‘When the wicked perish, there is jubilation’

So, then, media tycoon, televangelist and fabulously successful grifter Paul Crouch is dead.

Adelle M. Banks provides the straight-news story for Religion News Service, “Prosperity gospel televangelist Paul Crouch dead at 79“:

Paul Crouch, the religious broadcaster who co-founded Trinity Broadcasting Network and was known for his prosperity gospel messages and lavish lifestyle, died Saturday (Nov. 30). He was 79.

… Crouch and his wife, Jan, started the network in a rented facility in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1973. Now based in Costa Mesa, it grew to include a “family of networks” and became the largest and most-watched Christian broadcast company in the country.

Your basic rags-to-riches story, then, leading to your basic Behind the Music-style tales of debauchery:

When Jim Bakker and another 1980s televangelist, Jimmy Swaggart, both were felled by scandals, Crouch was able to reap the benefits of their losses.

Like them, Crouch also shared in controversy. In 2004, the network denied allegations of his involvement in a homosexual encounter after the Los Angeles Times reported that he reached a $425,000 settlement with a man who made the claims. Three years later, the ministry defended itself after ABC News’ 20/20 reported on luxurious living by the Crouches, including private jets and mansions.

Most recently, Crouch’s ministry has been embroiled in litigation since his granddaughter and former chief financial officer, Brittany Koper, was fired in 2011 after questioning its high-cost personal expenditures. The Times said they included the purchase of a $100,000 motor home for Jan Crouch’s dogs.

Crouch built TBN into a money-making machine, leasing out time on an international network of networks, including “84 satellite channels and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.” Those other televangelists you see on TV? Most of them are leasing that airtime and paying TBN for the privilege.

But that’s just the legitimate side of Crouch’s business model. The far bigger share of TBN’s revenue comes from viewer donations, as William Lobdell reported for the Los Angeles Times back in 2004:

Much as Ted Turner did for TV news, the Crouches have created a global infrastructure for religious broadcasting. But that is just one element in their success. Another is a doctrine called the “prosperity gospel,” which promises worshipers that God will shower them with material blessings if they sacrifice to spread His word.

This theme — that viewers will be rewarded, even enriched, for donating — pervades TBN programming.

“When you give to God,” Crouch said during a typical appeal for funds, “you’re simply loaning to the Lord and He gives it right on back.”

Though it carries no advertising, the network generates more than $170 million a year in revenue, tax filings show. Viewer contributions account for two-thirds of that money.

Lower-income, rural Americans in the South are among TBN’s most faithful donors. The network says that 70 percent of its contributions are in amounts less than $50.

Those small gifts underwrite a lifestyle that most of the ministry’s supporters can only dream about.

Paul, 70, collects a $403,700 salary as TBN’s chairman and president. Jan, 67, is paid $361,000 as vice president and director of programming. Those are the highest salaries paid by any of the 12 major religious nonprofits whose finances are tracked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

TBN’s “prayer partners” pay for a variety of perquisites as well.

The Crouches travel the world in a $7.2-million, 19-seat Canadair Turbojet owned by TBN. They drive luxury cars. They have charged expensive dinners and furniture to TBN credit cards.

Thirty ministry-owned homes are at their disposal — including a pair of Newport Beach mansions, a mountain retreat near Lake Arrowhead and a ranch in Texas.

… Overseeing these expenditures is a board of directors that consists of Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch and Paul’s 74-year-old sister, Ruth Brown. Control resides primarily with Paul.

Predatory, corrupt and decadent, yes, but the details get even more baroque:

[Jan] and Paul project the image of a happily married couple. But off the air, they lead separate lives and rarely stay under the same roof, according to former TBN employees and others who have spent time with the couple.

The Crouches also present themselves as thrifty and budget-conscious. During one telethon, Paul said his personal $50,000 donation to TBN had wiped out the family checking account. He often says that he and his wife live in the same Newport Beach tract house they bought 33 years ago for $38,500.

But nowadays, neither of the Crouches uses that home much. Whether in Southern California or on the road, they live in a variety of other TBN-owned homes. In all, the network owns 30 residences in California, Texas, Tennessee and Ohio — all paid for in cash, property records show.

These include two Newport Beach mansions in a gated community overlooking the Pacific. One of them was recently on the market for an asking price of $8 million. A real estate advertisement said it featured “11,000 square feet of opulent European luxury with regulation tennis courts and a rambling terraced hillside orchard with view of the blue Pacific.”

In Costa Mesa, the ministry owns 11 homes in a gated development adjacent to Trinity Christian City International.

In Sky Forest, a resort community in the San Bernardino National Forest, the network owns a four-bedroom, five-bath home.

TBN officials say the real estate purchases were consistent with the network’s charitable mission, because the homes serve as venues for broadcasts and provide lodging for the Crouches and fellow televangelists as they travel across the country.

These 30 residences are “charitable” only in the sense that they were paid by TBN — which is, of course, a tax-deductible “charity” organization. Oh, and TBN has tried — not always successfully — to have many of them designated as “parsonages” because cha-ching!

