What do some American parsons and most Guyanese politicians have in common? In a word: wealth. There was this article from the Washington Post dated June 3, written by Michael Brice Sadler and titled, “Wealthy televangelist explains his fleet of private jets: “it’s a biblical thing.” There is part of the answer.
Foreign pastors and local politicians have another thing in common, the strangest of what could be labeled partners in crime. Their crime is this: ripping off the gullible, the vulnerable, the feeble. Those would include the poor, the barely literate, the troubled, the hopeful, and exploiting the faith of the believing for personal gain.
The mass begging for relief from the agonies of circumstances and usually uncaring environments is pursued through the Holy Gospel and sacred scripture repackaged for cheap sale. Local men do the same thing through patriotic messages and nuanced tribal appeals to get one over for self. For power. For cash.
In the mega churches, there are television stars pretending at being humble, barefooted messengers of the Galilean and being able to deliver miracles on their behalf. In Guyana, there is a parade of one self-serving political (tribal) star after another pretending to have foremost the interests of impoverished, left behind, and lost citizens.
These lost citizens yearn for some blessing to lift them out from the bottom, where they have been stuck and from which they are unable to separate themselves. The trusting taken for yet another hard, unrewarding ride.
Kenneth Copeland paid US$54 million for a jet (he was made an offer not worth refusing -very steep discount); so that he is not bothered on commercial flights by people “with unsolicited requests for prayers” and “agitating his spirit.” In the wrong calling. In this instance, God is reduced to a business bartered about just like any other cheap commodity, like pork bellies.
So-called men of the people (self-identified) build mansions in exclusive areas squeezed from the state, and live like royalty: security, all expenses paid, all whims catered for, and still they reach for more not already in their pockets or banks or among their stashed away assets.
As the mainly American preachers would say: divine prosperity. Like Diego Maradona of Argentina and world soccer fame, did say: the hand of God except that it wasn’t truly so, since there was some human cheating involved, as admitted years later.
Cheating has occurred in Guyana. Check them out: prosperity, contentment, unanswered questions.
It is a long parade: Jesse Duplantis with his state-of-the-art Falcon 7X jet; Creflo Dollar and his remodeled $65m Gulfstream; and mega pastor Joe Osteen with his mansion and huge paycheck; Mike Murdock weaned his flock (well, not his really) to purchase two jets at the same time. Always good to have a spare plane in case of a flat.
Christ the compassionate is now transformed into Christ the capitalist; at least according to those who use his name to justify their money changing and money-grubbing ways. Just as interesting, and no less ironic to observe the ardent followers and preachers of a different kind of religion (Marx et al): of egalitarianism and the power of the proletariat, have been ruthless in their elbowing aside of the lesser comrades for grabbing of the lion’s share of the political spoils of Guyana: house lots, asset accumulation, scholarships. The constitution is their bible.
In spite of all the high-minded talk and noble-sounding pronunciamientos, these foreign preachers and local political figures (to an astonishing degree) are neither about flock nor ministry, nor about people nor country; are they about prosperity for themselves. A dirty plutocracy is perpetuated.
What is a little sinning? A little misleading? Who knows? Who cares?
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