Saturday, July 21, 2007

Going Into Debt For Jesus

Bianca and I have never had cable. Ever. Whenever we enter a hotel room, the first thing that is done - before bags drop from shoulders- is the television is turned on, usually to the Weather Channel, which I could watch for hours. I could rent a hotel room, watch the Weather Channel for 24 hours, and leave completely satisfied. That's what no cable has done to us.

At home, my options were limited to the crap network stations, the Home Shopping Network and several (13) Spanish-language stations. Then there was TBN. I used to watch the Trinity Broadcasting Network way more often than I should have. I watched it for the sheer, gleeful horror of its entertainment value: the Crouches (see Jan pictured above), the silly movie premieres (watching Christian filmmakers and broadcasters act all "Hollywood" remains endlessly entertaining to me) and, of course, Benny Hinn with his amazing Holy Spirit Knock You Over Spells. I mean the guy is a real-life X-Man. There's something so ornately sleazy about him that makes you suspicious he bathes only in Cristal champagne.

I was reading a William Lobdell article in the Times today titled "He Had Faith In His Job" in which Lobdell talks about his years covering the holy beat. He mentions TBN's "prosperity gospel":

"TBN's Creed is that if viewers send money to the network, God will repay them with great riches and good health. Even people deeply in debt are encouraged to put donations on credit cards." (italics mine)

"'If you have been healed or saved or blessed through TBN and have not are robbing God and will lose your reward in heaven,' Paul Crouch, co-founder of the Orange County-based network, once told viewers. Meanwhile, Crouch and his wife, Jan, live like tycoons."

They need the money, you see, for the $21 million dollar private jet, 30 homes across the country and their two mansions in Newport Beach. Oh, and the ranch in Texas. And the taxes they have to pay on these donations? Nada.

"Even people deeply in debt are encouraged to put donations on credit cards."

Look, somebody's gotta pay for Jan's pink skyscraper wigs.


~Dawn said...

You live dangerously Basil, those TBNinites might come and pray over you.

FrugalBabe said...

You and my unicycle-riding husband would get along great. He also could watch the weather channel for 24 hours.