GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Spoofing the self-righteous

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“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” as the Bible says. But in religion, the medicine doesn’t always go down easy.

On our second day for religious humor sites, we’ll get down to the fundamentals at . . .

Landover Baptist Church

The caustic boundary of religious satire is always pushed at the fictional Landover Baptist. Just about every racist, sexist, isolationist, homophobic, self-righteous blemish of fundamentalism comes under the gun here. FAIR WARNING: The site often gets crude, even R-rated: There’s even a caution — a well-earned one — against letting anyone under 18 read the site.

Like many fundamentalists, the site obsesses over sexuality. It calls breastfeeding a “gateway sin'” and sees lisping as a sign of homosexuality. And it naturally picks out alleged sexual references in just about every feature film — even Speed Racer and Chicken Little.

Creator Chris Harper posts frequent messages as Pastor Deacon Fred Smith, including a video of his famous fire-breathing sermon at a 2002 gathering of American Atheists. He also urges his flock to speed up global warming, so that Jesus will come back sooner.

Another regular feature is Betty Bowers, “American’s Best Christian [tm],” casting stones at us in an animated picture. Her ramblings are equal parts conceit over her looks and fashions, and condescension toward nonbelievers.

The “church” highly recommends controlling members’ lives. One article reports the expulsion of several members for texting gossip during worship services – an offense intercepted by network surveillance.

There’s more — Bible quizzes, a Junior Vacation Bible Gun Camp, a sound file saying merely, “Scientists is stupid” — but here’s a quick test: Do you think a picture of Jesus on a thong — offered as a sale item — is clever or offensive? That will help you decide if Landover Baptist is for you.


Written by Jim Davis

August 10, 2008 at 3:24 am

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