America’s post-war cohort should repent its godless ways before it’s too late, according to Winley’s jeremiad.
Writing in the persona of “Baby Boom Prophet” Jonah Ubiquitous, Winley, a minister at Harlem’s Soul Saving Station for Every Nation, subjects those born between 1946 and 1964 to a serious scolding. His demographic rationale is two-fold. First, the boomer generation authored the culture of sexual permissiveness, abortion, homosexuality, drug abuse, violence, welfare dependency, personal irresponsibility and unorthodox spirituality that he blames for America’s moral rot and the travails of the African-American community. Second, a recap of four decades’ worth of boomer-dominated history, from the 1960s assassinations to Monica-gate and the war in Iraq, serves as a framework for viewing modern times as a parade of depravity, war, natural disaster and apostasy, all of it leading inevitably to Armageddon. Winley’s manifesto interweaves disparate themes, stories and registers. There is a murky digression into a failed publishing venture, a confusing discourse on the structure of Heaven (the fourth heaven is the paradise where saved humans go, while hell itself is “a type of heaven”) and a dash of end-times numerology (“June 6, 2006, represents forty years from the symbolic birth of the Anti-Christ world ruler (6-6-66)”). There’s some religious-right politics—Winley denounces materialism and money-grubbing while defending George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and decides that the Christian injunction to turn the other cheek need not apply to Al Qaeda. And there is a persistent voice crying out in the wilderness, warning that “racial hatred, murder of innocents, political corruption, family disintegration, killer children, home-grown terrorism, violence, greed, lust, and every imaginable evil dwell within the borders of the United States.” Winley’s message is standard Christian Fundamentalist doctrine, but in some passages—especially during a long, affecting parable about a black man who, after an abusive upbringing, lands in prison, where Jonah tries to bring him to the Lord—he writes with real pathos about the moral chaos that ravages men’s souls.
A meandering, uneven fire-and-brimstone sermon.