By Frank Arduini
[RC: This is a first in a series of guest articles on Pastor Carl Gallups written by the nemesis of Birthers far and wide, Frank Arduini, aka “Historian Dude” on many blogs and “Epectitus” at The Fogbow. It is a review of his repeated announcements of announcements that are never actually announced.]
Near the tip of the Florida panhandle, perched on the banks of the aptly named Blackwater River, lays the small town of Milton. Originally named Scottsman’s Anchorage and still carrying the local nickname of “Scratch Ankle,” Milton’s primary claim to fame is that it was burned to the ground by Confederate forces retreating from the Union capture of Pensacola in May of 1862 after which most of its residents fled to Alabama. With a population of less than 10,000 today, its primary industries are warehousing prisoners at the State Correctional Facility, a 129 bed general hospital, and a railroad museum. It is your typical Deep South backwater, long past its prime. redolent with a pervasive sense of southern decay. It is, as the wag would say, a great place to be from.
Head a few miles to the southeast across the Blackwater and Interstate 10, and you will eventually find on the edge of a cemetery (and in the middle of almost nowhere else) a complex of five tin roofed buildings with dirt parking lots on one side and across the road. This is Hickory Hammock Baptist Church. Over the course of a quarter century, the senior pastor there, William Carl Gallups Jr., has built the congregation from about 100 people to more than a thousand; a decent sized church for the Southern Baptist Convention.
Gallups received the call to preach after a ten year career in law enforcement and Florida Department of Corrections, though the actual details are sketchy. He built his ministry in the time tested Baptist way, primarily around good old Christian apologetics; the combative defense of the faith in the face of encroaching secularism and unbelief. As part of his apologetic program, he holds a vigorous and often unintentionally humorous obsession with end-time eschatology, spending a vast amount of effort explaining with great confidence the often imaginary details of an event that even Jesus himself proved unable to predict accurately. The record of his ministry (at least as can be found online) is that of a joyless theological offensive against the evils of Darwinism, homosexuality, atheism, Islam and anything else he can spin as signs of the end of days.
At some point, certainly by late 2010, he had added President Obama to the mix and began to hint that he might actually be “The Antichrist.” At about the same time Gallups became an adherent of birthism. But it wasn’t until later that next year when he hitched his wagon to the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse’s ostensible investigation of the President’s birth certificate that other birthers began to pay attention to him. By striking up a personal relationship with the equally oleaginous lead investigator of that Posse, Mike Zullo, Gallups managed to usurp the position of a previous MCCCP mouthpiece and take over as the media face of the Posse, even though he was not an actual member.
It is worth reflecting on the similarity between both of Gallups’ most prominent obsessions. The first is the imminent return of Jesus Christ. The second is the imminent exposure of Barack Obama. The former remains an unsatisfied expectation after more than two thousand years. The latter remains an unsatisfied expectation after a half decade. This sort of identical outcome at two such widely different scales of resolution is what mathematicians call “fractal.” It does not matter how close you look, or how far you step back. It looks exactly the same.
And certainly, Gallups has proved to” fail fractally” with almost his every assertion, conclusion, prediction and expectation regarding the birther issue. At almost every level of resolution, what he says he believes on the issue turns out to be wrong. Even his most casual anecdote regarding the issue often proves unable to survive the slightest critical scrutiny. His pronouncements on the issue have progressively escalated in urgency and absurdity over the months and years, and yet the outcomes have never once changed. Every deadline he sets is missed. Every prediction he ventures ends up being wrong. Every accusation he makes proves false. Every promise he makes crumbles to ash in the mouths of his rapt birther flock.
But only long enough for him to rinse and repeat.
To be continued ….