The liars keep lying and spreading their offal around to the naïve, gullible, predisposed suckers who will pay them heed!
by Charlie Leck
I used the above sub-title in a blog I wrote a week or so ago that had to do with the lies and outright bull shit spread around by the radical right of American politics. It seemed appropriate for today’s theme about malodorous clergy who take advantage of those who think fundamental religious practices are the way to salvation.
Ole Anthony, a Minnesota native, is a central party in this blog and has become somewhat of a hero to me because he appears to be a bounty hunter out to get corrupt and self-serving clergymen. Now, understand, Ole is no angel himself. He’s got a bit of a checkered past and has certainly told some tall tales about himself along the way. I’ll discount all of that and concentrate only on Ole’s work in recent years that make me so fascinated with what he’s doing.
I learned about Ole in a newspaper column by Joe Tevlin that appeared in our local paper up here in the Northern Midwest: Mac Hammond named in report on preachers who prosper.
“When Ole Anthony was 6 years old, his minister asked his mother not to bring him to catechism class anymore because he was ‘an evil child’ who asked too many questions," Anthony recalls.
“As founder of the Trinity Foundation in Dallas, Anthony still asks questions.
“His nonprofit helps the homeless, and after seeing many homeless come to him because they gave all their money to preachers, Anthony got mad. Then he got a detective's license and hired several more detectives. For years, they have cultivated informants inside prosperity gospel churches, dug through garbage cans to find financial statements and provided information to the IRS and other agencies, including Grassley's task force, something that riles pastors.
"‘I have recently been promoted from the antichrist to Satan incarnate,’ Anthony said with a laugh. ‘It's sad.’
“Anthony believes some of these TV preachers deceive their flocks about how their contributions are used. He points to Copeland's claim to be a billionaire (his house is so large a bridge connects two wings, according to the Grassley report).”
The Grassley report refers to a document released by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley “on televangelists of the prosperity gospel” who rake in phenomenal amounts of wealth that is often given to them by people who can’t afford to do so.
Much of Senator Grassley report highlights a Texas preacher (surprise, surprise, surprise), Kenneth Copeland, who has accumulated a mind boggling amount of personal wealth – oil fields, a power plant, his own airport and a half dozen or more private planes, cattle ranches and a mansion so big it has a bridge that connects its two major wings. Not bad for a lowly preacher of the gospel.
The sad thing is that there are a lot of such preachers in the country who, on close examination, are nothing but scoundrels or wolves in sheep’s clothing, taking money from the gullible.
I say that anyone capable of exposing them has got my support, and Ole Anthony appears to be one of those kinds of guys.
He was born up her in Minnesota in 1938. He currently is the head of the Trinity Foundation, which Ole set up in Dallas in 1972. The foundation’s primary focus is on investigating televangelists who are phonies and fundamentally, if not legally, crooks. Ole is not adverse to “dumpster diving” in his search for evidence and he makes good use of information often obtained from former employees of these ministries who grow disgusted with what is happening within these phony churches. The foundation has a large collection of videos of these evangelists prompting their audiences to give and give during their television homilies. The foundation publishes a satirical and humorous magazine called The Wittenburg Door.
Oh, my! Spend 15 or 20 minutes with The Wittenburg Door and you’ll learn a thing or two.
Kenneth Copeland is on the board of Mac Hammond’s church here in the Twin Cities.
Tevlin says he interviewed Hammond several years ago and the preacher claimed to have already been a successful businessman…
“…but court records of an IRS debt clearly indicate Hammond was broke, and that his wealth, at the very least, grew concurrently with his church. He has (or had) two planes, extravagant cars and million-dollar homes in Florida, and doesn’t appear to apologize.
“They are proof, he says, that God provides for those who believe.”
As for Ole Anthony, Tevlin quotes him as saying: “There has been more fraud in the name of God in American than anything else.”
Amen, brother, amen; and again, I say, amen!
Ole, you go get these scumbags and expose them for what they are – liars, cheats, low-downs for whom Jesus would have no sense of pity. They are the Pharisees of our time, praying and shouting on the street corners for their own enrichment and not at all for the sake of the gospel. Gad, what offal they are!
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