It’s hard to know what’s more shocking — the vast amount of money the Crouches spent on luxury items, or the chutzpah of their explanations for those indulgent purchases:

Credit card receipts show that in December 1994, TBN bought about 40 items from Cool Springs Antiques in Brentwood, Tenn., including a three-piece wine cabinet for $10,000, a $2,800 candelabrum, a $350 birdbath and a seven-piece bedroom suite that cost $3,995.

At Harris Antiques and Imports in Forth Worth, Texas, TBN spent $32,851 in a single day in 1995. The purchases included two French chests for about $1,900 each, a $1,650 brass planter and a $1,095 bronze urn.

TBN officials said the items were reproductions, not antiques, and were used to furnish studio sets and network-owned houses. They said [a] tanning bed was used to darken the skin of 25 actors cast in TBN stage productions set in Biblical times.

Paul Crouch was a grifter. And he took pleasure in being good at it:

Credit card receipts also offer a glimpse of the Crouches’ dining habits. In Nashville in the mid-1990s, Paul Crouch hosted dinners with TBN employees in a private room of Mario’s, an upscale Italian restaurant, spending $180 or more per person for parties of up to a dozen, the receipts show.

A former top TBN official described heavy consumption of wine and liquor at a dozen such dinners. The ex-official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a fear of retaliation.

… In separate interviews, [former TBN employee] Whitmore, the former TBN official and a third person who traveled and socialized with ministry leaders said that at the end of a dinner, Paul Crouch would sometimes hold up a TBN credit card and say: “Thank you, little partners!”

Wonder why a former TBN official would still express a “fear of retaliation”? Because Paul Crouch was a viciously litigious man. Consider the story of Sylvia Fleener, who won an out-of-court settlement after the Crouches swiped the plot of her book The Omega Syndrome for their movie The Omega Code. (I saw that movie — Michael York should’ve sued his agent.) Years later, after she sold her house, the new owners sued her for misrepresentation:

John Casoria, TBN’s in-house attorney, served Fleener the papers for this lawsuit in Nashville, Tennessee. A check reveals that TBN paid for the filing of the lawsuit.

That tidbit, remarkably, is from an article on the right-wing Christian Post. Even stranger, that Post article was prompted by Terry Firma’s post at The Friendly Atheist, “Televangelist Paul Crouch Leaves a Dirty Legacy; Evangelical Christians Look the Other Way.” And here’s the really surprising part — the Post’s Barry Bowen mostly agrees with Terry Firma.

Sensitivity is appropriate because family and friends are in mourning. Last year Brittany Crouch Koper, the former chief financial officer for TBN, revealed … that she cared deeply for her grandfather Paul Sr.

I pray that Brittany and her family will be comforted by the Holy Spirit during their time of mourning.

But what about TBN’s critics and victims? How should they respond?

No sense trying to deny that Paul Crouch has left behind many “victims.”

That long list of victims would include Brittany Koper. And her sister.

(Trigger warning: The following involves a discussion of rape and the intimidation of a young rape victim.)

Koper may have cared deeply for her grandfather, but that didn’t stop her from a whistle-blowing lawsuit against TBN where she accused him of “company-paid luxuries that she said appeared to violate the Internal Revenue Service’s ban on ‘excess compensation’ by nonprofit organizations as well as possibly state and federal laws on false bookkeeping and self-dealing.” Paul Crouch responded by treating his granddaughter just like any other whistleblower: He counter-sued, accusing her of embezzlement and generally threatening to use his deep pockets to keep her in court until she was too broke to continue.

That’s from Sarah Posner’s fine tramping down of the dirt, in which she also reminds us of this:

Koper’s sister, Carra Crouch, also sued the network, claiming her family covered up her rape by a TBN employee when she was 13 years old.

The details there are also even worse, as Teri Sforza reported last year for The Orange County Register:

A granddaughter of Trinity Broadcasting Network founders Jan and Paul Crouch filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that she was plied with alcohol and raped by a TBN employee when she was just 13 — and that her family covered up the incident, rather than report it to authorities, to protect TBN’s reputation.

Carra Crouch, now 19, was distraught after the 2006 assault by a 30-year-old man, and told her grandmother what had happened. “Jan (Crouch) became furious and began screaming at Ms. Crouch, a 13-year-old girl, and began telling her ‘it is your fault,'” according to the suit.

Carra Crouch then told John Casoria, TBN’s in-house counsel and her second cousin; he became agitated and told her that he didn’t believe her, it says. “He elaborated by stating he further believed she was already sexually active ‘so it did not really matter’ and he ‘believed she may have propositioned him,’ ” the suit alleges.

“Ms. Crouch, a 13-year-old girl, had not been sexually active and was absolutely devastated about what happened and about how John and Jan responded to her.”

So, then, like I said, Paul Crouch is dead.

