualities, but you want to be rich and famous. You aren’t very talented or skilled, but you are able to talk fast and with confidence about very little at all. So you open a church. That’s the limit of your abilities.

But most churches are local two-bit affairs, and church pastors who are nice and try to help their communities are going to go nowhere. Yeah, you might have the respect of your neighbors, and you might be able to have some self-respect, but kindness never pays, and if you want to skyrocket to national attention and get donations from really rich people (you know, the people who matter), you’ve got to have some pizzazz. So you add this to your statement of faith.

We believe that the human race was created as genetic male (man) and genetic female (woman) by a direct act of God; that marriage has been established by God; therefore, marriage is a sacred covenantal union between one man and one woman, for life. We also believe that legitimate Biblical sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage. Hence, sexual activities such as, but not limited to, adultery, fornication, incest, polygamy, homosexuality, transgender, bisexuality, cross-dressing, pedophilia and bestiality are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the Church. Further, lascivious behavior, the creation, viewing and/or distribution of pornography and efforts to alter ones gender are incompatible with a true Biblical witness.

Now you’re talking. Now you’ve got a juicy topic for many sermons, and you’ve succeeded in drawing the most venomous, petty people to attend, and they’ll take action against all the people outside your church, getting you more and more attention. It’s such a simple formula, and it works. So many big-time preachers have launched careers that buy them private jets and mansions and yachts off this basic approach! You’d think people would catch on, but no, there are always more little angry people who want to get a trivial sense of power by tormenting The Other.

The latest parasite to leap unto this bandwagon is Pastor Tim Thompson. He’s going to go far, because he has hitched his star to the MAGA message, which is going to draw in the dumbest and most gullible people in America.

Earlier this year, a Southern California pastor named Tim Thompson welcomed former President Donald Trump’s attorney Alina Habba to a stage. “I gotta say this is really refreshing from New York City,” Habba chirped at the fancy wedding venue and equestrian center in Temecula. “I’m in God’s country now.”

“Knowing the president the way you do,” asked Thompson, who runs the nonprofit ministry Our Watch, “can you give us three things tonight that we as a group can be praying for him?”

Habba told Thompson’s flock they should pray for America, non-believers, and Trump’s family, adding that, “He’s gonna go down as the best president this country has ever had.”

I’ll save them some trouble and tell them they don’t need to pray for us non-believers.

His first target has been school boards, of course. Every promoter of a crank ideology knows that local school board elections are cheap, low-profile springboards to get influence and promote stupid beliefs — people just don’t pay much attention to them, but they do have an over-sized effect on the community. Thompson has already packed the local school board with right-wingers, and a common feature of his sermons and Twitter ranting is to name queer teachers and mobilize protests against their existence.

Indeed, Thompson speaks frequently about battling “evil” on Our Watch—usually in public schools, but he’s also sounded off about tarot cards at Coachella and videos of people “sticking laser beams into their anus.”

In late March, he created a video urging California viewers to run for their local school boards. “We’ve seen Satan creep in, strip away the rights of parents and try to indoctrinate children into filth,” he warned.

Thompson already tipped the scales of the Temecula Valley Unified School District in 2022, helping to give three new right-leaning board members a majority. That year, IE Family PAC raised more than $206,000, filings show. His candidates included Dr. Joseph Komrosky, who is facing a special recall election on June 4.

After the trio assumed office, they immediately banned critical race theory (CRT) and shelled out at least $15,000 in district funds for a consultant to teach staff why CRT is harmful. The panel also passed a policy that forces teachers to “out” transgender kids to their parents and rejected a social studies book because its accompanying teacher materials included gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

We don’t know much about Thompson’s background. There isn’t much information on his education (which makes sense — he hates education) or history, and he seems to have simply grown up in Temecula and never gone anywhere else. Temecula has a bit of a reputation.

The Temecula Valley of Thompson’s youth was awash with racism and neo-Nazi activity. In the 1980s, Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger founded a white supremacist group in nearby Fallbrook. In the ’90s, a pair of 14-year-olds tied to local white supremacists were charged in two drive-by shootings targeting Latinos, while members of Hammerskin Nation, identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a neo-Nazi skinhead organization, were convicted of assault in the gang beating of a 21-year-old Black man as dozens of others watched. The district attorney called it “one of the most egregious incidents of racial violence that has occurred in Riverside County.”

