Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who's Your Spiritual Councelor, John?

While the media has gone on and on and on about Reverend Wright and his pronouncements, both on and off the pulpit, it has stayed fairly quiet about the role of religion in the life of John McCain. We are not told who counsels him in matters religious and ethical, are we?

That may be because nobody does. But such a scenario will not wash with the fundamentalist base of the Republican Party. I'm eagerly looking forward to finding the name of McCain's minister and confidante.

Meanwhile, we should probably look at the religious silverbacks who have given their support to McCain. Take, for instance, Rod Parsley, that firebrand fundamentalist from the great state of Ohio. Parsley is a fun kind of guy:

He also has access to his very own statistics on the life expectancies of gay and lesbian Americans:

Rod Parsley: The only way Christians can authentically and authoritatively approach the issue of homosexuality is from a heart of compassion. Love, not animosity, must be our motivation. It grieves me, for example, that the median age of homosexual men at death is 42 and for the population at large, the median age at death is 75. For lesbians, the median age at death is 45; for heterosexual women, 79. How can we not have compassion and love for people who are dying decades before they should?

So half of all lesbians are dead by the age of 45? Were they all killed by the Islamofascists?

Then there are Parsley's fascinating views on how God gives money to those who believe strongly enough, people like himself:

Exactly how Parsley purports to help the poor, both black and white, is evident in his practice of Word of Faith theology, also known as the prosperity gospel. Word of Faith is a nondenominational religious movement with no official church hierarchy or ordination procedures, which emphasizes the absolute prophetic authority of pastors, the imperative to make tithes and offerings to the church, and the power of an individual's spoken word to lay claim to their spiritual and material desires. Purveyors of Word of Faith, like Parsley, teach their flock to sow a seed by donating money to the church, promising a hundredfold return. Word of Faith has been popularized, in large part, by the immense growth of TBN -- a nonprofit entity with a 24-7 lineup of regular evangelists and faith healers, including Parsley, assets of more than $600 million, and annual revenues approaching $200 million, making it the closest competitor to Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.

The most prominent critics of Word of Faith are Christians who consider it a heretical distortion of the Bible. According to these critics, Word of Faith preachers prey on people of modest means, promising prosperity in return for putting money in the pocket of a self-anointed prophet. Ole Anthony, president of the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation and a leading Word of Faith critic, regards the emphasis on financial abundance as evidence of God's blessing as the oldest heresy in the church. He describes Parsley as a power-hungry man, living an extravagant lifestyle that has become the hallmark of televangelists these days. With his wife and children, Parsley resides in a 7,500-square-foot house valued at more than $1 million.

Read the whole article from which this last quote was taken. It's well worth the effort.

Rod Parsley, McCain's spiritual counselor?