“When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.” Proverbs 11:10

 

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jeff Weskamp

    ” Consider the story of Sylvia Fleener, who won an out-of-court settlement after the Crouches swiped the plot of her book The Omega Syndrome for their movie The Omega Code. (I saw that movie — Michael York should’ve sued his agent.)”
    Michael York couldn’t have been too upset at his agent; he starred in the sequel to the Omega Code. And I’ll tell you this: Mr. York obviously enjoyed playing the Antichrist in sequel film to the hilt. I haven’t seen an actor enjoy a film role like that since I saw Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show.

  • http://batman-news.com Anton

    What a terrible tragedy Paul Crouch’s death isn’t.

  • DCFem

    Since it is Christmas time, I will say it: “It looks like Old Scratch finally got his own at last.”

  • Panda Rosa

    I’m shedding no tears over the death of Paul Crouch. It’s always been his wife Jan who held my interest, the “Pink Haired Lady” with her endless sob stories and garish clothes (think Dolly Parton crossed with Tammy Fae) and testimonies about her “little doll closet, and how Ah would gi-yve the little dolls out to all the little brown children who’d come running up with their grubby little hands and runny little noses…”; who could keep a straight face listening to this for even five minutes. At least Jan refused to change her style even when her husband wanted her to tone it down. I know she’s as much a shyster as Paul, one thing I will say is that she is entertaining.
    Wonder what will happen to the divine Ms. Crouch? (Hey, maybe she should meet Divine, that’d be fun!) I’m not losing any sleep over her fate, she doesn’t seem to be on as much anymore.

  • sketchesbyboze

    Like the Thenardiers, they’ll always be around.

  • Carstonio

    I had never heard of Crouch before his death. His story is so Elmer Gantryish that it’s almost a cliche. During the televangelist scandals in the 1980s, I laughed along with everyone else when comedians ridiculed those hucksters, but I felt the jokes were missing the larger problem. I imagined Falwell and Robertson and others gleeful that their competition had been eliminated, so they could proceed unnoticed with feeding the First Amendment into the shredder. If the public shaming of those scandals had managed to tar those theocratic demagogues, would the Tea Party be as numerous as it is today? Would the march to tear down reproductive rights in many states proceeded as far as it has?

  • P J Evans

    TBN’s buildings in Costa Mesa are right next to the 405 freeway. They’re ornamented with bas-reliefs and plaster garlands and columns and and and – a wonderful example of architectural bad taste.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Yeah. I had to drive by it on the way to work many years ago when the 5 was torn up for construction. Even Liberace would be embarrassed by that baroque wedding cake of a building.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I saw the Omega Code too. Casper Van Dien should sue his agent too. But at least he’s “comeback” on Mortal Kombat Legacy II with Mark Dacascos!

  • Loki1001

    Don’t feel bad for Casper Van Dien. He’s staring in Sharktopus v Mermantula (seriously).

  • Matri

    *blinks*

    *Googles*

    *screams in terror*

  • http://inthelandofthedragons.wordpress.com schweinsty

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    My heart goes out to Cara Crouch. I don’t know what else to say.

  • flat

    yes I feel pity for her as well.
    I don’t like to sing, ding-dong the wicked witch is death.

  • Yawny

    No one mourns the wicked.

    I wish the IRS, at least, would root out people like this and bring them to justice since it doesn’t look like anyone else has a shot.

  • Alex Harman

    I’d like the IRS to clearly define excessive compensation for non-profit executives as “more than the President of the United States earns,” and bring the hammer down on all the seven-figure salaried CEOs of “non-profit” hospitals and football and basketball coaches at “non-profit” universities, as well as the televangelists.

  • Amtep

    Unlikely that that would be the outcome… in my crystal ball I see the next Congress raising the President’s salary to $25 million.

  • chgo_liz

    What’s 73% of that?

    (Average women’s wages….a girl can dream, right?)

  • Lorehead

    Ironically, Congress did cut the pay of the Secretary of State when Hillary Rodham Clinton took the job. This is because, under the Constitution, no one who served in the legislature when it raised the salary of a position may be appointed to that position. Therefore, Congress needed to roll back all the raises the Secretary of State got while HRC had been in the Senate.

  • themunck

    So, if we got that law and they raised the president’s salary, no republican in congress can become president? I like this plan already…

  • Hth

    The “prosperity Gospel” thing is such a pernicious lie because, like the best lies, it’s built on truth. Going out of your way to do what needs doing for other people *does,* I believe, feed into a positive system that rewards the giver as well, both spiritually and materially.

    Paying fifty bucks into the mortgage for an evangelist’s fifth house is not something that needs doing.

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    The Prosperity Gospel also does damage to people who are warned that if their lives haven’t miraculously changed for the better, that’s because they didn’t have enough faith and didn’t sacrifice enough money. Someone’s gone bankrupt because they’ve got an incurable disease? Clearly they didn’t trust God enough! The only solution is to give more!

    Prosperity Gospel crap can lead to some massive victim-blaming.

  • Laurent Weppe

    Lies are the one substance that’s genuinly homeopathic: the more efficient and harmfull lies are the one diluted in a lot of truth…

    But Crouch was not a gifted homeopathist: his dishonesty was too blatant.

