religion, scams

Pastor Greg Locke demands his followers unmask, or he’ll throw them out of his church!

I highly recommend listening to this mood music… It sums things up nicely.

A couple of days ago, one of my Facebook friends shared with me a sad story about Pastor Greg Locke. The link she sent was from Newsweek, but I have a subscription to the Washington Post, and there’s an article about this incident in that publication. So I’m going to base today’s fresh content on that piece.

So who is Pastor Greg Locke?

As I discovered in my 2018 post on this guy— Greg Locke is a self-described pastor from Tennessee. He runs the Global Vision Bible Church (GVBC). Over the years, he’s said and done some controversial things that have put him in the news. When I wrote about him in 2018, he was in the news because he had referred to Stormy Daniels as a “hooker” as he praised the orange turd, Donald Trump, as the president. Locke had tweeted his disdain for Daniels and was soon thoroughly shaded and schooled by a Catholic priest.

After reading about that incident in 2018, I did more digging about Locke and read about his sad situation with his ex wife, Melissa, at whom he had cursed and fat shamed. Locke didn’t sound very “Christ-like” to me, and that was pretty much what I expressed in that old post. Then I promptly forgot about him and went on with my life.

Now, Locke is back on the radar, because he recently told his “flock” in his Nashville area church that if they “start showing up [with] all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask [them] to leave…” Locke, who is 45 years old, has repeatedly and falsely claimed that COVID-19 is a hoax. It seems that Locke’s followers are inclined to agree with him. His declaration on Sunday of his intent to ban mask wearers at his church was met with cheers and applause. Below is a video of the live streamed service that happened on July 25, 2021.

At 1 hour and 10 minutes, he launches into an anti-liberal rant. He sounds like a complete lunatic. At 1 hour and 13 minutes, he starts going off about COVID and talking about asking people to leave if they come masked.

Well… as I have written many times in this blog, I am a big believer in personal rights and liberties. And if Greg Locke thinks that COVID-19 is a hoax, nothing I can say or do will change his mind. But I do think he ought to take a good look at fellow pastor, Rick Wiles, who called COVID-19 a hoax. Wiles eventually caught the “hoax COVID-19 virus” and got very sick. He was ill enough to be hospitalized, and his followers were implored to “pray for him” as he got treatment for that “hoax COVID virus” that he refused to be vaccinated against, because vaccines are apparently a plot to kill people.

And he might want to read up on Stephen Harmon, a member of the Hillsong megachurch in California. Mr. Harmon was 34 years old and thought he knew better. In June, he tweeted to his 7000 Twitter followers “Got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one…” Next thing you know, Harmon was being treated for the virus in an L.A. area hospital. Sure enough, that “hoax virus” killed Mr. Harmon in what should have been the prime of his life. In his last days, Harmon was begging for prayers. Posting pictures from his hospital bed, Harmon pleaded “Please pray y’all, they really want to intubate me and put me on a ventilator.” His last tweet was posted last Wednesday, as he had decided to go on the ventilator. He wrote, “Don’t know when I’ll wake up, please pray.”

Even as he lay in his bed, gasping for breath, Harmon still said he wouldn’t be vaccinated. He said his religious faith would protect him. That turned out to be untrue.

In March 2020, Pastor Landon Spradlin went to New Orleans to preach during Mardi Gras. He said he wasn’t worried about the coronavirus. He said the concern about it was “hysteria”. Sadly, Spradlin was wrong about COVID-19, and he died a month after his Mardi Gras trip. Spradlin was described as a “great man” who was musically gifted. I can almost excuse him for his premature exit, as he got sick very early in the pandemic. But these other guys– well, they’ve had a year to see just how “fake” the COVID virus is. Where did those 650,000 dead Americans go? Roswell, New Mexico?

I really do think people should think and act for themselves. I am hesitant to agree with measures to force people to do the right thing, even though I realize some people won’t do what they should unless they are compelled. I do think it’s sad, though, that charismatic people– men– are spreading lies and conspiracy theories about this deadly virus. I hate masks. I really do. I don’t think masks are going to save people from COVID. BUT– I do think that vaccinations are essential. I base that belief on a basic knowledge of science and trust in people who have spent their whole lives studying medicine.

