Most Street Preachers hand out little pieces of paper or comic books called "Tracts". There is a whole industry around the making of Born-again religious tracts. The cheapest ones (Cheapest because the church literally gives them away for free) are from The American Tract Society. Every single one of these tracts has pretty much the same content. These are really boring tracts that have different covers, but nearly identical insides. The message is the same in every one -- "Don't turn down Jesus's free gift of salvation, or you'll go to hell!"
But if you've seen as many religious nuts on street corners as I have, you've most likely seen those delightfully kooky comic book tracts from Jack Chick. Jack Chick dreamed of being a comic book artist, but his artistic talents just weren't up to snuff. So he became a loser, and was eventually born again, and used his pathetic comic book artistry to make his Tracts. Most of the stories are typical fire-and-brimstone "Worship Jesus or DIE IN HELL!!!" types, but some are outright bizarre. There's one comic called "Somebody Loves Me" which tells a totally horrible story of a little boy who gets beaten to death by his father, but he accepts Jesus just before dying, and somehow that makes everything better! It's a riot. If you read through that tract, you might want to see my version of it, HERE. Chick also puts out a lot of rabid, anti-catholic books which accuse the Catholic Church of creating Islam, planning the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, helping the Nazis in World War 2, starting the Viet Nam war, and even the assassination of JFK (I'll bet Oliver Stone and David Lifton never heard of that one before!)!! Jack Chick's comics and books are the life-bread of rabid street-preaching assholes everwhere.
No discussion of idiotic street preachers would be complete, however, without mentioning Rev. Fred Phelps. Rev. Fred, who hails from Topeka, Kansas, is the stereotypical street preacher, with a completely assholish personality, abbriasive style, and a congregation that is basically composed of his family. Phelps has been crusading against "The Sodomite Political Establishment" since the early 1980's. He and his church have been picketing gay-pride events, (and even events that had nothing specifically to do with gays), showing up on College campuses, and even holding protests on top of the graves of dead homosexuals! Phelps took his crusade against homosexuality to an all-time technological high (or low, depending on how you want to look at it) by using his church's fax machine, to fax-bomb everyone in Kansas whom he hated, with harrassing messages. Then his church got a computer with a built-in fax-modem, which gave him the ability to fax more people in less time, unattended (Never give a computer to a moron, is the lesson to be learned from this). Now, the Reverend Phelps has his own website, aptly called WWW.GODHATESFAGS.COM. The lesson to be learned from this is an old saying of mine -- "The more idiots who get access to computers, the more idiotic things will be done on them..."
Virtually every Street preacher, southern baptist, and televangelist on the planet thinks that we are soon going to see catastrophic events happen in the world. Well, they've been saying this stuff since religion was invented, but the kooky people actually predict the dates of these events, and draw up esoteric charts to illustrate when all these terrible things will happen. So far, for the past 100 years, literally every month in every year since the late 1800s has been declared as the start of Armageddon by some kook.
Elijah is a Jehovah's Witness who occaisionally sends spam to alt.atheism. He's out to warn the world of the impending doom that's supposed to happen. UNfortunately, he doesn't want to tell anyone that the Watchtower organization has already predicted 1899, 1914, 1939, 1956, and 1972 as the years that the world will end. Most Witnesses do not know this, because Watchtower covers up all of it's mistakes.
Other kooks like John Boatwright, see signs and wonders in the heavens. If you believe, as John claims, that the Hubbel Space Telescope took pictures of Jesus and Mary, I've got a miracle tortilla for you with a picture of Elvis burned into it.
Another kooky web-evangelist is Degby, who claims that a picture of Jesus appeared on his hand. Using some really bad photocopies, fuzzy pictures, and bad line-drawings, he tries to illustrate it, but you really need to use your imagination to get a Jesus out of a bunch of bumps and lines. His diagrams and explanation are pathetic and hilarious.
America is a land of many cults. We all know about Charles Manson's "family", David Koresh's Branch Davidians, Scientology, and the Jehovah's witnesses. Those are only the well-known ones. America has almost as many cults as it has businesses. Many of them are so kooky that they're downright scary.
Yahweh Ben Yahweh is a cult leader who claims to be none other than Jesus Christ, himself. Yahweh Ben Yahweh is just one of many cult leaders with a devoted following. Like most modern messiahs, though, he ended up in jail. Apparently, the government didn't like hearing that he and 16 of his followers were planning on performing a "miracle" explosion of a federal building.
One of my favorite kooky cults is AGGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY. Here's a cult with the average gun-toting militia-nut in mind. They dress up in quasi-military uniforms, have an arsenal of weapons, and live on a well-guarded compound in New Mexico. Their members all have ranks, and all of them hope to someday be "Generals for Jesus". Their church is very aptly named, since they have been kicked out of several states for their often times violent or disruptive encounters with their enemies (their enemies are pretty much anyone who isn't a member). They are led by Generals John and Lila Green, who run their cult with an iron fist. Everything is dictated to the members -- even whom they should marry. Their esoteric writings fill their magazine "Battle Cry Sounding", which you can get in the mail if you write to them and ask for it. It's one bizarre magazine, with lots of pictures of soldiers and guns, and guns, and guns all over it.