  • crazylikeafox

    Whether he was truly a bad person or not, celebrating someone’s death is just plan terrible. I can’t imagine such actions are in any way Godly. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t seem right to me, regardless of the person.

  • P J Evans

    Not celebrating, so much as pointing out why they’re bad people.

  • crazylikeafox

    The title of this article begs to differ

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    The article title comes directly from the Bible. I’m sure Paul Crouch would have appreciated the reference.

  • flat

    perhaps he would like the reference, but not the message from it.

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    Well, no. Most people don’t like having Bible verses directed against them. It’s why people tend to work so hard to avoid the full implications of the Sermon on the Mount, for instance.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Though I’m not sure if “jubilation” is meant to be an actual celebration or a reference to Jubilee, when debts are cancelled.

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    The KJV uses the word “shouting,” and my concordance makes it look like the word in question’s usually meant as a shout of joy or triumph.
    Huh. Did you know that, aside from Acts 12:22 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, the King James Version doesn’t have anyone shouting in the New Testament? Lots of shouting in the Old Testament, though it looks like only the Psalms really use a word related to the word here in Proverbs. The NT seems quiet by comparison.

  • crazylikeafox

    Yes I know. I read that verse a few days ago, in fact. That said, I
    don’t think it means we should therefore celebrate. It’s a warning against wickedness, not a blank check to take a piss on the dead

  • Carstonio

    Fred makes an excellent case that Crouch was a vulture, becoming wealthy by despicably preying upon basic human fears and insecurities. Pauline Kael once wrote that lionizing the studio heads from Hollywood’s “golden age” as if they really had the magic was like remembering Blackbeard as being knowledgeable about the properties of gold and silver. Crouch’s legacy is already being similarly whitewashed, if the articles Fred cited are true.

  • crazylikeafox

    Doesn’t matter. We should still respect the dead, for the sake of their lived ones if nothing else.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Tell that to the victims of the dead’s abuse.

  • crazylikeafox

    I’m not his victim, and neither are you. It would be wrong for me to tell them what they should do, but Pope John Paul II forgave his would be assassin. William McKinley was worried about the safety of his actual assassin. Jesus asked God to forgive his crucifiers. Throughout the Bible we’re told to pray for and forgive our enemies. As such, if I was in thatposition, even if it was hard, I’d try my hardest to do the same

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    Not sure if you’re doing it on purpose or not, but this sounds an awful lot like “tone policing.” It’s a classic way to derail criticism, by arguing about the tone of an assertion rather than its content. The goal is to deflect attention away from the criticism or to silence the person making it.

    Paul crouch used people’s faith and goodwill to enrich himself at their expense. The damage he caused didn’t disappear when he died, and the mechanisms he used to exploit his followers are still chugging along.

    Now is the perfect time to discuss these things and to look clearly the hypocrisy behind them. They’re ugly. They’re painful. The discussion is going to be ugly too, but that’s exactly what Mr. Crouch and his ministry deserve.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Eh, it’s what crazylikeafox is known for. Ze had a huge thread in the past which boiled down to nothing but one huge tone argument about how mean liberals are to conservatives for having different opinions.

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    I’m not his victim, and neither are you
    What makes you so sure that Headless Unicorn Guy isn’t a member of one of the many, many families who donated to Paul & Jan Crouch’s ministry, thereby sacrificing their own family’s money for the sake of Crouch’s ostentatious wealth?

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    So which of the many true statements in the post seem too disrespectful to be mentioned?

  • crazylikeafox

    The implicationwe should celebrate his passing

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    I don’t see anything to suggest celebration, aside from that one quoted Bible verse. Saying that “there is jubilation” is different from saying that “there should be jubilation.”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Ideally, we should have hoped he would come to his senses and make amends for his ills. Failing that, I see nothing amiss with being glad his evil activities are now forever ceased.

  • Michael Pullmann

    No one deserves an ounce more respect in death than they did in life. Dancing on the grave is tacky, if nothing else, but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend he wasn’t a shitstain.

  • Asha

    I actually had a counselor suggest doing that… well, she actually suggested urination, but same difference…

  • Lorehead

    Urination is better for the grass.

  • Veleda_k

    “Don’t speak ill of the dead” compounds the wrongs done by the dead. Being dead didn’t turn Crouch into a decent human being, it turned him into a dead one. How does it help to silence the truth about Crouch’s actions?

    Crouch didn’t deserve my respect when he was alive. Dying didn’t change that.

    On speaking ill of the dead in relation to another public figure: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-death-etiquette

  • crazylikeafoxcrazylikeafox

    Speaking ill of the dead doesn’t make things right either. It doesn’t affect the dead man one way or the other. It’s not like they can hear you. It does, however, put you in a bad light. It’s not like they can defend themselves. Even elephants show respect for the dead. Why shouldn’t you?

  • Veleda_k

    Telling the truth and honoring victims doesn’t fix the wrongs, but it’s better than the alternative. It’s better than pretending that all the people Crouch made suffer never existed.

    You acknowledge one person in this comment: Crouch. As you say, he’s dead and can no longer make up for what he did. I’m concerned for all the people he hurt. They deserve to have their stories told.

