Sugar Daddy God

by By Bill Bonner
Aug 15, 2008

“Daddy God” is how Victoria Osteen refers to Him. Honestly. I’m not making this up. When Mr Joel Osteen took a wife, it was Victoria he got, for better or for worse. Now the two of them preside over a mega-church in a suburb of Houston. Mr Osteen is the author of a super-bestselling book, Your Best Life Now. God wants us to be prosperous, he argues, in front of thousands of worshippers.,  

In Atlanta, the Rev Creflo Dollar Jr seems to be doing even better. He and his wife Taffi entertain at another huge church, drive around in a Rolls-Royce, and have a private $5m jet to move them from one speaking engagement to another. Mr Dollar, like Mr Osteen, believes in the power of God to move mountains, but they trust in the Almighty Dollar to smooth out the little foothills in their way.

Last year, for example, Mr Dollar sent 100 of the local Fulton County police officers cheques for $1,000 each ““ a month after two traffic tickets the Reverend Dollar had received had been downgraded to warnings. And back in the Lone Star State, Kenneth Copeland and his main squeeze, Gloria, have done even better ““ with four jets at their disposal. Mr. Copeland, the subject of a MoneyWeek article last month, is said to have a parsonage the “size of a hotel”.

This may be just another part of the baroque spectacle that makes America such an amusing place. But there is more to the story, which is ““ as you might guess ““ the subject of today’s column.

Gibbon blamed the fall of Rome, at least in part, on Christianity, by encouraging a retreat from the temporal world. Now, Kevin Phillips, in a new book, Bad Money, charges the Pentecostal wing of American Christianity with undermining the US empire in the opposite way. He argues that the evangelicals pushed the Republicans down-market. There, the yahoo voters brought them temporal power ““ 30% of Republican voters identify themselves with an evangelical sect ““ but at a high price.

Among the many frauds of the Reagan-Bush II period, few were gaudier than the “prosperity gospel”. Preached in America’s gamy religious outposts, the concept does for religion what the neo-conservatives did to conservatism, what modern portfolio theory did for Wall Street, and what Keynesianism did to the economics profession ““ it made a monkey of it.

Click http://www.moneyweek.com/news-and-charts/economics/sugar-daddy-god-58238.aspx to read more.


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