Religious Hate: The Shoebat Family Business

Ed Brayton casts an eye over the latest offering from the Walid Shoebat Foundation:

While most wingnuts are trying everything they can to pretend that Martin Luther King was really just like them, the wingnut’s wingnuts, the fringe of the fringe like our friends at, are making it clear that, to them, Martin Luther King was a heretic and was “of the Antichrist” because he had a more liberal interpretation of the Bible than their brand of Christian fascism.

And MLK isn’t the only Martin Luther to be excoriated: in other articles, his sixteenth-century namesake is similarly derided as “a spiritual Jezebel and a Balaam”, and placed alongside William Tyndale as a “blasphemous reformer”. John Wycliffe, meanwhile, is an “evil heretic”, who is helpfully “exposed”. Rival modern fundamentalists don’t get off lightly, either: in 2013, the Foundation denounced John Hagee and Tim LaHaye for anti-Catholicism.

There has always been a certain crudeness about Shoebat’s operation which has set it apart from other Christian Right groups. Walid Shoebat has stated his wish to see the Middle East destroyed by nuclear weapons, while his son Theodore is so sanguinary in his hatred for gay people that he has even alienated anti-gay activists Scott Lively and Peter LaBarbera: the former recently removed T. Shoebat’s name from a list of “Pro-Family Heroes”, while LaBarbera rejected his call for gay people to be executed. Shoebat Jnr did not respond well to this, denouncing LaBarbera as a “filthy pig” and a “traitor”.

As far back as 2008, Walid Shoebat was dropped from a Night to Honor Israel banquet organised by Christians United for Israel (this perhaps explains his dislike of Hagee), and his 2011 accusation that Mosab Hassan Yousef – a rival on the speaker circuit as a Palestinian ex-Muslim turned evangelical Christian – is in truth a Muslim “infiltrator” probably alienated some audiences and networks. However, it looks like he has just been returning to type – the criticism of Hagee for anti-Catholicism is risible when it is recalled that before he was famous, W. Shoebat published an article mocking the “Billy Graham love affair with the Pope” and opining that “the Mystery Babylon is born”.

Not all of the material on the Shoebat Foundation website is written by the father and son – some posts, such as the MLK item, are by a certain Thomas King, introduced by Theodore Shoebat as his “good friend”. King appears to have a particular affinity with Eastern Orthodox Christianity, although he expresses himself somewhat crudely. Here he is on Facebook as Thomas James King, posting to Theodore Shoebat’s Facebook page with a denunciation of “the Muslim assholes and leftist liberal cunts and their Protestant ass kissing allies”. He appears to have a particular fondness for the word “fuckers”, too.

But how “fringe” is “fringe”? Shoebat may be a bit too “red meat” for many Christians who, even though they may hate Islam and distrust Muslims, are mindful that they are supposed to hope their enemies see the light, rather than fantasize about their destruction; but the rise of Donald Trump shows that there is a cruder constituency for whom there is no stigma in hatred.

Shoebat’s stream of stories of ISIS and other Islamist atrocities – in some cases sourced from Arabic-language websites – and his commentary that this represents what Muslims are really like and what President Obama “supports”, still has a ready, and perhaps growing, audience.