Straight White American Jesus

A podcast on religion and politics hosted by Daniel Miller and Bradley Onishi, ex-ministers who are now scholars of religion.

Special Episode: Undercover at Greg Locke’s Book Burning

*Correction*: “Jeff” says that Locke’s church is in McMinnville, TN. It is in fact in Mt. Juliet TN. Brad didn’t catch it in the conversation. Both he and Jeff were a bit tense–wanting to get the story right and bring listeners into the scene, without giving away Jeff’s identity. Our apologies.

Brad speaks with a man he calls Jeff (identity hidden) who went undercover at the book burning led by Pastor Greg Locke. The book burning happened ominously in the wake of the banning of Art Spiegelman’s acclaimed graphic novel on the Holocaust “Maus” in a nearby school district.

Jeff wrote an article on the event:

Here is an excerpt:

In between threatening to kick in Dunkin Donuts employees teeth and refusing to follow his own dictates opposing divorce, Greg Locke is a pastor at Global Vision Bible Church (formerly Global Vision Baptist Church.) It takes little to find offensive comments on from him.

Your kid could be demonized and attacked, but your doctor calls it autism.

Transgenderism is not a civil right. It’s not normal, it’s anti-biblical. And I’m sorry, just because I have morals and values that does not make me a discriminatory bigot. I’m sick of the day and age in which we live when people call good evil and evil they call good.

Recently Locke also put out more serious calls to join things like the Black Robe Regiment, a far-right nationalist group of pastors that advocates preaching a “patriotic view” of American politics. Locke’s idea of patriotism meant encouraging his followers to attend the January 6th insurrection during sermons and railing in support of Trump’s lies about election fraud. But Locke also calls for more local forms of violence. Recently, he organized burnings of so-called “demonic” items like the Harry Potter and Twilight children’s/young adult books from almost two decades ago. LCRW attended one incognito on Wednesday last week and will tell the tale later.

Burning books isn’t new to Greg Locke. In 2019 he jumped to twitter to post a video of himself burning a book titled “The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American.”

Locke’s beliefs are firmly rooted in Christian Fundamentalism. The church he leads, Global Vision Bible Church, originally identified itself with the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement (IFB)—one of the most conservative groups of Christians in the nation. He dissociated from the IFB in mid 2011, claiming that the leadership of the movement had tried to pressure him into taking on a “legalistic mindset of man-made regulations.” Locke claims he pledged to remain amicable with the IFB despite parting ways. Incidentally, in 2019 in Knoxville an IFB pastor and sheriff’s detective called for the trial and summary execution of queer people.

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Produced by Brad Onishi

Edited by Shannon Sassone

Music by Matt Puckett

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