Maybe I should beg for nickels so I can buy a pair of roller skates

Jebus, but I am in the wrong business. Benny Hinn is getting his flock to buy him an airplane.

As a result, we have recently taken delivery on our Gulfstream G4SP plane, which we call Dove One. I have enclosed a beautiful photo-filled brochure to explain more about this incredible ministry tool that will increase the scope of our abilities to preach the Gospel around the globe. Now we must pay the remainder of the down payment, and I am asking the Lord Jesus to speak to 6,000 of my precious partners to sow a seed of $1,000 in the next ninety days. And I am praying, even as I write this letter, that you will be one of them!

“Sow a seed”…of six million dollars? So he can buy a fancy new jet? This is what Christianity is really good for: providing an environment in which grasping, greasy-haired, forehead-thwacking freaks can prosper, where piety is measured in dollars and the moneychangers have inherited the temple. Faith is just another word for credulity, and preacher is a fancy name for parasite.


  1. Elf Eye says

    PZ, look at it this way: each $1000 donation is money that will NOT end up funding fundy political candidates. That’s six million dollar shot to hell (so to speak).

  2. says

    Reminds me of the South Park episode where Pat Robertson asks his TV audience to send contributions “to buy an intergalactic cruiser to spread the word of Jesus throughout the universe” and afterwards “to equip the ship with an argon-crystal laser and more advanced deflector shields to help spread the word of God”. Reality is getting increasingly difficult to distinguish from parody.

  3. Albatrossity says

    I am pretty sure that the words “incredible ministry tool” are really meant to describe the passenger, and not the plane, in this fundraising pitch…

  4. Grumpy says

    FWIW, Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski was tossed out on his ear by the voters (he leaves office tomorrow!) largely because of his purchase of a fancy new jet, despite the legislature and the Department of Homeland Security not giving him the money for it.

    Too bad nobody votes for Benny Hinn.

  5. craig says

    On a lark back in high school some of us went to see Ernest Angely at the convention center to check out the scam.

    One girl got into the line to sign up to go on stage to be “healed,” to see what that was about – they wanted her to sign a pledge to donate hundreds of dollars in order to get in the line.

    All he did was rally people into giving him money. Nothing more. They were taping it for TV – must have had a lot of editing to do.

    The whole perimeter was surrounded by burly, scary looking body guards in suits, watching as dozens of big plastic buckets were passed through the crowd, getting filled with cash.

    We were mocking the whole thing and thought it was funny until one of my friends got punched and suddenly it seemed like a very good idea to leave.

  6. hoody says

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    Jst lk thsm?

  7. says

    What I think gives the best insight into the whole sick mess was the second ‘graf I cited over on UTI:

    “I know that as you obey the Lord, He will open heaven wide and cause a mighty harvest of blessings to descend upon your life and all that you do!”

    It’s the “prosperity ministry” gig! Invest now, and God will pay big dividends! Just like any other financial scam…


  8. JamesR says

    People wonder why I think of the religious as mentally impaired.
    6 Million is just the downpayment. If my calculations are correct and that other guy on tv is right. Then I figure that if a child can be fed for $20 a day. Then $6 million would feed 1,250 children for 20 years each. Maybe if the religious actually put a down payment on the future of these children I wouldn’t think of people like Benny Hinn as gutless worms and swindlers.

  9. afterthought says

    These guys (like Benny Hinn, though I keep reading “Benny Hill”) are the kings of the shake-down. No conscience whatsoever it appears. They would take the money a fixed income widow needs for heat.

  10. craig says

    Hoody, nothing is more tired than your inability to understand that atheism doesn’t have believers or followers.

    I’m not one of the people that believes that the government has an alien spacecraft hidden in hangar 18. Does that make me a believer in ahanger18ism? Does that make me a follower of something?

    If that’s the case, then that means I am a believer in an infinite number of things, and that I am a follower of an infinite number of movements or whatever…
    … because the number of things I don’t happen to believe in is infinite.

  11. tacitus says

    The Big Lie…

    It is the brazenness of Hinn’s appeal for cash that will ensure he will succeed in getting his private jet funded. If he went about secretly redirecting funds from one project to another, then even his true believers might smell a rat. But his direct appeal to the faithful will convince them that he is making a reasonable request to help him “continue the Lord’s work”.

    (I have to laugh at one of the excuses for buying the jet–that it would help keep Benny Hinn safe–given the relative safety records of private and commercial jets.)

