Somebody is just a little bit out of touch

The pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, Robert Schuller, has a wife, Arvella. Arvella is sick! She has pneumonia.

I’m so sorry. I wish her well and hope she gets better soon.

The Schullers have done something quite common: since she’s not feeling well, they asked the community to help prepare meals for the family. This is a very traditional thing to do, and one of the nicer parts of religion — it’s quite OK for someone to ask for help, and people are happy to pitch in.

What grates, though, is the email sent to explain how to deliver the meals. Don’t come by the house, oh no.

…they would appreciate meals over the next three to four weeks. They are to be sent to the church in order to be transported to Arvella. The limo drivers could pick up the dinners or meet in the Tower Lobby around 4:30 p.m.

‘Please, we need charity, just hand it to our limo drivers’? America is in deep economic trouble, and we’ve been bled dry by income inequity: the Schullers are perfectly emblematic of the attitudes of the 1%, oblivious, privileged, arrogant, and demanding more. And they do this while their church is failing into bankruptcy.


  1. says

    Wait, didn’t Jebus say something about living humbly? And kicking the butts of the money-changers in the temples? Oh well, it’s not like I expect Christians to be familiar with their own holy book.

  2. USN Atheist says

    HAHAHAHAHAHA….silly sheeple. Though I am sure they will have more food than they know what to do with. Perhaps they will do the “christian” thing and allow their limo drivers, gardeners, pool boys, maids, manservants and interior decorators fight for the scraps.

  3. Kemist says

    Crystal Cathedral, eh ?

    I’ve heard of it before, wasn’t it in Randi’s Faith Healers book about those sociopathic a-holes who rip off the deluded poor penny by penny ?

    If so, this is on par with their previous behavior – and it’s not at all sure that the wife is sick. They are known pathological liars.

  4. grumpyoldfart says

    That email is not a request for food, it’s a subtle message to the flock: Look at us, we’re penniless (which proves we didn’t rip-off church funds).

  5. lordshipmayhem says

    They’re wealthy enough to have a full-time cook.

    There’s something wrong about this, but do their flock see it? First, why is someone as faithful as the Schullers suffering from corrupting sicknesses like pneumonia? Second, why are the Schullers wealthy enough to employ limo drivers? Aren’t they supposed to be spending their flock’s tithing on helping the poor and such? (Obviously it does help the poor – the poor Schillers would be living in a sod house on the Prairies if not for tithes.)

    But their followers are not thinking about this. They’re thinking that the money they’re sending is helping a pious family spread the Good Word. That such Good Words include inducements to genocide, slavery, murder of one’s offspring by stoning and other crimes that would have your ass hauled into court anywhere in the civilized world seems to escape the flock’s notice completely.

  6. says

    Just make sure that you put the meals into the antique Wedgwood china dishes, or their equivalent, too. Sickness isn’t cured by cheap dishes, you know. And please, we could use some expensive silver.

    That’s what baby Jesus would do.

    Glen Davidson

  7. bodach says

    I was going to have a covered dish dropped off but my driver has stolen the car, the chef and maid are laying down covering fire while the gardeners are breaking in through the atrium. Probably the Moslem problem again (or atheists).

  8. This Is A Turing Test says

    “…limo drivers, gardeners, pool boys, maids, manservants and interior decorators…”
    Good Christian job creators, eh?

  9. says

    Good Christian job creators, eh?

    Jesus spake, saying “Verily, ye rich people having excessive wealth, I command that you trickle your wealth down to the poor and needy. They shall acquire thine crumbs, and thine burdens shall be eased by their toil and labour.”

    Glen Davidson

  10. says

    These are the same people who embezzled ten million from their church and drove the thing into bankruptcy, right?

    Maybe, if I was feeling kind that day, I might send these assholes a package of ramens with a little love note. But, by and large, I’m okay if this bitch has drag her ass out of bed for a limo ride to the local Chik-fil-A.

  11. says

    I thought the point of this sort of thing is that, with one spouse down and the other busy caring for them while still earning the daily bread, and/or maybe both of them are elderly and really need each other to keep things running, having a week’s worth of donated casseroles in the freezer takes care of one important and somewhat time-consuming need. (One church we belonged to had a Pastoral Care Team that kept tabs on such situations and made sure that people got taken care of).

    But that kind of applies to us ordinary schumucks in the 99%. If you can afford limo drivers, you can afford to friggin’ hire whatever home care help you might need.

  12. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    I command that you trickle your wealth down to the poor and needy.

    They’re trickling something down on the poor and needy. And it ain’t wealth.

  13. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says


    You must be new here. Lemme give you a little bit of advice: gendered insults are not acceptable here. No joke.

  14. Richard Smith says

    @Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian (#20):

    They’re trickling something down on the poor and needy. And it ain’t wealth.

    It may not be wealth, but it is golden…

  15. Hypatia's Daughter says

    Are Robert’s arms & legs broken? He is perfectly capable of opening a can of cat food & spreading it on crackers – just like the poor in his flock who live on a fixed income but who donate their second last dime to him (they use their last dime to buy the can of cat food).