There’s little public record of Thompson’s early years, other than he attended Temecula Valley High School at least in his freshman year and worked as a chaplain for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, a relationship that served him well. A campaign committee for Sheriff Chad Bianco later gave $5,000 to the pastor’s political action committee. Bianco was a member of the Oath Keepers during the time Thompson was a chaplain but said he left the extremist group because “it did not offer me anything.” Thompson, as well as his adult son, Timothy Jacob, have been photographed or filmed sporting patches affiliated with the Three Percenters, a far-right anti-government militia.

In 2012, Thompson began cultivating his church. At that time it was called Venia, and met in rented spaces across the Temecula Valley, for a while in a bar. The congregation eventually found a building in 2016, and changed its name to 412 Murrieta and later to 412 Temecula Valley.

Before long, Thompson became a fixture at far-right rallies across the state. He spoke at the state Capitol in 2019 to a group opposed to sex education in public schools and returned a few weeks later to speak at another protest over California’s Health Education Framework. Days later he attended another rally on the matter outside of the Riverside County office of the California Department of Education.

So he probably attended at least a year of high school, attached himself as a chaplain (do you need no qualifications whatsoever to be a police chaplain? I guess not) to the conservative sheriff’s department, and mastered everything he needed to know to found a church, make life hell for gay people, and steadily move into the orbit of the Trump crime family.

I told you it’s an easy formula that works.

If you want to find the most horrible, awful, evil people in your community, all you need to do is pop into the fundamentalist church in your town on a Sunday morning, and there they all are, growing fat as ticks on the blood of your fellow citizens.

It’s too bad we don’t have any laws prohibiting non-profit, tax-exempt entities from lobbying for political causes.


  1. stuffin says

    I had trouble at his first line, “We believe that the human race was created as genetic male (man) and genetic female (woman) by a direct act of God;” Seems to me the word genetic is a scientific term that does not belong in a religious rant. Unless the preacher is intentionally trying to blend a little science into religion. Mixing science into religion, without having any facts, is just a form of cultural appropriation. Very similar to claiming The Constitution and the bible are intertwined.

  2. raven says

    …by a direct act of God; that marriage has been established by God; therefore, marriage is a sacred covenantal union between one man and one woman, for life.

    Actually he is both wrong and lying here.

    Biblical marriage is between one man and as many women as he can round up and as many sex slaves as he can afford.
    The bible has no problem with polygamy and sex slaves and most of the heroes of the bible had more than one wife. In fact, if your brother died, you were expected to marry his widow if she had no son, even if you were already married.
    Polygmay is not just permitted, in some cases it is mandated.

    Solomon who build the First Temple had 700 wives and 300 sex slaves.

    Thompson knows this, he just doesn’t care enough to not lie.

  3. raven says

    The Temecula Valley school board was sued. They lost in court just recently.
    The fascist school board threw out some people who objected to their fascist policies. This is illegal in a public meeting financed by the taxpayers.

    APRIL 16, 2024
    People may not be removed from school board meetings without proper cause or warning

    TEMECULA VALLEY — Today, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the First Amendment Coalition reached a settlement with the Temecula Valley Unified School District on behalf of two plaintiffs, following the unconstitutional removal of school board meeting attendees.

    Residents Upneet Dhaliwal and Julie Geary sued the Temecula Valley Unified School District, its Board of Trustees, and its president, Joseph Komrosky, in December 2023 for violating their rights under the First Amendment and California law by ejecting them from school board meetings without cause.

    The settlement stipulates that the school board president Joseph Komrosky may only remove members of the public for conduct that actually disrupts a meeting and not conduct that he decides is merely “likely to disrupt” the meeting.

    “The ability to question elected officials is crucial for democracy,” said Jonathan Markovitz, staff attorney at the ACLU SoCal. “Today’s settlement ensures members of the public that no one can violate their right to participate in school board matters that are crucial to their children and families.”

    According to the settlement, the board president may not determine that members of the public are being disruptive and order them removed merely because he disagrees with the viewpoint of their speech. Opposing opinions or stances on topics are not inherently disruptive.

