I once heard the hysterically funny Robin Williams spout that line on the Mork and Mindy show. I fell about laughing and I still find it funny. His delivery of the line was reminiscent of a country music singer in a lounge or an evangelical preacher in a small church.
*Williams old routines featured a lot of evangelical moments, like grabbing someone else’s head and yelling, “Heal!”*
The reason I’m mentioning the ‘evangelical’ moments is because my daughter has been watching a lot of the more esoteric evangelical programs via YouTube. Now I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade or piss on their campfire, but apart from providing some truly hilarious moments of sheer lunacy, these shows are disturbing.
We have a new group of evangelists who are asking the poor and vulnerable for money. One chap is actively touting the 1000 dollar seed. Apparently God is too busy to listen to everyone, so if you really want him to pay attention to you, just send in your prayer, with the all important 1000 dollars, and God will make the time to answer your prayer.
Oh and just in case you are interested the guy who does the 1000 dollar seed is Mike Murdock. He generally broadcasts at around 0430 in the morning so you’re going to have to get up pretty early if you want to take advantage of his great offer.
I grew up watching a load of evangelical programs. They were good for a laugh. *Before you get all high and mighty, I will point out that I was a ‘good’ boy and went to church most Sunday’s and was ‘saved’ from an early age.* I (and a few of my friends) found it hysterically funny when a ‘preacher’ would come up to some ‘poor’ afflicted parishioner/believer and ‘heal’ them through the power of God (and television) by grabbing the afflicted person’s head and pushing them violently backward. The implication, I believe, was that the afflicted was now healed and had passed out after being touched by ‘God.’
I also grew up watching Oral Roberts. Good ole Oral. Who made so much money from his evangelical practise that not only had he built a university (or at least a lot of it) and a hospital, but he had his very own prayer tower. This tower was presumably high enough that Oral was that little bit closer to ‘our maker’ and he could be heard that little bit better. Of course, Roberts fell out of favour with the big guy later. He got on national television and stated that God had told him if he did not raise a certain amount (I think it was a million bucks) God was going to call Oral home.
I was a bit confused by this. I’m pretty sure the implication was that Oral was going to go to heaven aka home. Now most Christians I know would be tickled to death (sorry about the pun) to go to heaven. Oral didn’t seem very happy at all to be going. Yep, pretty confusing alright.
Then we have Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and their PTL club. Money maker? You bet. Tammy Faye had to pay for all that makeup somehow. Not to mention Jim Bakker‘s felonious (he did some serious prison time) activities, gambling, sleeping with women (professional women) and other things using the money that their believers sent into the PTL club.
The latest pretender to the evangelical throne, is the Augusta, Georgia independent television station WBPI-CD channel 49’s Club 36. Probably the worst sort of publicity ever broadcast in support of the Christian community. My daughter found an episode that has been uploaded on YouTube under a channel named (rather appropriately) as the Crazy Christians channel.
In a modern-day sort of ‘tall tales’ competition, Henry Lewis and Donna Martonfi tell about their personal experiences with evil, the devil, demons and Hindu spirits. Lewis, who sounds like a Mafioso foot-soldier, claims that before he was saved, he was the physical embodiment of Shiva a Hindu god of destruction. He claims that he actually manifested as a giant cobra from the waist up causing a preacher to faint. Not to be outdone, Martonfi tells of 80 foot tall demons who got into her house and swallowed her whole.
Despite the fact that both of these stories are hilariously funny, they are also disturbing. These same people go on to say that Pokemon cards are demonic, Halloween, Star Wars, Smurfs, Harry Potter are all evil. Henry Lewis’s own definition of the Harry Potter stories: “Harry has no parents, no friends, and he lives under the stairs in a closet. Harry has nothing until he reaches eleven years of age when a Giant shows up and takes him away. He is brought to a witches place called Hogswatch and he is raised by witches.” Something I am sure that Henry can identify with as he himself, he says, was raised by a coven of witches.
These type of television evangelists and their pleas for monetary support from their followers, no matter how inadvertently funny they are, are no more than a con-game. Hosted by con-artists and broadcast by the greedy. Their victims are the elderly, mentally challenged and gullible. They are living off the misery and false expectations of people who cannot afford to put money towards their false promises and, lets face it, criminal activity.
It is criminal what these folks participate in. Con-artists are jailed for fraud all the time. Unfortunately these con-artists are free to keep milking dry the poor folks who fall for their lies under the auspices of religion.
Yes it does say in the Bible that donations to the church are a necessity. But these donations are to aid the sick, the poor, and the church itself so that the congregation would have a place to worship. None of these donations or tithes (or whatever you want to call them) were to benefit the relayer of ‘God’s’ message. Don’t forget, Jesus ran all the money-grubbing [sic] folks out of the house of worship.
There should be laws, apart from the already existing ones that put Jim Bakker in prison, that prevent these shysters and con-men and women from operating legally on television. Sure I find them endlessly entertaining and it doesn’t cost me a penny. Well apart from the electricity used to watch the episodes on YouTube.
Unfortunately for the poor souls that believe the false messages being relayed by these tricksters, the entertainment or false piece of mind they get can be costing them dearly. I’d love to see that not one of these con-artists are ever “proud to be here once again.” Unless the sentiment is being relayed from the coziness of their own prison cell.
