The recent death of Pat Robertson reminded me that I already kind of have a deathwatch going for the various false prophets that influenced my parents and their generation of white evangelicals.
While I do not celebrate anyone’s death, I believe that the world literally becomes a better place when some people shuffle off. I imagine that Jewish people everywhere experienced relief when Hitler sent himself to the afterlife, simply because he was then unable to continue to harm others. In reference to the title, the Munchkins celebrated the end of their oppression by the Wicked Witch. This page is in that spirit.
For false prophets, their ability to harm doesn’t entirely go away, but it does diminish over time after their death, as fewer people remember them or follow their ideas. True, some like Robert Lewis Dabney continue to influence with their writings, but even he is probably going to be forgotten by most in a generation or two.
I hope it is obvious that I would have preferred that these men (and a few women) had repented during their lifetime rather than die unrepentant. But they made their choices.
I also want to note that I do not believe in the Evangelical version of Hell, and haven’t since I was in Jr. High. (I read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis and realized that there were other interpretations.) At this point, I am agnostic about the afterlife - in line with Qoheleth. And with Rabelais, who called the afterlife “The Great Perhaps.”
But let me be clear: by the standard of the doctrines the false prophets claimed to believe, they are currently burning in Hell.
Finally, I want to address “judge not.” This tends to be weaponized by those in power to escape the consequences of their actions - something completely contrary to Christ’s meaning. In reality, we are to be careful about judging those “below” us - those at the margins of society, the ones we naturally tend to look down on.
Leaders, however, we are absolutely called on to judge - on the basis of their fruit. Christ had zero hesitation in calling out the hypocrisy and greed and cruelty of those in power - and neither did the prophets who came before him.
Finally, we are always called to judgment - discernment - when it comes to doctrines and teachings. The hallmark of a false prophet is that he or she is selling shit - evil doctrines - in the name of God.
You can read about how I identify false prophets in this post.
Here is the current list of false prophets I have discussed, and the posts about them:
Schlafly was the grandmother of the current anti-feminist movement, and was hugely influential on the “put women firmly back in the home so they can have lots of wyte babies” trend within Evangelicalism. She was hardly the last, of course, but everyone since has copied her, down to the details of the rhetoric. That she was also a flaming hypocrite and a vicious racist tends to be forgotten.
While most Evangelicals claim to disavow Phelps and his tactics, they share his vicious anti-LGBTQ beliefs, and support the same political policies to persecute LGBTQ folks that he did.