    I’m not sure what elephants have to do with this, but that’s okay. Elephants are cool.

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    Sometimes pointing out the crimes of the dead is a way of respecting the living.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Keeping the evils of the dead in perspective, however, is important — because let us not forget that there is a large number of people with significant power in both politics and education who would like you to believe that the southern economy of the 1800’s was driven by respectable entrepreneurs who were attacked in a war of northern aggression, that Thomas Jefferson had little to do with the writing of the Constitution, that Democrats are the direct descendants of the KKK, and that Senator Joe McCarthy was a hero who saved our country from Soviet communism.

  • Ursula L

    To the best of my knowledge, none of the dead elephants ran multi-million dollar con schemes.

    If Crouch had spent his life wandering in the wilderness, eating grass and minding his own business, he’d be worthy of an elephant’s respect as well.

  • Brad Ellison

    “One owes respect to the living. To the dead one owes only truth.”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Heh, when respect is conflated with civility, I could argue that. They’re not the same thing at all. This asshole, he was human and I would have defended his right to continue existing, albeit in prison (with regular meals, health care, and the means to have a certain level of rudimentary contentment like books). I would have called him an asshole to his face without a moment’s hesitation, though. On live television. Broadcast internationally.

  • Isabel C.

    If you love a bad person, that’s on you. It’s not my job to be nice about him either before or after his death just because you’re attached.

  • Veleda_k

    Furthermore, it’s not as if we’re getting in his wife’s face and taunting her. We’re not invading her space at all. For the sake of Crouch’s loved ones, we can’t criticize him anywhere, because, what, they’ll know somehow?

  • Baby_Raptor

    His loved ones were complicit. They don’t deserve any more deference than he does.

  • Isabel C.

    Also true. Yes, you have to pick your battles and so on–but this wasn’t Batty Aunt Ida, where she’s eighty-five and watches Fox and you can just nod and smile through her rants about Obama and the gold standard at Thanksgiving because there’s only so much harm she can do. Crouch was a public figure, and actively soliciting finances. At that point, you really do have an obligation to speak up and/or disassociate yourself.

  • Worthless Beast

    I don’t think they’re reading this blog.

    By the way, when I go… I think I’d rather have people honestly spitting on my grave than force themselves to cry fake tears over me.

    I’m not glad that anyone’s dead, but I understand why people will comment over someone abusive being out of power.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Don’t care. Fuck him.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    He was a cheap crook with sticky fingers.

  • flat

    well I agree with you, I just feel sad when I see his legacy.

  • crazylikeafox

    Don’t get me wrong, his legacy wasn’t the greatest. My Grandma once wanted me to apply to one of his things, until she realized it was him. Still, it isn’t like he was Hitler. Tact in these situations is important

  • Daniel

    No one has said he was like Hitler. There are myriad other ways to be a very bad person than committing genocide. Repeatedly conning people under the banner of charity and piety, for example.

  • Veleda_k

    Didn’t you hear? We’ve altered the entire world’s moral framework. There are now two categories: “Hitler” and “Not Hitler.” We think this will save a lot of time.

  • Worthless Beast

    I thought that was the standard moral measurement of the Internet.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I see nothing wrong with celebrating the fact that assholes can’t cause further harm.

  • WingedBeast

    We have a thousand different ways, in our culture, of letting the privileged off the hook. “You were so young, then.” “You’ve been reborn.” “Yes, Mr. Gingrich, your infidelity was because you were so patriotic… no, I don’t need to know how that could make sense.” “You’re dead now, so we should all be nice, for those people who love you, we wouldn’t want them to feel bad…”

    Yet, those victims still exist. And, by wiping away the wrong, you’re doing them a cruelty, regardless of why. “Let us show respect for this man… and not bring up these things that show that he did not earn respect.” “Look, his family is right there, so those victims that are also right there just need to respectively keep their mouths shut on their own pain.”

    Sure, it doesn’t seem right. In part, it doesn’t seem right because we live in a culture semi-influenced by a distant history of ancestor worship (speaking ill of the dead was considered to be bad luck long before it was considered to be immoral). Because they’re dead, we put them in yet more privilege that requires that we ignore the very existence of their victims, both living and dead.

    Note also that, sometimes, disrespecting loved ones is good for the ones that love them. An abusive father needs to be called out on abuse, even if the child is right there. You’re not being kind to the child by letting the abuse go on unremarked just to avoid the discomfort of being involved in the pain right now.

    So, even though it does hurt those that so loved Crouch, any view they had that he was perfect, nice, or even slightly worthy of respect is itself a problem. Sure, it feels alright, but they’ll continue on his legacy, continue sacrificing human lives in one manner or another for the sake of the institution, continue a litigious response to all perceived wrongs, continue protecting power rather than the powerless.

    It’s all well and good to say “We shouldn’t celebrate over anybody’s death”, but some people, they deserve to have their legacies destroyed by the truth.

