I just watched a segment on the CNN evening news about a disturbing practice that I was not aware of until today. Several fundamentalist churches operate Halloween Hell Houses in order to scare believers and non-believers (young and impressionable kids among them) into following the "righteous" path. Like all houses of horror, these are meant to scare revelers during Halloween, except they are not meant to amuse but to indoctrinate, intimidate and proselytise in a gruesome fashion. Some of the favorite themes in these so called "gospel" driven theme parks of horror are:
__ A gay man dying of AIDS, being tortured and taunted for his sinful ways.
__ A teenage girl brutally killed by the devil for professing her faith.
__ A baby crying for mercy from inside the mother's womb while being aborted.
After witnessing this edifying tableau, the visitor is given the option of "salvation" by accepting the church's teachings.
Apparently, hell houses were the brilliant brainchild of Jerry Falwell, some time in the 1970's but did not catch on as regular "halloween entertainment" until the 1990's and the idea is spreading in popularity. Churches more experienced in running these obscene shows act as dramatic consultants to other churches interested in following suit. Hell House kits, videos and outreach manuals detailing how to set up the grisly shows, are available for sale.
The supreme irony here is that the same institutions which run these X- rated brain washing schemes in the guise of religion (and probably make money), scream bloody murder every time they find something objectionable in the popular media. They are quick to organize boycotts against radio and TV stations, threaten and deride Hollywood and video game makers and regularly harangue libraries to ban books in order to protect our youth from "corrupting" influences!