An April Fools prank by popular George W. Bush impersonator John Morgan has made the national news today. Local hoopla stirred up by Morgan's "presidential visit" to a small Mississippi town was featured this morning on CNN's home page and the USA Today website as part of the media outlets' special April Fools Day coverage.
Morgan, an author and a finalist on ABC Television's The Next Best Thing who is best known as "The Definitive President George W. Bush," was invited by Bethlehem Community Church in Laurel, Miss., to appear at an event advertised as featuring "a special guest." Hundreds who arrived at the church were stunned to realize that the "special guest" was the none other than the 43rd President of the United States.
The fun began when the editor of the local Laurel Leader-Call newspaper, who was in the attendance, snapped a picture of the "president."
"The editor sent the photo to a reporter, who posted it to our (Facebook) page. Both of them clearly thought that it was actually George Bush," says Leader-Call owner Jim Cegielski in today's edition of USA Today. "He certainly fooled us, until the guy admitted that he was an impersonator."
The posting on Facebook set off a flurry of comments from readers who were thrilled by the "presidential visit" to their hometown. Upon realizing the mistake, the Leader-Call posted an update that said, "George W. Bush was NOT in Laurel tonight. It was an impersonator. Tell us your thoughts," which precipitated another round of comments from the local citizenry.
"The best thing about any event like this is to bring the Good News, and John does a great job of tying all that together after he reveals himself and sharing the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ," says Jamie Altman, pastor at Bethlehem Community Church, who was amused by all of the excitement. "Whatever you can do to get people to listen to the Word, I'm all for it and that's what we did."
"We all had great fun with this, but we had no idea it would make the national news!" says Morgan. "My ultimate goal is always to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a way that is unique and gets people thinking."
Morgan currently is promoting his upcoming release, War On Fear, due out this Fall. The book discusses Morgan's personal struggle with fear that he says prevented him from achieving all the dreams God had placed on his heart. "Once I declared war on fear, it changed the way I lived and has provided me with victory and peace," he says.
Though the book details his own story, Morgan has observed that every man and woman struggles with fear. His hope is that his new book will enable people to move forward toward their God-given dreams and not be bullied by unseen forces.
War On Fear follows the 2008 publication of My Life As A Bush...and My Heart for Imitating Jesus, co-written by Morgan and Vince Wilcox with a forward by Governor Huckabee.