Whenever I mention politics in one of my blog posts, I receive angry messages from people complaining that it is inappropriate to do so. However, it has been clear for, frankly, centuries that fringe history and conspiracy theories have a political dimension. Over the last few days it’s become obvious that this year is no different, and in many ways more extreme than we have seen in decades, and not just because the former Curse of Oak Island guest who current runs Xplrr Media spent most of the past weekend trying to goad Republican politicians into retweeting a badly designed anti-Hillary Clinton meme.
This week The Hill reported that Donald Trump’s campaign CEO, Steven Bannon, the head of the rightwing Breitbart News, is a conspiracy theorist who believes that American elites, in both the Democratic and Republican parties, are conspiring to bring about a single world government—the same claim that ancient astronaut theorists, UFO conspiracy theorists, and anti-Masonic activists have long made. An unnamed source told The Hill that “He thinks Paul Ryan is part of a conspiracy with George Soros and Paul Singer, in which elitists want to bring one world government.”
The source likened Bannon’s claims to those of Alex Jones, the Info Wars conspiracy theorist who is an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump. Trump appeared on Jones’s show earlier this year and praised the conspiracy theorist, who routinely advocates claims involving demons, space aliens, and giants. This week Jones build upon Donald Trump’s reference to Hillary Clinton as “the devil” in the second debate to reinforce a meme that has been circulating in rightwing extremist circles for several months accusing both Pres. Obama and Clinton of being literal demons from hell. Citing the fact that a fly landed on Clinton’s face during the debate, Jones likened this to Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies:
I’m never a lesser of two evils person, but with Hillary, there’s not even the same universe. She is an abject, psychopathic, demon from Hell that as soon as she gets into power is going to try to destroy the planet. I’m sure of that, and people around her say she’s so dark now, and so evil, and so possessed that they are having nightmares, they’re freaking out. […] Imagine how bad she smells, man? I’m told her and Obama, just stink, stink, stink, stink. You can’t wash that evil off, man. Told there’s a rotten smell around Hillary. I’m not kidding, people say, they say -- folks, I’ve been told this by high up folks. They say listen, Obama and Hillary both smell like sulfur. I never said this because the media will go crazy with it, but I’ve talked to people that are in protective details, they’re scared of her. And they say listen, she’s a frickin’ demon and she stinks and so does Obama. I go, like what? Sulfur. They smell like Hell.
Regular readers will recall that Jones frequently hosts such fringe history stalwarts as Steve Quayle, the evangelical extremist who believes that the Nephilim are on the rampage and, by implication, that gay people should be exterminated in a divinely sanctioned genocide.
Notice that Jones was not speaking metaphorically. And who else supports this claim? That’s right: Gigantologist Steve Quayle, who brought up the idea that flies signify Democrats’ demonic affiliation on Alex Jones’s show back in August. Quayle explicitly tied this to the Nephilim and their plans to destroy the world. Quayle did not create this claim, which originated on rightwing evangelical message boards several years go. However, given the recent reporting that the Trump campaign has unusually close ties to Alex Jones—Trump advisor Roger Stone is a close Jones friend and a frequent Jones guest—and that Trump repeats conspiracy theories that appear on Jones’s broadcast, it raises the question of whether Trump’s allegation that Clinton is the “devil” was inspired by Jones and Quayle.
This is not just an idle question. Nephilim theorist L. A. Marzulli endorsed Donald Trump for president a few weeks ago specifically because he reflected Marzulli’s opposition to Muslims and gays. There is a close and disturbing connection between rightwing politics and Nephilim theories. This connection was on full display this week when an actual U.S. congressman embraced the Nephilim theory of history in order to justify anti-gay policies.
Now, granted, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) is well-known as a lunatic who says ridiculous things, usually about gay people. But Gohmert’s latest pronouncement revealed a deeper level of disgusting ideology that originates in the Nephilim worldview. On Monday Gohmert served as host of the Point of View radio show in which he interviewed an anti-gay activist about a new anti-gay film called Light Wins in which Gohmert appears with other Republicans like Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul. The filmmaker, Janet Porter, asserts in the film that gay marriage was legal in the “Days of Noah”—a reference to the Nephilim theology that alleges that pre-Flood conditions of Nephilim-homosexual dominance will recur prior to the Second Coming.
