Friday and Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, anti-gay pastor Kevin Swanson is holding what he’s termed the National Religious Liberties Conference. Half a day in, it’s already been a bizarre event, with Swanson ranting about gays, abortion, and the rise of “vampirism and cannibalism” in America. Also, presidential candidates Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee stopped by.

Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, was first to report that Huckabee, Jindal, and fellow presidential candidate Ted Cruz are all slated to speak at the conference. They evidently have no problem sharing a cozy stage with Swanson, who has said a number of times that gay people deserve to be put to death. He’s also worried aloud that many things are turning children gay, including the movie Frozen, Girl Scout Cookies and daycare.

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A livestream of the conference shows Swanson pacing the stage for hours, visibly sweating, waving his arms as he delivers a progressively noisier message of doom. Both Jindal and Huckabee, currently polling at less than three percent in national polls, merrily pledged that they would rescue America from gayness, abortion and other evils.

“We need a spiritual revival in these United States of America,” Jindal told the crowd. “I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to say I’m a Christian.” Well, no. Why would he be? He boasted about having “taken on” Planned Parenthood, reminding the audience he projected the undercover sting videos targeting PP outside the governor’s mansion when people protested his cutting the organization’s funding.

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Huckabee was much, much weirder. He too focused on abortion, or what he called “the children slain their mother’s womb” and said the United States acts like “a savage, uncivilized country when it comes to unborn children.”

But he also got into his highly unusual ideas about how to stop abortion, promising he would “invoke the 5th and 14th Amendments.”

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The 5th Amendment says, in part, that citizens must not “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The 14th Amendment granted citizenship to everyone born in the United States, including the newly freed slaves. Huckabee seems to be saying that every fetus is a full citizen, and would be appointed an attorney to keep it from being aborted, which would sound insane, except that Alabama has already done just that.

“If the unborn child is in fact a person,” Huckabee said, and not “a blob of tissue,” abortion would have to be abolished under those amendments.

Here’s a brief moment from Swanson’s own remarks on Friday. The sound quality is a little muffled, but the sentiment is quite clear: vampires are real, and they’re killing America.

Swanson expressed dismay that a popular Christian book didn’t mention anything about “the gender problem of modern day,” and went after an unnamed “Christian legal defense organization” who he said assisted a “transvestite” high school student.

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“We have lost our way,” Swanson remarked. “We would call good evil and evil good.” Seemingly refererring to transgender people, he called men wearing women’s clothing “an abomination” according to Deuteronomy. Swanson warned it was one of a host of terrible sins overtaking America via popular culture.

“The culture is becoming more and more radical,” he warned. What’s left, he added, is “total chaos. Witchcraft is more and more popular, especially with the youth. It’s an adventure. Drunkenness is a disease. Homosexuality is an orientation. Cannibalism, vampirism is increasingly acceptable.”

Ted Cruz is slated to be stopping by at some point Friday evening where, God willing, he will share his own thoughts on the scourge of vampirism among America’s youth.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.

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Huckabee campaigning in Iowa on October 31. Photo via AP Images