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

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