A Tennessee church leader who fears “witchcraft” has befallen his church claimed that God “directed” him to lead a book burning event to rid the world of “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and other such best selling fantasy books.
He also invited them to destroy “tarot cards, Ouija boards, healing crystals, idol statues, spell books and everything else tied to the occult.”
Pastor Greg Locke of the Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, near Nashville, began his sermon on Wednesday night with an announcement that he’d received a missive from God — to skip Holy Communion on that particular evening and instead hold a book burning event for his followers.
“We always have communion on Wednesday nights … but the Lord specifically directed me tonight not to do it,” the Pentecostal preacher said.
“There’s a mixed multitude in this tent. I ain’t breakin’ bread with witches. You hear me? … I ain’t breakin’ bread with demons. I ain’t breakin’ bread with freemasons. I ain’t breakin’ bread with occultism.”
He added, “We’re not going to prostitute communion by letting some witch curse up this house tonight.”
The tent-based fellowship had made plans to hold a bonfire that night, Locke reminded his audience.
“We have a Constitutional right and a Biblical right to do what we’re going to do tonight,” he later continued. “We have a burn permit, but even without one a church has a religious right to burn occultic materials that they deem are a threat to their religious rights and freedoms and belief system.”
Lock also claimed to have some 24,000 viewers on “two platforms” tuning in remotely, telling his his streaming audience “God is taking note, and so it the devil … Let’s go give the devil a black-eye.”
At just over an hour into the recording, uploaded on Feb. 2 to the Pastor Greg Locke fan page on Facebook, the faith leader was next seen standing among congregants against a dark background with their faces aglow at the rising flames of burning wood pallets in front of them — books in hand ready to meet their fiery end. Others fed the fire with more scraps in an apparent attempt to touch heaven with their passionate cries against beloved children’s and adolescent books.
Lock turns and points to the camera, gesturing his at-home audience to stay put for the grand finale. Two men then approach the pit with a dumpster full of books. Soon, Locke initiates cremation, gleefully pulling one piece of media at a time from the trash can as others turn up with their own bags full of books, tossing them in one by one.
The fervent faith leader’s plea to rid the world of allegedly dangerous kids books and other “occultic” material comes as lawmakers debate the discussion of legitimately historic events in school, such as American slavery or the Holocaust. Some states have recently gone so far as to ban “critical race theory,” or the study of race relations in the US, in public schools.