Dateline did their second (and mass media’s umpteenth) expose on Benny Hinn last night. There’s nothing particularly surprising in their well substantiated claims about Hinn himself:
*He lives a lavish lifestyle that includes a $10 million beachfront mansion, private jets, $10,000 per night hotel suites, major jewelry shopping sprees, tours with layovers in Acupulco, Switzerland and other resort areas, etc.
*Not one (1) of his “healings” has ever been confirmed (i.e. medical evidence that a- the person did indeed have the condition s/he was “cured” of, b- the person did NOT have the condition s/he was “cured” of afterwards, c- any curing was due to non medically rendered “treatment”, and in fact numerous people who were “cured” of cancer and AIDS were in fact dead of the diseases months after their healing
*His promise to provide financial support to a boy healed of a congenital degenerative retinal weakening never materialized even though he made the pledge on air and in front of thousands of live witnesses (and, oh yeah, the retinal condition the boy was ‘healed’ of continued to worsen)
The only good things that they were able to verify seemed to be that Hinn has in fact given hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Calcutta hospital he claims he supports (though his ministry helps only a fraction of the number of children he claims it does [223 by the ministry’s own counts v. the “tens of thousands” he claims) and he seems to be a really good tipper ($4,500 during one week long London trip).
Yadda yadda. A televangelist raking in tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars per year is corrupt as all hell, big surprise. But while I think that Hinn is slicker than owl shit and slimier than a snot, I just cannot get as furious with him as I do with the followers who continue supporting this asshole. What the FUCK is their problem?
I can sorta kinda understand the truly desperate, the whole “drowning man clutching the blade of a sword” mentality, but surely they can’t all be that uneducated and with terminal illnesses or terminally ill relatives. (And even in desperation, why not go to a LOCAL prayer group? At least then the money will benefit people in your own city, none of whom are living in $10 million oceanside mansions most likely- it’s the same God they’re praying to, after all- hell, taking coffee enemas and drinking collard green tea administered by a Voodoo priestess would probably do at least as much good and be a helluva lot cheaper.)
Who are these people? Why do they continue to send money to Hinn (and Swaggart and Bakker and Tilton and Popoff and Robertson* etc ad nauseum) when their financial (and sexual and ethical and business and etc ad nauseum) misdealings are revealed time after time after time? What the fuck would it take to get them to see that they are being bilked? What’s missing in their own churches that they turn to these men (and occasionally women) who claim that God not only talks to them but gives them legal and tax advice and specifically wants them to have an Olympic sized indoor pool in their vacation house?
I’m sorry, but as much as I’d like to feel sympathy for them and as much as I believe in the First Amendment, they are just dumbasses who are damned from birth not by any god but by their own stupidity, gullibility, irrationality and self-gouged blindness. Damn them, and damn the fact that anybody that stupid not only can vote but probably does. Your rent is in arrears and the tumor is still growing, but at least that $3,000 you sent in means some London bellboys got really good tips and a child or two got some rice for three days in Haiti.