On Sunday, Aug. 16, HBO’s comedy/news show “Last Week With John Oliver” took on “Televangelists,” with the British comedian and former “The Daily Show” correspondent launching a blistering attack on the Prosperity Gospel, its well-heeled proponents and the tax laws that shield their wealth.
I don’t disagree with what he’s saying, but I do have a bone to pick with his answer to the issue. To prove the absurdity of the IRS’ tax regulations and to ridicule televangelists, Oliver has dubbed himself the “megapastor” of his own legally recognized “church,” complete with a colorful Webpage, appeals for cash and a fake wife.
But he called it Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, a name no televangelist would use in a million years, since evangelicals don’t have much to do with the Virgin Mary (she pops up in a creche at Christmas then pretty much vanishes). And it’s not like some of the names of actual megachurches aren’t ripe for satirizing.
Personally, I would have gone with WillowRunHill Creek New Light and Life Temple of Abundance and Coffee Bar.
In a story at CharismaNews, senior editor (and director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Jennifer LeClaire took on Oliver , calling him a “false reverend” (well, yeah, it’s satire) and saying:
No, I don’t endorse manipulative sermons with the sole purpose of wringing pennies (thousands of them) out of your pocket. I see the abuses. But I do believe in the concept of seed faith. I do believe God wants us to prosper and be in health even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). I do believe in supernatural debt cancellation. And I don’t believe we should mock so-called prosperity preachers, even if we don’t believe they hear from God. Nor do I believe we should insinuate that God is cursing at them, as Oliver did.
Click here for a critical examination of “seed faith”; here to see how Oral Roberts defined it; and here to see what CatholicAnswers thinks of the “Prosperity Gospel.”
Oliver’s original segment is 20 mins. long, have a look for yourself:
Image: Web screenshot
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