Last Monday, Sept 13, the death of well-known Evangelical Radio Host Bob Enyard was announced. Whenever anybody passes away our natural human response is to perhaps feel empathy and compassion. In this case, and in many other similar cases now, I personally find a lack of such feelings. As I mull over who he actually was and what he did, I find that the words “Odious” and “Obnoxious” are a rather good fit, along with feelings of relief that he is now gone.
You might consider me to be a monster for making such a confession, but press pause and put that thought on hold for a moment. Permit me to briefly introduce you to some of highlights of his career. When we get to the end you can then see how you feel.
Here is how his Radio show co-host, Fred Williams, broke the news (I’ve cherry picked a few words in bold) …
It comes with an extremely heavy heart that my close friend and co-host of Real Science Radio has lost his battle with Covid. Bob Enyart was one of the smartest, and without question the wisest person I’ve known. All the while being exceedingly kind and humble, and always, always willing to listen and discuss anything you wanted. It was an honor beyond measure to have been alongside him for 15 years and over 750 science shows. I always marveled how Bob put up with me all those years together. When we pre-recorded a show and he asked me to do a retake, I’m convinced that many times he would on purpose follow it with one of his own retakes just to make me feel better. The number of lives he touched is immeasurable and I’m sure Jesus has an extra special place for him in heaven. ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’.
The above is just the opening paragraph. He continues to reminisce about his friend at length in a similar manner.
The use of such terms within any and every obituary is common. The moment somebody passes, regardless of who they really were, they are suddenly transformed into the greatest saint to ever walk the planet. In this case, that’s a hard pass from me, I’ll stick with the truth …
- “smartest” … nope.
- “wisest” … nope.
- “kind” … nope.
- “I’m sure Jesus has an extra special place for him” … indeed he does, somewhere warm, very very warm, for this truly odious individual.
“Real Science” Radio host?
In one word … “no”.
He was a creationist and so his “Real” Science was not in any way scientific at all, but instead dishonestly promoted religious creationism as if it was factual science.
His goal was to debunk conventional schools of scientific thought, such as “Darwinism” and other “old earth” theories. In practise it meant cherry picking stuff out of context then spinning it so that it appeared to confirm his existing religious beliefs. The result was neither “Science”, nor “Real”.
If you are not too sure about this, then consider the following question – If the claim is “God did it by magic”, then how is that in any way a meaningful scientific hypothesis, how do you actually test and falsify such a claim?
My Antipathy towards Bob is fuelled, not by his beliefs, but by his actual behaviour
In the context of all the big issues over the years, when viewed through the lens of basic human decency and empathy, Bob managed to always be on the wrong side. Abortion, Gay Rights, AIDS, COVID, and even Corporal punishment.
Yep, he was a very strong advocate for the idea that kids should be violently and vigorously beaten. He not only actively promoted this idea, and also rather famously practised what he believed, and ended up in jail for 60 days after he beat a 7 year old with a belt.
Side note: the common evangelical justification for such thinking is to simply quote the bible verse that says “spare the rod, and spoil the child“. One little flaw, this phrase does not actually exist in the bible. It was actually coined by a 17th-century poet and satirist by the name of Samuel Butler in his poem “Hudibras.”. What is in the bible is a proverb that says “He that spareth the rod hateth his son,”. That is a reference to a shepherd’s rod that was used, not to beat sheep with, but to care for them, for example, by using the crook to gently pull them out of any hole they fall into.
Dancing on the Graves of AIDS victims
Bob had TV program called “Bob Enyart Live“. On this he had a regular slot where he would, with great joy, read the obituaries of AIDS sufferers. While doing this, he also had the Queen song “Another One Bites the Dust” playing in the background.
Do you really want to celebrate the life of a guy who behaved like this?
To ensure that he was more obnoxious than your average evangelical, he also went the extra mile here as well. He turned up at the homes of Doctors who performed abortions, put up huge signs, and proceed to yell. This was not just once or twice, but was a weekly policy of continuous harassment. This became such an issue that one town had to pass an ordnance banning such protests within residential areas.
He also rather famously often called for women who had received an abortion to be sentenced to the death penalty. I truly struggle to grasp how that was ever “pro-life”.
Reminder, this is the guy that his buddy falsely claimed was “wise” and “kind”.
The tipping point here was his inevitable anti-mask and anti-vaccine activism.
After a mask mandate was issued in Colorado he launched a lawsuit and then managed to find a Trump appointed District Court Judge to rule in his favour and overturn the mask mandate …
The ruling breaks from stances other judges in Colorado have taken on religious freedom challenges to Gov. Jared Polis’s public health orders. The courts have consistently ruled the orders do not violate the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court also took up the issue this year and rejected efforts by a California church to stop that state’s order to shut down religious services.
With the arrival of the vaccine, he once again managed to be on the wrong side of common sense and public health. He not only personally refused to have the vaccine, but also encouraged others to reject it.
The inevitable happened. The Delta variation found him, and so he is now dead.
Rinse and Repeat
Bob’s story is not unique, but is instead simply the latest illustration that reveals that rejecting scientific guidance and instead embracing debunked conspiracy theories truly does have dire consequences.
The Washington Post reports that he is the fifth Right-Wing Talk show host to die like this in the last six weeks …
Enyart is at least the fifth conservative radio talk-show host to have died of covid-19 in the last six weeks after speaking out against vaccinations and masking. The others are Marc Bernier, 65, a longtime host in Florida; Phil Valentine, 61, a popular host in Tennessee; Jimmy DeYoung, 81, a nationally syndicated Christian preacher also based in Tennessee; and Dick Farrel, 65, who had worked for stations in Miami and Palm Beach, Fla., as well as for the conservative Newsmax TV channel.
To give meaning and substance to their lives they grasped hold of a delusion and then vigorously ran hard and fast with it because it tickled the minds of the demographic that they pandered to. This not only resulted in their own deaths, but also because they promoted disinformation, negatively impacted many other lives.
When hearing that an active COVID disinformation promoter such as Bob has passed, my reaction is not sorrow, but instead is a feeling of relief that there is now one less voice promoting dangerous disinformation, and we are one step closer to an end to this current wholly avoidable period of tragedy.
The Legacy of Bob Enyard
Bob’s legacy is one that involves not just COVID denialism, but also includes many other attributes of fanatical evangelical activism. As I mentioned above, this included him personally harassing doctors who performed abortions outside their homes, and also literally dancing with glee and joy as he read the obituaries of those that tragically died of AIDS.
The final parting observation is this. Bob Enyard has performed just one distinct and very positive act in his entire sorry life that has benefited the entire planet – he left it, and so the world has now become a slightly better place because he is no longer here. His bile, active hatred, intolerance, and torrent of misinformation and disinformation is gone and has now passed.
Apparently I’ve not been alone with this reaction. When Bob first passed, many many people posted links on his Facebook page to “Another One Bites the Dust”. Sadly that all got wiped.