Back when I had an ungodly commute to work and had to get up at 5am to knock back a quart of coffee before staggering out to the bus and train, I’d sometimes flip through the channels on the TV to see what was happening. And at that hour of the morning, what you’d find is quack ads, infomercials, and the televangelists. I confess, some of my favorites were Ken Copeland (an awe-shucks country boy who looked like a few generations of inbreeding and moonshine abuse had shriveled his brain) and Benny Hinn (head-thwacking con man in a shiny white suit) — I’d watch them, awed that anyone was actually gullible enough to believe that crap. I haven’t seen them in years, but now Revere brings back old memories with a video from The Chasers.
The code is interesting: “plant a seed” actually means “give me lots of money now”.
Robert Alexander says
Oh man, when they were pushing the patients over at the end I could not stop laughing.
Christian Burnham says
Oh- you’re a fine one to talk- working for Seed magazine…
I have a quick, trivial question- why is “ungodly” a bad thing? Shouldn’t it be a “godly commute”? Or are you saying that the commute was swell?
Reclaim the word for the forces of good!
Ogawd! After that last bit, my side hurts. Could they please push me over and heal me, too?
PZ Myers says
I’m not making a value judgment on the commute, I’m stating a factual descriptor. My commute was definitely ungodly.
Robert Madewell says
Kenneth Copeland is always good for a laugh. His wife Gloria is good for a chuckle too. My favorite has got to be John Haggee. I haven’t seen him on TV for awhile. Wonder if he’s still hurling fire, brimstone and eternal damnation at the ungodly heathens like myself.
That woman told the evangelist (Mike Murdock) that her husband wasn’t paying his child support, so he told her to send him (Murdock) $58. That is so selfish! That woman is probably having trouble paying bills and he wants her to send him enough money to pay her water bill? If he was really compassionate he’d send her $58 so she would be able to make the water bill for one more month. A small favor to be sure, but Mike Murdock can probably afford to send one woman a few bucks to help out until the next bill. That would be altruism at its finest.
Well, then everything can be described as ungodly. Right now I’m having an ungodly breakfast of Wheaties and preparing for an ungodly walk. :)
PZ Myers says
You’re catching on. The entire universe is ungodly.
While it seems redundant to say so, there are these crazy people who think it’s supernatural who have to be constantly reminded that it ain’t so.
I was stunned the other day to hear Dr. Wayne Dyer making the “seed” argument during a PBS pledge drive. I never expected to hear that bullshit on PBS, but there he was giving the standard televangelist line about how contributing to PBS would bring you money. Oh, and to top it off, he also said that people get sick because they aren’t thinking correctly. Nice.
I’d be curious to know if this is true of other areas of the country (I live in eastern Washington state), but on the PBS station here it’s wall-to-wall New Age bullshit during pledge week. And maybe I’m not paying very close attention, but that’s the only time I see those whackos on PBS.
If you look at the related videos, you’ll see that they offer a “Free Gullibility Test”, which I think should be offered outside of every religious establishment, if for no other reason than to get people thinking about what it is that they truly believe.
My favorite bit was Copeland’s daughter, Kelly, going on about getting a harvest if you just do the laundry in the love of God. I gotta say, that’s an interesting euphemism for what you feel by sitting on the washer during the spin cycle.
STH: Our local PBS pulls the same stunt. And because of that, I never donate to them anymore. I’d be motivated to come up with a donation if they were doing science and history marathons, or Dr. Who and HHGTG days. Heck, I’d be happy with all-day Sewing with Nancy. But maybe practical people just don’t cough up the cash as plentifully as New Age marks.
Ken Mareld says
HEAL! GODDAMNIT! HEAL!
Look, I gave you the healing when you fell over and sprained your back, but your cancer doesn’t bother you anymore. Does it? Okay give me five grand. Now to fix your back, $1,000 in seed money will take care of that little problem.
Oh, you don’t have the cash? That’s OK, isn’t a second mortgage for the Lord the least you could do?
These rubes, it’s just getting harder everyday to get $10,000.00 for the Lord’s Blessings. Who’s with that offshoot Jewish group that Madonna’s involved with? Don’t those Hollywood types have money to burn? I hear there’s faster action with those actors and producers than Mafia money in Vegas. I want a piece of that, or my name isn’t Benny Hinn, or Ted Haggard, or Frank Dobson, or Pat Robertson.
RE: the ungodly commute to work. I would have thought that infinitely preferable to the godly commute. I read a story years ago about some guy that would sing hymns really loudly on a bus (or a train?) somewhere, every day just as it got on a bridge and they couldn’t throw him off. Now that would be an ungodly godly commute. (But you get no sympathy; I lived in Japan and got up at 5am to be sandwiched into overflowing train carriages with hung-over sararimen for 2 1/2 hr every day…each way. Nasty).
