Nov 20

Stupid, desperate people

Ever watch those horrific infomercials on TV? Tony_little

Fed up with the pabulum being pitched on local TV news channels this morning, I instead decided to check out the ‘paid programming’.

What I saw was patronizing, if not pathetic. One spot, for example, featured a real estate guru who guaranteed he’d make millionaires out of any viewer willing to follow his ‘simple, six-step, zero money down’ investment philosophy.  Yeah, sure.

Another showed scores of beaming, middle-aged housewives holding up their tent-like jeans and dresses. They’d each lost inches from their waistlines by following some bogus, seven-minute isometric exercise. The erstwhile ‘big gals,’ waxed poetic about their newfound energy, love lives and wardrobes. And they positively gushed about the isometric gadget, since it required only seven minutes daily out of their busy schedules. Scores of pounds lost? Inches melted away? All from isometrics? Me thinks not.

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Nov 12

Religiously pursuing profits

Televangelists sure give fundamental Christianity a black eye. These self-righteous men and womenPlate
pound their podiums, thump their chests and offer lots of false hope: all in the name of Jesus and the Almighty Dollar.

So, it’s nice to see the government finally step in and investigate the charlatans who preach poverty but live in the lap of luxury.

Ah, there’s nothing like a good Congressional investigation to put the fear of God in a double-talking, bible-thumping fraud. And, while there are undoubtedly some legitimate preachers out there, my gut tells me the majority simply prey (pun intended) on the fears and ignorance of the great unwashed masses.

Organized religion deserves its checkered image and reputation. Too many scam artists have hurt too many unsuspecting faithful over the years.

So, let the investigations begin. And, hopefully, some of these profit-hungry pastors will be doing their preaching in prison and not on the boob tube.

Aug 20

An exit ramp marked common sense

Every now and then, I make a point of catching one of the Sunday morning televangelists. Image_2_5

Ordinarily, I avoid them like the plague because:

      a) I’m not a fundamentalist Christian and
      b) too many televangelists take advantage of the poor and uneducated elements of society to pad their own pockets.

Nonetheless, I felt adventurous, did some channel surfing and landed on Joel Osteen’s teleministry.

If you haven’t caught Joel’s act, he’s worth checking out. Osteen’s not only right out of central casting (think Burt Lancaster in ‘Elmer Gantry’), but he also provides some of the more laughable personal anecdotes available anywhere.

Sunday morning, for example, Joel told his virtual and physical congregants that he’d almost missed the taping. Seems he’d been caught in a massive traffic jam among mere mortals. But, being an appointed prophet, Joel felt the hand of God on his shoulder. And, like Moses parting the Red Sea, God apparently parted the gridlock ahead of Preacher Osteen enabling him to make it to his state-of-the-art Church just in the nick of time. Phew, that was close!

Pardon me, Joel, but I don’t buy it. I don’t think ‘He’ looked down from on high, spied a man of God stuck in traffic and, with a wave of His hand, made the other cars give way.

And, yet, as the cameras scanned the assembled multitudes, I could see heads nodding, lips murmuring and other signs of an enraptured faithful buying Brother Osteen’s story hook, line and sinker.

I’m sure Joel does lots of good works for lots of people, but he’s also one of those ‘God helps those who help themselves’ televangelists (think Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker).  In fact, as soon as Joel had finished his ‘parting of the Red Sea’ traffic story and taken a commercial break, a ‘pre-recorded Joel’ came on to hawk his new book, which not only contains seven tips for living a more spiritual life but, praise the lord, will be available for purchase as soon as October.

The faithful will undoubtedly plunk down their hard-earned wages and buy Joel’s book. But, I honestly don’t understand where his street cred comes from. In my opinion, well-heeled, smooth-talking, multimillionaire televangelists like Joel distort many of Christ’s teachings.

Whatever happened to: ‘Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.’? Guess they’re still stuck in Joel’s traffic jam. Not me, though. I’m taking that next exit ramp marked, "common sense."