Each short skit at a Hell House is equal to a mini snuff movie.
- Secular Parent Magazine
It was fun until someone put a razor blade in some poor kid's apple. After that, there was nothing left for Halloween to become but religiously political (or vice versa).
And that's when the concept of Hell Houses began. I've written about them before - those places that try to bring fear to minds and souls via religious bigotry. A bigotry that is actually franchised by one Keenan Roberts, an Assemblies of God pastor in Colorado who originally hailed from Roswell, New Mexico (yes, THAT Roswell, of alien sightings fame and legend). BTW: the Assemblies of God Church in Wasilla, AK is the church where Sarah Palin was prayed upon by witch hunter Thomas Muthee.
OMG! Roberts - Assemblies of God - Roswell - Sarah Palin - Thomas Muthee - witches - Halloween! Okay, that's the totally disjointed reasoning of a Hell House producer, which, by the way, number in the thousands across the country. Last year's sale of Hell House kits topped 3000.
According to ReligiousTolerance.org, a typical Hell House experience includes graphic and factually inaccurate re-enactments of such things as the murder of Columbine High School student Cassie Bernall's by a fellow student who allegedly killed her for her faith. Joining this scene are those depicting innocents being sacrificed by Wiccans during Satanic rituals, demon possession brought on by exploring the occult, witches forcing teens to commit murder, and drunk drivers slaughtering their passengers. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 have provided modern Hell House organizers with new scenarios to present, as well.
Hell Houses be known more commonly as Hate Houses? Are they effective
in promoting hatred? After you read this post, check out the next
installment on this series.
The Rev. Ballard's "Hell House" in Warren County OH was criticized by Doreen Cudnik, executive director of Stonewall Cincinnati. She said that the display "is out of touch with AIDS in the year 2000. To say gay equals AIDS equals burning in hell has the dangerous potential to lead to hate crimes against the gay community."
As with anything extreme, Hell Houses open themselves for over-the-top parody. The internet's Landover Baptist Church has been lampooning Hell Houses for years (they never actually have a Hell House, but describe theirs on the website. Last year's Landover Baptist Hell House proffered
"Real Corpses from Turkey's Earthquake that would have been wasted in mass graves, will (sic) frozen and delivered to Landover Baptist Church, to be used in the Godly purpose of winning souls!
And...Visitors will line up and be seated inside Hell Hospital's filthy waiting room, which is the size of nearly two football fields. "This is REAL TERROR," says Pastor. "Visitors will wait for hours -- sometimes days! -- just like they'll wait in one of Obama's hospitals just to get a used Band-Aid. Lead paint will be peeling off the walls, cathode ray televisions will be spooling hours of PBS specials on the Obama family's clothing and eating habits, all while hundreds of Baptist University students painted to look like Mexicans wearing little pink ears and snouts mingle with the crowd, dancing around sombreros and coughing into the faces of white children, passing on swine flu and Chlamydia," Pastor continued. "It is a real rip-roaring production!"
The large community pool previously used to clean retards and now posing as a mandatory water abortion clinic will also double as baptismal pool.
A signed medical waiver is supposedly required before entering the Landover Baptist Hell House, which, among other things, hopes to bring salvation to "teenagers influenced by the poison of negro music."This is not only satire, but BRILLIANT satire because it skewers Christofascists and politics at the same time.
Of course, no one could deliver sharp objections to Hell Houses like atheist Richard Dawkins. The video below demonstrates that Pastor Keenan Roberts can't really answer most of the questions with anything else but "That's what I believe." Roberts comes off as the typically unyeilding preacher who (secretly) revels in producing such gruesome scenes.
Perhaps Hell Houses really do act out the dark side of the Christofascist psyche. Then again, if there is another side other than the dark one, we've never seen it.
Just a thought.