Televangelists have been around since the early days of television. They apply their pulpit to influence millions who cannot otherwise, for whatever reason, partake of religious services. Without omission, they grow into affluence, but for many, their careers end in the disgrace of unveiled hypocrisy. They bemoan their prosperity only after the IRS pays them a visit.
Joel Olsteen is today’s disgraced televangelist. Somehow, he has maintained his flock long after his first indiscretion. The way Olsteen behaved after the destruction in Houston caused by Hurricane Katrina should have been the end of his career, but his flock are sheep.
Osteen’s face is a tell. He’s a fake. I’ll state the obvious. He’s had some work done. Tight, wrinkle free skin, frozen by injectables, hinders his range of facial expressions. The result can’t be the look he was hoping for, unless he was going for menacing Joker, but his throng doesn’t seem to notice it.
The first clause in the Bill of Rights states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Yet, religious organizations have a code on the books that exempts them from paying taxes. Don’t get me started.
I will not throw stones at a glass gift horse. (Yeah, I know that’s not right.) His face is his business, literally. He derives his lifestyle of the rich and famous from people whom I will allow I don’t understand, his disciples, who are urged to tithe. For those of you who have never experienced Church life, “tithing” means to give 10% of your money to the Church. Those manipulated into giving live modestly. He persuades them they have to purchase admission to heaven.
Words are subjective. Organized religion, and theology in general, has been ruined, for me, by zealots who interpret their instruction manuals — the Bible, Qur’an, Torah, Gita, Guru Granth Sahib, Tripitaka, in a way that promotes misogyny. Scripture can be used to manipulate weak-minded people, and today’s evangelical Christians have lost regard for helping the less fortunate. Jesus was a socialist, and he wasn’t packing firearms.
This brings me to my point today. A plumber, working on a bathroom in the mega-church that has served as a money laundering tool for televangelist Joel Osteen, made an unexpected and unwelcome discovery this week.
“There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile, we went to go remove the toilet, and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall.” ~Justin, the plumber
What Jesus would think of Joel Osteen, the owner of a $325,000 Ferrari, (allegedly,) a $10.5 million mansion that has a pool house to die for, (did Jesus die for it?) Osteen, who, with his tax-free status, still took taxpayer funds, to the tune of a $4.4 million PPP forgivable loans, offered to keep businesses from folding during the COVID-19 shut down last year.
Osteen has responded to this week’s scrutiny, prompted by the revelation (not the Book of Revelation,) that bags and bags of money, over half a million, that had been reported stolen in 2014, wound up in the drywall behind the bathroom of his mega-church. That response to his followers was to “turn their minds off.” No, I’m not kidding you. Right out of the now exhausted Orwellian playbook, he wants you to ignore the news that he takes your donated cash, reports it lifted, then hides it in bags in the walls of the Houston mega-church that he turned people away from during hurricane Harvey.
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19: 20-21 NIV
Allow me to close today’s post with the following—
A man approached his friend's widow at her husband’s wake.
He said, “May I say a word?”
She replied, “Please do.”
He strode up to the lectern and spoke, “Plethora.”
The widow took his hand as he stepped down and responded,
“Thank you. That means a lot.”