February 18, 2004
Is That You, God?
BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
It would appear that the messages Pat Robertson has been hearing from God are not from God at all, but a cruel, conniving imposter.
It's sad, but true. But, he's in very good company. There have been many self-proclaimed prophets in our history. Some that predicted the day of the Second Coming and others that foretold the demise of the world.
Christopher Columbus was among those who forewarned the end -- even wrote about it in, "The Book of Prophesies," which he published in 1505.
There is no shortage of God-fearing men and women who commune with God and as such, are privy to His private utterances.
The founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, said a meeting of the Mormon religious leaders was called because God had commanded it. The Watchtower Society has been quite prolific in their predictions for Armageddon: 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and 1994, were some of their dates.
Today's preachers rarely dabble in such folly. Nay, their assertions are harangues intended to incite and divide. Their pulpit is used to bully and harass. The notion of love and brotherhood are far removed from their public pronunciations.
Lest you think I categorize all men and women of God as such, let me proclaim that is not so. I am writing of those few whose congregation's are in the multitudes. The tele-evangelist's who demonstrate miracles on television with a wave of their hand or a touch on the head -- to those who proclaim to do God's work as they don their six-thousand dollar designer suits, board their private jets, and flaunt their superiority while they sit upon their golden-gilded chairs in front of the cameras of their church-owned television stations: The Pat Robertson's, the Jerry Falwell's, The Benny Hinn's.
They preach to their minions' half-truths, falsities, and destructive examples that inflate egos, separate people of differing beliefs and life-styles, and they do so with a high and mighty commanding declaration that their mutterings are the truths that their congregation was heretofore denied.
When Rev. Falwell said, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen,'" before a 700-Club television audience, was he acting pastoral? Was he walking in the shadow of Christ? Or was he preaching separatism, bigotry, and filling his congregation with hatred?
In an earlier preaching, the good reverend told his flock that the cause of 9/11 was "the throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked."
In 1980, to a throng at a Jesus rally, Pat Robertson shouted, "We have enough votes to run the country. And when the people say, ‘We've had enough,' we are going to take over." In a fund-raising letter he wrote, "We at the Christian Coalition are raising an army who cares. We are training people to be effective -- to be elected to school boards, to city councils, to state legislatures, and to key positions in political parties.... By the end of this decade, if we work and give and organize and train, The Christian Coalition will be the most powerful political organization in America." Now, that was prophetic.
Today, as we find ourselves shaking our heads over the demise of separation of church and state, we should remember, we were warned. As far back as 1993, Rev. Robertson, said, "There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore."
Rev. Robertson from his on-high pulpit has preached on every important topic facing our country and our citizens. His opinions on the Supreme Court and our judicial system borders on lawlessness and irresponsibility. In his instructions to his followers he said, "Why should you and I be bound because of the ineptitude, if you will, or the skill of one or more defense lawyers, or the plaintiffs in any particular lawsuit?"
And, of course, the Lord spake upon his Holiness, the good Reverend Robertson about our upcoming presidential election and told him, "George Bush will win in a walk." What a man he must be for God Almighty to speak unto him -- and to him alone.
Regarding our Constitution, Rev. Robertson told his television ministry, "...it is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that's what's been happening."
This man of God, this preacher of the Word, told his followers, "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense."
In another fund-raising letter dated 1992, the benevolent reverend wrote these words, "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."
To his viewing audience he declared that Planned Parenthood, "...is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism -- everything that the Bible condemns."
In an example of his Christian love he instructed that we need to stop giving money to welfare mothers. "...if they'll stop paying them, they'll stop having babies. It's that simple. It's not heartless, it's not cruel, it's an intelligent use of money." In another moment of compassion, he made this comparison: "Many of those people involved with Adolph Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals -- the two things seem to go together."
His exclusive right of non-cult distinction disclaims any non-Christian: "...A cult is any group that has a form of godliness, but does not recognize Jesus Christ as the unique son of God.... One test of a cult is that it often does not strictly teach that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God who Himself is God manifested in the flesh...."
The Reverend Jerry Falwell fares no better. On a myriad of topics his intolerance and bigotry are glaring. He's in agreement with Pat Robertson that the churches will soon be running the education of our youth; that the notion of separation of church and state was not what our founding fathers had in mind; that the Jews "are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior;" and that the courts have "raped the Constitution".
He holds no qualms to his beliefs that, "If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being, or that "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."
The Rev. Falwell imparted his unearthly wisdom as he told his disciples that, "The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country."
My favorite, if one can justly refer to anything Jerry Falwell says, as a favorite, was a remark he said on Crossfire in 1997, "Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them."
And, probably one of his most despicable remarks was, "AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh's charioteers."
The undeniable king of prophesy; however, is Benny Hinn. He's the preacher and healer who's on television in the wee hours of the night. If you're a troubled sleeper, you've seen him. On April 2, 2000, on a TBN Praise-a-thon, he announced, "I'm prophesying this: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is about to appear physically in some churches and some meetings and to many of His people, for one reason - to tell you He's about to show up."
On January 1st, 1990, the self-proclaimed oracle, shared two divinations:
"The Lord also tells me to tell you in the mid-90's, about '94, '95, no later than that; God will destroy the homosexual community of America. ... He will destroy it with fire. And many will turn and be saved, and many will rebel and be destroyed."
His second foretelling was, "The Spirit tells me Fidel Castro will die in the '90s." He elucidated that it would be a very horrible death!
Benny Hinn's proclamations are so extravagant, so unbelievable, yet hordes of followers assemble to hear him in churches, stadiums, and fields in lands all over the world. According to Hinn, he has been in the presence of the Archangel Michael and he has seen the dead raised; sickness, he says, comes from individuals attacking preachers; and lastly, he claims he "is a ‘little messiah' walking on earth."
These are not my words. I haven't edited one syllable. The proclamations should speak for themselves. If these are true, God-fearing men, leaders of men, women, and children, and their word is taken as gospel, then our fears are not fearful enough. For in these words of these righteous men are the words of hate, and slander, and disgust - vile, depraved, and immoral rantings spoken as truth to a congregation of lost souls; to an audience who have long given up thinking for themselves. For surely if they did, they would renounce these men as the pretentious charlatans they are.
With more than a million Jerry Falwell television crusaders in over 168 markets, Trinity Network nearing a million viewers, Adventist Communication Network (ACN), the fastest growing network with eight-million church members, and TBN, CBN -- in contributions alone, The Worldwide Church of God reportedly rakes in $75-million in contributions, Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, $60-million, Pat Robertson's 700 Club on CBN, $58-million, Jerry Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour, $48-million -- and with a 25% modest growth a year, there's no denying there is big money in TV evangelism.
With the numbers of meandering, prayerful worshippers growing by the multitudes, there will always be a provocateur waiting in the wings to lead the flock. And, there are no shortages of son's willing to follow in their father's footsteps. Nepotism is rife in the world of evangelism as exampled by Franklin Graham, Don Swaggart, Jamie Bakker, and Tim Robertson.
Pray tell, is it prophesy, as in portending the future that drives this evangelical mission, or is it profit, as in lining one's pocket? The truth is more beguiling than the biblical defining of prophesy.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
Norma Sherry is co-founder of TogetherForeverChanging.org, an organization devoted to educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility particularly with regards to our diminishing civil liberties. She is also an award-winning writer/producer and host of upcoming television program, The Norma Sherry Show on WQXT TV.
Email Norma: email@example.com
© Norma Sherry 2004
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