Show them the money | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 4, 2008

Show them the money

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2008 at 1:23 PM

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The Wittenburg Door, a serious but far from ponderous religion-oriented website whose contributors include Little Rock native John Bloom (otherwise known as drive-in movie reviewer Joe Bob Briggs) takes off on televangelist Kenneth Copeland and his dedicated supporter and campaign finance beneficiary Mike Huckabee.

Billionaire evangelist oilman cattle rancher Kenneth Copeland, who sits so high atop the “prosperity gospel” pyramid that he has hundreds of “franchise” churches whose pastors send money back up the pipeline, spent much of his annual ministers conference last week talking about how he stonewalled the Senate Finance Committee, then boasted about having Mike Huckabee on his team.

“Kenneth Copeland, I will stand with you!” Huckabee yelled over the phone, according to Copeland. “You’re trying to get prosperity to the people, and they’re [the Senate] trying to take it away from ‘em. I will stand with you anytime, anywhere, on any issue!”

... Every year Copeland invites about 1,000 fellow prosperity-gospel ministers to his church/broadcasting facility/ranch/natural gas field/airstrip in Newark, Texas, a few miles north of Fort Worth, for a three-day conference. This year he shut down the conference after two of the days and convened some kind of separate session with the same ministers that would protect his 501(3)(c) tax exemption while he raised campaign funds for Huckabee. Reports on Thursday morning were that he’d come up with $111,000 in immediate cash, plus an additional million bucks in pledges, which would work out to around $1,000 per pastor.

Copeland spent much of the three-day ministers conference reassuring his fellow pastors that all their ministries were safe from the prying eyes of the Congress. He repeatedly made a distinction between the Congress and the Internal Revenue Service [1], saying that he recognized the executive branch but not the legislative when it came to oversight. He was especially upset by a request that he reveal the donors to a “special offering” made to himself and his wife for the 40th anniversary of their ministry and said that he’d “promised to God” never to give any information to anyone about that, even if it means prison or death. He frequently mentioned receiving direct instructions from “the Lord,” including instructions to put Mike Huckabee on his television show, Believer’s Voice of Victory.

I ask again: Does John McCain want a fart-joke-cracking Elmer Gantry on his presidential ticket?

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