Archive for televangelists

Ministry Abuses

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, Government, politics, random, religion, Social with tags , , , , on July 1, 2013 by chouck017894

Religious pretense can be very profitable. If in doubt, just ask the many televangelists that each year chalk up multimillions in tax free cash and which they freely dip into for their personal expenditures.

Religious activists and televalgelist promoters are permitted to live outside the purview of federal tax authorities, and that pretty much guarantees the shafting of all tax payers in the name of some self-serving faith system. From that sheltered position the holy schemers are free to intervene in partisan political campaigns while freely living lavish lifestyles. This applies in a large measure to the television “ministries” that cater to the stay-at-home armchair worshippers and for those seeking faith in the fast lane. For anyone who is personally familiar with the New Testament texts, however, that approach to “ministry” work does not exactly reflect what Jesus is alleged to have taught.

Among the goodies that the tax exempt loophole allows the self-serving faith systems is that the televangelical executives may freely take “housing allowances.” That these “housing allowances” too often pay for palatial homes, multi-million dollar condos, beach houses, etc., is indulged in while the “ministers” laugh up their vestment sleeves at the gullible “sheep.” It is common for the TV ministry setup to include family members and friends as “staffers,” so that all of them may also luxuriate under the big non-profit umbrella.

All faith systems should be required to file the same detailed annual information return that any other nonprofit organizations must file (Form 990). Simply saying that they “work for the Lord” is not enough to sidestep their legal and moral obligations to the democratic government which permits them to operate. Even Jesus, whom they mockingly claim to represent, was clear about that: “…Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s…” (Mark 11:17). In other words, the counsel which Jesus openly declared was that his representatives were to understand that proper spiritual conduct depends upon church and state being honored separately: for although both concern man’s conduct, the foundational forms of man’s earthly self-governments do not prevail in heaven’s diversity and liberty.

The antidemocratic criminality which is being indulged in in the U.S. in the name of the many self-serving ministries has evolved into the corruption of government which we have witnessed in the United States since the scheming and treachery of the Religious Right gained control over the Republican party in 1996. By November 2007 we had Republican Congressmen such as Charles Grassley of Iowa actually advocating that an independent commission, to be led by an evangelical agency, should study church tax issues! That “unbiased” commission that the congressman suggested to investigate tax issues was the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a Winchester, Virginia based agency. Grassley himself just happened to be a member of that “Fellowship”, also known as “The Family,” a controversial tax-exempt quasi-religious organization. Included in Grassley’s recommendation was the proposal to repeal the constitutional ban on churches from being actively involved in political campaigns! Church based politicking which would be anchored in tax-exempt security is in no manner a democratic pursuit, and it also runs counter to the teachings of the man whom the self-serving religionists pretend to represent.

There is a constant push by radical Religious Right leaders in the U.S. today to scrap or at least destabilize the wise Constitutional restriction set down by the nation’s founders which prohibited religionists from indulging in politicking. The undemocratic aim of these religious right conspirators is to establish a voting bloc for fundamentalists (themselves) whose idea of heaven on Earth is a theocracy. (Look to Iran for a glowing example of personal liberty under that type of governing.) But as late as the close of 2012, the Internal Revenue Service still avoided any serious investigation of these aggressive and deceitful religious conspirators.

The extreme Religious Right fraudulently claims that they are “renewed in Christ” but, as noted, they seem either strangely unfamiliar with, or just coldly indifferent to their Savior’s teachings. In the earliest books of Christianity (Mark and Matthew), followers are counseled to “…seek the welfare of one’s neighbor,” and to share compassionately. That is precisely the ideal of true democracy. Trying to covertly take over a government, therefore, clearly is not a “Christian value.” But today the self-interest of the radical religious right is displayed in their dishonorable overreach for political power, and they are doing this by using tax money which is gathered from citizens of every faith system and those with no connection to organized religion! The democratic structure of the U.S. is being placed in jeopardy today by this dishonest and dishonorable movement that disguises itself under the pretense of piety and spiritual values.

Fortunately the founding fathers of our democratic form of government in the United States clearly understood that genuine faith is not driven by a predatory fixation to dominate everyone. And history keeps trying to remind us that manipulative politicians, religious radicals and soiled baby diapers should be discarded quickly—–and for the same reason.