  16. says

    PZ you missed the best part of the article:

    “Canfield said he and other members of the congregation are upset the request came at a time when their church is in bankruptcy and information coming out through court documents has suggested that the Schullers took nearly $10 million from the church’s endowment funds.”

  17. tmac57 says

    Well,it makes perfect sense to send a limo to pick up the donated food.That way their food taster can sample it on the spot.This gives them extra time for the symptoms to show up.

  18. Pierce R. Butler says

    I wish her well and hope she gets better soon.

    So if Mrs. Schuller recovers, we all know whose Power-Prayers™ were responsible!

  19. tushcloots says

    Are you fucking kidding?!?

    Canfield said he and other members of the congregation are upset the request came at a time when their church is in bankruptcy and information coming out through court documents has suggested that the Schullers took nearly $10 million from the church’s endowment funds.

    Are you fucking kidding?!?

    The Schuller’s took all the money and now no one has a church to go to. These people are choked so he decides to ask for quiches and meats and fruits to be delivered to their limo drivers, not one, but plural, after they are broke and he is fucking flashing all the spoils in their faces?!?

  20. raven says


    Looks like being a humanoid toad fundie xian leader pays big bucks.

    Dan Quayle did the same thing. He was Bush 1’s VP, noted for being dumb and from a very rich family.

    Someone asked him once what his greatest disappointment in life was. He thought for a long time (being rather dumb). “My children don’t like golf very much.” Apparently he was an avid golfer.

    Meanwhile, much of the country struggles to buy food and shelter, pay medical bills, and pay for their kid’s college. When their kids aren’t fighting and dying in a war someplace far away.

  21. Alverant says

    To play Devil’s Advocate, maybe they got a limo company to deliver the food for free. (I rode in a limo once. It’s nothing but a taxi without the smell.) Having it brought to the house would have risked infection.

  22. john says

    PZ, I have said this before, but you are definitely in the 1%. At least as far asz, ur airline miles go and your contribution to green house gases. Please stop the madness.

  23. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Other disgusting (and highly likely) sequelae of Arvella’s affliction:

    1. Hordes—hordes—of the flock will respond to this. Count on it. They’d cut their own food budget for the week to make these bastards a casserole.

    2. Tons, perhaps literally, of food will be wasted. Far more will be cooked and sent than the Schullers could possibly eat. As if they’d eat the commoner food —tuna casseroles, potato-cheese bakes—they’re likely to get anyway.

    3. Said food will not find its way to people who could really use it, or whose day it would brighten. It won’t go to the desperately ill folks in the hospital whose only joy for the day might be a homecooked alternative to hospital food. It won’t go to the local drab nursing home. It won’t go to the soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

    It will be thrown away.

  24. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    PZ, I have said this before, but you are definitely in the 1%. At least as far asz, ur airline miles go and your contribution to green house gases. Please stop the madness.

    Another obsessive one-note kook with no perspective identifies himself. Thank you for that public service.

  25. raven says

    john the troll:

    PZ, I have said this before, but you are definitely in the 1%.

    John is in a 1% too. Dumb internet trolls.

  26. Kevin Alexander says

    After having seen The Help, I think I’d send the limo driver on with some chocolate pie.

  27. Alverant says

    OK I read the article. At the bottom was this:

    Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreement.
    1. Keep it civil and stay on topic.
    2. No profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs or personal attacks.
    3. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked.

    I didn’t see any comments. I couldn’t make one because I would have a hard time being civil, avoiding profanity, or making a joke.

    (I won’t begrudge them for requesting low-salt foods provided their doctor says they need a low-salt diet. I volunteered in a food bank and met people with dietary needs and saw what a hard time they have getting food. Not that these people would ever go to a food bank.)

  28. Julien Rousseau says

    These people make a Poe impossible to achieve….

    Au contraire. It is this kind of people who make a poe so easy to achieve as it is impossible to differentiate the behaviour of a poe from that of a true believer like Schuller (unless Schuller is a poe himself).

  29. lazybird says

    The Schullers are just humble servants doing the Lord’s Work. The wardrobes, mansion and limo? They felleth out of the skyeth!

  30. Sastra says

    We should have seen this coming when the Schullers asked their parishioners if they could please borrow a cup of sugar — just give it to one of their chefs.

    They’re plain folks trying to connect with the neighbors, is all. You can call ’em Bob and Vel.

  31. raven says

    They’re plain folks trying to connect with the neighbors, is all.

    Sure. It has made them very rich.

    Although, it seems they are more interested in connecting to their neighbor’s bank accounts and pumping out their money.

  32. tfkreference says

    What strikes me is the telling detail of “limo driver.” At first I saw it as ignorance of how the other half (i.e., 99%) lives, but now that I think about it, whoever actually wrote the appeal might have put that in on purpose to expose the gall of the Schullers to ask for food.

