How the "prosperity gospel" convinces poor people to give everything to grifty millionaire preachers

Originally published at:


“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." —Matthew 19:24

I guess these preachers are selflessly taking one for the team to help ensure their followers aren’t burdened by wealth on their way to heaven.


The sad irony is: if these guys paid their taxes and didn’t commit fraud they would be free to scam their followers all day long and it would be completely legal. I guess grifters gonna grift.


Ironically - the bible says it is the rich who should sell everything and be in service to the poor. Bill Gates is doing a better job at it than these people.

But let’s be honest, these people are grifters. They are running a con, and they are using religion as the tool for it.


We had a neighbor who was a huge Billy Graham fan and probably sent her life savings to his organization and others over her retirement. I guess that gave her spirit some sort of comfort, but for her other needs, what did she get from them?–nothing. She died about a year ago. Only a handful of people came to her funeral service.


I’ll bet none of the attendees were Billy Graham.

“Prosperity gospel” sickens me, and I don’t even have any relatives (that I know of) who have fallen into these bastard’s sarlaac pits. It just seems so incredibly, obviously, a lie. And yet, also obviously, it resonates with enough people to remain profitable.

As @ejeffrey pointed out above, even if they were suddenly required to pay taxes on donations, they would still be fleecing their flock and living the high life on the profits while adding nothing good to the world.

They are parasites.

ETA reading the linked article now. This stood out to me:

For followers, it is a way to make sense of sickness and poverty. It can feel empowering and inspiring amid despair. The hard-up donors are often not oblivious to the preachers’ personal wealth - though they may not know the extent of it - but they take the riches as a sign of a direct connection with God. If seed payments have worked for them, maybe they can work for you too?


Well you can’t expect them to take the bible literally < /s>


History repeats itself. This is basically the indulgences that was one of the main reasons for Martin Luther’s protest against the Catholic church.


So, what you’re saying is that in religion, even the pyramids in the pyramid schemes are imaginary? I guess that’s where “faith” comes in…


If they want seeds, perhaps it’s time to treat them to some of the items that John Oliver was sent as the Megareverend of Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.

I’m speaking of course of the type of seeds you can buy from Burpee or Gurney’s. What did you think I mean?


On of the interesting little bits of the tax code, is that unlike most of us, ministers do NOT have to pay income taxes on the fair market value of their housing if it is provided to them either in kind (say sleeping in the rectory) or alternatively if they are paid a housing allowance.
edited to add: So I’d bet that if you’re looking for for tax-fraud, you could find many cases of inflated housing allowences being used for other expenses.


The absolute worst part is that they target not just poor people, but poor people at their most vulnerable. And why are they so vulnerable? Because this fucking system does nothing to help. No healthcare, shitty education, no safety net. The same system convinces those people that their beef lies with immigrants, socialists, “elites” etc. - anyone but the people with the power to actually make things better. The prosperity gospel is taking advantage of a market created by failed government.

Is anyone surprised that one of these preachers is Trump’s spiritual adviser (Paula White)?


A slightly more honest (and funnier) version of the prosperity gospel from In Living Color:


That reminds of a Key and Peele sketch where God answers a prayer group and they decide that the house is haunted.


That one of these “prosperity gospel” flim-flam artists is close to our President and bunk artist in chief will come as no surprise.


Matthew 25:41-46


(The correct Trinity Foundation link is here:


This stuff is as close to the creed of anti-Christ as I can think of in the current day. It’s a ghastly, hellish mockery of what Christianity is meant to be. I’m sure that somewhere, Screwtape or similar satanic functionary is rubbing their hands in deep satisfaction over the creation and perpetration of this damned lie.


That actually isn’t that far from the pitch they make. They rationalize that part as biblical evidence that you need to not be attached to your money. By then showing faith and sending your money to the church you have cleared the burden. The passage about the love of money being the root of all evil gets a similar treatment. It is the attachment to your money that is bad, not the money. They then point to some of the more palatable god will provide stuff. That is capped with a system of highlighting people who got sudden windfalls and you can blame the lack of prosperity on failings in personal virtue. The shame associated with that means that a lot of people will only talk about their successes, making the whole thing look like it works.


Rule of Acquisition #144:
There’s nothing wrong with charity… as long as it winds up in your pocket.