I just saw this seven-year-old video clip (below) for the first time a couple of days ago, and, as a religious nonbeliever and citizen of the real world, I truly found it to be one of the most terrifying and disturbing things I’ve ever watched.
I caught parts of it in an old NBC Today show report posted on The Caring Atheist Twitter site about a supposedly “born again” Mississippi toddler preacher named Kanon Tipton, who is shown in a video whipping a Pentacostalist congregation into a “Holy Spirit” frenzy. The NBC piece used footage from a National Geographic film on Tipton (above).
The Huffington Post in 2011 published a story about the young phenom, reporting:
“His emotional delivery, dramatic cadence and back-and-forth pacing behind the pulpit are faithful replications of the mannerisms he’s seen demonstrated by other preachers.”
Obviously, little Kanon is no more an authentic “born again” Christian than a box of Cocoa Puffs. He’s been encouraged and trained by adults to act a part, like a grinder monkey, to manipulate believers’ emotions and raise money for his church (or his parents, or both). This child abuse is bad enough, but the really disturbing thing is that the congregants seem to buy it as a real holy gift, as though he was like a reincarnated Jesus.
These are the kind of people who end up allowing themselves and their children to die by believing the unfathomable nonsense of flim-flam “men of God” like Jim Jones of People’s Temple in Guayana (nearly 1,000 adults and children dead), or David Koresh of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas (76 adults and children dead). The sad list is as long as your arm. I posted a relevant story last year on how religion is dangerously used to seduce people, here.
This kind of indoctrination of innocent, vulnerable children in supernatural fantasy, and using them to spread such bogus ideas is unconscionable and should be illegal (it is illegal in some advanced nations in the Western hemisphere). If adults want to believe nonsense, that’s they’re right in a country with free speech enshrined in its Constitution. But they shouldn’t have the right to perpetuate these sometimes lethal fantasies by embedding them in children, and by taking coercive advantage of their vulnerability, lack of knowledge and inexperience.
How can such cynical, risky manipulation of kids be beneficial to anyone except those seeking to profit from it, including NBC and National Geographic?
The question is only rhetorical.
I am probably complicit myself to some degree just by presenting the video in this post, but I don’t know how else to remind people of the extreme danger the perpetuation of such invented ideas pose to children and, in turn, everyone else.
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