Religulous is on Netflix. So I watched it. It was only the second time I had seen it. The first time I saw it was New Year’s Day, 2009. I don’t know why I know that, but I do.
I liked Religulous a lot more this time. Despite being nearly 10 years old, the documentary seems as relevant as ever. While watching, I couldn’t help but think about what became of the people Maher interviewed. There were some very odd characters, and it seemed like an awfully long time since anybody had checked up on them.
So I did a (light) Google search to see how they were getting along. Here is what I found:
Who was he: An Orlando-based evangelist preacher
Where is he now: In 2009 Cummings told ABC News that appearing in Religulous “ruined [his] life.” He claims he was portrayed in an unfavorable light, and decided to sue the film’s distributor, LionsGate Entertainment, for defamation of character. He later dropped the case, but said the film triggered lawsuits against him and impoverished him. Cummings later told the website BeliefNet that the real purpose of the interview had been concealed to him, and that he had agreed to do it under the impression that it was a documentary about faith for PBS. Maher denies that he lied about the purpose of the documentary, but concedes that he didn’t tell his interviewees of his role.
When confronted with the charge that he had been deceitful, Maher said “Religion accusing me of deception? Religion–the greatest scam in the history of world, selling the invisible product for thousands of years accusing us of deception? That takes the cake. I’ve always been upfront about how we did this movie.”
I found Jeremiah Cummings listed on the Black Preacher Network. He currently lives in Saint Anne, Illinois and posted something on the site on April 1, 2016. I hope he’s doing okay.
Who was he: A married “ex-gay” priest.
Who is he now: A divorced ex-gay priest. According to reports, Westcott divorced from his wife of 17 years in 2010, leaving behind a broken home for their three sons. Westcott downplayed the effect his “ex-gayness” had on the divorce, saying “my divorce has nothing to do with my or my ex-wife’s past, it is the unfortunate reality of the brokenness that affects all of humanity.”
Westcott’s former employer, Exchange Ministries, which believes that homosexuality is a disease that can be cured, is still in business.
Who was he: A furniture store owner, former Jew and current Catholic (as of 2008).
Who is he now: Not sure. The trail runs pretty cold on this fella. However, I did find a Facebook page, made presumably by Burg’s wife, celebrating Burg’s film debut.
Senator Mark Pryor
Who was he: An evangelical Christian democratic Senator from Arkansas.
Who is he now: Pryor leads Venable LLP’s Legislative and Government Affairs and State Attorneys General practice groups (he’s a lobbyist). He lost his reelection bid in 2015 to Republican Tom Cotton, an ardent Donald Trump supporter and asshole.
Who was he: An Australian guy who built a creationism museum in Tennessee.
Where is he now: Debating Bill Nye the Science Guy…
And building a giant Noah’s Ark…
Tal Bachman & Bill Gardiner
Who were they: Ex-Mormons, and in Bachman’s case, an ex pop star.
Where are they now: Bill Gardiner is a hard man to place, and by that I mean he didn’t show up in the first two pages of my Google search. Bachman, on the other hand, still performs. You can even check out his Facebook page to see where to catch a show. She’s so hiiiiiiiigh.
Rabbi Dovid Weiss
Who was he: A holocaust-denying rabbi.
Where is he now: He is a spokesman for Neturei Karta, which stands for Jews against Zionism. He shares the view that the state of Israel goes against the teachings of the Torah and that Judaism has been used and manipulated for political aims at the expense of the Palestinian people. He gives talks about this subject. He also sometimes shakes the hand of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, and former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (WARNING: that links to a weird website). He was most recently spotted last November protesting outside the United Nations.
Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda
Who was he: The second-coming of Jesus Christ.
Who is he now: Nobody. He died in 2013. But his followers from the Florida-based Growing in Grace cult movement dispute his death. They believe he is (was?) immortal. Nonetheless, he succumbed to liver cirrhosis on August 8, 2013. After his death, his ex-wife made a (since removed) video, in which she attempted to expose the lies behind Miranda’s cult movement. She claims Miranda started the movement to make a profit off his “naive followers.”
“I don’t want to be a part of the lies that have betrayed people for so long,” she told the Christian Post. “I can’t continue people’s faith, beliefs and feelings to be hurt any longer,”
Aki Nawaz a.k.a. Propa-Ghandi
Who was he: A British musician who raps about terrorism.
Where is he now: He has released seven albums as the cult multi-ethnic hip-hop outfit Fun-Da-Mental. In England, Fun-Da-Mental has been called the “Asian Public Enemy.” In 2006, Nawaz released a song called “Cookbook DIY,” in which he raps about how to make a homemade bomb. In a 2015 interview with Noisey, Nawaz explained how his music has often caused him to have to go into hiding. Also, he almost met Osama Bin Laden in 1998. Here is the aforementioned song:
Don’t make a bomb at home. But do watch Religulous.