I don’t listen to loudmouthed idiots like “Pastor” Greg Locke, who allegedly hit, spit on, fat shamed, and drove into a women’s shelter his ex wife, Melissa, while he dated her former best friend. This is not a Christ-like or “godly” man. This is a man who is hooked on power and money. Recent history has shown me that I’m right to trust scientists and physicians over so-called “holy men” like Greg Locke, who screams like a banshee, paces back and forth, denies science, and praises people like Donald Trump. According to the Washington Post,

Locke’s evangelical church in Mount Juliet, Tenn., about 20 miles east of downtown Nashville, has grown during the pandemic, CNN reported. The pastor’s controversial commentary on covid and the 2020 presidential election has attracted far-right churchgoers.

During a sermon last month, Locke called President Biden a fraud and “a sex trafficking, demon-possessed mongrel,” a reference to QAnon, an extremist ideology based on false claims.

He has also falsely claimed the pandemic is “fake,” the death count is “manipulated,” and the vaccine is a “dangerous scam.”

And the pastor has preached misinformation about the vaccine, including falsely claiming it’s made of “aborted fetal tissue.”

I remember when Locke was in the news having just split from his ex wife, Melissa. He claimed that she was lying about what happened, and that he was the innocent party. I watched the tearful video he posted, which was later taken down, in which he cried about her so-called lies about his character. Maybe I would have given him the benefit of the doubt if I didn’t see so many instances that point to his lack of wisdom and poor character. I was raised to believe that Christianity is about love for other people and peace, not screeching about politics and denying science.

I think Greg Locke is a fool, and I feel sorry for his followers, some of whom will foolishly continue to follow his nonsense, get sick, and perhaps pay with their lives. I know some people have no pity for followers of bullshit, but I think people who purport to be leaders should be held responsible for leading people astray. And Greg Locke, is leading a flock, much to their detriment. Hopefully, a few of them will wise up and find another church.

COVID-19 is not a joke; it’s not a hoax; and unless you’re ready to meet your maker, you’d better have some common sense about this. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. If Locke doesn’t watch his step, he’s going to wind up in a hospital bed or a coffin. Or maybe it will just be his hapless and clueless followers who’ll suffer as Locke continues to peddle snake oil to the uneducated and ill informed. It reminds me of a scene from Little House on the Prairie.

These kinds of charlatans are still around…

Pastor Locke is worse than this so-called faith healer, isn’t he?

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humor, music

Catching the “musical flu” and spreading it around…

My friend Ken Turetzky, pumping his own gas…

I should preface this by saying that Ken and I are only the most casual of Facebook friends. I have never met him in person, although he did reach out to me about twelve years ago, when I wrote a review of musical comedian Red Peters’ album, Best of Red Peters Comedy Hour, Volume 1. Ken’s song, “Her Shit Don’t Stink” was featured on that compilation. It reminded me of Bill’s ex wife, who was at that time, pushing a false narrative that her shit didn’t stink. Anyone with their eyes open and nose unstuffed knew the truth, though, and those who weren’t aware would soon become aware as they came of age.

Years later, I care a lot less about Ex than I used to… Bill’s daughters are now grown women and we’re no longer subsidizing Ex’s household to the tune of $30,600 annually. However, we have become aware that for all of Ex’s gas pumping, she was mostly full of hot stinky air. Enough said about that, although there’s a lot I would really like to write. I won’t, though. Not in this post, anyway. Instead, I want to write about something totally unrelated– except I wish I could have helped spread the musical flu to Bill’s daughters.

Yesterday, my sister sent me a private message, asking if I subscribe to Apple Music. I wrote back that I don’t, mainly because I prefer to own my music rather than renting it. Also, I read some disturbing accounts of Apple Music overriding people’s private music collections. I have some rare stuff that I managed to get from Napster back in the day. Those were the days of dialup, so you know I spent a long time downloading those things. I don’t want to lose them by allowing Apple Music to invade my machine. I would imagine that Apple Music has fixed this issue, but I still prefer to buy rather than rent, particularly when it comes to music. I have so many tracks that it would probably take a year to listen to everything, anyway.

My sister, on the other hand, does use Apple Music. She wrote that she heard a song by the jazz player, Michael Franks. She hadn’t really liked him much, but got hooked on this song that came on Apple Music. I told her that I have a similar problem. I’m the kind of person who remembers really obscure songs from many years ago and tries to find out who did them. Sometimes, it takes years. I got tickled by my sister’s comments about Michael Franks, because it turns out that one of his songs was a track I obsessively “hunted down”.

