Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
|The Pray-For-Me Hustle
by Jaime O'Neill | Apr 9 2007
Robert Schuller, one of America's high priests of evangelical hucksterism, wants to pray for me. He's sitting down in southern California in that big crystal tabernacle built for him by the gullible, just thinking about praying for little ol' me up here in northern California. Inside the envelope the good Rev recently sent me is his assurance that he would do anything to help me tap into the power of prayer (though the actual text of his letter reads "I would do almost anything to help YOU to tap into the power of prayer" because it says on page 1 of the huckster's manual that there is great manipulative power in the word YOU, something advertisers have known for a coon's age). The good reverend uses the word "you" about a dozen times in his solicitation, and because his target market is the dim and the vulnerable, he capitalizes the word each time he uses it, just so they won't forget whose interests are being served, y'unnerstan.
But it's fairly certain that Robert Schuller didn't write this "letter," nor was it likely that his son and partner in crime wrote it either. They had a marketing unit pumping out this stuff for the old, the lonely, and the lame of body and mind. It would be pathetic if it weren't so-what's the word here?-sinful.
Maybe you've seen Dr. Schuller on television. Even if you don't watch his own show, he's often seen on Larry King Live, whenever Larry wants to get the view of Christians and therefore calls upon the high-profile profiteers of the faith to render that opinion. Schuller is the guy God gave a rather severe facelift, paid for, no doubt, with some of that Pray-for-Me cash he gets in the mail every day, just as sure as shootin', because he asks for it every day on his Send-Me-a-Check Piety Hour on television, and then backs up that cheesy extortion with the follow up pink mailing solicitations like the one I got. Anyway, his facelift makes him look like a lizard that's been out in the sun waaay too long, just waiting for a hapless insect to flit by.
It is difficult for me to imagine anything more cynical than the practice of extortion conducted by these lizards year in and year out, at work in the fields of the Lord, bringing in the sheaves as they harvest the crop from the sick and desperate. And the hustle continues to be tax-exempt, even though these hustlers now divert lots of their prayer cash into political campaigns to keep the politicians in their pockets and therefore less likely to question their tax-exempt status.
Anyway, Pastor Schuller wants to pray for me, but he can't just go ahead and do that. He wants me to send him my prayer list, along with a check, money order, or credit card authorization because prayer, like cable TV, don't come free. God only answers cell phone calls, I guess, when those calls are paid for up front.
"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac
"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."
~Harry S. Truman