Don’t give Matt Powell any sympathy

Schisms are so confusing. There is this thing called the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, which I always thought was on the dangerously loony side of Christianity, but it turns out it wasn’t mad enough for some people, so they founded something called the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, which is even worse. It’s led by Steven Anderson, known hate-monger, and is characterized by extreme anti-LGBT sentiment and anti-Semitism. These are the worst of the worst, the rotting dregs of Christianity. Greg Locke, who recently made news with his announcements about witches in his congregation, doesn’t seem to be NIFB, but he did break away from the Southern Baptist Convention to form his own schismatic group, and I don’t see much difference between Anderson and Locke.

But you know who is NIFB? Matt Powell.

He seems such a nice, baby-faced boy, you say. He’s definitely not very bright, but he couldn’t possible be one of them. Yeah, he is. It’s easy to forget that he has been calling for the execution of LGBT people. I just stumbled across this video of Powell haranguing a member of his congregation a few years ago, shouting, screaming, saying he is “acting like a woman”, gaslighting him, accusing him of betrayal, telling him he’s going to Hell. It’s extremely unpleasant, but mercifully a very short clip.

That has me wondering. I’ve seen a lot of speculation that Powell is throwing his life away by tying himself to Kent Hovind, that Hovind is exploiting his young acolyte. But Hovind is theologically extremely naive, not at all a deep thinker, somebody who is cartoonishly shallow. What if we’ve got it backwards? What if Powell is the serpent, the devious Sith who plans to drag Hovind further towards the Dark Side, inoculating him with even more extremist seeds of hate?

Sure, you can joke about Matt Powell keeping a giant inflatable banana in his backyard, but don’t let it distract you from the fact that he’s a pathetic hate-filled rage beast, and isn’t funny at all.


  1. HidariMak says

    Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney decided to resign before an election, and appointed Cabinet minister Kim Campbell to take over. By this point in time, Mulroney’s party had already begun its Hindenburg descent, and it was clear why Mulroney didn’t wait until after losing the election to resign, which is the usual pattern. It was likely his fault for the most part that, out of the 338 cabinet positions, the party of Mulroney and Campbell was almost wiped out with only 2 seats won.
    I’m guessing there’s something similar going on with Hovind and Powell. Neither of them seem to be that bright from what I’ve seen, and Hovind just might be seeing the writing on the wall. Sure, Powell is not mostly to blame for Hovind’s legal troubles and for the decline of Hovind ministries, but he’s taking over a doomed vessel, and is too greedy for power to know that his future is now in more doubt through this partnership. My 2¢, for whatever it’s worth.

  2. Rich Woods says

    I’ve been saying for months that Powell has got his eye on the main prize and you can bet that it’s earthly power and influence, not heavenly glory. All Powell needs is for the isolated Hovind to have a bad fall or an ischemic event, and maybe the Alabama compound will find that Powell is the one entrusted with conservatorship or power of attorney.

    Don’t go climbing up any stepladders, Kent. Don’t go getting too het up at online atheists, Kent.

  3. says

    Funny how when scientists disagree regarding some detail in evolutionary theory, or the big bang, or geology or whatever, creationists trumpet it as the final unravelling of a theory in its death throes. Meanwhile, religious denominations continue to splinter into new denominations repeatedly in a process that has gone on for thousands of years, always diverging yet still claiming they have the inside track to the truth.
    Did I say funny? I think I meant stupid.

  4. larrylyons says

    One thing about Matt Powell that makes me really wonder is his homophobic attitudes. Research going back to the mid 1990’s have shown that homophobes get sexually aroused when presented with homoerotic images, or even just gay thoughts. The authors interpreted those findings as homophobes are closet gays.

    I suspect like several other prominent homophobic fundies in the past who have been outed, Matt Powell probably is another closeted gay,

  5. dstatton says

    I just read a biography of Martin Luther, and schisms began to appear soon after the 95 theses.

  6. JoeBuddha says

    Are you sure it’s not actually “The New And Improved Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement Now With More Jesus” (TNAIIFBMNWMJ)?

  7. PaulBC says

    (a) Matt who? (b) I wasn’t planning to. I am sure my limited supply of sympathy could be better spent.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    Tie the fucker to a chair and make him watch the weird French comedy “If I Were A Boy”. And enjoy the sight of his head exploding.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Joe Buddha @ 7
    (Doing a Life of Brian)
    “Where is the TNAIIFBMNWMJ?”
    “-He is sitting over there ”

  10. says

    We could argue about the relative “merits” of those two until the cows come home. I just can’t be bothered. That they would associate with each other is telling enough.

    Let all the denominations splinter and splinter until they’re all churches of one. Somewhere along that road they’ll all sink into irrelevance.

    +1 for the “angriest cupcake” moniker, though.

  11. bcw bcw says

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

    Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

    — Emo Philips

  12. nomdeplume says

    There is an Australian test for politicians as to whether you’d like to have a beer with them – ie, agree with their policies or not, are they ok as human beings.

    I have never yet seen or heard a creationist/fundamentalist who I’d like to have a beer with – all of them seem to be such unpleasant creatures you wouldn’t want to be in a room with them, not even be in the same city.

  13. chrislawson says

    bcw bcw–

    Thanks, I was about to post that Emo Philips routine, widely regarded as the greatest religious joke ever told.

  14. chrislawson says


    I’ve lost count of the number of horrible, dishonest, and/or sociopathic leaders I’ve heard described as “well all that is true, but I could have a beer with them…”

  15. PaulBC says

    Personally, I think a night on the town with Anthony Scaramucci would be a total blast, though I’d feel like an asshole the next day. That doesn’t qualify him for any political office, but he’s the only Trump appointee (albeit brief) that I can think of that much nice to say about.

  16. brightmoon says

    I think I could hang with George W Bush but there’s almost nothing I’d agree with him about . On second thought maybe not ,I really don’t like hanging with unthinking people whether they’re intelligent or not.

  17. R. L. Foster says

    To paraphrase Freud, is this a case of ‘sometimes a banana is just a banana?’ (But even Freud didn’t have a huge cigar in his backyard.)

  18. tacitus says

    If Powell hooked up with Hovind with a view to taking over when Kent is no longer capable of running things, then he’s made a huge mistake.

    First of all, people like Hovind never retire. He’s not even 70 yet, and if he lives another 20 years and retains most of his faculties, you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll remain front and center until he draws his last breath. Is Powell willing to wait that long?

    Second, much of Hovind’s success is down to his folksy charm, including when entertaining children with his little “science lessons.” As grating as it is to people who know just how awful the man is, that’s what allows him to keep what’s left of his fan base. For what I’ve seen of Powell, he just doesn’t have the same charisma, so he’s going to find it very difficult to hang onto what’s left by the time Hovind hangs it up, and there’s isn’t much left to begin with.

    Sure, there may still be Kent’s Compound and a motley collection of crazy cultists with nowhere else to go, but it’s going to be a pale shadow of the ministry Kent had in his heyday, and it’s not going to get any better from here.

    Finally, there’s always a chance of reconciliation between Kent and his son, Eric, who is still in the family business after all, even though there’s been a major falling out. If that happens, and Hovind leaves everything to his family (and he has more than one to choose from), then Powell could easily end up with nothing.

    I guess Kent’s Compound could be a step up from wherever Powell was before he dragged his family halfway across the country to live in a backwater Christian libertarian fever dream, but long term, he’s going nowhere.