I was first introduced to Michael Franks’ banal style back in the year 2003. Bill and I hadn’t been married a year. We lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in a cheap apartment, because that was what we could afford. We decided to go to the Army Birthday Ball. I needed a formal dress for it, so I drove to a mall in Northern Virginia to go shopping. It was probably Springfield Mall, which is where I used to go shopping when I was 6 or 7 years old.

Eureka!

I was in a department store trying on dresses, and this song by Michael Franks came on. I didn’t know who Michael Franks was, of course. I just remember the song and its monotonous, mind numbing chorus, “Don’t touch that phone.” repeated by female singers over and over again. I don’t even remember liking the song that much. I just remembered the chorus. It stuck in my head for years. I had no idea the name of the song or who sang it, but I relentlessly searched until, finally, I found it. And even though I didn’t love the song, I ended up downloading the album.

My sister and I kept chatting and it occurred to me that she has really had an enormous impact on my musical tastes. It’s almost like she was carrying a kind of “musical flu” bug. Although she is not the sister closest to me in age, I shared a room with her when I was a little kid. I was exposed to a lot of what she liked. My sister famously introduced me to the magic of Kate Bush. She also introduced me to James Taylor, The Police, and Dead Can Dance… as well as the hilarious stylings of Ami Arena, who can’t sing, but is funny as hell.

One of my favorite songs by Kate Bush. I was introduced to her when my sister bought Bush’s 1982 album, The Dreaming, when I was about ten years old. Years later, I bought the album myself, and have since bought it a couple more times.

Back in the early 90s, when I worked as a summer camp as the cook, I had a week off mid summer. My sister invited me to visit for a few days. While I was visiting her in Northern Virginia, she took me to Ellicott City, Maryland. We went shopping, and she introduced me to the band, Dead Can Dance. I remembered one song in particular and liked it, but it was about sixteen years later that I finally broke down and bought the album it came from. It’s still awesome music, even though the album is probably 30 years old by now.

This song stuck in my head for years until I finally bought the album. It’s still a great track… it doesn’t age.

During that same trip, I was exposed to Amy Arena and her sarcastic and very funny brand of music. Amy Arena can’t sing, but she’s witty and snarky and I enjoyed her very much. My sister played Amy’s album and we shared a laugh over the irreverent lyrics. Years later, I bought her CD, too…

She’s a certain king of gap toothed woman… I’m a gap toothed woman, too.

Then my sister told me that both Dead Can Dance and Amy Arena were introduced to her by a guy she used to date– a German dude by the name of Bernd, who played in a band that did live music at a restaurant where my sister used to wait tables. That restaurant, name of Whitey’s, is now long defunct. But for years, it was a great place in Arlington for live music, beer, and junk food. And the funniest part of all is that back in the 90s, when I had to get a food handler’s card to work in food service in Williamsburg, Virginia, I had to watch movies about food safety. One was made by the public health bureau in Virginia and they had actually filmed at Whitey’s. I immediately knew it was Whitey’s, because that place had a big sign that read “EAT”. It was unmistakable.

Both charming songs that you should learn…

When my sister told me about Bernd introducing her to that music, it occurred to me that Bernd had influenced me, too, even though I never met him. Although my sister hasn’t seen Bernd in years, he passed along the musical flu to her, which she then passed to me.

And I have influenced Bill, by sharing the music with him. I have also shared stuff with people on the Internet whom I don’t know. A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about Rush Limbaugh’s death. In that post, I shared a video by the awesome band, Folk Uke, fronted by Willie Nelson’s daughter, Amy, and Arlo Guthrie’s daughter, Cathy. The video was of Folk Uke singing “Shit Makes the Flowers Grow”. I discovered Folk Uke when I lived in Georgia and I had downloaded Willie Nelson’s “children’s” album (quoted, because Willie gave up on the children’s part of that album about halfway through). Amy was featured heavily on that album and I liked her, so I went searching on YouTube for more of her music… and I found Folk Uke. Now, I am a devoted fan…

I used Willie Nelson’s version of “Rainbow Connection” for MacGregor’s memorial video. This song was on Willie’s “children’s” album, which featured his daughter, Amy, half of Folk Uke! I don’t know why, but there’s something about Willie’s take on “Rainbow Connection” that touches me.

