Below are two pictures of Ergun Caner, courtesy of the Twitterer @caner_repent.
At left is "Butch Caner", or "E. Michael Caner", before the tragedy of 9/11.
At right is the transformed Caner, who now goes by "Ergun Mehmet Giovanni Caner".
Before 9/11 I never saw the George Costanza look-alike on the mega church circuit. He was not famous. He was just a guy who grew up in Ohio from three years of age and became a preacher.
Just a few weeks after 9/11, my former pastor Jerry Vines brought the new version - not Costanza, but the new "former terrorist" version - into my church, and told us he was trained in Islamic Jihad, and he said: "until I came to America, until I found Jesus Christ, I was trained to do that which was done on 11 September".
And the trained terrorist said it with an accent and rolled r's. And he told us he couldn't speak good English in high school.
We were tricked. Bamboozled. We were preyed on, out of our fear from the events of 9/11, we wanted proof that our faith was real, that our faith COULD protect us, that it could change even one of those evil terrorists. And our pastor obliged, and presented what we so much wanted.
But it wasn't real at all. It was fake and contrived, right there on the platform of our church.
And thus was born "Ergun Mehmet Giovanni Caner".
The more time passes, the more sickening and surreal it all seems.