|“||One bad apple, people. That's all it takes! One bad apple and the whole barrel is spoiled! Do you want to save that barrel? Then throw out that apple. Cast it away! And if you fail to destroy that bad apple, who will carry the blame? It is said that in the town of Seek'um, every man was punished for the sins of one man. And the punishment was DEATH!!||„|
|~ The Minister’s speech.|
The Minister is the main antagonist of short film Backwater Gospel. This preacher is not only the ruling leader of the religious fundamentalist cult known as the Fear of the Lord, but also is the manipulative mayor and spiritual leader of Backwater, a small community in the middle of nowhere before its downfall due to the Undertaker's visit.
He was voiced by Lucien Dodge.
The Minister is both the town mayor and the leader of Fear of the Lord, a religious sect which presumably have mainly Catholic leanings (as the follower of the sect gathered in the church at the hill near the town and the Minister would held a white cross on his hand during the preaching sessions) that promises its followers salvation. He has converted the whole town’s population to join the sect to improve their miserable life except the Tramp, the happy-go lucky but actually wise crippled man whom have more positive outlook in his life that the rest of the town in spite of his lack of faith.
The factor why Minister easily mislead everyone except Tramp to join the sect was due to both their fear of death and damnation as well as fear that Minister won’t aid them for salvation by God, in which they followed the Minister blindly without thinking about themselves. Because of it, they led their lives in fear, resulting the atmosphere of the town become gloomy and have no sign of happiness except from Tramp.
By the events of short film, it’s apparent that he cannot convert Tramp to the sect’s cause. After angrily staring at the Tramp, Minister has his heavily muscled son Bubba ring the church bell to call the townspeople to church, before called Tramp for the last time to join the preaching, telling him to "Submit to the Lord!". Tramp once again, gave the cold shoulder by saying, “Why don’t you try it?”. This resulting Minister slam the door shut in anger, before began to lectures the townspeople about how one negative influence could bring the whole town to ruin.
In the middle of his lectures, a crow lands near the Tramp. He realizes that the Undertaker is approaching, and goes to warn the townspeople- not out of good intentions, but to scare the fearful people for his own amusement. He interrupts church and calls, "The Undertaker's coming" through the window. The people panic, to the Tramp's evident enjoyment, which infuriates the Minister as the people rush to their homes and bar the doors. After some time, the Undertaker arrives to the town via his bike, and as he passes into town, his shadow reveals his otherwise invisible wings. Upon getting off of his bike, the Undertaker walks to the town's well, sits down, and waits.
By the end of seven days, the Undertaker is still in the town, and the people are nervous and on edge. The minister summons the townspeople to church, and misleads the townsfolk into believing that it was the Tramp's fault that the Undertaker is here, and convinces them to go out and kill the Tramp, believing the death of the Tramp will make the Undertaker leave. Upon seeing that the townspeople are after him, the Tramp tries to flee, but his missing leg gives way, and he falls to the ground some distance in front of the Undertaker. The minster calls, "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone!" and smiles cruelly as the townspeople stone the Tramp to death. Eventually, Bubba throws a large rock, which crushes the Tramp's head and kills him.
But, instead of leaving as expected, the Undertaker continues sitting in front of the well with the exact same smile on his face. Suddenly, it begins to rain, and a raindrop drops onto Bubba's head. Bubba looks up towards the sky- his eyes, for only the second time in the short film, are shown realistically in this, implying that he only then understood what had been done. A second after this, rain begins to fall- however, when the first drop had struck the blood-spattered Bubba, it had been indistinguishable from the blood already on his face, implying that the rain is composed of blood and that it was not the Tramp the Undertaker wanted.
Ultimately, one of the townspeople, whom extremely afraid of death, snapped and horizontally sliced a nearby woman's head into two like a fruit, triggering brutal massacre where during the rampage, the townspeople become more and more feral as they began to mutilate one another with their bare hands and teeth. Bubba also snapped, and blamed Minister that he has brought the cataclysm to them. The Minister then revealed a revolver that he hid inside his bible and shoots him as Bubba charges him. The Minister then crawls his way through the bloody massacre and attempts to try and shoot the Undertaker, but Bubba, despite having a significant portion of his head missing, attacks the minister again. The Minster shoots Bubba again, but the effort was proven futile as Bubba, who was holding a beam of wood in the shape of a cross (ripped from his door some time earlier), falls on the Minister, the cross crushing his head and killing him.
His corpse is seen among the ones that put into coffin as credits rolls.
While he was viewed as a spiritual figure by everyone except Tramp, whom able to see his true color, Minister is actually a sociopathic and manipulative fundamentalist who see world in black and white, indifferent (or precisely refused) to see that he brought no improvement to everyone's lives. The only things that Minister care about was his power over control the town through his sect Fear of the Lord and upholding the said sect's belief at any costs.
Whilst being a religious fanatic may bad, Minister proved to be worse as a hypocritical man. In spite of his religious side, Minister has unknowingly abuse the name of God and His promise of salvation through his teachings given that at the same time, he controlled everyone except Tramp's lives in Backwater through the fear of damnation. Indeed, his devotion to the sect and his power goes to the extreme, lacking any trace of forgiveness or compassion for anyone who pose a threat to his community, where he attempted to shoot Undertaker but failed with Bubba killed him for the chaos at the climax.