Vatican Astronomer Claims Thomas Horn “Twisted, Misquoted” His Words, “Invented Utter Falsehoods”

Here’s one from early last month – Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno writes on his Specolations website:

About a year ago, an author (whom I will not name or link to) conducted an extensive interview with me by email. I thought he was a legitimate journalist. However, seeing the ways in which he has twisted, misquoted, and invented utter falsehoods from the things I said, I have come to suspect that he is either a knave or a fool.

There are no Vatican secrets about UFOs. Neither I nor anyone I know has any evidence that extraterrestrials exist. We do not believe that “Jesus is a hybrid” or any of the other bizarre claims that this author makes. He is either seriously deluded, or a deliberate con-man…

The man who Consolmagno declines to name is Thomas Horn, author of a number of crank tomes and DVDs such as Exo-Vaticana: Petrus Romanus, Project L.U.C.I.F.E.R. and the Vatican’s Astonishing Plan for the Arrival of an Alien Savior (taglines include: “Unveiled! The Vatican’s Secret Plan for the Arrival of an Alien God!”… “The Role of Petrus Romanus for the coming Alien Serpent-Savior” etc) and Nephilim Stargates: The Year 2012 and the Return of the WatchersIt is the former of these  which purports to contain things “admitted” by Consolmagno.

Horn’s fare may seem too bizarre and marginal to be worth any attention, but his ramblings have been heavily promoted by WorldNetDaily, as I noted here and here. Horn appears to have an inroad into the wider Christian Right via Chuck Missler, who runs an evangelical ministry in Idaho called the Koinonia Institute – Horn is a member of Koinonia’s “Board of Regents“, alongside WND‘s editor Joseph Farah, Ergun Caner,  Jerome CorsiAlan Keyes, Tim LaHaye, several Calvary Chapel pastors, and others (including Binyamin Elon MK, a long-time US Christian Right ally).

Missler – who came to wide attention in 2007 for his argument that peanut butter disproves the theory of evolution – appears on the cover of Horn’s Exo-Vaticana book as the author of the book’s introduction (although his name is absent from some images of the cover). Some of Missler’s own religious teachings are extrapolated from a passing reference to the “Nephilim” – a race of giants – in the Book of Genesis, which he has fused to motifs taken from science fiction and pop culture concerning UFOs and such.

This site advertises Missler’s book Alien Encounters (co-authored by Mark Eastman), and a DVD entitled Return of the Nephilim:

This subject has not gone away. On the contrary, much new evidence has surfaced with global implications. Chuck explores the Biblical relevance and disturbing agenda of the apparent extraterrestrial life forms that have been forcing themselves into our global consciousness and reveals their most disturbing agenda.

(By the way, be sure to hover over the cover images for a nice little Easter egg) There are also details of a conference, which “took place in Roswell, New Mexico, on the 50-year anniversary of the famous Roswell UFO Incident.”

Missler and Horn are far from being the first persons to supplement their Christian beliefs with extravagantly eccentric pseudo-scientific speculations presented not only as fact, but as spiritually significant truth, but Missler is not confined to the outer fringes of US conservative Christianity – as well as the names on his “Board of Regents, he has featured on GOD TV, and his “Strategic Perspectives” conferences have attracted a range of high-profile speakers.

Somewhat oddly, Consolmagno’s response to Horn’s misrepresentation of him was brought to my attention via an email from Cliff Kincaid, who runs America’s Survival and Accuracy in Media. The email was not addressed to me personally – it seems that Kincaid was contacting various websites that had discussed Horn critically. At America’s Survival, Kincaid links to Consolmagno’s post and screencaps a WND article, and adds:

I am astounded that some Christians are taking this book seriously. The Vatican’s secret plan for the arrival of an alien god? This is too far out even for Alex Jones.

Or perhaps “too far out even for Cliff Kincaid”, whose own websites include The Soros Files and Lenin and Shariah, which promotes Joel Gilbert’s birther conspiracy. Kincaid’s “Accuracy in Media” recently gave an award to the ludicrous Jim Hoft, and Kincaid has is currently using AIM to promote Glenn Beck’s “Saudi student” Boston bombing conspiracy theory (Bret Baier’s comprehensive debunking of Beck’s claims is dismissed because he works for Fox and Fox is “part-Saudi owned”). Right Wing Watch has more on Kincaid here; I mentioned him in passing here.