‘That woman told the evangelist (Mike Murdock) that her husband wasn’t paying his child support, so he told her to send him (Murdock) $58. That is so selfish! ”
Not at all. You didn’t watch the movie it was just a little covenant between her and God (for whom Mike is just standing in). Selfish – man she got back 65,000! It must be true Mike said so and he is a CHRISTIAN!
I used to watch this guy late night who wore a cowboy hat and smoked and just sat in a chair and looked like an evil Santa.
Does anyone remember this guy? I think he was from California.
We don’t have much in the way of televangelism (that I know of anyway) over here, so I must say that I was shocked by how blatant and obvious it was. I was half expecting some kind of elaborate hustle, or at least a half-assed attempt to cover up.
I present to you, “Dr.” Gene Scott.
Brenda von Ahsen says
Kenneth Copeland is always good for a laugh.
I have never laughed at Copeland. These are very dangerous people.
That is so selfish! That woman is probably having trouble paying bills and he [Mike Murdock] wants her to send him enough money to pay her water bill? If he was really compassionate he’d send her $58 so she would be able to make the water bill for one more month.
Yeah, well, sociopaths don’t think like most people do.
I was stunned the other day to hear Dr. Wayne Dyer making the “seed” argument during a PBS pledge drive. I never expected to hear that bullshit on PBS, but there he was giving the standard televangelist line about how contributing to PBS would bring you money.
The right was unable to eliminate funding for PBS and NPR so they have instead just taken them over and filled them with their neocon political operatives. Wayne Dyer has never been anything but just another hustler anyway. Only he works the “New Age” side of the street.
I still listen to those ranters on the radio during long trips; it keeps me awake. And laughing.
Re: the ungodly commute: On “Back to the Bible”, Woodrow Kroll (rhymes with troll) ends each broadcast with “Have a good and godly day. Because of what use is a good day, if it isn’t also a godly day?” (Emphasis to indicate his intonation.)
My rather intemperate remarks during the 15-minute program demonstrate that I am having an ungodly day. As usual.
Sampo Rassi says
#17: Yikes, that is actually some scary-as-heck television moments right there. I’m amazed anyone tuned in to watch him go out on a tirade like that.
“John Haggee. I haven’t seen him on TV for awhile. Wonder if he’s still hurling fire, brimstone and eternal damnation at the ungodly heathens like myself.”
I see Johny every night on my religious station. His recent sermons are about the difference between men and women. He’s promoting his books: “What Women Want” and What Men Want”. Apparently women are equal but they must obey their husbands because men are the leaders and providers.
Sister Novena says
Holy crap… this is my new favorite word.
Gene Scott was for those christians who liked really intimidating father figures.
S. Fisher says
Televangelist hucksterism should be illegal, in the same way false advertising is illegal. These crooks prey (pray?) on the people who can least afford to give their money away- the old and sick and financially strapped, while living like kings. Too bad there’s no hell for them to burn in for eternity, as they well know. Ah…if it was only up to me.
My favorite televangelist, hands down (or up in praise?), was Robert Tilton. What little screen time he didn’t spend hitting up his viewers for $1000 ‘pledges of faith’ was spent speaking in tongues and long-distance healing of everything from cancer to bad teeth. He achieved a measure of notoriety from a bootleg video that combined footage of his pained expressions with the sound of epic flatulence. Unsurprisingly, he was busted for massive fraud.
Personally, I always thought he was hilarious enough without the sound effects. Well, as funny as a soulless con man can be, anyway.
Brenda von Ahsen says
You know, it’s an ecology isn’t it? What you have is a population that is hard working but poorly educated and also indoctrinated into a religious culture that reveres authority figures. Into that population comes a series of predators who mimic the idealized “priest” while they run their confidence scam. Top predators are also highly active sexually and god only knows how many of their progeny are scattered along their revival trail.
The history of televangelism is one of the predators evolving ever more brazen schemes to extract as much money from their followers as possible while staying out of jail. The “prey” are not evolving so much as becoming more and more domesticated and isolated from non-prey. The bars on their cages are constructed with fear and hate. More recently they have been encouraged to have a victim mentality that projects their many woes onto “secular society”.
My sense is that this doesn’t end well for them. The obvious thing I believe we should do is push quality education as much as possible for everyone.
Egads — “Dr.” Gene Scott (a Phd from Stanford?) was amazing (Steve_C’s contribution #17).
I can’t imagine how he got to be executive director of the National Center for Science Education.
Good news! One of those hucksters is dead.
D. James Kennedy
And he was a dominionist to boot.
I’m glad he will stay dead.
The good old Chaser boys. Let’s hope they manage to use their Get Out Of Jail Free cards after APEC.