Say what you want about Celts and Pagans, they can be a pretty strange lot but Halloween has a tendency to bring out the weird in all of us. It’s like it’s the one day of the year where we’re given license to let the real freak flag fly. You’re certainly not excluded if you’re Christian. Most sane Christian people take the day in stride and have as much fun as the rest of us, but there are pockets of loons all over the country who flex their personal beliefs in some of the strangest ways possible. Ever gotten religious tracts in your trick or treat bag? It’s enough to sour a whole load of sickeningly sweet goodies and put a damper on the festivities when someone, instead of candy, slips you a short comic explaining how you’ll burn in hell for eternity because you wore a mask one night of the year and splattered pumpkins on the sidewalk.
For some reason, in Canton, North Carolina, Pastor Marc Grizzard has organized a Halloween book burning. Not of tomes of magic spells or evil Satanic heavy metal, but of Christian works, including bibles not of the King James persuasion, denouncing them as satanic and perverse. This is simply because their mild variations don’t jive with his strict interpretation of the bible.
Beginning in the 1970’s, Jerry Falwell kicked off a trend of Fundamentalist Christian haunted houses, better known as Hellmare, where depictions of drug use, rock music, abortion, homosexuality and so on to scare people out of their hedonistic antichristian lifestyles and straight into the loving arms of Christ. However, in 1990, starting in Texas, this trend exploded all over the country and started to infect other parts of the world. The general idea is that you’re guided through a series of scenarios meant to be horrifying and then in the end, you can either enter back into the sin cursed world or sit in on a sermon meant to put you on the path of rebirth. These things, as you might imagine are all over the south and throughout the mid-west. Living as I do in sinful, liberal New England, I’ll probably never get to taste these absurd Halloween treats. There’s an outstanding documentary about an elaborate Hell House production in Texas. Hell House makes for pretty interesting viewing around this time of year.
Remarkably, these days, that’s about all the protest you’re going to get. These are, admittedly, hardcore fundamentalists and in no way are they an accurate representation of mainstream Christianity, but it’s still fun to shine the light on these folks.