- Southern Poverty Law Center’s Lucrative ‘Hate Group’ Label (americanthinker.com)
- PTL Club Tapes (ifphc.wordpress.com)
- Jim Bakker prophesies New Orleans’ destruction and California ‘ring of fire’ (secularnewsdaily.com)
- “The Gospel Cannot Thrive in Pride”: At the Synod, The Floor Calls for “Penance” (whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com)
14 thoughts on “I’m so Proud to be Here Once Again”
Reblogged this on Serendipity and commented:
For another interesting look at this, check out “Leap of Faith” 1992, Steve Martin. And don’t miss Elmer Gantry: it’s a classic.
Yo Mike this is a fascinating post. Aust has its share of religious kooks too but I’m so interested in this evangelical facet of America. I’ve seen a few docos a la Bible Camp, but I love hearing a real live dude with demonstrated opinions talk about his own take (that’s you) 🙂
PS: “HEAL!” = comedy gold
Cheers mate, glad to hear you liked it! 🙂
I believe in God and have been saved since I was in my early 30’s. I haven’t been the best Christian in the past several years. However I tend to stay away from the televangelists and their ilk. I went to a church once where the preacher was laying hands on people and when he got to me he slapped my forehead and when I didn’t drop to the ground he looked at me like I’d slapped him. Hell, maybe I’m off subject with this reply. I just felt compelled to say something.
No, I don’t think you are anywhere near being off subject. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Cheers mate!
Watch “Leap of Faith” with Steve Martin, subtitled “Real miracles, sensibly priced.” It’s probably Martin’s best movie and arguably one of the best on this subject. If you have seen it but not lately, it’s worth another viewing. And of couse, Elmer Gantry. Can’t miss that one.
I’ve seen part of the Steve Martin film and of course Elmer Gantry years ago, both excellent choices indeed for the topic matter. Cheers mate!!
It’s definitely scary, and extremely frustrating. My family has always been Christian, though I haven’t been for a long time. It can be shaky at times between us, but we still love and respect each other, and our differences. But my family has NEVER been legalistic or ‘fundies’, and I’m incredibly thankful for that. I grew up with Pokemon like my friends, and my sisters read the Harry Potter books with no problems whatsoever. It amazes me how whenever something becomes incredibly popular, within the entertainment industry, and kids just latch onto whatever it is at the time, the real lunatics come out of the woodwork and start spewing all over the place. I watched the Pokemon video you mentioned. God god, seriously. It’s funny, but almost scary to watch. Especially when you see the congregation nodding, accepting every thing the preacher is ‘claiming’ to be fact. It amazes me also how regular people don’t understand that if Jesus truly was the Messiah, or the Son of God, or whatever, judging from his character in the Bible, he’d show up and drive these crazy preachers out, you know? I’m perfectly fine, completely, with people of faith. It’s just unbearable to watch so many become indoctrinated by the words of others. If you’re going to believe in a religion, or it’s holy book, then go to the source itself, not some guy demanding your money and reigning down ignorance. Sometimes, the man with too much light in his eyes is just as blind as the man fumbling around in the darkness… xD Sorry for the rant, Mike, but you brought up a really great point! Just felt inclined to aid my two cents, for whatever it’s worth. Well, I guess two cents, right? Lol
Your two penneth (cents) worth are always welcome. Yeah the light shining eye guy or gal are heap pretty scary and downright creepy. But hey, they are convincing aren’t they…not! Cheers mate for sharing!! 🙂
And this (well this and more) is why I don’t do organized religion. I’ve always, since I was a young kid, been interested in other religious beliefs, specifically Wicca and paganism (must’ve been the tons of fairy tales and mythology I read). When I was in high school, I really got into studying Wicca and well…let’s just say I was Southern baptist born and bred and well…it wasn’t a great time. I’m talking my mother thought I was a Satanist, there were interventions in the church, sermons about the dangers of Disney movies and witchcraft, and one mini-exorcism and this coming from a whole bunch of people who were highly hypocritical in their behaviours. I think religion and spirituality is a personal thing and if you find a church that you like, that’s great but for me, I’ll just do it my own way and maybe it’s wrong and maybe it’s right but it’s what works for me. Sorry, that was kind of a ramble.
Rambles are perfectly acceptable…Anyway, when on the topic of ‘organised’ religion, rambling is sometimes the only way to approach it. My roots were ‘southern’ Baptist as well and in my teens I turned my back on them and the whole organised religious practise. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Cheers mate! 🙂
All I can say is, amen, brother! I agree completely with this. Coming from a religion that has a non-paid and non-professional clergy, I’ve never been susceptible to these sorts of cons, but they seem to be ubiquitous. I may never understand how people can fail to see these things for what they are.
I don’t know how easy it is to prevent these, though. They are much like the countless Internet money scams. In the end, all we can probably do is warn against the scams and hope folks figure it out. Just like an offer of money from a long-lost uncle in Uzbekistan is probably bogus, so to is yet another plea for funds in a televangelical sea of exposed frauds.
I second that Amen and will raise you a hallelujah. Thanks for commenting mate. 🙂