Thursday, June 20, 2013

Completely Shameless

I've gone on and on over the years about the ridiculousness and theological bankruptcy of "Green Gospel" Christianity, but this latest example is the most shameless I've come across in a long time. Texas pastor Ira Hilliard recently sent a letter to his congregation seeking funds to upgrade the church's helicopter. In the letter, he explained that God will help those who donate obtain a new luxury vehicle within the year. Hilliard is now being accused of blasphemy by another pastor, Saiko Woods, who advocates a form of Christianity in which donating to your church and appearing on a game show are two completely different things.

“Do you need better transportation?” New Light Church Bishop Ira V. Hilliard asks in a letter obtained by The Smoking Section. “Do you have a dream vehicle or luxury automobile you long to purchase?”

“We have an urgent transportation need that the Lord said can be an opportunity for you to see His favor and His wisdom released to help you,” he continues. “Scripture teaches when you give to a Kingdom need God will raise up someone to use their power, their ability and their influence to help you.”

Hilliard says that he was excited when the “small voice of the Holy Spirit” told him that God would “release favor” for anyone who helped upgrade the blades on the church’s helicopter.

I grew up going to a large Lutheran church here in Minnesota that I'm pretty sure didn't even have a helicopter. You see, generally speaking, a church is a building that stays in one place and at which people gather. It's not like it needs to be flown anywhere. In addition to criticizing the framing of the letter, Woods also noted how wealthy the New Light Church actually is and questioned its need for donations in the first place. Besides the helicopter, the church owns a jet and an aviation hangar.

Hilliard's home is also quite extravagant. Here's an aerial photo:

So I'm getting the picture here, and to me it suggests "confidence artist." Hilliard is apparently of the opinion that God wants him to have a helicopter, a jet, and a mansion, and because God wants it his congregation has to pay for it. If this guy were any religion other than Christian, he would be under fire by the mass media as a cult leader intent on draining his followers' bank accounts and I'm very glad to see Pastor Woods stepping up to the plate and calling this what it is.

Let me also add that the problem here is not the idea that spiritual forces can be employed to make money or attract opportunities. I'm a magician, and I do practical magical work all the time. But this idea that God will mysteriously provide for you as long as you donate to some religious organization and take no other actions is totally wrong. I highly doubt that Hilliard is performing some sort of magical practice to create opportunities for his followers. I imagine that he's just taking the checks, cashing them, and buying more stuff.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ooohhhh that aerial photo just about made me throw up. Unfortunately there are many false prophets (cant believe I just used that term) and cult leaders with the same setup... and they can clearly be viewed by brainwashed congregations. I bet Jim Jones is going "Damn I did it all wrong!" :-)