Friday, July 4, 2008

Support You Local Pastor

Support Your Local Pastor

(First published in the column "Along The Way" of the Brownwood Bulletin,

Brownwood, Texas, Feb. 17, 2006 by Britt Towery)

I am weary of the way my Christian faith has been hijacked by some men and women of the cloth (TV style).

Take Pat Robertson of the infamous 700 Club. For years he has been telling his television viewers about God. But his God always seems to be short of money.

Brother Pat says God is angry because of America's sin, and sends a great hurricane to wipe out New Orleans.

His latest telegram from God revealed God's punishment of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Sharon is fighting for his life and is being punished by God simply for giving Gaza back to the original owners, the Palestinians. (Actually the Gaza Strip's original owners were the Philistines, but few of them are left.)

Sharon, according to Robertson's gospel, should not "divide God's land." The Bible is a lot of things, but it is not a book of land deeds. This great world is here for all God's creatures to enjoy. (A sign in front of a church read: "God's Wrath Level: High.")

Robertson said the same thing about Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when he was assassinated in 1995. Rabin was close to a peaceful settlement with the Arabs. (Fundamentalist Christians do not want peace, but Armageddon. Example: The tragic, senseless on-going three year war with Iraq.)

Some will remember following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, that Robertson and (the late) Prophet Jerry Falwell announced that feminists, gays and secularists were responsible!

Brother Falwell is the same one who some years ago wanted the Marines to invade the Philippines. I was there at the time and the reaction was, "who is this crazy Baptist?"

Last August Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Robertson always comes on later to "explain" what he meant. I don't recall any of the Old Testament prophets back-peddling as much as Robertson does.

Just when you might think it was safe to watch some Christian television, Jimmy Swaggart is back! You may remember his perverted sexual escapades in the 80s. He is back on cable via Black Entertainment Television and Spike TV.

Paul Crouch and the Wig (wife Jan with three-story hair-do) probably are making the most money of all the televangelists. I read where Paul is paid $159,500 a year as president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network and Jan gets $165,100 as vice president. They have homes in California and Tennessee. TBN owns nine homes on 66 acres called Shiloh Ranch near Colleyville, Texas (yet their God always needs more money).

Science Fiction writer and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, said: "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion."

While that may be true, it is evident that today's televangelists have found a more lucrative way – using (and abusing) the Bible as a means to get rich. Give to Benny Hinn, so he can buy another Rolex. Check out these preachers who have hi-jacked the Christian faith for their own enrichment: Paula White, Robert Tilton (another one back from prison), Creflo Dollar, John Hagee, Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyer, Jack Van Impe and Rod Parsley. Parsley is a valued advisor to our own Texas governor.

Some folks might say I should not be so disrespectful of television evangelists. Much of the Bible warns about the false, misleading prophets. If revealing the truth about them helps just one person from giving away their rent money, then this was worth writing. They have built personal mansions with the gifts from people who could not afford it.

Apparently none of them want to wait for the mansions Jesus promised awaits in heaven. They want the green and all that goes with it now. Instead, give your time, energy and gifts to your local church; paraphrasing the title of an old James Garner movie:
"Support your local PASTOR."

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