When Ralph Reed met General Butt Naked

Tom Freston of Vanity Fair has a startling piece on a Liberian encounter that he and Ralph Reed had with cannibal-warlord-turned-Christian-evangelist Joshua Blahyi, who once went by the name of General Butt Naked.

Clearly, you need to read the entire article, but here’s a taste:

Because of Mr. Blahyi’s new evangelical status, I asked Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, who was in our delegation, if he wanted to come and meet this self-styled warlord turned evangelist. He was curious and agreed. “I’ve never met a warlord before,” he said. So Ralph and I headed out one hot, humid afternoon in search of the former General Butt Naked, living now in a rundown suburb of Monrovia called the Chocolate City, as in the P-Funk album. George Clinton, like President Monroe, is on the Liberian map.

We were told to look for the general along the side of the road, just after the gritty port area, so he could guide us to his current headquarters. We drove through a crazy-quilt mix of dilapidated architecture—unfinished and war-torn buildings next to concrete huts with rusting corrugated-tin roofs, all framing an endless street bazaar. We spotted Joshua Blahyi next to a ramshackle market. He is a husky, well-built man and gave us a broad smile. He was in a spotless brown army shirt and had on a nametag. We followed him deep into Chocolate City, coming at last to an open-air, half-finished concrete-block structure with a dirt floor, where he runs his ministry for young men from the slums.

A group of Joshua’s staff and supporters, including a minister from neighboring Nigeria in a sharp suit, were assembled to greet us, along his current group of about 20 boys, whom he had handpicked from the slums for his program of rehabilitation that aims to get them detoxed and religious, and give them a craft to support themselves. We sat in a circle of plastic chairs and introduced ourselves.

When Ralph said that he once headed the Christian Coalition, a huge cheer went up. Joshua had the boys stand one by one and tell their stories. All were drug addicts, now in withdrawal. They calmly related their recent pasts as rapists, armed robbers, child soldiers, outcasts from their families, orphans, graveyard dwellers. Several had the hollow, dehumanized gaze you’ve seen in photos of Kalashnikov-toting street toughs.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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13 comments Add your comment

td

July 30th, 2012
5:17 pm

Jim, I am not sure what you are attempting to get the reader to take out of this story besides it is a interesting read but since this is a political blog then I will make my own analysis.

The story proves to me how coming to know God and find a a set of firm mores and values to follow can turn the most ruthless people in the world around to doing the right thing. All you atheist on these blogs can learn a valuable lessen, so we shall wait for you to leave the dark side and come to the light.

Rightwing Troll

July 30th, 2012
5:35 pm

Yeah… because Ralph “body bags, work it from both ends” Reed is such a fine upstanding example of a true christian…

jgalloway

July 30th, 2012
5:35 pm

TD:

It’s an excellent, educational piece that shines a light on a country we don’t often think about, featuring — in part — a well-known and influential local political figure. I think it would appeal to any Republican, Democrat or libertarian as a reminder that some areas of this world have problems bigger than anything that can be solved with a TSPLOST referendum.

td

July 30th, 2012
5:42 pm

jgalloway

July 30th, 2012
5:35 pm

I agree that it was very interesting and informational. I see your point about involving Reed so I see the connection now.

I also agree that I am tired of TSPLOST and this article is way better IMHO.

GaBlue

July 30th, 2012
5:58 pm

“The story proves to me how coming to know God and find a a set of firm mores and values to follow can turn the most ruthless people in the world around to doing the right thing.”

Would that we could actually witness this in even half those who claim it.

romegaguy

July 30th, 2012
6:23 pm

Was Ralph looking for a new place to build casinos?

honested

July 30th, 2012
11:46 pm

I do believe (from memory, I haven’t checked historical references) that the ‘nom-de-guerre’ was ‘General Buck Naked’ but when discussing ralph reed, butt probably works fine!

Truth-O-Meter

July 31st, 2012
2:49 am

“The story proves to me how coming to know God and find a a set of firm mores and values to follow can turn the most ruthless people in the world around to doing the right thing.”

I wonder why, then, if one can believe a war lord can become a Christian, they can’t believe that Barack Obama is one.

Auntie Christ

July 31st, 2012
9:43 am

td July 30th, 2012 5:17 pm “All you atheist on these blogs can learn a valuable lessen, so we shall wait for you to leave the dark side and come to the light.”

This, from the most non-christian “christian’ posting here. And like all the rest of his ilk, gullible to a fault. This thug has done nothing more than ralph reed, jerry falwell, pat robertson, the grahams,l ron hubbell, jim jones and every other cult leader that has ever comed down the pike.. He’s ’seen the light,’ meaning that he realizes there is a lot of money and power to be garnered by bilking the gullible, by finding those in distress, at the lowest point of their lives and offering them ’salvation’ by joining his cult, following him mindlessly, and above all else, giving him all the gold. Indeed, ralph reed has found a kindred spirit.

Vote no Tsplost

July 31st, 2012
10:51 am

“All you atheist on these blogs can learn a valuable lessen, so we shall wait for you to leave the dark side and come to the light.”

10,000 years of many gods, a book put together from chapters, written by many unknown authors. Contents selected by whomever, further edited by a king and church. Pope ordering take out, of young boys, local baptist preachers making sexual adjustments for your girls ( tried and sentenced) What makes the christian religion real;; the only/right religion. Geeez.

Carol

July 31st, 2012
1:06 pm

Jim, interesting story, and I may actually read the entire article. However, I’m almost siding with td, which scares the crap out of me. It just seems out of place. I guess if you had written some of your comments before the clip explaining about other news than T-Splost readers would have been prepared. I, however, just sat here a minute trying to figure out the point of the article.

Joe Mama

July 31st, 2012
1:17 pm

td — “The story proves to me how coming to know God and find a a set of firm mores and values to follow can turn the most ruthless people in the world around to doing the right thing. All you atheist on these blogs can learn a valuable lessen, so we shall wait for you to leave the dark side and come to the light.”

If “the light” involves becoming a ruthless, anarchistic warlord, then no thanks. I’ll leave that to the christians if it’s all the same to you.

Michael #1

July 31st, 2012
7:08 pm

If Ralph is a true Christian then I must be God!