  • Hth

    That’s an interesting point about the lingering fear of ill-luck from attracting the enmity of the dead. That’s a pretty cross-cultural fear, so I’d buy that we’re still influenced by it in subliminal ways.

    I think the taboo is also part of our notions of courage/cowardice. Talking behind someone’s back is considered cowardly, because if you really stood behind your words, you’d say it where they could hear you, and perhaps take a swing. I think the subtext to “don’t speak ill of the dead” is often something like “yeah, it’s real easy to talk tough now that he’s dead, isn’t it?”

    None of this has anything to do with Crouch, who was a dick.

  • Lorehead

    I think it’s possible to discuss what the man did without celebrating that he’s dead.

  • WingedBeast

    At a certain point, you can say “Oh, what a tragic figure, and tragic still that he died before…”

    But, is this such a tragedy? Is he so much a tragic figure as a villain?

  • Lorehead

    I don’t pretend to know enough about him to fully answer your question (I strongly condemn the things he’s alleged to have done), but I trust he has a fair Judge now. But I think it’s even possible to call a villain a villain without celebrating that he’s dead.

  • WingedBeast

    Here’s a hint for future reference, trusting in nonverifiable judges to bring justice to the dead is not a good way of saying that the concern no longer applies to the still living victims.

  • Panda Rosa

    Who can say? In the spirit of many a comment I’ve read, so let the Muses sing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkq7WZTzkLQ

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speak for yourself. I cheered when Pope John Paul II kicked the bucket. I hated that old bastard and the way he unrelentingly dumped all over QUILTBAG people. Hypocritical in the extreme especially for a man who experienced Nazi and Soviet oppression first hand.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Some years back I was tolerating a five minute snip of far-right shouty radio for educations’ sake. The host, Manfully Angry Whoever, was screaming about the feds investigating several televangelical outfits for fraud, including some that were regulars on TBN. the host said that this was ‘politically correct’. Because anything less than blindly assuming that everything the loudly Christian do for loudly avowed Christian reasons must be good is ‘politically correct.’ A caller agreed and wondered why the Feds wern’t investigating Muslims and ‘those California people…. you know’ (‘New Agers’ specified the host’) because being Muslim or ‘New Age’ is such obvious proof of being up to no good that only the politically correct would deny this. That’s all I have to say about that.

    There was the time I watched TBN for several hours in a state of hyper-aware horror. Me and some friends had been experimenting with psychedelics and…. well I’ve already said too much. It was Memorial day weekend and; Flags, so many G-d damned flags. I remember ‘Creflo Dollar’ somewhat clearly. I remember that he actually calls himself that. I remember how he said in essentially as many words that to doubt that God would make you rich in return for making Creflo rich was a blasphemy equivalent to denying God himself.

    So anyway it’s flowers up at 79 for this Paul Crouch then? That’s not bad. Many far superior people have gotten far less, unfortunately. Still you’d think someone with special access to God’s favor would live into his mid nineties at the least. “then whose shall those things be” indeed. Social inequity would be bad enough if hyper-rich parasites weren’t so prone to impossibly horrible tastes. As it is….well is fascinating how an exaggerated view of conventional success can make one appear at least as bizarre as any muttering vagrant.

  • Turcano

    “Hallucinations are bad enough. But after a while you learn to cope with things like seeing your dead grandmother crawling up your leg with a knife in her teeth. Most acid fanciers can handle this sort of thing. But nobody can handle that other trip—the possibility that any freak with a pompadour combover can suddenly appear on the televisions of millions of people across America, howling anything that comes into his head. No, this is not a good station for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted.”

  • http://repost-this-image.tumblr.com The_L1985

    Another liar begging for money on TV in order to line his own pockets…Well, then, good riddance.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    So, then, media tycoon, televangelist and fabulously successful grifter Paul Crouch is dead.

    Don’t forget “Public Face of Christ All Over the World thanks to TBN.”

  • Carstonio

    The photo of Janice Crouch reminds me of the cruel jokes about Tammy Faye Bakker years ago. At first I thought their husbands held the usual repulsive fundamentalist attitudes about gender roles. But having seen The Queen of Versailles, which is sympathetic to its subject without condoning her lifestyle or attitudes, I suspect the larger problem might be money as a substitute for love. The rich husbands essentially buying attractive women as symbols of wealth, treating them like pampered infants. Am I being unfair to the Crouch and Bakker wives?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Probably not. When the Jim & Tammy scandal broke back in the Eighties, Tammy struck me as not too bright and fairly passive (the type of wife a control freak would want; easy to dominate, definitely not a threat to his ego). She DID seem to be out-of-it and a bit of an arrested-development case, which would be consistent with a kept trophy wife “treated like a pampered infant”. (Though Tammy wouldn’t make it in the looker department compared to the current generation of Celebrity Christian Trophy Wives.) Come to think of it, Tammy’s thing with makeup DOES remind me of a perpetual little girl playing dress-up with unlimited funds.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “But such is the lure of the limelight,
    How sweetly it takes over the mind of its host;
    And that foolish Pony did nothing to stop
    The destruction of one who had needed her most.”
    — Ponyphonic, “Lullaby for a Princess” (MLP:FIM filk)

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    Tammy struck me as not too bright and fairly passive

    Tammy was addicted to drugs, which didn’t do much for the appearance of intelligence. She seems to be doing better now. Also, she was a threat to Jim’s ego–she had an affair too, and eventually they divorced.

