Landover Baptist Church
"Where the worthwhile worship. Unsaved unwelcome!"
|Type of site||Satirical Website|
|Created by||Chris Harper/Paul A. Bradley|
The Landover Baptist Church is a fictional Baptist church based in the fictional town of Freehold, Iowa. The Landover Baptist web site and its associated Landoverbaptist.net Forum are a satire of fundamentalist Christianity and the Religious Right in the United States.
The site was created by Chris Harper, who obtained his Master's Degree in English Literature from George Mason University in 1993 after being expelled from Liberty University (founded by Jerry Falwell) in 1989 for producing a satirical radio show which Liberty's administration found offensive.
Landover "operates" under a dictatorial structure whereby its "Pastor" holds all authority over the church, its members, and its extensive holdings. The church has an elaborate fine system inspired by Jerry Falwell's system at Liberty University to maintain its authority over its members, and in addition can force its members to comply with any and all of its wishes (a common phrase on the website used in such cases is that the member "mandatorily volunteered" to comply). In cases of expulsion the member is also removed from the church property.
Within the Landover universe, Landover owns well over 1,000 acres (400 ha) in Freehold. The church claims to have twenty-eight paid pastors, 412 full-time staff members, eleven fully equipped chapels, seven sanctuaries, a 100,000 seat amphitheater, twelve television studios, two radio stations, an academy, a university, two gated communities, twenty-seven developments, three office parks, as well as a shopping mall, amusement park, golf course, retirement community, foundation, fire and police department, circus camp, resort center, retreat center, and a number of fitness centers, swimming pools, hot springs, and cemeteries. The church also runs an annual hell house. Landover claims to have obtained a "permanent injunction" against all "unsaved" persons, prohibiting them from being within ten miles of the Landover property as well as forbidding them to enter Landover's website.
The initial "pastor" of Landover was Ben Ebeneezer Smith, then upon his death his brother (Deacon Fred Smith) assumed the office. In and around June 2010 a "coup" took place (in accordance with a spurious interpretation of Romans 13) whereby Pastor Harry Harkwell took over leadership. However, Deacon Fred was "restored" to his pastorship after a "reconciliation" during Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally.
The Landover site also features Betty Bowers, a fictional central character on the satirical website BettyBowers.com. Betty Bowers is currently portrayed by voice actor and comedienne Deven Green, appearing both in photographs and numerous satirical videos. According to Bradley's fictional satirical biography of Mrs. Betty Bowers, she proclaims herself "America's Best Christian". Bowers operates several Christian ministries with names like "Bringing Integrity To Christian Homemakers" (B.I.T.C.H.) and "Baptists Are Saving Homosexuals" (B.A.S.H.). She is a member of Landover Baptist Church.
- The Landover Baptist Church or Americhrist Ltd. (2011-01-23). "The Landover Baptist Church Terms of Service". Landoverbaptist.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. "The Landover Baptist Church is a complete work of fiction. It is a satire/parody."
- "Students expelled from Liberty University are praying for Falwell". Times-News / AP. 1989-04-14. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- Rowland Croucher and others (2006-05-01), Landover Baptist Church, retrieved 2012-07-13
- "Landover Flies in Hundreds of Corpses From Turkey's Earthquake for This Year's Halloween Hell House". Landover Baptist Halloween History. Freehold, Iowa. October 1999. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "About » THE NO SIN ZONE". "My name is Mrs. Betty Bowers and — as you already know — I’m America’s Best Christian."
- "Mrs. Betty Bowers, Briefly...".