Yes, blind faith: as in willing to believe anything, as in naive, as in ignorant of the facts. I've long said that there are people who are willing to believe anyone who says the magic words: "God" "Bible" "Man of God" "Savior" "Holy" "Sacred." And if someone says those words to them loud enough, with enough emotion, long enough and clutching "Scripture" he or she can also add "send money" and then ...OMG! It's a miracle! People will actually send money!
James David Manning has been operating and bloviating about his ATLAH Worldwide "ministries" for over 25 years in Harlem (which he calls ATLAH - All The Land Anointed Holy).
Manning is fiercely opposed to the gentrification of Harlemand calls for its residents to boycott its shops, restaurants, doctors, banks and churches. That action, combined with a general rent strike, would force all property owners out of Harlem, he said, leaving the neighborhood to its rightful inheritors: black people. Manning calls his plan "No Dew, Nor Rain," after Elijah's warning to Ahab, king of Israel, of a coming drought. "When there's no dew, no rain, there's a drought - there's all kinds of suffering," said Manning. The whole of Harlem, he said, is to be a "drought zone."
Manning, on his radio show, The Manning Report, has been Obama's most virulent critic, even before the Presidential campaign, calling him a pimp ("Mac Daddy") and has called not only for his removal from office, but his death.
Viewing his "Reports" is like watching a passionate eighth grader read his notes about his love of all the Star Wars episodes (yes, even Jar Jar Binks!). He contradicts himself in statement after statement and doesn't seem to know he's doing it. His reasoning is so faulty that you wonder how he ever made it through high school, much less Union Theological Seminary. His assault never seems to come up for air, droning on and on about how EVERYONE in politics, Republicans, Democrats, Independents have tried to lead America down into the lowest caverns of hell.
And he does more than imply that people will have to perform acts of violence and give of themselves to the point of becoming martyrs. If a suicide bomber were to have pastor Manning's words on his lips before the explosion, Manning would simply say that there are casualties in every war. His war, however, seems to be with reason itself, but to call him insane would be useless: he and his small congregation (400?) have heard all the arguments against his sanity and they expect them. Calling him for what he is, however - a puffed up, fraudulent idiot - would make them stone you. To his congregation, Manning is a "man of God" who offers stern, spiritual guidance, even as he leads them into a separatist, illusary world where they are the only ones battling the forces of darkness.
There are different reasons why people come under the spell of such a "Man of God": some are terrified of spirituality, some are woefully ignorant, some are spiritually "lazy," wanting an authority figure to think things out for them, and then some are simply - stupid. His thoughtless polemics are treated as manna from heaven by his people. They don't know him as a man who's spun a cacoon of fraudulent claims and fraudulent hope. We should feel sorry for them.
But not for him.
With as much theatricality as he could muster, his latest video depicts him as a martyr for the cause of freedom, martyred by Obama and his corrupt administration.
It's horrific in its stupidity.