An account recently published on line by the AP portrays the Reverend Christopher Rodkey, of Dallastown, PA, as a decent, if somewhat naive, sort. According to the story, Rodkey says his church is interested in promoting religious tolerance. Not only that, but the minister maintains he personally believes Muslims are, "Used as scapegoats by the religious right."
All of which explains why the sign outside of his St. Paul's United Church of Christ currently reads, "Wishing a blessed Ramadan to our Muslim neighbors."
Not long after it went up, the church received an anonymous call from a man who, among other things said the sign was, "despicable," and that, "Islam is a godless and pagan religion."
Besides being a local Christian leader, Rodkey proved himself to be a bit of a detective. He managed to find out the number on the caller ID belonged to one, Matthew Jansen.
When contacted, Brother Jansen explained he had driven past St. Paul's many times over the years and seen, "disturbing," things on its sign. However, this latest one, according to Jansen, was "Over the top as far as I'm concerned. The message was blasphemous."
Jansen went on to say when he initially called he was so irate he simply forgot to leave his name. He claims when he realized his omission, he called back and left his name and number on an answering machine.
As you can guess he went a little further. Rodkey looked up Jansen's Twitter page and found a photo of the sign, along with the church's phone number. There were more posts there which the minister also described as, "disturbing," although, obviously, in different way.
Fairly quickly after Jansen's tweet the church began receiving what was described as, "hang up calls." So many in fact the phone and answering machine were unplugged for a few days.
Jansen says he wasn't trying to be intimidating, but that he wanted to confront the, "greater issue of Islam."
Well, that's one way to describe it.
So who is this crazy guy, named Matthew Jansen? Is he part of a white nationalist group? Some neo-Nazi, clad in camo running around the woods, claiming to be a militia freedom fighter?
Actually he is an elected board member of the Spring Grove Area School District and--you guessed it--a Donald Trump delegate to the republican national convention.
After taking a gander at Jansen's rants on Twitter, Pastor Rodkey was quoted as saying, "I can't believe an elected official would believe the things he does."
Quite honestly, Reverend, you need to get out more. Or at least turn on the news every now and then, because these evil fucks are being elected by the sack full from sea to shining sea. The only thing mildly surprising about Matt Jansen is that he is on a school board, rather than sitting in the United States House of Representatives.
Don't lose hope though. Given the current level of vitriol being spewed by Jansen's preferred candidate and the number of liked minded travelers in this mass orgy of religious bigotry he might get there. Indeed, if the past year has taught us anything it's that all you need is a Twitter account, a telephone, a gut full of hate, plus a glimmer of ambition, and then, like Horatio Alger, you can go far.
Hey, who could possibly say America is no longer great?
sic vita est.