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Dark Endeavors


the despoilers of a simple message need the hammer

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 16, 2009.

The AP has just awarded Tiger Woods the accolade of Athlete of the Decade. It’s interesting, because it ignores his serial marital infidelities and devotion to the songs ‘Love The One You’re With’ and “Beans, Beans Taste Fine.” Despite the fact he had a wife stunning way beyond the norm of celebrity wives, and two kids, and his proclaimed dedication to boredom and family and the income that provided, it’s adult of the AP to flense appreciation for an athlete’s physical skills from, well, other physical skills, as well as his character. Compare with the hypocritical Baseball Hall of Fame, which keeps Pete Rose out, but venerates Babe Ruth, who was charmingly problematical, and Ty Cobb, a psychopath. Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

And, we are a nation of small minds, where even a remote consistency to spouse is a business decision. Yet, a few world class, letter sweater giants of hypocrisy stand above us.

Take Oral Roberts, my vote for the most disgusting hypocrite in the last hundred years of hypocritical Men of God. Roberts just passed away, only two decades after telling his flock that God was going to call him home if he couldn’t raise 8 million for his medical school. That apparently worked, or so Roberts claimed, yet the medical school closed a few years later. This, atop decades of the theatrical and totally bogus healing of the lame and halt, or at least those willing to so pose for what celebrity it might bring.

But Roberts was hardly alone. In our own time the nefarious and late Jerry Falwell, a morbidly obese racist, and the still pulsating Pat Robertson, who’s been incoherently insane for a while, guided Christian compassion in the reactionary homes of the Republic. But so many more. Just since the 1960’s, we have Lonnie Frisbee, a Pentecostal evangelist, who despised homosexuality along with his church and yet was gay, dying of AIDS. Not to be outdone, Billy James Hargis, another fundamentalist, forced sex with boys and girls at his American Christian College. Then, Jimmy Swaggert with hookers, Jim and Tammy Bakker with each other.

Peter Popoff was busted by James Randi who showed Popoff was not in communication with spirits, but had an in-ear receiver to bilk his marks. Compassionate minister Robert Tilton threw away prayer requests without reading them, but kept the enclosed cash. John Paulk, a former leader of Colorado’s Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference - devoted to proving homosexuality is a choice - was caught cruising gay bars. Paul Crouch, the founder of the world's largest evangelical Christian television network, had the Los Angeles Times publish a series about the network’s iffy fundraising practices and was accused of being gay himself.

Kent Hovind, an American Young Earth Creationist, is serving prison time for 58 tax convictions. Then Ted Haggard, enough said, but let’s not forget Paul Barnes, the minister of the evangelical Grace Chapel in Douglas County. Gay. Lonnie Latham, a Tulsa Baptist pastor, also gay. The apparent fact so many men of the calling are gay themselves explains their fear and hatred of it, but not their hypocrisy, a damnation not assuaged by the obese Rick Warren recent notation of fault with Uganda’s proposed punishment of its gays.

Somewhat boringly, Oral’s son Richard was forced out of Dad’s University by civil lawsuit, now settled, alleging improper use of university funds and resources for political and personal purposes.

Earl Paulk, Pastor of a Georgia church, seduced its women to the extent that Donnie Paulk, the current pastor and Earl’s purported nephew, is actually Earl's son, meaning Earl and his sister-in-law shared a moment. In North Carolina, Baptist Minister Coy Privette, a conservative politician, president of the Christian Action League, aided and abetted prostitution.

Joe Barron, one of the 40 ministers at Prestonwood Baptist Church, was arrested for soliciting sex and driving to consummate it with what he thought was a 13 year old girl like a mere Mormon Fundamentalist, but all are pikers compared to Tony Alamo, nailed by the FBI and convicted on 10 counts of transporting minors across state lines for sexual purposes.

I’m passing over mere Tiger Woods level infidelities among God’s Men and their homicidal wives and horsefaced mistresses. They don’t rate in comparison, and none surpasses Oral Roberts’ theatrics for hideousness, anyway. Also?Not even counting Catholic Church horrors.

The proponents of the “prosperity gospel”, like the Kenneth Copelands in Texas, encouraged the out of control debt that helped in no small way bring about the economic collapse of the last year, and GOP Senator Grassley of Iowa has demanded an investigation. In Copeland’s interpretation, Christ wants the poor to be rich, or live like it.

Enough. Render to Caesar what is his, and to God what is his. Or shut the hell up. It’s Christmas.