When I met Bill, he was pretty limited in his musical tastes. He liked industrial, progressive music, and shunned anything vaguely country. But I think he had the idea that country music was nothing but the pink sequined pop stuff his ex wife listens to… He had not been exposed to bluegrass or classic country music, or outlaw country. It wasn’t long before I had him turned on to people like the Infamous Stringdusters…

I actually discovered them while watching a morning show in Murfressboro, Tennessee. Ever heard a U2 song done quite like this?

And then, thanks to my constant ear to YouTube, I found the likes of Todd Snider and Paul Thorn, both awesome musicians who are entertaining, talented, and fun…

Story of my life… or at least it was when I was at Longwood.
Damn, I want to see him play. If you have a raunchy sense of humor, listen to this.

Last summer, I was on Facebook, and Keb’ Mo’ shared a track that he was listening to. He had played on guitarist’s Lee Ritenour’s compilation album, 6 String Theory. I looked at the album and quickly downloaded it. Then, noticing that there was a cover of Sting’s song, “Shape of My Heart”, I alerted my friend Andrew. I think he was skeptical at first, but then he decided to check it out. Sure enough, I had guessed right that Andrew would like the cover– he’s a big Sting fan, like I am. But this was a great cover done by other people.

Thanks to Keb’ Mo’, I found Lee Ritenour and a new take on Sting.

Speaking of Keb’ Mo’. I’ve been trying to see him play live for years. I have tickets that were supposed to be used on November 16th, 2020. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and the show has been rescheduled three times at this writing. I think it might go on in September, if enough people get COVID-19 vaccines. I was introduced by Keb’ Mo’ by Martha Stewart, of all people. I bought an album she made for new parents. It had really lovely pop music that would appeal to babies and grownups alike, and Keb’ Mo’s song, “Infinite Eyes”, was on it. I liked it fine, recalling that I had heard Keb’ Mo’ on a Lyle Lovett cover of “Til It Shines”, a Bob Seger cover, and liked him then, too. Then one day, when we still lived in Fairfax, Virginia, Bill and I were having lunch at Austin Grill. They were playing some really great music over their sound system, and I heard Keb’ Mo’s unmistakable voice. He was singing “Folsom Prison Blues”, a song originally by Johnny Cash. I loved it, so Bill and I went to a Border’s to see if I could find the album there– it was still the era of CDs, after all.

Well, I didn’t find Keb’ Mo’s cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” until many years later, but on that day, I came home with, like, three of his CDs. And I quickly became a big fan of his music. Now, one of my favorite songs by Keb’ Mo’ is this song…

I love this song… it’s like Bill and me. He gladly indulges my musical obsession. But it’s just one of my favorites by Keb’ Mo’.
This song is more like the reality of my life… 😉 Especially the line about the dog shitting on the floor.

I could do this all day. In fact, thanks to COVID-19, I’ve got little else to do… although I will admit that the above video makes me want to practice guitar. This post does have a point, though. I don’t know how it is for other people, but I tend to catch musical influences like the flu. I hear something, like it, buy it, and use it to find other stuff I love. And then I spread my musical flu to everybody else… even people I don’t know. Just like people I don’t know spread it to me.

I caught Robert Randolph & The Family Band from Eric Clapton. They opened for him at a concert Bill and I attended, and were a hell of a lot better than Clapton was.

And finally… as I sign off, here’s a plug for my alma mater. This morning, I donated $550 to the music department, not because I was a music major, but because the music department at Longwood University literally changed my life. And I really enjoyed this concert, featuring one of my former professors, Dr. Charles Kinzer. His wife is also a professor at Longwood. She used to be my accompanist, and now she teaches piano. This morning, as I watched the jazz concert, it occurred to me that these folks have also spread the “musical flu”, and still do– even 27 years after I graduated.

Anyway… I long for the days of live music again. I love to discover new stuff and spread it around. Bonus points if the music is also funny. And now, it’s time to play with my guitar. Maybe someday, I’ll play it for public consumption, and spread even more musical flu. At least it’s a kind of infection that doesn’t kill anyone.

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