Rod Parsley Promises Deliverance From the Stench of Poverty

by Lorette C. Luzajic
Part 21 of Pillars of Faith

The Demons are at it Again

Ohio’s Rod Parsley is another megachurch megaphone living the lifestyle of the rich and shameless. With a private jet and millionaire’s estate, he’s clearly not starving. But Rod’s never been shy about saying, literally, “show me the money,” and he’s not shy now about asking for more. Recently Rod announced a Satanic attack on his ministry — the poor haven’t been giving as much as he wants. In addition, he already gave away $3 million of the World Harvest Church’s dollars — “our” dollars — to settle damages in a lawsuit for child abuse. Rather than apologize for a baby leaving the church’s Cuddle Care room with welts, scratches, and cuts, having been beaten with a ruler, Rod blames a “demonically inspired assault against us.”

Prior to this episode, another toddler had a fractured skull. His parents were told he had collided with another kid. Church admin were forbidden to discuss the incidents with anyone. (There were also incidents where Rod’s dad was charged with sexually harassing a church member, and a civic suit where a member charged Rod and Dad of beating him to a pulp. The charges were dropped against Rod, but his dad pleased no contest. The defendant also claimed that his $7,000 tithe was used for “the enrichment of Rodney Parsley, his parents and others so as to achieve an opulent lifestyle for themselves.”)

Orwellian Gays

Of course, like all other dominionist preachers, abortion is at the top of Rod’s anti-Satan agenda, despite that he doesn’t like the little ones enough to hire staff who don’t beat them. “Infanticide” is followed closely by the gay threat, and then by Islam. Where other evangels may use diplomacy when discussing other faiths, Rod says straight up that God wants America to “destroy” the Muslim world, and that Muhammad was possessed by demons.

As for queers, Rod opposes hate crime legislation, which would infringe on his right to gay bash. He has likened these laws to Orwell’s 1984, stating the “sole intent is to limit traditional biblical thinking and biblical speaking.” He warns: “You see, the legislation that’s before our United States senators right now extends to speech and can punish people—hear me now—not for their actions, but for their culturally incorrect thoughts.” So much for Thou Shalt Not Lie — the proposed legislation seeks only to outlaw violent actions, and specifies it does NOT extend to speech or religious expression.

Many dominionists lay low about being God’s chosen, but Rod says you’d better vote Republican or face the fiery furnace, that we are called to be “Christocrats.” America — and the world — must subscribe to the Christian Reich’s interpretation of Biblical values, and there is no room for Satanic liberal theology, biology, or civil rights. Following God “is not a democracy; that is a theocracy,” he says.

God as Gold

To be fair, the reverend’s Bridges of Hope ministry has delivered food, water, and medical care to developing nations and at home. There are strings attached, of course: the heathens — obviously afflicted because of their rejection of God, witchcraft and sodomy — must hear how their predicament is caused by God’s wrath. Rod preaches clearly that God is gold — poverty is spiritual bondage. His saviour didn’t have a pot to piss in — and preached that he himself was the poor, the stranger, the prisoner. He said that anyone who denied the poor would not enter the kingdom of heaven.

But Rod, who has said, “I am superior to the forces of darkness,” preaches that “for you to live from paycheck to paycheck is to deny the power of the gospel.” What the “good news” means for “a poor man is that he doesn’t have to be poor anymore.” Those living in “financial bondage” have refused the flow of the gospel. “You have denied the perpetual propulsion of power that could deliver you from not only sin and sickness but from the horrible stench of poverty.”

Of course, poverty isn’t caused by underemployment, colonization, overpopulation, hurricanes and other inhospitable climates, disease, mental illness, corrupt governments, or greed — it’s because we didn’t buy one of Pastor Rod’s “miracle prayer cloths.”

Just in case we weren’t completely sure what he means by all this prosperity talk, Rod spells it out for us: “I just love to talk about your money. Let me be very clear — I want your money. I deserve it. This church deserves it.”

Lorette C. Luzajic writes about all kinds of interesting people at Fascinating PeopleHer latest book is the anthology, Goodbye Billie Jean: the Meaning of Michael Jackson.

Atheists in the Evangelical Mind
Bob Cargill on the Holy Grail
Jesus was is a Muslim
Where the Fire Comes From
  • Jer

    Rod Parsley is one of the most vile examples of the fundamentalist stripe of Christianity to walk the Earth. I live in Columbus and the man is not only a complete fraud and shyster, he’s a horrible human being to boot. The abused kid at the daycare is just part of the misery this man spreads around. And yeah, he does “outreach” to third world countries – but that seems mainly to keep the IRS off his back and to expand his ministry into the third world. The charity work is essentially a “loss leader” for his business.