  33. MadScientist says

    You wouldn’t want the folks to deliver the food to the house because then they’d see how obscene this pretentious godbotherer is. The limos are much more low-key and less likely to offend the sensibilities of the church-goers. However, as I see it, I’d say “hey buddy, you can afford limos – send ’em out to pick up your takeaway food.”

  34. Nepenthe says

    @Josh (33)

    Where do these assweasels live again? I’d kill for some church lady made tuna-noodle casserole. (Fittingly, since I only ever get it at funerals.)

    And you don’t want to know what I’d do for potato bake!

  35. paulamurray says

    I have an extremely dim view of the Schullers. Just because. They could freaking afford to HIRE an unemployed member of their congregation to come and do the shopping/cooking for them. But OH NOes. we’re helpless ministers, we gotta get handouts from our congregation because we’re so helpless we have to hire chauffeurs.

    YIKES.. They have a huge flock of sheeple.

  36. McCthulhu says

    The entire family has stolen literally hundreds of thousands of dollars from donation money intended for the grotesquery known as the Crystal Cathedral. That they can’t even live within the means of a fraudulent televangelist goes beyond the ultra-scummy, that they would ask for people to cook food and have it delivered by limo, this is one of the few times I genuinely wish someone would die in a fire.

    They are preying on the ignorance of their flock who only see that the family took so much money that the money for the structure itself ran out and had to be sold in an auction. How much they actually have squirreled away is known only to their imaginary sky fairy.

  37. Ragutis says

    What, limos don’t fit in drive-thrus or something? Give the driver an extra one millionth of what you stole and I’m sure they’d walk in and get it to go.

    My guess is that this is just a blatant attempt to elicit sympathy by playing off of her illness and perhaps an attempt to gauge how much of the congregation remains loyal to them.

  38. Craigore says

    Wow, after reading this, I must say I do have a question for the Biologists; Is there any way to clandestinally lace one of these food offerings to these prophets of humble means (aside from the 10 million dollars their followers will probably never see again) with a horrible pathogen possessing no odor, taste, or color, and with a dormancy up to 48 if not 72 upon consumption?… just asking.

  39. nemo the derv says

    My aunt took us all to a christmas show in the crystal cathedral. It was in the same year Toy Story because she took us to the premiere that same trip (I quietly sat through one to get to the other so, yes, I am a shameful weasel).

    What I can tell you about it was the place was HUGE but also cheap in a wierd kind of way. On the one hand the ceiling is a good 100ft high and could seat, by my best guess, about 25,000. The show was 2.5 hours so I had plenty of time to calculate seating. It’s all glass and steel grating painted white which makes me wonder about their power bill. They must have had the air con cranked up to a hundred because I was freezing my butt off.

    On the other hand the seats were of the backed aluminum bench variety. The kind you see in high schools or places where they set up for temporary sporting event. The floor was just aggregate concrete with badly worn strips of blue carpeting in the aisle.

    My general impression was that the building is very much like the religion they peddled there. It might look good from a distance(or on TV) but when you get up close it looks cheap and fake. The building is a poser just like the Schullers

  40. nemo the derv says

    Did I mention that I wore a leather jacket and my Metallica T-shirt? It was the “Master of puppets” album cover. I’m pretty sure that was the only thing I had with a cross on it. I didn’t do it intentionally but I earned some pretty nasty looks regardless.

  41. Craigore says

    You don’t know me, you wouldn’t begin to know me. I have no intention of doing anything like that. However other more vindictive people might. Quite frankly these decadent parasites can choke on their food offerings as far as I’m concerned and they really don’t mean a whole lot to me it’s true, but I would like them to be warry of trusting any of the ill-gotten goodies their limo drivers will receive on their behalf. Not that I care what you think, I just wish to do more to express myself. If you still have a problem with that, I can happily dial you a whambulence.

  42. KG says

    I have no intention of doing anything like that. – Craigore

    Then you should make yourself clear, fuckwit. The most obvious possibilities, given your #57 and #58, were that you are either a psychopathic scumbag of an atheist (they do exist), or a religious believer seeking to discredit atheists.

  43. Craigore says

    Yeah well, now you know. Drunk, tired, and still reeling from what I had read, the thought to more clearly express myself did not quite occur to me at the time. It is not that I wish to discredit atheists (I happen to be one) but as far as those people, I greatly prefer that they live in fear of reaping what they sow as they in no way deserve any peace of mind while engaging in such sordid activity (quite frankly they make me physically ill, so fuck those people). If any biologist had responded yes to my inquiry that it was indeed possible then I would suggest that the Schullers be alerted immediately * especially if potentially flesh eating * and encouraged to retract their request for donations and spend their ill gotten funds on take-out which would at least be a little more honest. Once again sorry for the confusion. Oh and, KG, you could probably stand a little less caffeine. Stay beautiful.

  44. lag says

    “This would never happen in the Catholic church.”

    True, rather than the limo they’d ask that the food be dropped off by little boys.

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