Rose and I occasionally listen to an oldies station here in Yakima while chatting before falling asleep. Last night, when the advertisements replaced the music, I surfed the channels and fell upon AM 930 KYAK – a local Christian station. His voice quavered with emotion – but sounded weak from age and the abuse of SCREAMING about the end of the world for the last fifty years. The crackling poor reception added wonderfully to the effect. Rose and I were immediately transported back to the days of the tent preacher/revivalist/snake-oil salesman who can cure all your ills even as he saves your soul and empties your pocketbook.
It was the voice of Brother Stair who describes himself as “The VOICE of the Last Day Prophet of GOD!” on his website. (Yes, the underline and caps are his own – modest guy, eh?). Rose and I were immediately fixated – Brother Stair is a living relic of a bygone era best characterized as a 1950s B-grade monster movie cum Holy Ghost radio preacher/prophet/doomsday salesman. He was in the middle of a sentence when we began listening, and was ranting about the “devout Jews” who came to Pentecost in Acts 2. “That word doesn’t mean that they were good or believers, or anything like that,” he explained. “The word devout just means religious, like devout unbelieving Lutherans or devout Catholics. Heck, there are even devout homosexuals and DEVOUT LUCIFERIANS!” Then he took his next call and was asked something about dinosaurs and Noah’s Ark. This really set him off. “THERE WERE NO DINOSAURS!” he blasted. “The earth is only six thousand years old. Some scientist finds a pile of bones and says ‘See that? That’s a dinosaur.’ How could anybody be so foolish to believe them? God didn’t say anything about dinosaurs in the Bible, so they are not real!”
By this time, Rose and I were gasping for breath, and when I caught mine, I blurted out “He’s the Preacher from the Black Lagoon!” It turns out this guy has been predicting the end of the world since the 1950s, so our sense that he is a “living relic” was right on. He predicted nuclear war in 1988, and is reported as saying “If the Lord God Almighty does not make a major move before the year 2000, I’ll tell God to go to Hell.” He runs a cult and has been accused of multiple nasty crimes, some of which he has plead guilty to. So here is my tribute to his “ministry.” (Coincidentally, this ties in very well with an article I had planned to comment on yesterday: Clouds, with Context: The sci-fi roots of modern fundamentalism, an excellent read).