Monday, December 10, 2007

And Jesus Saith Unto The Multitudes, "Liquidity Is Thy Savior"

Once upon a time in our misspent youth, we were stopped by a local law enforcement official for some minor youthful indiscretion--70 in a 30 or some such--and asked by said official to exit our vehicle.

We demurred, having had the areas of our brain that concern themselves with judgment, balance and self preservation shut off by a noxious cocktail of substances which we would normally have completely shunned had it not been for the seductive pleadings of one Natalie Livingstone. Ah, Natalie...the ache she could bring to our vulnerable hearts with just a shy hint of a smile, or innocent tilt of her raven-haired visage. We would have eaten glass if she asked us to. But we digress.

Long story short, the cop told us to get out of the car and we said no. He then proceeded to convince us, using the techniques of classical rhetoric, Aristotelean logic, and we believe one of those collapsible batons why we should always do as those in authority ask.

We have made that a motto and mantra in the years since, and it has stood us in good stead in subsequent dealings with the minions of the power class. So you can imagine our dismay and distress at finding out today that we have been one simple word away from being able to live lives of complete anarchy and wild abandon in full view of the authorities. And that word is, Reverend.

A second Christian ministry is refusing to meet a deadline for a Senate investigation into preachers' salaries, perks and travel. "Separation of Church and state baby," said Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church and Investment Club Inc. "Now, what's that the reverend Hammer says? Oh yeah, 'Cain't touch this."

A lawyer for preacher Creflo Dollar of Money Changers Church International in suburban Atlanta had earlier said that the investigation should be referred to the IRS or the Senate panel should get a subpoena for the documents. "Or they could take my suggestion about the rolling donut," the lawyer added.

The ministries preach a form of Word of Faith theology, known as prosperity gospel, which teaches that God wants believers contribute to an increase in material rewards for their pastors. "Think how much Jesus will appreciate you if you give me all your money," said Hinn.

Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, has insisted his investigation "has nothing to do with church doctrine. Well, except for the part that says the ministry needs a private jet. I can't find that in the bible," he told reporters.

"Well that's because they didn't have jets back then," Dollar said. "See, we're trained to interpret the bible in terms of the current cultural milieu, so we know when it says Jesus rode on a donkey, that really means get yourself a Citation. It's heavy duty theological exegesis. You wouldn't understand."

Other televangelists have been noncommittal in their public comments, preferring to funnel their money off shore, but some have voiced strong objections that echo Dollar's. "Hey, drug dealers have the bling and the IRS doesn't go after them," said Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church of the Dow Jones Out Performers. "You can't save souls if you're constantly worried about your portfolio."

Georgia Democratic state Representative Randal Mangham agreed, arguing that appearances matter. “It’s important for kids to see you don’t have to sell drugs to drive a nice car,” he told the Los Angeles Times. "Lord knows true religion is all about the appearances," he added.

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