    Many other crooks, er, televangelists, already own private jets and far from keeping it quiet, a number of them are quite happy to show photos of the luxurious interiors to their flock and share tales of how great they are to fly in. It’s “their cdonors’ jet too”, after all (even though they wouldn’t be allowed within a country mile of it!).

  12. says

    From a CBC report on Hinn several years ago:

    On a four-day layover from a crusade in Russia, he spent $200,000 US. The guy owns 2 Mercedes and beachside house in California.

    He ain’t no Jesus, that’s for sure.

  13. Zbu says

    So when is Hinn going to ask for an aircraft carrier to land that jet on? Or his own personal island? Honestly, if I had a lack of conscience to take money from the stupid and easily duped, I say go bigger. Why not?

    You know, ignoring common decency and everything.

  14. says

    Once again, we see another scam from the Xtians. But isn’t that what all religions are, a scam? A bunch of unfulfilled pipe dreams?

    Right. As if that 6 million dollars is going to convert anyone. I hope the moron flies through the Bermuda triangle and disappears forever.

  15. keiths says

    If you give $1,000:

    Your name will be placed prominently in a special area of Dove One where I study and pray during my travels, where I will also pray for you and your family as I go around the world preaching the Gospel. Everywhere I fly, your name will travel with me, millions of miles and for years to come, reminding me that you have made it possible for me to go and preach as God has called me to do.

    Can’t afford $1,000? Forget it — Jeebus ain’t got time for the little people.

  16. says

    Along the lines of what Jim Downey said, these appeals usually imply that the giver will get back something significant in return for his cash. In recent years there has been a scam run by “St. Matthew’s Churches” where a magic prayer rug is mass mailed and the suckers send in their “seed gifts” with the “promise” of great returns.

  17. says

    Your name will be placed prominently in a special area of Dove One where I study and pray during my travels, where I will also pray for you and your family as I go[…]

    So … your name gets written on the bathroom walls of Hinn’s jet?

  18. Molly, NYC says

    You do realize that if there was anything to the theology Hinn et al. espouse, using Jesus’s name to sucker money out of the pious would be probably the surest way to earn box seats in Hell?

    I’d respect religion a lot more if it didn’t so frequently resemble those game farms, only with suckers and con-artists instead of tame birds and Dick Cheney.

  19. Troublesome Frog says

    I would think that a humble servant of God might be able to find a cheaper private aircraft than a Gulfstream.

  20. Brian X says

    Well, God would surely want his ministers flying around in the best private airplanes available, right?

    I had a Bible teacher during my time at a Christian school who often said something about God giving you “the desires of your heart”. The man was also a gym teacher. Not too bright fellow, so he was a rather odd choice for preaching a prosperity gospel…

  21. N.Wells says

    Hey, it’s an incredible ministry tool, fer crying out loud. For spreading the Lord’s Word. You want that he should walk places or travel on a donkey? How unthinkable. Who’d respect that?

    “Oh lord, won’t you buy me a Gulfstream SP?
    Let’s upgrade our Min’stry, out of Econ’my
    Prayed hard all my life, to be nearer to thee,
    So oh lord, won’t you buy me a Gulfstream SP?”
    With apologies to Joni Mitchell.

  22. says

    I believe that’s a bit of adjusted lyric from Janis Joplin, not Joni Mitchell… at least Joplin is listed as a co-writer and Mitchell is not found on the credit to “Mercedes Benz.”

    I must say, I found this post to be quite hilarious given the topic that you follow it with on the blog. Very funny. Parasites are on your mind this week.

  23. Dustin says

    This is what Christianity is really good for: providing an environment in which grasping, greasy-haired, forehead-thwacking freaks can prosper, where piety is measured in dollars and the moneychangers have inherited the temple. Faith is just another word for credulity, and preacher is a fancy name for parasite.

    I’m going to have that tattooed somewhere on my body.

  24. eric says

    It’s the “prosperity ministry” gig! Invest now, and God will pay big dividends! Just like any other financial scam…

    Let’s not forget the aptly named Creflo Dollar

  25. says

    And if you don’t receive your seed gift back 100-fold, it’s your own damn fault–you didn’t have enough faith!

  26. says

    And Jesus told the rich parastical preacher, “Go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and come and follow me.” And the rich parasite went away sorrowful, for he had great riches and only wanted more (slightly changed from the story of the “rich young ruler” in the Gospels).

