Monday, November 11, 2013

But God Wants Them to be Rich!

Six of the wealthiest televangelists are currently under investigation by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. As I've covered before, the "Green Gospel" movement in Christianity is essentially a scam that completely inverts Jesus' message regarding compassion for the poor. Instead, its proponents contend that the richer you are the more God likes you, and God likes them a lot.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said those under scrutiny include faith healer Benny Hinn, Georgia megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and one of the nation's best known female preachers, Joyce Meyer.

Grassley sent letters to the half-dozen Christian media ministries earlier this week requesting answers by Dec. 6 about their expenses, executive compensation and amenities, including use of fancy cars and private jets.

In a statement, Grassley said he was acting on complaints from the public and news coverage of the organizations. "The allegations involve governing boards that aren't independent and allow generous salaries and housing allowances and amenities such as private jets and Rolls Royces," Grassley said.

"I don't want to conclude that there's a problem, but I have an obligation to donors and the taxpayers to find out more. People who donated should have their money spent as intended and in adherence with the tax code."

I'm glad to see that such an investigation is underway. These televangelists are no better than cult leaders in terms of how they spend their followers' donations on their own extravagant lifestyles. You certainly don't need mansions and private jets and so forth to spread the word of God.

UPDATE: The linked article is from 2007, and Grassley's report was issued in 2011. You can read it here. It raises a number of questions regarding the tax exempt status of these evangelists' organizations, but makes no recommendations and so far has led to no real policy changes. That's unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected. These days it seems like money talks in politics, and these folks have plenty of it.

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Anonymous said...

Tell that to the Jesus. My guess is Jesus and the disciples were lucky to own a piece of clothing to cover themselves decently.

Scott Stenwick said...

Yeah, that's about it. There's also that whole thing about how the rich man had to give his wealth to the poor in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which seems to be the exact opposite of these evangelists are trying to do.

Nerd said...

This is Calvinism, plain and simple. These people want to dispense with Jesus altogether and go back to the vengeful angry Old Testament God who rewards his (prechosen) people with worldly gain.

My High School (ostensibly Missouri "misery" Synod Lutheran) was very much like this. They were all Reagan NeoConservatives back in the day.

Normally this is expressed nowadays as Social Darwinism, wherein "the fittest survive." (Herbert Spencer, iirc actually coined the phrase "survival of the fittest.") And how do we know which ones are the fittest? Those which survive. Right? (That used to be called circular reasoning.)

Ergo, those which survive, survive. Which tells us alot. But if this is your religion, then you should be rewarded for that and you should also NOT be merely indifferent to everyone else. You should actively try to flush them down the toilet.

Overall, I view this as the church of ego inflation. People get a little bit of success out of life and it goes straight to their heads. I MUST BE SPECIAL. lol

Scott Stenwick said...

I wasn't aware that the Missouri Synod was that Calvinist. I always figured they were, you know, Lutheran. I grew up ELCA and knew the Missouri Synod was more conservative than us and not as totally out there as the Wisconsin Synod, and that's about it. It seems like so much of this nonsense is based on trying to find a justification to dislike poor people - which is the exact opposite of how Jesus conducted his ministry.

Social Darwinism is a joke, too - by "fittest" Darwin meant those who reproduce the most, and these days wealthier people tend to have fewer children. So the concept of "wealth as fitness" is completely worthless - even if you accept all of the other garbage premises behind that ideology.

Nerd said...

Yeah, I don't know that Misery Synod is Calvinist in theory, but in practice, very much so. In my experience anyway.

The "prechosen" people part can express itself as racism too, btw. Very unseemly.

I've actually heard rumors that Jesus himself may have been swarthy. lol

Scott Stenwick said...

So are the Missouri folks proponents of the blond, blue-eyed Jesus, rather than understanding that if Jesus were alive today he'd be profiled by the TSA as a Middle Eastern terrorist every time he tried to get on a plane?

The level of ignorance behind churches that somehow believe Jesus was a white European is pretty amazing.

Nerd said...

Their actions speak louder than their words.