    I don’t actually understand how people get taken in by this guy to tell you the truth. I had an evangelical co-worker who got dragged to Parsely’s church by one of his grown-up kids a few years back. When he came into work the next day he was livid – “That man is no Christian” was the first thing out of his mouth when I asked him what the church was like. He was astounded that he could look around the church and see dozens of pictures of Rod Parsley on the walls and, as he told it, not one picture of Jesus anywhere. And he was outraged that Parsley’s entire sermon amounted to him demanding money from the congregation. You’d think an obvious phony like Parsley wouldn’t get away with it, but he does. Makes out like a bandit from what I’ve been able to tell.

  • Felix

    I just don’t know what to say about such wastes of life. Why, and how, is this even possible? I can’t see one thing that would give anyone an incentive to give this man a single buck, except being stupid, gullible and brainwashed. Many fundie cultists are just one of the three, but it takes all of them to fall such frauds as this guy. Oh well, I guess that’s what they call the free market of religions.

    • Felix

      fall for

  • Roger

    I watched his program the other day and it was a thirty minute shameless plug for money. He even tried to use an idiot parishioner’s story about a car accident as a means of extracting money from viewers.* He kept mentioning the “satanic attack,” but neeeeever seemed to get into the specifics (I wonder why?)

    * The story itself was a bunch of balderdash. This woman was talking about how she got a strong urge to go to Parsley’s church for an evening service, so she buckled up her baby in his car seat and trundled off to church. She got into an accident along the way. She claimed that she was “trapped” in the car, when pictures of the wreck showed only moderate damage to the front right side–unless Superman showed up and fused her door shut with his heat vision, there’s no way on earth she would have been trapped in the car. She talked up this accident as though the car that hit her had completely crushed the front end and ejected the baby–she also went on about not knowing where her baby was. She started bloviating about what God had done for her and what a miracle it was that she survived that minor accident.

    I wonder if it ever occurred to her that if she hadn’t bothered to go to that charlatan’s house of lunacy, she wouldn’t have gotten into the accident in the first frakkin’ place.

    • Jer

      I wonder if it ever occurred to her that if she hadn’t bothered to go to that charlatan’s house of lunacy, she wouldn’t have gotten into the accident in the first frakkin’ place.

      Exactly. If God saved your life there, he also allowed you to get into the car crash in the first place. Apparently God is a jerk with a sick sense of humor (which as anyone who’s read the Book of Job knows is an old observation on the nature of the Supreme Deity).

      Explains the appeal of Parsley, I guess. If you can believe that God is a jerk with a sick sense of humor you might well believe that God wants you to squander your money by giving it to a guy who needs to build a new wing on his mansion. Especially when you’ve got a baby and now need a new car because of God’s little joke at your expense. I’m sure God finds it all hilarious in his special ineffable way.

  • nelly

    and I just had breakfast…….

    now I feel like losing it

  • Mike

    This kind of crook almost makes you wish there was a Hell – with a special corner reserved for mass murderers, child-abusing priests and lying, cheating ‘Christians’. And the Devil is gay.

    • Jer

      Guys like Parsley explain why the idea of Hell even exists. You just know that a guy like him is unlikely to see anything resembling justice in his lifetime, so the belief that there’s some kind of impartial judge to look over the misery he’s caused and make him pay for it in the end is an appealing one.

      But really, if there were a Satan, guys like Parsley would be his best friends. So even if there were a Hell he’d probably get to be the guy who turns the screw on the rack or something.

  • DCtouristsANDlocals

    I really want to talk to one or many of his parishoners and find out why exactly they go to this church and believe this BS. Are they really that stupid? brainwashed? desperate? Do they really think they can buy their way into heaven by giving him $$? I could write a self-help book based on that information to help other stupid and gullible people avoid getting sucked into the same trap.

  • Mark D

    Rod Parsley, another anti-abortion leader who has never adopted a child.

    • brgulker

      How does being opposed to abortion obligate someone to adopt?

      I’m opposed to elective abortions, and I hope to adopt someday. But I don’t see how the former obligates me to the latter.

      • WMDKitty

        Because the “pro-life” crowd doesn’t give a shit about the fetuses they save after they become babies.