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Faith Based Governments and Reality

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, culture, Government, history, life, politics, random, thoughts with tags , , , on December 20, 2009 by chouck017894

Freedom of speech and religious freedom should mean that the errors, hatreds, slanderous rhetoric and hypocrisy that is practiced in the name of some religion should be open to public investigation as is everything else.  But in the United States, there is practiced the religious pretense that God finds it “an abomination” to seriously question the self-serving “faiths” that promote themselves through tax-free money while seeking to deny others their personal rights of expression. 

When groups of persons use religion as a decoy to indulge in covert actions and seek to disrupt or even overturn the principles of liberty that made the United States great, those are not spiritual objectives: they are glaringly temporal and material ambitions.  They also border on treason.

Aggressive  religious factions have risen dramatically in the U.S. since the 1950s, and the commercialism of religion has been in direct ratio to the rise of television through the same period as a means of  public communication.  Televangelists compete with one another to exercise power over as many impressible and insecure persons as possible, and make themselves wealthy in the process.  It was noted in a previous post that crime also increased across the nation in equal proportion to the spread of commercial religionism.

That was bad enough, but when the religiously inspired moved to control the seats of government and in that way have attempted to install their theocratic ideology upon the nation, they betrayed not only the nation that allows them such freedom of religion and speech, but insulted the higher purpose that they pretend to serve.

A prime example of “faith-based” governing was demonstrated in the so-called Military Commission Act that was imposed upon American citizens late in 2006 by the self-professed born-againer George Bush, his fundamentalist administration, and the Republican congressional choir that rubber stamped all his unconstitutional abuses of power.  Under this undemocratic and perverse “law” the right-wing granted themselves these horrendous indulgences:

  • Denial of the writ of habeas corpus—the right to challenge the legality or  conditions of their detention in an independent court—to people being held in detention.
  • Fashioned an excessively broad category of “unlawful enemy combatant,” a status that is not recognized in either U.S. law or international law, but which did allow the god-dazzled president to pick and choose who could be detained under that label.
  • Permitted whoever they chose to call “unlawful enemy combatants” to be tried by military commission, which would provide no guarantee whatever of fair trial rights—this again was clearly in contempt of mandated U.S. and international law.
  • Granted military commissions the right to use evidence that was obtained through cruel and degrading treatment (torture) of those being held in detention.
  • Allowed for imprisoned persons to be held indefinitely without charges, and established arbitrary and discriminatory means for prosecuting them.

These have been the means used by all theocratic forms of “governing” throughout history—always with appalling consequence.

Jesus and God as Political Tools

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, faith, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 30, 2009 by chouck017894

Religious fanaticism in the United States has been growing like a malignant cancer ever since the early 1950s when the pulpit-pounders discovered that there was gold to be made in television.  Going hand in hand with radical religionism has been an intense drive since the early 1990s to install fanatical followers into positions of management in public interaction, from PTA in schools to infiltration of state offices up to national offices.  Jesus and God became little more to them than political tools, and any peaceful, spiritual content of Jesus’ alleged teachings that the New Testament extends as examples of conduct for attaining self-worthiness for salvation were tossed into the dumpster for grabs at mortal power.

There was/is and never has been any shortage of self-proclaimed mouthpieces of God.  Examples: Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Roberta Combs,  Jerry Falwell, Robert Grant, Ralph Reed, Donald Wildmon, Tony Perkins, etc., etc., etc.  Funny thing though, none of these theocracy advocates have ever produced any evidence of qualification as God’s mouthpiece.  Nonetheless, they attract hoards of vacant-headed cohorts too lazy to exercise their God-given mental faculties.  

So underhanded are these radical religionists that they have managed to misrepresent not only the teachings accredited to Jesus, but have perverted the ideals and counsel handed down by our nation’s forefathers.  There has been through the last fifty year an explosion of so-called institutes of learning that are nothing more than fronts for religious indoctrination, which commonly just happen to include counseling in political science.  And as they shaft the nation’s citizens, they operated under protective tax advantages!  No one seems to think it odd that God should have to stoop to such indulgence in deception and money-grubbing to have his wishes known.  

