Just over 25 years ago in May of 1975, I was on stage with Bob Hope as part of his 75th birthday celebration television special. It was a live broadcast from the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. At the time I was a proud member of the United States Air Force Band stationed in Washington, and all the other service bands also participated in the event. Lucille Ball was there, as was Pearl Bailey, Telly Savalas, and a host of other more or less famous stars and sports figures. It was a big event.
Five years later I met up with this icon of American culture in Selma Alabama.
I was on stage as part of the back up band for Mr. Hope. The event was in Selma Alabama for a fund raiser organized by Anita Bryant. Now he was 80 years old, as funny as can be, and very transparently open and complimentary toward the military musicians who comprised his band for the day. Vanessa Williams was there for sex appeal and Ricky Skaggs put on a concert as part of the festivities.
As I look back to my early youth, I remember seeing Bob Hope on television. There he was in Vietnam in the late 60s and early 70s rallying the troops, giving them a great show and a small piece of home. Some who were at his show would never see another. He wasn't a young man even then, yet throughout his life he seemed to live to make others happy, even if was only for a short time.
I decided to do a little research to find out if Bob Hope had a public faith to accompany his public image.
I found this little tid bit at Christianity.Com:
"His influence on American culture has spanned more than eight decades, and his contribution to our nation is boundless. Bob Hope, entertainer and American hero turns 100 this year, and Grassfire.net wants to honor his legacy of laughter and goodwill through a stunning, personal tribute."
So what is the point of all this reminiscing? I just wanted to show that this person who influenced so many also had a direct influence on my life too. I am sure he wouldn't remember me at all, but I do remember him. He made a big impression on me at the time. Try as I might, every opportunity that I had of seeing Bob Hope both on television as well as on the occasions I was privileged to meet him in person, I simply cannot recall him ever once testifying to having a saving faith in Jesus Christ. There is no public record that I am aware of that he even once presented himself as a born again Christian. It may be that he secretly considered himself some sort of a Christian, but since he did not take any of his many public opportunities to even one time witness to his faith, I am sure he would at least not be considered a "real" Christian by the majority of fundamentalist believers that occasionally respond to this site.
He was beloved by the nation. He was a great philathanropist. He was presented with so many awards that he rented a warehouse in order to store them all. However, based on all available information available, it seems quite likely that Evangelicals would have little choice but to sadly conclude that Bob Hope is quite likely in Hell.
I was always taught that any true Christian has such a love for the Lord and such a desire to see others saved they would risk everything to proclaim His love and sacrifice for the world. I was taught that "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." Luke 11:23 I was also taught, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." Luke 6:26
It seems fairly conclusive that unless God has some exceptions to his amazingly simple plan of salvation, that Bob Hope is doing his "After Life" act, in Hell.
According to modern Chrisitianity and many of those who spam this site, that is exactly where he wants to be.
"People prefer hell over complete submission to God"
"So why doesn't God make everyone into perfect beings and allow them all into heaven? It would actually be more cruel if God were to do this, since many people prefer hell to the alternative (complete submission to God). All the people who end up going to hell will have done so because they actually prefer hell to being forced into the presence of God for all eternity. People like to live in their favorite sins and answer to no one else. They know that if they accept Jesus as Lord and Savior that God will want them to change their lives and they might have to give up some of their autonomy." (quote taken from www.evidence.info)
The Christian portrayal of God is that of a pathetic ass. It is a shame to have to admit it, but I think I have to agree with the writer of the quote above. If Bob Hope, who lived a lifetime of giving joy to others, is in hell, then why would I want to go to heaven?
Thanks Bob, for being a great humanitarian and a fine example of how to be a rational human being.