The Mormons are another favorite cult of mine. Their worldview is so darn white-bread, Beaver-Cleaver, wholesome, innocent, and unrealistic that they're like an anachronism. They even wear 19th century underwear as part of their faith. Apparently, their undies are indestructible, or at least protect them from Satanic forces. It doesn't protect them from looking goofy in a locker room, however. Mormons believe that God is a space alien from the planet Kolob, and that angels have cellestial sex and populate planets as they travel throughout the universe. Their theology is more like Battlestar Galactica than the Bible.
Most of us, however, get exposed to kooky religions through television. Evangelists spend billions of dollars every year putting their propaganda on the air. My all time favorite TV evangelist is Robert Tilton. I used to watch Bob "religiously" when I first discovered him. He had a formula that he repeated every day. Basically, he's ask for $1000 AND NO LESS. "God doesn't want $50", he'd say, "God doesn't want $100. This moning, in prayer, he said $1000." Then he'd do a faith-healing segment, where he would speak in tongues, spout out random ailments, and ask people to place their hands on the TV screen over his. He even talked about how he woke up one morning to find Satan standing at the foot of his bed, and that he personally beat the living crap out of Satan with his own two hands! I really want to know where Bob got his drugs -- I mean, I want some, too! Bob eventually got outed by ABC's Primetime Live, who did an expose on him. His ministry made a big sucking sound as is disappeared from the airwaves.
Dr. Gene Scott is another wacky evangelist that always amuses me. He's the "Twin Peaks" of Televangelism. It's hard to tell exactly what he's all about. He's sort of his own little religion -- very esoteric, and often quite bizarre. He looks pretty weird, and his mom dresses him funny.
Benny Hinn is a world renouned faith healer whom I like to call "Benny the Blow Job". He begs for money for hours and then does a faith healing routine where he makes people fall over backwards after blowing on them. Like RObert Tilton, Benny has had his share of scandals. He apparently went to jail for filing false tax returns. But that's what God told him to do, isn't it??
The Scariest TV Evangelist is arguably David Roever. Roever was fried in Viet Nam, and came back a changed man. He started a ministry, made lots of TV appearances (like a few visits to Jim and Tammy's PTL club to get some sympathy dollars), and even took up singing gospel music. He's arguably the creepiest looking thing to ever grace the PTL club. When he smiles, it looks like he's gnashing his teeth to eat you.
Bob Larson recently made the move from radio to television. Bob has been crusading against rock music for years. He asks people to send him money even if it means bouncing a check or defaulting on a credit card payment. He wants money so bad that he asks his listeners to screw up their finances for him. Right now, Bob is preaching about how the evil space aliens in their flying saucers are actually part of Satan's minions, out to deceive the world and get people into the new age religions, which are gateway religions to satanism. Yeah, and bigfoot is Jesus, I suppose.
The 700 Club is one of my favorite kooky religious programs of all time. Hosted by Pat Robertson, The 700 club is a regular clearinghouse of ultra-right-wing fascist-fundy paranoia and propaganda. Pat often makes bizarre claims, like the time he said that soon, government mandated Euthenasia for elderly people would be instituted, the time he claimed that his prayers turned Hurricane Gloria away from his home town (too bad for all of those who were injured or suffered damages when it hit their towns, instead!), or the time he claimed that God told him that he would become President of the United States (and we all know how that ended up -- with him losing out, just below Pat Buchanan). Pat used to speak in tongues and claim to heal people over the air waves, but stopped this practice as soon as he decided to run for President. Apparently, he knew that such kooky behavior would be seen as a sign of his insanity by most normal voters. He is one of many Christian leaders, who, despite the fact that there is more Christian public visibility and television programming than ever before in history, believes that Christianity is somehow under attack, and losing ground in America.
On October 10th, 1997, a hacker broke into the CBN website, and did a little bit of redecorating. CBN immediately removed their web page from the net to change it back. Fortunately, someone took a screen snapshot of the hacker's handywork for all of us Pat Robertson fans to see.
Pat Robertson is also the founder of the evil Christian Coalition, an organization which, despite it's claims to the contrary, keeps trying to inject Christian morality into the government. The Christian Coalition lists a veritable who's who of slimey TV Evangelists in it's membership, Such as D. James Kennedy and Jerry Falwell, both of whom have little crusades to "reclaim America" from all of those evil atheists (and liberals) who are running it.
Together, Robertson, Falwell, and Kennedy all belong to an evil clandestine organization known as The Council for National Policy, which meets several times a year in secrecy (The media is barred from learning anything about what goes on at their meetings) to discuss ways of implementing the extremist right-wing religious agenda on America. They were found out about a couple of years ago, and are on Project Censored's top ten list of under-reported news stories for 1994.
They are also all linked to R.J. Rushdooney, who is the architect of Christian Reconstructionism, which seeks to replace the U.S. government and culture with a patently old-testament theocracy, based on the laws of Leviticus. This includes the death penalty for homosexuals and abortionists, mandatory religious tests for government office, not allowing women to hold government offices, and the outlawing of the teaching of evolution in school, as well as banning it from being discussed in the media. Accodring to R.J. Rushdooney, Democracy is a Heresy against the word of God. That's right, folks -- apparently, allowing citizens to vote on issues of government is a big no-no in the eyes of god, and these nice Christians think that leadership should be left up to nice, honest, godly men like them. Heartwarming thought, isn't it?
Fortunately, even though the far-right has lots of scary ideas, most of their goals are too much for the general public to swallow -- especially since we have large Jewish and Islamic populations that would not just sit back and let these bozos take over their lives. And since most born agains have the mentality of Brice Wellington, we don't have much to worry about... We hope...
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