Why should God need the American Center for Law and Justice linked with Pat Robertson, for example?  Was it God who directed Pat Robertson in 1998 to form Freedom Gold Limited, an off-shore company registered in the Cayman Islands but based in his Christian Broadcasting Network  in Virginia Beach?  Did that actually bring followers closer to God?  And why should God need the Family Research Council, a Washington-based lobbying group headed by Tony Perkins?  Why should God need to dabble in politics or off-shore dealings at all?  Is he, God, who is said to be omniscient, incapable of communing with seekers on a personal level?

When did respect for a higher creative force become expressed through the practice of intolerance toward the diversity of life which that all-knowing power created?   But good old Pat Robertson’s inflated ego, for example, has always been tuned in to God’s holy hatred and he spouts his venom at every opportunity with the express purpose of destroying democratic traditions, rewriting national history, encouraging subversive conduct, and cheering on other terrorist indulgences.  Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, for example, raked in $278,738,060 in revenue in 2008.  The American Family Association, by “Rev.” Donald Wildmon pulled in revenue to the tune of $22,547,087 in 2008.  The so-called Concerned Women for America, founded by Tim and Beverly LaHaye, garnered $10,580,290 in 2008.  James Dobson’s lofty sounding Focus on the Family netted $145,194,701 in revenues in 2008. 

Other use of religion for profit examples include American Center for Law and Justice, whose founders were Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow, had a revenue in 2008 of $11,667,456.  Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council  in 2008 pulled in $14,646,344 revenue.  The lofty sounding American Defense Fund, whose president, CEO, and General Counsel is Alan Sears, funded themselves with $31,644,593 in 2008 revenues.  Maybe we should also mention the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission with the Southern Baptist Convention; together their 2007 revenue amounted to $205,716,834.  How’s that for holy work!

Faith should not be packaged as a product to be used for ego gratification and earthly wealth.

Hijacking Christianity

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, history, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by chouck017894

Back in the days before television, religion in the United States was pretty much regarded as strictly a personal thing—not a motive for national political grandstanding, not a reason for attempting mass brainwashing, not cause for exaggerated claims of godly interest in government, and not an excuse for trying to steal public money for some self-serving belief system.  Such reprehensible behavior was understood as associated with the low ethics of theocracy, not conduct worthy of the principles of democracy, personal integrity and religious freedom.

As noted  in an earlier blog (God’s Political Addiction, May 9, 2009), the appearance of the technological wonder of television upon the scene in the early 1950s was quickly embraced by pulpit profiteers who would soon  become known as televangelists.  As noted in another earlier blog (God’s Henchment, April 22, 2009), the profits could be enormous by hijacking Christianity and pretending to save souls by trimming down the seekers’ wallets while also skimming off money the government collected for public good under the dodge as tax free organization.

The religious insanity that had once dominated Europe for centuries, and which is referred to as the Dark Ages (c. 476 – c. 1453), was being resuscitated in the United States and the hybrid energized by electronic impulse was lustful and ravenous.  The gates of exploitation had been flung open and the hijackers of Christianity surged through like a tsunami.  Unheeded were the warnings in the New Testament that motivations and excesses and accumulation of riches create danger for personal and social salvation.  Ignored were the parables attributed to Jesus about pursuing power and a slavish accumulation of riches, property and worldly structures.

So where do the pulpit power brokers today stand in the Jesus method of judgment?  The parables of the rich farmer and the one of the rich young ruler being judged wanting should give pause for thought to such Bible thumpers as Pat Robertson and his $460 million a year religious-front operation, all tax free.  And there is the influential evangelical leader James Dobson and his operation Focus on the Family, easily siphoning in $140 million a year tax free, a system that would be more aptly designated as Focus on Himself.   After all, he did declare that he would bring down the GOP if it failed him: he lusted for theocracy.  Forget the has-beens Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, Jeramiah White, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Leroy Kopp, Aubrey Lee, etc. etc. etc…

After George W. Bush, a GOP faith-distracted president, dutifully packed the federal courts with ultraconservative judges the Religious Right, dreaming that theocracy was near, surged forth in shameless attempts to bring down the wall  of separation of church and state with their self-serving cases in the federal courts.  What the Religious Right have their eyes set upon is not upon public good, however, but temporal power and the tempting profits to be had in “faith-based” scams, which are better described as embezzlement of public money.