The Door Magazine/Trinity Foundation is at it again. This time they’ve teamed up with a US Senator to “expose” something we already know: televangelists are up to something financially fishy.
I did a piece for the Star about this back in the 1990s, so Ole Anthony and I will be the two people not surprised by the result of this investigation: when we revisit these tv preachers 2 or 5 years from now, all of them will be making as much, if not more, money.
Why? Because exposure equals validation. That’s why movies purporting to stem drug use (Reefer Madness) or “comment” on “violence in society” (Natural Born Killers) actually inspire admiration for the very things they condemn.
Today more than ever, people don’t think their experiences are “real” unless they capture them with their camera phone at the same time. If they see it on a screen, it is “real” and, therefore, “good”, even if they don’t acknowledge this on a conscious level. People just aren’t very smart.
When people watch “exposes” like the ones Trinity did with ABC News about Benny Hinn, some people say: Wow, what a loser. But others think: hey, I’ll have to watch that Benny Hinn Show! And give him money.
Every time Trinity has investigated Benny Hinn, Benny Hinn ends up even richer the next time they re-investigate the guy. And put the investigation on TV. And repeat the process five years later.
That’s why I lost a lot of respect for The Door magazine (which I used to write for). That and how left wing they were. Their well-publicized exposes never accomplished a thing, so why did they keep doing them?
Because they were as hungry for recognition as the preachers they were condemning, just as caught up in a cult of personality. Note too that Ole Anthony is just as wacky as the preachers he mocks at The Door, if not more so. And he is… still in business, too.
Speaking of personality cults, I see the Post profiled Jean Vanier last week. I’m sorry, but he always seemed like a bit of a con to me, too. (And, like Henri Nouwen, a closet case). The Post didn’t profile a family of modest means, obliged to care for a handicapped relative for the rest of his and their lives. No, they canonize a guy from a distinguished family who chose to “give it all up” for a different kind of fame, who could have walked away from L’Arche any time. Having that kind of privilege, that possible “out” makes his voluntary sacrifice much less impressive than the unknown family’s involuntary one. But he’s a charismatic man with a famous last name, so there.