HBO’s John Oliver takes a hilarious look at the pernicious and predatory nature of Christian televangelists and their despicable exploitation of vulnerable and gullible believers for fun and profit.
Declaring “this is about the churches that exploit people’s faith for monetary gain,” Oliver skewered Christian televangelists on the most recent edition of his HBO program “Last Week Tonight.”
Oliver begins by noting:
Churches are a cornerstone of American life. There are roughly 350,000 congregations in the United States, and many of them do great work — feeding the hungry, clothing the poor. But this is not a story about them. This is about the churches that exploit people’s faith for monetary gain.
Oliver went on to explain the “prosperity gospel” to his audience, noting that prosperity gospel evangelists preach some version of the following message to their followers:
… wealth is a sign of God’s favor, and that donations will result in wealth coming back to you. That idea takes the form of ‘seed faith’—that donations are seeds that you will one day get to harvest.
The message is stupid but simple: Money is a seed, and if you give money to the supposed messenger of God, your “seed investment” will be returned to you by your imaginary God in a harvest of cash.
Demonstrating the pernicious and predatory nature of the prosperity gospel preacher, Oliver shared a clip of televangelist Mike Murdock encouraging followers with crippling credit card debt to use those same cards to send him $1,000 with the promise that, in doing so, God will step in to make that debt disappear.
An incredulous Oliver joked:
Think about that. That is the equivalent of saying, ‘The key to losing weight lies at the bottom of this giant Costco bulk bag of Peanut Butter M&M’s, go find it, it’s definitely down there.’
Oliver goes on to note:
All of this would be amusing if the targets weren’t vulnerable people.
After exposing the evil nature of prosperity gospel preachers taking advantage of the gullible, Oliver concludes his segment by showing how easy it is to set up a church and take advantage of US tax laws by introducing his own church: Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.