Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Almighty Dollar

Someone left the TV tuned to BET in the gym this morning. BET is generally awful, being full of rump-shaking bling-bling videos and hack comics who not only work blue, but pander shamelessly to the audience with lines like, “Y’all like sex?” But before you dismiss this as Old Man Lynn just shaking his cane, what was on this morning was much worse: a televangelist.

It’s hard enough to sit through a sermon, but being forced to watch one while running on a treadmill is a whole new form of punishment. I suppose I could have changed the channel, but it would have required getting off the treadmill, finding the remote, and figuring out how the satellite TV works. But more than that, I was too transfixed by disgust at this character onscreen.

He combined my favorite parts of BET by having the physique of hack comic Steve Harvey combined with the glassy-eyed stare of hip-hop mumbler (and fellow minister) Ma$e. And just like Ma$e, he turns out to have a dollar in his name, which is Creflo A. Dollar. It’s an especially untrustworthy surname for a televangelist, and while I’ve never heard the name “Creflo”, judging by his very expensive suit and his opulent surroundings, I’m guessing that it means “gimme”. He so reeked of corruption that I wasn’t sure if he was worshiping Jesus or Mammon.

I couldn’t hear what he was saying because the TV was muted, but I had to know more, so I looked him up later. And guess what? Apparently he’s just as much of a scumbag as he seems to be even when you just watch him with the sound turned off. According to this, his ministry is arguably a cult. He leads by charisma, though his followers aren’t allowed to touch him — if they do, his divine anointedness may rub off. Essentially turning preaching into investment advice, he essentially teaches that God will give you money in return for your tithing 10% of your income to Creflo Dollar’s World Changer’s Church International. (Fail to tithe, however, and not only will you be ostracized from Dollar’s church, but the Devil will wreck your car or do something similar to bring you misery.) Dollar says it’s essential to look the part for his followers to find his message of prosperity credible, which justifies the expensive suits and his traveling by Rolls Royce and Lear jet.

He also apparently teaches that we are all as gods ourselves — that anyone (say, Creflo Dollar, just to throw a name out there) is as divine as Jesus himself. This is funny, because Dollar also has a section on his website warning of the Antichrist that quotes scripture saying that “he will exalt himself as God.” Of course, Dollar also throws in a bit about how the Antichrist won’t be interested in women, which should forestall any accusations, since his wife has a large role in his ministry.

Don’t flatter yourself, Dollar. Nobody’s accusing you of being the Antichrist. You’re just a con-man in a flash suit.


Blogger Ian said...

I watched some of Dr. Creflo A. Dollar once (on account of him having the coolest name in the universe), though I didn't watch very long. He extolled the virtue of tithing and denounced the evil of premarital sex. Then he started going into how we should follow our religious leaders ABSOLUTELY and WITHOUT QUESTION, or else you make Jesus cry.

I think Peter Popoff is a pretty big crook too. He sells these small packets of "Miracle Spring Water" from the Chernobyl disaster site (???). To be fair, it's probably just tap water.

10/12/2004 01:55:00 PM  

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