  • MarkTemporis

    Doing better now?
    From wikipedia: Tammy Faye Messner: March 7, 1942 – July 20, 2007.

    In all truth, she DID improve a bit after Jim was out of the picture. She was one of several unexpected highlights of “The Surreal Life”, a show that was far better than celebrity exploitation TV is supposed to be. (other great guests: Ron Jeremy, Jane Wiedlin). She became friends with Ron Jeremy, of all people, and accepted gays when no other evangelical would. (Being somewhat of a gay icon herself probably helped in this.)

  • Carstonio

    I had assumed that the makeup thing was driven by insecurity, a desperate attempt to live up to the trophy ideal and/or her husband’s demands.

  • Victor

    (((So, then, like I said, Paul Crouch is dead.
    “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.” Proverbs 11:10 )))
    I’m sure that everything which is written here about this Paul is most likely true and it seems that things have gone to pieces spiritually speaking for this man but I’m sure Fred that you’re not trying to imply that “ONE” and/or more wrongs does not equal “ONE” Right?
    God Bless all Paul souls.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mhw_DGIW5o

  • LL

    Yeah, I had heard of Crouch and was not particularly sad that he died. He lived too long and too well.

    My cousin’s husband died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) earlier this year. He was 35. He had two still-quite-young children. He did not, to my knowledge, rip anybody off or cover up a rape.

    And yet the dirtbag Crouch lived to the ripe old age of 79. When people (infrequently) ask why I’m an atheist, why I don’t believe there is a god who cares about us or watches over us or helps us, that would be an example I would use.

  • Sagrav

    Goodbye Paul Crouch. May this seasonally appropriate song sing thee to thy rest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkq7WZTzkLQ

  • Vermic

    So, what are some theories on a fitting afterlife for the dearly departed Mr. Crouch? I am sure that Slacktivites can propose an eternal reward far more instructive, compassionate, and above all imaginative than the usual played-out fire ‘n’ brimstone.

    Reincarnation as an earwig in one of his many houses is how I’ll get this ball rolling.

  • Victor

    (((I am sure that Slacktivites can propose an eternal reward far more instructive, compassionate, and above all imaginative than the usual played-out fire ‘n’ brimstone.)))

    Vermic! Let’s be careful that Slacktivites don’t accidently High Jack Fred’s post in the process now! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmvHzCLP6ug

    God Bless Peace

  • Daniel

    He will be made to push a boulder of shit a la Sisyphus crossed with a scarab all the way to the top of his wife’s hair. When he gets to the top it will roll back over him, all the way to the bottom. He will try to pay others to move it for him, but every time he does his card will be declined.
    Hell, incidentally, is the darkest pit at the bottom of his extensive pocket. For every penny he took under false pretenses Hell will have got one inch deeper. He will be allowed to climb up the walls toward the light of freedom, but will never make it.

  • Loki1001

    I’d suggest being reincarnated as someone raised in a Prosperity Gospel church, and yet spend his whole life working menial jobs for minimum wage. But that would be too cruel.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I disagree. Reincarnate him as someone whose life he either took advantage of or worked to ruin. It’s completely fitting.

    Personally, I advocate this idea for all the bigots and jerks out there who try and dictate their morality. That might just be me being horrible, though.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Actually I recommend that fate for most rich people who’ve dipped their toes in religion. See what it’s like to be the exploited class for a few decades, then return them to their past life and see if they reconsider their positions.

    For rich men in general, oh yes, minimum wage jobs for a few years plz. As I implied on a previous thread, I’d be happy to be making minimum wage right now — I’ve made a lot less doing a lot more.

  • skybison

    He is forced to live on minimum wage, with a constant fear that he could run out of money and be unable to support himself. But whenever he thinks he might have a way to escape he is always tricked and left poorer then before. Then he gets sexually assaulted by a demon only for Satan to constantly scream at him that it was his own fault.

  • Laurent Weppe

    I am sure that Slacktivites can propose an eternal reward far more instructive, compassionate, and above all imaginative than the usual played-out fire ‘n’ brimstone.

    Uploading to his soul all the pain and suffering endured by every person targeted by TBN’s hate campains as well as the people fleeced by his network. Might not be an eternity of torture, but such a guilt trip would last a geological era or two.

  • Ben English

    An eternal telethon where the phones are always ringing, but they’re always crank calls.

  • ReverendRef

    Out of everything in the whole sordid story, this grabbed my attention:

    In Costa Mesa, the ministry owns 11 homes in a gated development adjacent to Trinity Christian City International.

    Seriously? Trinity Christian City International? Apparently RTC’s should not be allowed to write books, design movie posters or name cities.

  • flat

    hello reverendRef I feel disgusted as a Christian when I read all the things he bought with that money, and about the covering up of rape.