      • Mark D

        Because who is suppose to take care of the all the unwanted children that a ban of abortion would create?
        Many anti-abortion leaders talk about adoption as an alterative to abortion, but its always some one else’s job to adopt.
        Rod Parsley and many other anti-abortion leaders are wealthy enough to adopt children.
        So yes, if someone believes abortion should be made illegal, then they should be prepared to take some children into their homes. Don’t leave them at my doorstep or increase my taxes to set up “Oliver Twist” like orphanages.

      • nazani14

        Ok, then don’t adopt. If you admit that it would be impractical to take a child into your home or family, then you should be able to understand how a woman with no resources could not raise a child. However, if you think she should to be forced to bear the unwanted child, then you should be willing to help pay for her living expenses when she is unable to work, parenting classes, the delivery, job training if the mother needs it,and for child care if she doesn’t earn enough to pay for it. (And that’s for a healthy child with no special needs.)

      • Kodie

        brgulker – do you know what happens at a crisis pregnancy center?

        These are women who were talked out of their abortions and thought they were given an option to keep their baby with the help of an agency. They are often housed for their term and promised counseling. They go in thinking this is a way to keep their baby.

        They are then worn down to give the baby up for adoption – all the reasons they knew they needed an abortion are repeated back to them, you’re too poor, you can’t even take care of yourself, what were you thinking? They are promised counseling. They are rejected once it is found out the father is not white. They are reduced to being called sluts and having no choices because it’s too late to abort. They do not receive counseling after they give birth as they were promised, the agencies kick them out and call them sluts and treat them like whores and crap. Their babies are signed over because the birth moms truly cannot care for them, they are psychologically manipulated into creating a marketable healthy white baby to be sold to a Christian that the mother is not compensated for, but the agency is.

        It looks to me like crisis pregnancy centers are not trying to save babies for god – they are trying to sell babies to parents who are particular about what color baby they get and pay the price for that option, and using their “pro-life” attitude as a cover for their really creepy business dealings. I’d rather have 100 abortions than sign a baby over to these assholes and their customers. More people should know what this is about. I might suggest printing up pamphlets and large signs and picketing the CPCs so people can choose their abortions in a timely manner before they get sold on their other options. False advertising, false agenda.

        • John C

          “so people can choose their abortions in a “timely” manner”

          Translation…Kill’em quickly!

          (this is the kinda stuff you guys throw my way all year long, surely you can suffer one zinger in return eh? Dont worry, you’re still way out front in the zinger category)

          • WMDKitty

            Put your money (and your home, and your life) where your mouth is, then, and ADOPT.

            • John C

              Ha, you obviously have no idea about me, my history, you missed an earlier conversation.

              Happy New Year…anyway.

            • WMDKitty

              I’m an adoptee.

              If you haven’t put the time, money, and resources into adopting and raising those unwanted babies, you have NO RIGHT to tell anyone else that they should. So, like I said, PUT UP OR SHUT UP.

          • Kodie

            John – translation is these hags at the crisis pregnancy centers want to manipulate women out of having abortions until it’s too late to have one so they have white babies to sell. How can they live with themselves and how can you stand by knowing how babies are practically stolen for profit rather than let them be terminated as a legitimate choice? I mean, it’s sick! They don’t care about women, they don’t even care about the lives of the babies – they make a habit out of rejecting inter-racial ones while it’s still too late to get a safe abortion and don’t offer any options. They are running a business and their business is cultivating the emotional insecurity of a pregnant woman so they can have a product to sell wealthy clients who may think they are “helping” these women have “options”. What a sick and twisted way Christians have, don’t they?

      • Siberia

        I’m opposed to elective abortions, and I hope to adopt someday. But I don’t see how the former obligates me to the latter.

        Obligation, no. Irony, perhaps – because it’s kind of ironic to suggest adoption as a solution when you never did it yourself, nor would consider to. Especially considering the number of unadopted kids – especially those who are not white, were abused, are older, are crippled in some way or another…

        Like those people who advocate abstinence while never actually practicing it.

  • nazani14

    At least he’s up front about his greed, and the fact that a life based on the Bible is incompatible with democracy.

  • theBEattitude

    I’m perpetually amazed at the gullibility of the human race.

    I’d feel sorry for the people giving this evil bastard their money if they weren’t financing his hate and hypocrisy campaign. God’s “sheep” are a perfect target for con men.

  • Janet Greene

    It’s hard for me to even read your article, Daniel, without getting sick to my stomach. This man is a parasite on this earth. If I were a christian, I would “pray for his death” much as the republicans are praying for Obama’s. Lucky for them I have no direct line to the supernatural (as they obviously do). But seriously, this man is SICK. How can people not see through this????