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Politicians and the Prosperity Gospel

By       Message Missy Beattie     Permalink
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I'm thinking of televangelists and pitchmen, even though my television is seldom powered on.

Some years ago, in Nashville, I tuned in and couldn't believe what I was seeing--Jan and Paul Crouch, founders of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The duo hosted a show, "Praise the Lord," preaching "prosperity gospel," the religious belief that those who are favored by God will be blessed with material wealth and good health. Of course, viewers didn't get something for nothing; they were encouraged to not just spread the word but, also, to send a donation to the Crouches' ministry. Paul once requested $1,000 from each adherent, even those who couldn't afford it. He assured them, during a "Praise-a-thon," that the Lord would repay the amount "many times over."

The Crouches lived lavishly, then, and still do. Jan cried rivers, on air. One almost expected her tears to run gold. Or at least to reflect the garish de'cor of the set. At some point, the couple took TBN global.

Jan and Paul were, and may continue to be, religious pitchmen, like the guys on television who demonstrate something--spot remover or a tool you can't live without--after which they yell, "But wait " there's more." The "more" is for those who call within a certain period of time, like 15 minutes, to receive, perhaps, two of the items and some extras for additional shipping and handling.

On September 30, 2010 when I received a mass email (did you read yours?) from Vice President Joe Biden, I was reminded of the Crouches and of the late Billy Mays, who hawked, among other products, OxiClean. This is an excerpt from the VP's message: "I'm still confident that we'll maintain our House Majority as long as we pull together in the final days. The political strategists at the DCCC have prepared a smart and aggressive campaign plan based on a highly targeted media strategy and a state-of-the-art voter contact strategy. Now, they need your help to fully fund it."

This sounds so Jan and Paul. I can almost hear the crying. "As long as we (we, wee, weep) pull together in the final (weep) days."

And, then, a "But wait, there's more." Not really. I just added that because, well, it is so pitch perfect. And so is this:

Contribute before Midnight Tonight and help the DCCC raise the final $62,981 they need to fully fund their media campaign and voter contact plan. Every dollar you contribute will be matched 2 to 1 by a group of committed Democrats, tripling the impact of your support.

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Politicians and the Prosperity Gospel