Well, Tony Alamo
(pictured ) often speaks, and speaks, and speaks some more, as you’re doubtless aware if you’ve ever stumbled upon his AM radio program. But on Monday evening the minister spoke to me for about 25 minutes about Saturday’s raid on his Fouke complex and other subjects. (No charges have yet been filed, though six girls aged 17 and younger have been taken into temporary custody by the state following a raid that federal officials have said was related to allegations of sexual abuse of children and child pornogrpahy.)
Alamo’s main point: The antichrist government run by the Vatican is out to get him. But we knew that already. Here are some of the other highlights (or lowlights, as the case may be.)
Not surprisingly, Alamo categorically denied charges of child pornography and polygamy that have been reported in the past few days. “Anybody can accuse and spread it around town, and of course they want to kill you,” he said of the allegations. “But there’s no child abuse going on.”
It’s not that polygamy is wrong, he said: “If you can find anything in the Bible about fire and brimstone for the practice of polygamy, then I’ll give you $250,000 in cash. Adultery is condemned, but not polygamy.”
“Most of the world believes in polygamy,” Alamo said. “The Africans, the Indians, the Chinese. The Jews – the Jews can have at least four wives. Two-thirds of people in the world practice polygamy.”
He added that polygamy is not for everyone – just for “great men of God, if they can take care of their wives and children.” He also repeated his typical complaint that if school-age girls can ‘fornicate’ and use birth control, then there’s no reason it should be illegal for men to take young wives.
Yet Alamo denied that he had wives of any age, other reports to the contrary: “You can check all the marriage records in the world.” He said his only two wives have been Susan Alamo and “the princess of Sweden,” Birgitta Gyllenhammar, who left him and the church after two years.
He also denied that anyone in his church was practicing polygamy or marrying underage girls. “I don’t believe that at all. Otherwise I would kick them out. And they don’t want to be kicked out.”
Alamo blamed a Fouke man named Tony Lane for the raid. He claimed Lane’s wife lived at the complex and that he wanted her to leave against her will. He accused Lane of being an alcoholic and a bad guy in general, though he admitted that he had never met him. Alamo added that a number of Fouke residents – whom he referred to as ‘hillbillies’ – were being paid off by the government to give information about the complex. He claimed Fouke to be a main base for the KKK.
It’s never been totally clear why Alamo chose the Miller County town of 800 for his headquarters after his release from prison for tax evasion in 1998. The answer is simple, Alamo said: Convenience. His followers were visiting him in the Texarkana federal pen, he said, so it made sense for them to set up shop nearby. “They didn’t want to stay in hotels.”
Alamo carted out some of his usual boasts (he owns a Pete Best Beatles album worth billions) as well as some new ones (he credits himself for the May release of children back to a polygamist sect in Texas after they had been taken under state custody.) He also had plenty to say about Judaism – anyone who pays attention to his bizarre theology might be surprised to learn that he considers himself Jewish. “The Jews are the ones who wrote the Bible, not the Gentiles,” he said. “We spring from the loins of a dead man and a dead woman [Abraham and Sarah, I think –ed.] We’re supernatural people, we Jews.”
Alamo said he has not had any word about the raid in the past twenty-four hours, nor have the authorities contacted him. On the possibility he might be arrested: “I’m certainly not worried about it.” The government, he railed, is a ‘bunch of reprobates’ who enjoy looking at the child pornography they investigate.
Alamo said he was calling from the Los Angeles area. When might he be returning to Arkansas? He replied, ready with an answer as ever: “I just go where the Holy Spirit tells me to go.”