    “It is important that our rights to petition the government and air grievances shall not be infringed by a school board president on a power trip,” said plaintiff Julie Geary. “My hope is that the Temecula school board goes back to supporting students’ academic excellence and stops trampling on our constitutional rights.”

    In the case of an actual disruption, the board president or their designee must provide a verbal warning and an opportunity to cease the disruptive conduct before removing a member of the public. The settlement makes clear that Komrosky’s unorthodox use of waving penalty cards during board meetings cannot substitute for the verbal warning that is required by California law.

    “Debate is democracy, not disruption,” said David Loy, legal director of the First Amendment Coalition. “The settlement protects the people’s right to engage with their elected officials free from unlawful censorship.”

    The settlement ensures a three-year enforcement period by the U.S. District Court.

    “I hope this settlement will ensure that our elected representatives, including Joseph Komrosky, respect the law and refrain from silencing differing or critical opinions,” said plaintiff Upneet Dhaliwal.

  4. StevoR says

    Tragically and horribly also the formula for power and winning elections as Trump kinda demonstrates despite him actually losing both times – counting actual NOT EC votes.

  5. raven says

    The panel also passed a policy that forces teachers to “out” transgender kids to their parents …

    This is illegal under California law.

    Southern California School District Changes Gender-Identity Policy After Being Sued by State
    Sophie Austin
    The Associated Press
    Mar 8 2024

    A Southern California school district sued by the state has updated its policy requiring staff to notify parents that a student is using a different pronoun or bathroom designated for another gender and now will only mention that a child has requested a change to their student records.

    The Chino Valley Unified School District board approved the updated policy on Thursday as the district fights a lawsuit filed by Democratic state Attorney General Rob Bonta, who called the original policy discriminatory. Bonta on Friday did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the board’s decision.

    ‘They’re just broadening the scope so that they don’t obviously single that population out. But the intent behind it, in my opinion, is no different.’
    Kristi Hirst, co-founder, Our Schools USA

    The policy maintains part of the original rule requiring staff to notify parents within three days of their child requesting any changes to their “official or unofficial records,” although it does not specify what that would include. All references to gender identification changes have been removed from the policy.

    LGBTQ+ advocates said the new mandate is simply a legal loophole to repackage the same policy that continues to violate the rights of students.

  6. says

    Deuteronomy 22:28-29: If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her; he may not put her away all his days.

    Biblical marriage: a sacred covenantal union between a man and his rape victim.

  7. raven says

    A recall election against Joseph Komrosky, the Trustee Area 4 representative on the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education in California, is being held on June 4, 2024. The ballot will ask voters if they are in favor of recalling Komrosky, and they will able to vote yes or no.

    Temecula Valley Unified School District recall, California …

    At least some citizens of Temecula Valley school district are fed up with the fascists.

    There is a recall election on the ballot in June to recall Joseph Komrosky, an ugly generic right wingnut hater.

    Usually these haters end up being voted out.
    Most parents don’t want a right wingnut drama where the Fascists try to destroy the schools. They just want a school district that works.

    That being said, sometimes the surrounding area is Red enough that they survive.
    I don’t know much about Temecula except that it is in a bad neighborhood, i.e. Riverside county right next to Orange county in southern California.

    I just looked it up.
    The US House representative for Temcula is Darrell Issa, a truly ugly GOP fascist.
    That explains a lot, unfortunately.

  8. microraptor says

    You know, reading that line about “genetic man and genetic woman” reminds me that it used to be a Very Big Thing in fundamentalist circles to insist that Jesus’s body had been found* and there wasn’t a y chromosome.

    *Despite this contradicting the whole belief that he’d physically ascended to Heaven.

  9. Matt G says

    Religion – thousands of years of helping bad people feel good about themselves.

  10. dstatton says

    Back in the early 1950s, a group of SciFi writers were meeting in New York, most of whom were struggling. One of the more successful ones, L. Ron Hubbard, complained anyway. One of them said that to get really rich, start a religion.

  11. says

    While I don’t have statistical evidence, I observe what seems to be a trend for religious zealots to found religions and the natural progression of them seems result in cults. This also seems to be true of other megalomaniacs in politics and the corporate world.

