Happy Halloween from the Hate-Mongers on the Right

Do you ever wonder what hate-monger evangelicals do on Halloween? Apparently, they have turned it into a tool for proselytizing…
This year, for the 33rd year, students at Jerry Falwell’s “Liberty” University (it is an accredited institution…but I think the quotation marks are appropriate) put on a show called “Scaremare”, an elaborate performance described by the Washington Post as part haunted house, part sermon. Visitors are led into an abandoned orphanage with graphic demonstrations of what hell is like and who “deserves” to be there. These interactive scenes include women who have had abortions and gay men who have died of AIDS. No, I’m not kidding. (I wonder if they’ve made room for the feminists yet).
Apparently this is but one of a growing number of staged performances in this vein throughout the country. This year, more than 20,000 visitors from around the country have come to Falwell-U for the event. Even scarier is the fact that “Scaremare” falls within the more “moderate” end of the evangelical haunted house spectrum. Two companies that sell “how-to” kits for these fucked up haunted houses include scripts, detailed suggestions on music, costumes and props — including how to select the best cut of meat to depict an aborted fetus.
A professor at Falwell’s Liberty University explains the “philosophy” behind Scaremare: “There’s no question that people need to fear what is their eternal destiny… So here’s the objective truth about hell…” Oh yeah, this sounds *real* objective.
According to organizers, these events have been very effective in converting people. One estimated that he had converted over 13,000 people since 1996! While this is shocking on a certain level, it seems appropriate in some ways: fear is, after all, the preferred means of the Right.
For the record, not everyone is so enthusiastic about this fire and brimstone approach. Rev. Eileen Lindner of the National Council of Churches USA argues that: “Education doesn’t take its best root through fear and intimidation… That’s not only not the best way to teach the Gospel’s lesson of love; it’s incompatible with the Gospel’s lesson of love.”
Hmmmm…maybe I’ll go out treak-or-treating as Jerry Fallwell tonight. Now THAT would be really scary.
–Contributed by Brendan Sweeney

Join the Conversation

  • http://rhetoricallyyours.blogspot.com/ rojopelo

    Ugh, I went to one of these things in high school, though I can’t remember how I got talked into it. But it was pretty despicable. Of course, the girl who has an abortion feels so much guilt and shame that she always commits suicide, the homosexuals get AIDS and die, the kids who do drugs or alcohol always crash their cars and die– there’s absolutely NO middle ground. If you sin, you WILL die as a result, and you will go straight to hell.
    Of course at the end, they tell you, “It doesn’t have to be like this, if you accept God, join our church and vote Republican.” That last part is never explicitly said, but I’m sure we’re only a year or two away from adding “Voting Democrat” to the list of abortion, homosexuality and drugs/alcohol as mortal sins…
    Anyway, my impression of this bullshit is that God and Jesus, if they exist, must be weeping oceans worth of tears over the stupidity and hatefulness of their supposed followers. :(

  • Sara

    You know, this kind of thing *pushes* people away.
    We are who we are. I feel God makes you the way you are, gay, straight, whatever.
    And these people are supposed to be about God, but they’re the most hypocritical.

  • Katha Pollitt

    it’s kind of hard to believe that one preacher has converted over 13,000 people in eight years through this silly horror show. 1500 people a year in a single day or couple of days? I wonder how he is counting converts. and how long they stay converted!
    People who would be swayed by this sort of thing would be swayed by anything.

  • tommy boy

    watch this documentary…it traumatized me…and reminded me why religion is so scary.

  • NancyP

    Hey, that’s the beauty of some evangelical churches – one person makes 10 altar calls, that’s 10 conversions! And apparently some folks do 30 or more altar calls. So if a haunted hell house in a fairly evangelical city draws the same 1500 children and teens from several congregations for several years, well, there’s your 13,000 right there!

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