As reader Scott points out, the picture says it all.
The New York Times article discusses how Kenneth and Gloria Copeland (and other prosperity gospel preachers) are encouraging followers to give them money in order to get more money back from God.
“God knows where the money is, and he knows how to get the money to you,” preached Mrs. Copeland, dressed in a crisp pants ensemble like those worn by C.E.O.’s.
Even in an economic downturn, preachers in the “prosperity gospel” movement are drawing sizable, adoring audiences. Their message — that if you have sufficient faith in God and the Bible and donate generously, God will multiply your offerings a hundredfold — is reassuring to many in hard times.
Why is this so disturbing?
The Copelands appear to be using the donations for themselves (they’re under investigation for this, anyway).
Some of the people giving the money don’t have much to begin with, and they erroneously believe they’ll be rewarded for their gifts.
Some of the people don’t understand basic logical fallacies. If they give money to the Copelands, and then something good happens, that doesn’t mean the first thing caused the second.
For the people who are getting duped, there’s not much you can say to convince them otherwise:
Mrs. Biellier said some friends and relatives would say the preacher just wanted their money. She explained that the Copelands did not need the money for themselves; it is for their ministry. And besides, even “trashy people like Hugh Hefner” have private airplanes.
“I remember Copeland had to once fly halfway around the world to talk to one person,” she said. “Because we’re partners with Kenneth Copeland, for every soul that gets saved, we get credit for that in heaven.”
You have to wonder how this is legal… how can these people advertise a product which they may not be able to deliver?
No doubt a portion of the money goes to “good” causes, and that’s what the followers like to see, but I doubt any of them bother to look at an expense report or the ministry’s budget.
What can be done to convince these followers they are being swindled?
You have to wonder why this type of con works so well in a religious environment.
What is it about Christians that makes them more susceptible to the Copelands and their ilk?
Are the Copelands sincere about what they’re saying or are they knowingly taking money by telling lies?
I would love to know why the Christians profiled in the article and who support these ministries in general don’t ask the same questions we do, why they take it on “faith” that 100% of the money is being used properly, and why they keep giving even when it’s painfully obvious they’re getting nothing in return.
(Thanks to Scott for the link!)