What’s in a name? For many contemporary religious figures, it’s a Web site. Some people of faith have monikers so popular they’ve merited their own URLs—or “uniform resource locators,” which is the technical term for a Web address.
Sometimes the Web addresses have been disputed. Case in point: For years parody sites of Jerry Falwell existed at www.jerryfalwell.com and www.jerryfallwell.com. The reverend finally won legal rights to those URLs in June 2003, and now both sites house Jerry Falwell Ministries.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
But what about other religious figures who didn’t link the Sept. 11 attacks and homosexuals? Are their names popular enough to warrant URLs?
Yes, they are. Now, a brief tour through religious celebrity sites …
Here one finds the biggest of the big.
Billy Graham’s www.billygraham.com and www.billygraham.org both bring up the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Franklin Graham owns www.franklingraham.org, which forwards to www.grahamfestival.org, the site for Franklin Graham Festivals.
Anne Graham Lotz has www.annegrahamlotz.com, which brings up Lotz’s <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />AnGeL Ministries.
Jerry Falwell has already been discussed. (Note, however, that while www.falwell.com also goes to his JFM page, www.fallwell.com still belongs to a party responsible for one of the parody sites.)
Pat Robertson has of course staked out www.patrobertson.com and www.patrobertson.org, which both show Robertson’s official home page—where one can “learn more about the man and his mission.”
James Dobson’s name site, www.jamesdobson.com, forwards to www.family.org, the Web site for Focus on the Family. The former link, however, is actually registered to Tyndale House Publishers in Carol Stream, Ill., according to the Network Solutions WHOIS database.
If one types in www.rickwarren.com, the California pastor’s popular www.pastors.com site comes up.
Sojourners chief Jim Wallis has dibs on www.jimwallis.org but not www.jimwallis.com, which is registered to a U.K.-based Internet company.
T.D. Jakes has www.tdjakes.org, which is The Potter’s Touch site (his daily broadcast). He also owns www.tdjakes.com, though that site is under construction.
Televangelists of one stripe or another also keep sites registered in their names.
Benny Hinn owns www.bennyhinn.com and www.bennyhinn.org for Benny Hinn Ministries.
Joyce Meyer Ministries works under www.joycemeyer.org, www.joycemeyer.com and www.joycemeyer.net.
Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Paul and Jan Crouch have www.paulcrouch.com and www.jancrouch.com, but both sites bring up the TBN home page.
Rod Parsley and his Breakthrough ministry have www.rodparsley.com, www.rodparsley.org and www.rodparsley.net.
Atlanta pastor Charles Stanley has a site in his name, www.charlesstanley.com, which goes to In Touch Ministries.
Robert Schuller owns www.robertschuller.com, which brings up the “Hour of Power” site.
Interestingly, D. James Kennedy’s site is at www.coralridge.org. The site www.djameskennedy.com exists, but it is registered to an individual in Wrens, Ga., according to the WHOIS database. A message pops up for 60 seconds on the site saying Kennedy has nothing to do with that particular page.
“I am a silent supporter of both Dr. D. James Kennedy and Coral Ridge Ministries work,” the message says. “I personally paid for these domains and they will always be available and forwarded to the Coral Ridge Ministry site.”
The message goes on to say that “no one will ever be able to misuse Dr. D. James Kennedy’s name like has happened to so many popular people.”
One such person whose name has been Web-co-opted a la Jerry Falwell is Jesse Jackson. For example, www.jessejackson.com goes to a porn site, www.jessejackson.net is registered but for sale, and www.jessejackson.org goes to what the site’s owners call an “educational parody” of Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition site.
The satirical site features the “Rainbow/PIMP Coalition.” The actual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition site is www.rainbowpush.org or www.rainbowpush.com.
Yes, some Baptist leaders have registered their names as well.
Paige Patterson owns www.paigepatterson.info (which forwards to his page at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), but not www.paigepatterson.com, which belongs to a sales associate for Realty South.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary registered www.almohler.com in April 2002, according to the WHOIS database, but the site remains under construction.
No one has registered www.danielvestal.com or its variants like www.danielvestal.org or www.danielvestal.net.
At www.paulpressler.com, one is greeted by a company’s message about stockholders’ need for transparency. Long story short, that Paul Pressler refers to a former Disney executive and current Gap CEO—not the Judge Paul Pressler associated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
If one goes to www.richardland.com, a humor site by an actor/model whose real name is Richard Bushnell comes up. Richard Land of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has his site at www.richardlandlive.com, which refers to his radio show.
These categories aren’t mutually exclusive, but some religious figures are best known as authors.
Most authors, of course, have name sites.
There’s www.brucewilkinson.com, www.maxlucado.com, www.jerryjenkins.com, www.timlahaye.com, www.francinerivers.com and a host of others.
Bob Jones—of Bob Jones University fame—has no name site. Bob Jones University is housed at www.bju.edu.
There is another Bob Jones, however, whose www.bobjones.org goes to The Prophetic Ministry of Bob Jones with Paul Keith Davis. The site points out it has nothing to do with Bob Jones University.
Judge Roy Moore actually does not own a name site (at least not that I’ve found). The judge does have a site, though, at www.morallaw.com.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com
Who else has a name site and should be on this list? E-mail me …