Big-Time Preachers and Evangelists

� � � � Jim Bakker was arrested, tried, and convicted   —   and spent time in prison   —   for fraud because of the way he misused the money that people mailed in to him as a result of his begging on television. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a conviction for that type of white-collar crime? Usually it involves a criminal who is blatant, contemptuous of his victims, and open about his crime.

� � � � In his book I Was Wrong, he admits that he fucked Jessica Hahn, but says that it was consensual, and that he was mad at Tammy Faye that day.

� � � � A few years ago, Jimmy Swaggart got into the habit of going to a certain whore who would "pose" for him while he masturbated (she's been in Penthouse magazine since then, and reproduced the special poses she did for Jimmy). Well, he got caught. On television, in front of his wife and his entire church, he tearfully apologized ("I ... have sinned ... against you !!!"). I saw it myself - a performance worthy of an Oscar. Soon after he made this public confession, he was pulled over by a policeman and was found to be in the company of another prostitute, and he had a pistol in the car with him.

� � � � In October 1980, Oral Roberts reported to the news media that on May 25 of that year (nobody knows why he kept it a secret for five months) he had had a vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus. Later, he said that Jesus told him that if he didn't raise enough money, Jesus would "take him home" (i.e., kill him).

� � � � On April 17, 2000 I received a promotional letter from [evangelist] Marilyn Hickey. It contained a plastic packet of WATER (I shit you not) with instructions on how to conduct a little ritual to get me through the "Red Sea of [my] troubles." The ritual/incantation/spell goes like this:

1. I write down my problems on the "Red Sea Escape" Prayer Request Sheet (which Marilyn graciously provides).

2. I take the water packet into my right hand.

3. I pray.

4. I mail the water packet and the "Red Sea Escape" Prayer Request Sheet back to Marilyn.

Marilyn adjures me, "Don't let Satan hold you back any longer."

As you might imagine, the "Red Sea Escape" Prayer Request Sheet makes a reference to sending in MONEY when I mail it back to Marilyn.

� � � � On the same day, April 17, 2000, Rev. Ernest Angley sent me a "Blest Cloth"   —   a 2"x3" piece of white cotton cloth that had been cut out with pinking shears. "In obedience to the Word I have prayed over this cloth and asked for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to rest upon it," Rev. Angley assures me.

� � � � But probably the most offensive piece of mail I received (on April 10, 2000) was a "Memorandum" from the Christian Coalition (the Pat Robertson people). The subject of the "Memorandum" was that the IRS had finally figured out that the CC was actually a political organization (not a religious organization), since the CC uses its money to influence the outcomes of political campaigns, and the IRS decided to charge them income tax (same way they tax everybody else).

� � � � The "Memorandum" stated that the CC is going to wage "an all-out battle to defend America's churches and Christians from the I.R.S.! � ... � You see, anti-faith forces have been using the I.R.S. in an attempt to silence the voice of Christians!"

� � � � Bullshit, Pat. You just got caught. Your multi-million-dollar empire no longer qualifies as a religious organization because you can't just stick to religion; you have to go political. In fact, Pat, you tried to run for president, and you fucking lied when you filled out the legally-required disclosure document that you filed (and which was a public record); you lied about your date of marriage because, when anyone compared your date of marriage with the date of birth of your first child, it became obvious that you and the missus were varnishing the cane before you tied the knot. You had the arrogance to think that you wouldn't be caught lying.