    Might as well show him to be hypocritical according to the “Word”, even though the “Word” itself provides Benny Hinn’s excuses for fleecing the flock (literalists treat the Bible as almost infinitely malleable, with exceptions where these cause opposition to science and other means of knowing–because they have to be battling some enemy to be richly rewarded, it’s not going to be greedy preachers whom they will oppose, thus it needs to be some relatively innocuous thing like science).

    The problem with all of Jesus’ words against hypocrites like Benny Hinn is that he couldn’t recognize the origins of religious organization as coming from the greed of the priests for money and power (by contrast, King Saul did, though he killed them for his own greedy purposes). So he faulted them for falling short of the ideal without noting that religion had to be established and maintained by people who wanted something for themselves.

    Glen D

  27. mndean says

    Ah, shearing the sheep – another name for the prosperity gospel. I remember all those greedy windbags, from Reverend Ike to Gene Scott, every last one of ’em a “servant of the Lord” living like a pasha. I’d like someone to argue how Hinn is anything but a christian conman.

  28. Mike Haubrich says

    The funny thing is that Hinn is being honest, he is not threatening the flock that he will be “taken home” if he doesn’t get a new plane.

    Anyone remember Oral Roberts? First the extortion for the Prayer Tower as announced by the 900′ Jesus, and then the claim that if he didn’t raise six mil he would die and go to Heaven?

    Hinn has a lot to learn about extortion.

    And, are there special banking laws in Tulsa? Churches of St. Matthews and Robert Tilton both have drop boxes for their scams in Tulsa Banks. And Tulsa is also where Roberts makes his home. I wonder if Tulsa is the Evangelists version of the Cayman Islands.

  29. says

    When he used to run his “whack ’em on the head healing” con game down here in Orlando, he never had a great answer as to why his god-given gift of healing always worked in a tent but never in the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital right down the road. Why the f@#k don’t these people see through these con men???????

  30. MHB says

    PZ, I really think highly of you and want to be your friend. But some advice – I think you may have gone too far. Why are you so bitter against God? How do you expect to get moderate theists on your side when you’re so extreme, negative and downright mean? You do know that as an atheist you WILL burn in hell? You really need to stop persecuting Christians simply because you have no valid arguments to support your own beliefs (atheism is no different than religion when it comes to faith – yours is simply misplaced.) Have you no shame? Calling our faith credulity and our preachers, doing the Lord’s work, greasy-haired parasites? I’ve asked my son, going to school back east, to invite your daughter to the True Church so at least your offspring can be saved. Is your anger due to the fact that Dr. Kent Hovind, among others, has disproven your scientific make-believe and now you simply resort to name-calling? Even you atheists take things on faith and know in your heart that God exists – and loves you! When you’re on your deathbed we both know you will look to Jesus for your salvation, just like Darwin, Einstein and Lenin. Christianity, after all, has done much more good than evil and Jesus loves you even if you don’t love yourself. You say you don’t believe, yet you acknowledge Christ every time you use A.D.

    God bless you, PZ. People will be praying for you.
    John 3:16

  31. says

    Oh, OK, I see what you’re driving at with this post, PZ. Count me in for 10 bucks, but I want my name somewhere on the fuselage of Loligo One

    …and MHB, before anybody misunderstands, I laughed!

  32. anomalous4 says

    AAAAAAAAAAARRRGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I read MHB’s incoherent fulmination before PZ had a chance to disemvowel it! My eyes! My eyes!

    (BTW, isn’t Hovind the guy who’s doing 288 years in the slammer for embezzlement or some such nonsense?)

  33. says

    I’m pretty sure that MHB is joking. It is a reference to the list of ways to irritate an atheist a couple of posts from this one.

    At least I hope so.

  34. E-gal says

    He’s taken delivery for a jet for which he has not yet made the downpayment?
    The annual insurance alone on this jet will equal more than the average American makes in a year.

  35. anomalous4 says

    If Benny Hinn can knock people to the ground just by swinging his jacket at them, he needs:

    [1] a better deodorant;
    [2] a long hot shower with plenty of soap and maybe some steel wool;
    [3] a trip to the dry cleaners for that jacket;
    [4] all of the above.

    Snark, snark, snark!

  36. says

    People don’t get disemvoweled for disagreeing with me, being stupid, or writing wicked parodies. It requires persistent inanity.