  12. seachange says

    I presume the last line is sarcastic? It is (kinda) illegal here, but the IRS rarely if ever enforces it. That is to say there are two kinds of NGO and one of them is allowed to say political stuff, but it can’t be a religious one in order to to do this.

  13. says

    @7 Raven wrote: I don’t know much about Temecula except that it is in a bad neighborhood, i.e. Riverside county right next to Orange county in southern California.
    I reply: Temecula used to be the ‘grapefruit capital’. But, Riverside county in general has been a massive oilfield area for a long time. And, sadly, the rtwingnut and/or xtian terrorist contagion is spreading. It may be spotty in some areas, but they make up for that by being the loudest, most thug-like, hateful and destructive group in society. Scarizona reflects that, too.

  14. magistramarla says

    I live on the Central Coast of CA, and I’m seeing a couple of examples of this nearby.
    In the little town next to ours, there is a “pastor” of a fundamentalist church who is always posting his opinions about the town council and the local school board on our usually pleasant little Next Door forum. It seems that he ran for positions on both organizations, but was not elected, so he attends all of the meetings to be an aggravation.
    I read his threads for the amusement value.
    There is a group of well-informed folks who live in that town who engage with him and expose his lies as right-wing propaganda. It’s a sight to behold. I think that he’s trying to model himself and his church after the a**hole in Temecula. I’m glad to see people who are outing his lies.
    I think that it’s really eating him that the town in which I live elected a very well-educated black, gay man as mayor and he is successfully doing some good for the town.
    Over in the small city just a few miles inland, there is a mega-church with a young pastor who advertises on local TV stations. That city is populated by many farm workers, and every time I see one of those commercials, I’m saddened that he is growing rich taking the very hard-earned money of many of those workers.
    I’ve seen news articles about the school board there becoming very conservative and beginning to ban books at the request of parents. There were two teachers in that district who were fired for mentoring a Gay Straight Alliance group at a high school.
    I didn’t expect to see the right-wingers succeeding like this in Northern California!
    We’re really going to need to be diligent about voting against them.

  15. microraptor says

    Tabby Lavalamp @14: A lot of conservatives conflate being transgender with homosexuality.

  16. says

    Here in Colorado, the Republican party is encouraging parents to take their kids out of public schools. They claim schools turn kids into transvestites, of course. The party recently installed someone from Moms for Liberty into some position of power and the official party apparatus has moved farther to the right.

  17. raven says

    Here in Colorado, the Republican party is encouraging parents to take their kids out of public schools. They claim schools turn kids into transvestites, of course.

    I’m guessing here, but I doubt if very many GOPer parents will actually do that.

    .1. Private religious or nonreligious schools are expensive.
    Here on the coast they run $8,000 to $12,000 a year per kid.

    Public schools are free, at least for the parents in the district.

    .2. Homeschooling takes a lot of time and effort on the part of the parents. If they want to do it right.
    It is a reliable way to make sure your kids don’t know any more than you do.

    .3. A lot of the time, homeschooling ends up being…no-schooling.
    A friend is seeing this right now with her grandchildren.
    Her daughter married a control freak loon and they are homeschooling their 4 kids.
    None of the kids can really read or write. Supposedly.
    The oldest one is almost 20 and can barely write his name and is unclear on the difference between capital and small case letters.

    The ones that do take their kids out of public school are usually doing what we always called,
    setting their kids up for failure.

  18. StevoR says

    @ ^ nomdeplume : so the need for abortion rights has never been stronger? ;-)

    Or, more seriously, more improved accurate education and less religious brain-washing in American society maybe? Indeed both.

  19. lanir says

    We also believe that legitimate Biblical sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage.

    Tell me you’ve never read the bible without telling me you’ve never read the bible.

    He spoke at the state Capitol in 2019 to a group opposed to sex education in public schools…

    The same kind of pervert who wants no sex ed in schools also wants to doom 10 year old rape victims to a struggle to bear their rapists children regardless of the permanent damage that’s likely to occur along the way. It’s almost like they have no idea what they’re talking about on this topic and should not be taken seriously.

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