I have previously explained the illogical scriptural inferences that undergird this theory. Basically, it derives from an old but often discredited interpretation of the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:37 (= Luke 17:26), “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Taken out of context, evangelical Nephilim theorists argue that this means that the Nephilim will run rampant as they did in Genesis 6:4. On the authority of Jude 6-7, which equates the Fallen Angels with the fornicators of Sodom, these theorists argue that the Nephilim must have been sodomites, so therefore homosexuality heralds the Apocalypse. By standard interpretation, Jesus is instead saying, as he does in the very next verses, in Matthew 24:38-39, that humanity will be oblivious to the coming of the Son of Man, as they were oblivious to the coming of the Flood. This is reinforced by the parallel passage at Luke 17:28-29, where the oblivious of the people of Sodom to the judgment against them is added. A plain reading does not imply that the Nephilim will return, but Nephilim theorists take Luke to parallel with Jude and therefore confirm that gayness is the source of God’s wrath.
Gohmert told Porter that he endorses this view. “We know homosexuality was widespread in Greece and Rome and Babylon and especially in Sodom and Gomorrah but that’s a little scary that it wasn’t legal except before the flood,” Gohmert said.
It goes without saying that (a) the Flood didn’t happen, (b) no law codes from before the imaginary Flood exist, and (c) gay marriage has been legal in other times and places in historical times.
The argument that gays are bringing about the “Days of Noah” has a famous and relatively mainstream advocate, James Dobson, the evangelical leader who also is one of the leading apologists for none other than Donald Trump among evangelicals.
Now, before I conclude, I want to stop here to mention that none of these men is smart enough or aware enough to know why they believe what they do. The innovation making homosexuality the crime of the Nephilim and the source of all iniquity is actually quite ancient. Christians took a hard line against gays in order to show their opposition to the Greco-Roman culture they viewed as too tolerant of sin, and we find that Christian leaders were quick to outlaw it. For example, Charlemagne’s Capitularies and Justinian’s Code outlawed homosexuality. But the Church did far more. In 829 the Council of Paris officially endorsed the claim that the Nephilim (in their Western guise, as the union of the sons of Seth and daughters of Cain) were gay. They did so in Canon 34:
Among all the other sins which the human race fatally committed at the beginning of creation, it is believed that, provoked to wrath especially by this sin (as certain teachers have maintained), [God] said: “I repent making man on the earth” [Gen. 6:6]. Therefore on this account, he utterly destroyed by a cataclysm [the Flood] the whole human race except for eight souls. Furthermore, because of this crime ﬁve cities were swallowed up by raging ﬁre from heaven and by the gaping mouth of hell, and forty or more thousand of the race of Benjamin were struck down by the sword’s edge in fraternal war [Judges 20]. Thus these manifest proofs show beyond a doubt how detestable and execrable this vice is to divine majesty. (trans. Louis Compton)
This was an innovation beyond even Justinian’s Code, which had merely assigned gays the role of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah with their lust. According to Louis Compton, the “teachers” listed in the Canon were in actuality Pseudo-Methodius, or more accurately, his Latin translator in (I believe) the third (?) Latin recension, who introduced the idea into the translated Syriac text around 700 CE. In that text, the translator apparently causes Pseudo-Methodius to assign God’s wrath to the “unmentionable types of fornication” by introducing gay sex amongst Methodius’ catalog of sexual sins, which were in the original merely “male on female, and female on male”:
In the one thousand five hundredth year of the second millennium, all of the people in the camp of Cain were inflamed with a desire for unspeakable fornications, much more so than the preceding generation, mounting one another like animals, men on the male sex and women on the female, perverting nature and likewise engaging in shameful acts and incest, and they so used all those who were from the tribe of Cain. (my trans.)
Methodius goes on to explain that the Devil made Seth’s descendants (the Sons of God) participate in the horrific sins, begetting the giants because they lusted after the daughters of Cain.
This passage influenced Peter Comestor, who refers to men catching fire before the Flood if they had had sex with one another, and later medieval poetry and histories, where homosexuality is increasingly identified as the cause of the Flood, not just the sin of Cain’s corrupt brood.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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