Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Senate Investigation Into Televangelists Good Thing Or Bad Thing?

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has launched an investigation of several of the leading televangelists, identified as "Prosperity Gospel" preachers. Supposedly, he is acting in response to requests from watch dog groups, news reports, and individual complaints. Now, I am all for ministers and ministries being held accountable for their finances, we are too be blameless in the sight of man and our use of ministry finances is a very public endeavor. So, I was generally in favor of Sen Grassley's actions. However, I have to wonder what kind of ramifications this could have for other churches. Typically, what happens as a result of these investigations is hasty and ill thought out knee-jerk laws. Those laws tend to have rather negative unintended consequences and can affect law abiding ministries also.

I think I am going to continue to side with Sen. Grassley on this issue, but I think I will pay close attention to the fall out and pray that they do not react rashly.

1 comment:

Robert Winkler Burke said...

Snakes and Such – The haunting 1992 movie Unforgiven is another complex multilayered, parabolic story of the old West. It is set in the 1878 town of Big Whisky, which Isaiah 28:1-3 indicates is a state of being drunk on self to point of deification. So it is a place where the biggest, baddest self-exalter is on the throne. That would be today’s prosperity televangelists in the media mesmerizing business. But in the movie this person is Little Bill Daggett, played by the inestimable Gene Hackman. Daggett’s evil self is greater than English Bob, played by Richard Harris, whom he beats up. Daggett cannot build a house worth living in, which is bad news since God wants to live in our soul-house. Daggett’s job is to protect the town pimp and whores. But when two cowboys cut up a whore’s face, Daggett cannot oversee justice properly even as certain prosperity televangelists apparently cannot oversee justice properly at the Oral Roberts University. So the whores hire Will Munny, played by Clint Eastwood, to kill the two cowboys. Similarly, two fired professors hired lawyers to sue ORU for injustice. Munny appears on the surface to be as Little Bill. But Dagget is a braggart; Munny is self-effacing – giving credit for his reputation to whiskey. Dagget has outlawed guns. Guns, like swords, can represent truth and truth’s defense. Munny stands for truths. Daggett’s prosperity program includes overlooking abuse and taking advantage. Munny is principled and won’t take advantage. Daggett’s character shares many traits of prosperity preachers, while Munny is the reformed reformer. Munny is very much forgiven while Dagget is very much not. In fact, the whole story is driven to the inescapable conclusion that Dagget must die. The fake good can pretend to fight evil for only so long. The fake good content themselves with beating down lesser fake goods while winking at their own greater evil empires. Then comes God’s assassin who is on the money with whatever skill set is necessary and has the will to bust through the reality distortion fields. Perhaps pimps need to be more careful how they decorate their establishments. As Will Munny says, “Any man that don’t want to get killed, better clear on out the back.” And such men of the day show that God is the ultimate closer, finisher and terminator of snakes and such. (All this to be taken spiritually, not literally.)