    I just feel uneasy being happy about someone who passed away, it makes me uncomfortable when I think what would people say about me when I have died.

  • Veleda_k

    I’d say the solution to that problem is to do your best to live so that people won’t celebrate when you die.

  • flat

    perhaps your right, it is just, I don’t know… maybe I am feeling regret about what could have been.

  • Veleda_k

    I do understand feeling uncomfortable celebrating someone’s, anyone’s, death. I don’t think Fred’s post is about that, mind you. Even with the subject line, it’s more about basic honesty. Not celebrating doesn’t mean lying.

  • flat

    yeah that’s it: his gospel opposes what I believe in and how I believe.

    I guess I the thing that disgusts me the most is how he used the Lord’s name in vain to make money.

  • Loki1001

    I don’t think it is a celebration. It is making sure that Crouch is never white-washed, like was attempted to be done to Jerry Falwell when he died. Crouch did terrible, terrible things in his lifetime, and he should not be remembered as a kindly, preacher.

  • Worthless Beast

    It could be my depression talking, but I have the same fear. However, it’s mostly “for if I somehow get famous and can actually influence people.” Most of us don’t live lives whereby anyone but (maybe) a few very personal enemies will celebrate our passing and they’ll likely be outweighed by those who knew and cared about us being sad. I think what Fred’s getting at is “people in power who abuse their power – it’s fine for people to celebrate when they are out of power.” Unfortunately, for some abusive, powerful people, the only way they get out of power is to get old and die. Not so much a rejoicing over death as seeing that someone who misused power is, too, mortal.

  • P J Evans
  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Private housing tract for TBN staff/bigwigs?
    That would explain the name.

  • P J Evans

    I think the name isn’t on the housing tract, but on their fancy building. I don’t know what the developers named the tract,but it’s undoubtedly something pretentious.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Good god. The sheer ostentatiousness of that thing is evident even in the quasi bird’s eye view.

  • Daniel

    As a member of Enigma Babylon One World Global Intercontinental Perplexing Enpuzzlement Church Of Satanish One Worldism I heartily concur. Their talent for naming things is laughable.

  • flat

    Hey wasn’t there a schism between your church the Enigma Babylon One World Global Intercontinental Perplexing Enpuzzlement Church Of Satanish One Worldism.

    And the Enigma Babylon One World Global Intercontinental Perplexing Enpuzzlement Church Of Satanish One rule?

  • Daniel

    We don’t talk about them. They believe the Messiah wasn’t Christ and that killing children is required by the false God we both don’t believe in and still worship.
    We believe Christ was not the Messiah and children must be killed to appease the false God we both don’t believe in and still worship. Frankly I’m offended you’d even mention them.

  • flat

    yeah but why are you sacrificing your children to the God you don’t believe in at all?

  • Daniel

    I prefer that my followers donate their children, to be honest.

  • flat

    Oh I see so if the God you don’t believe actually exists you can say: well I didn’t select my own children just those which were already donated to me.

  • Daniel

    That and it makes it much easier to get through Christmas- no need for awkward explanations to the rest of the family.

  • flat

    how do Enigma Babylon One World Global Intercontinental Perplexing Enpuzzlement Church Of Satanish One Worldistians actually celebrate Christmas?

    The other time I asked they threw death goats and babies to me while shouting: hail satan.

  • Daniel

    Your guess is as good as mine. I’m normally too drunk to remember. We definitely spend a lot of time hating the god we don’t believe in and planning how to take over the world with our practically non-existent creed. Other than that, nibbles and dips mostly.

  • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

    What kind of dip?

    Because I swear if it’s artichoke I might have to declare a holy war.

  • Daniel

    Various types of humus, sometimes taramasalata, a bit of salsa… we’re not judgmental. Our refreshments are like our faith- sketchily defined and existing chiefly to give RTCs something to worry about. I quite like sweet chilli dip too. Ooh, and mango chutney if there’s poppadoms or bhajis.

  • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

    Okay. As long as it doesn’t involve the unholy Artichoke plant. Because that would be going TOO FAR.

  • Daniel

    Well, we tend to prefer things with hearts that beat.

  • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

    Understandable!

  • Lorehead

    Yes, but do you break your eggs at the big end or the little end when you make your eggnog?

  • Loki1001
  • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

    Perhaps we should take a lesson from Jesus, and go in and start tossing tables and rich assholes around, shouting for them to leave his temple?

  • rogerwmbennett

    When I see guys like Crouch, I think of Pierce Pettis’ “Lions of the Coloseum.” http://grooveshark.com/#!/search/song?q=Pierce+Pettis+Lions+Of+The+Colosseum

  • Victor

    Roger that’s an interesting Lions Of The Colosseum song and the only “ONE” that I know who might be crazy enough to talk to those Lions was silenced by Victor at least till “The New Year” :)
    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18142394&postID=2925285036459614196

    Go Figure brothers and sisters?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Mkt7plbM74

    God Bless Peace

  • Ben English

    I have to imagine that Paul Crouch finally meeting God was hella awkward.