Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Sunday Feeling

I got something in the mail the other day addressed to "To A Friend." It was from some outfit in Tulsa calling itself St. Matthew's Churches. It contained, along with the usual testimonials from untraceable if not fictitious people, an 8 x 10 inch paper "Church Prayer Rug" adorned with the likeness of a weeping Christ whose closed eyes appear to "open" to look at you-only you!-in a beseeching fashion as if to say "Wilt thou abandon me too?"


Religious hucksterism is as American as apple pie. From Joseph Smith to Pat Robertson Americans have been preached to, yelled at and been hit on, sometimes for money even, by semi-literate con artists who claim that God has called them to start their own "ministries." Regrettably, pollsters have confirmed that a not inconsiderable group of people who unfortunately have the right to vote and also reproduce themselves through human gestation subscribe to various of these evangelists. Accordingly, Republican candidates are required, as the night is required to followeth the day, to suck up to these clowns in order to pander to the votes of their imbecilic followers.

This can have fairly predictable and hilarious consequences. Take the picture above where we see Republican presidential candidate John McCain with the amazingly named Ohio evangelist Rev. Rod Parsley shown to Sen. McCain's right. It was a bad week for the McCain camp last week insofar as endorsements from religious cranks goes. McCain was earlier forced to disassociate himself from Texas Evangelist John Hagee after it was revealed that Hagee has said that Rome (read Roman Catholic Church) is the great whore depicted in Revelations and that Hitler was not only part of God's Plan but that his anti-Semitism was inculcated in him by his Catholic upbringing.

Later in the same week, McCain was forced to jettison the man he referred to with a straight face as "Pastor Parsley" after the press found out that Parsley has preached that Islam is a "violent religion" bent on world domination. Not only that, but Parsley has stated that America was founded to destroy Islam. I don't know what the fuss is all about. This chapter of American history was in all of the textbooks.

Look, McCain's first mistake in hooking up, however briefly ,with the likes of Pastor Parsley is that Parsley's home office in Ohio. If you are going to fool around with flaxen haired Bible-banging loudmouths, you need to make sure that they come from Texas, Oklahoma (which is technically part of Texas) or the Deep South. That's the Bermuda Triangle where all your surefire, time tested, semi-criminal preachers come from. You don't go to Tennessee to get crabcakes and you don't go to Ohio for preachers. A conspicuous exception to this basic rule was my favorite TV preacher, the late Gene Scott, who hailed from California and canoodled with young women and raised race horses. But Gene was, like I said, an exception to the rule. And just about any rule you care to name.

Secondly, while these guys pretty toil and spin under the radar of the national media for the most part, the all do have websites and they even write "books" wherein their nutbar pronouncements are out there for all the world to see. And have been for years. Didn't anybody on McCain's staff say "Who the fuck is Pastor Parsley? " and assign some young aide the task of getting online to check him out? I mean, knowing that my candidate was considering an endorsement from a guy whose name sounds like a character in a book by Dr. Suess would be enough to cause my red flags to go up. Suffice it to say the red flags went up way too late on the "Straight Talk Express."

I am supposed to turn my "Prayer Rug" back into God's home office in Tulsa, presumably with my prayer list and a donation. I am assured that I will get in return God's blessing and my own personal "beautiful, blessed, (gold painted) Prosperity Cross" that has been blessed by the church Elders.
On second thought, I'm going to forward this stuff over to the McCain campaign. They are a little light in preacher endorsements at this stage of the contest. I don't know much about the "ministry"that sought me out the other day but at least they are from Oklahoma (which is technically part of Texas) where they still know how to work the con.

Beats looking for your in-house evangelist in the Rust Belt.

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