Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pancakes for Jesus

Because ultra-religious televangelist Jim Bakker is totally not about making money, today we consider his "Faith-based Home Shopping Network."

This was one of those links I was hesitant to click, but I'm glad I did, because when I landed there the first thing I saw was a video clip of a guy selling "13 Extreme Warfare Survival Bottles" for $250, which, if you buy them right now, come with "14 Bonus Christmas Ornaments."  Which was kind of wonderful for the juxtaposition, if for nothing else.  (I suppose even if we Evil Unbelievers are waging Extreme Warfare on the Christians, and the Beast with Seven Heads is chomping up the devout right and left, you still shouldn't neglect to set up your Christmas tree.)

So I poked around on the site a little.  There were baseball hats featuring crosses, some nutritional supplements containing colloidal silver (which has little health benefit although it does turn your skin blue), and some oddments like a camp shower and a sippy cup for toddlers.  But I noticed something interesting in the food category; virtually all of the foods offered are large-quantity freeze-dried goods and big containers of packaged mixes.

Apparently, Bakker is certain there's going to be a horrific apocalypse, but he wants to make sure that at least during the carnage we can chow down on a nice big stack of pancakes.

Bakker really wants his listeners to buy his stuff, because, he says, his network costs "$17,000 an hour to operate."  Which is intended to sound impressive to people who failed fifth-grade math.  Because his network is on 24/7, and if it really cost $17,00 an hour, he'd have to cough up $148,920,000 per year.

That, my friends, is a lot of pancakes.

Bakker's empire, of course, is built on two things: (1) donations, and (2) fear.  He has his followers convinced that Christianity is under attack (both in the figurative and literal sense) from secular people like myself, despite the fact that all the atheists I know just want to be able to live their own lives without government-supported religion being rammed down our throats.  Oh, and having people like Bakker and his ilk denying rights to others based on their beliefs and sexual orientation.  But I guess in his mind, this constitutes a frontal attack.

I suppose it's to be expected that I think the situation is actually the other way around.  Without even trying hard, I found the following stories this morning:
  • The GOP is lobbying hard to repeal a law prohibiting churches from publicly endorsing political candidates, while maintaining their tax-free status.
  • Violent right-wing loon and accused pedophile Roy Moore is currently ahead in the race to fill Jeff Sessions's senate seat in Alabama, and in fact has received an endorsement from Donald Trump, despite stating outright that homosexuality should be illegal, and spouting racist bullshit, most recently referring to Native Americans and Asian Americans as "reds and yellows."  Despite all this, The Federalist recently claimed that Roy Moore was "chosen by God" to win the election.
  • Ultra-Christian conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles gave a fiery sermon last week in which he said the recent sex scandals engulfing many public figures were due to the "left [waging] a vicious war against Christianity for the last fifty years," instead of attributing it to its actual cause, which is that for centuries powerful men of all stripes have had trouble keeping their dicks in their pants, and count on their status to keep their accusers silent.  (Allow me to point out that both Roy Moore and Jim Bakker, and many other evangelical figures, have been involved in sex scandals of their own.)
  • People who believe in separation of church and state are once again having to fight a public school employee (in this case, a football coach) who demands that his team members pray with him before games.  
And that's just from the last couple of days.  So if there really is a war on Christianity, Christianity seems to be winning.

So, to put it bluntly, Bakker and company are lying.  They're capitalizing on people's fears so they can obtain money and power.  Which is kind of odd given their other professed beliefs.  Didn't someone once say that the way to salvation begins with giving everything you have to the poor?

Hmm.  Wonder who that was.

Even so, Bakker doesn't seem to be losing any of his followers.  Neither have the other multi-millionaire televangelists like Kenneth Copeland, Franklin Graham, and the ironically-named Creflo Dollar.  Instead, such hypocritical money-making schemes seem to be making these religion-for-profit scam artists filthy rich.

Praise the lord and pass the pancakes.

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