earlier this morning, as ryan seacrest mentioned at the beginning of our show, the immensely popular evangelical idol jerry falwell was found dead in his office at age 73. throughout the afternoon fellow evangelical idols met with the media to eulogize their old friend and comrade. for his part, billy graham spoke of reverend falwell as "a close personal friend for many years," adding "we did not always agree on everything, but i knew him to be a man of God." james dobson of focus on the family spoke similar words of remembrance on a special report from focus that was aired on klove and clear channel's fish radio stations throughout the country today. moreover, on the same program charles colson, formerly of prison fellowship, promised not only to found a liberty university chair in legal ethics but also donate125 iraqi freedom model M1 rifles to the missouri militia in falwell's honor.
we* here at musings of a jaded optimist think that the best way to honor reverend falwell's legacy is not only to remember the good times and the tears he brought to tinky winky's eyes but to start looking forward to the evangelical leaders who are likely to take his majesty of the moral majority's place. below we have posted the current vegas line on evangelical leaders who have a fighting chance to become the next evangelical idol. of course this post means nothing without your participation, so don't forget to vote by dialing 800.4FALWEL or posting your comments below.
rick warren: 2 to 1
pros: he's got the best selling book since the Bible (which is often regarded as the Bible), pastors a ginormous church in orange county--the new "it" spot--as laguna beach will attest, is attempting to address the AIDS pandemic and is reaching out across political divides.
cons: he's reaching across political divides, wears hawaiian shirts, his new look is as plastic as barbie's skipper and he might be susceptible to a kerry-esque botox scandal, he has a weird speaking voice and we fear that his willingness to share his platform with mixed race individuals might have a negative effect on our children.
ed young jr.: 3 to 1
pros: he's from dallas, where 36.2 percent of evangelicals live, both he and daddy have a big church, brother is a gospel singer, and by all accounts ed has perfect hair, pretty nails, a picturesque smile and popular books.
cons he's about three tight fitting pastel sweaters away from john eldredge openly wondering whether he is truly "wild at heart.
pros: lives in
cons: height - as one look at billy graham will attest, evangelicals don't like leaders who fail to measure up to dennis kucinich and there is some fear that andy's north point christian church will come under intense, negative scrutiny in the summer of 2007 when the southern baptist convention is announcing its new, annual campaign to evangelize and/or verbally accost all congregations that include the title "community in their name."
rob bell: 10 to 1
pros: graduated from wheaton college just like graham, is a media darling, has defied the odds and his family's personal safety by planting a gigantic church in grand rapids and is one of the few people who actually looks ten pounds lighter on television.
cons: gets five hundred dollar hair cuts from john edwards' stylist, wrote a recent book that suggests that God appreciates sex, has yet to condemn mclaren as heterodox and there are rumors of questionable interactions between live animals and bell on the mars hill stage.
cons: pretty much everything. he's old, he leads "crusades," and he's non-white.
pros: if you pronounce his name incorrectly it's a hell of a lot of fun. try it on for size louie paloooee. louie paloooee is livin' it up with stephen baldwin. louie paloooee is preachin' in kalamazoooe!
dr. jose luis de jesus miranda: 500 to 1
pros: he think's he's jesus come back again, he has lots of money, preaches prosperity and great love for many women, has a large following of latinos a growing minority in the country and nobody f*cks with the jesus!
cons: he's a little soft on abortion and may have obtained his doctorate from the university of phoenix.
okay, those are amazing odds aren't they? so let's hear from you our listeners! don't forget to dial 800.FALWEL or drop your comment below! and be sure to tune in tomorrow night for the next episode of evangelical idol!
* by which i mean me, gentry, and the man predestined to be the 2010 miss church planter of america winner, mr. aaron monts!