Publicity-Hungry Minister Lures Reporters to Church with Flickering Lights*

By Neal Comment

A North Carolina pastor announced plans for a Halloween bonfire at Amazing Grace Baptist Church, and at least one local television station was credulous enough to send somebody out to hear his explanation.

Make that two local TV stations, with at least one Associated Press staffer figuring the story was worth bumping up the news chain. The gimmick here is that Rev. Mark Grizzard and the 14 members of his church believe that the King James Bible is the only version that counts, so they’ll be burning copies of any other translation they can get their hands on, as well as books by “heretic” authors like Billy Graham, Rick Warren, and “the Pope” (although it’s unclear whether they mean John Paul II or Benedict XVI). The one thing we’re curious about: Where are all those books coming from, and how much did they cost? (OK, maybe that’s two things.)

(Actually, now that we think of it, there’s a third issue we can’t quite shake: What are the non-English-speaking peoples of the world supposed to do for salvation if they can’t read the “preserved, inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God” as laid out by King James’ crew of 47 scholars? It’s all very confusing.)

*That’s right: We’re stealing from ourselves. Also, yes, we recognize that, technically, the headline is inaccurate because the bonfire is still two weeks away.