US Christian preacher Benny Hinn has been turned away from Britain, leaving thousands of people stranded at an evangelical rally in London last weekend.
Hinn, a well-known charlatan and pickpocket who hails from Texas, draws large crowds to his Pentecostal revival rallies, where they are asked to dig deep into their wallets to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Many thousands of Pentecostal Christians travelled from across Britain and Europe and booked long weekend breaks in the capital’s hotels for his “mission” at the ExCeL exhibition centre in Docklands, East London, which had been due to begin last Thursday night.
They were left disappointed after Border Agency officials turned him back when he landed with his private jet because he had failed to obtain a “letter of sponsorship” from a church.
Instead, Mr Hinn flew on to Paris and tried to enter Britain at Luton airport but was again turned back.
Jill Masefield, who lives in Bristol, said that she and thousands of other followers had been left waiting for Mr Hinn to appear at the free preaching event, not knowing why he had not appeared.Instead, another pastor preached and requested donations of up to Â£1,000.
He’s been coming here for years and years. I think it is very unfair that they have blocked him now. It has cost me a fortune in hotel bills and I feel we have been led up the garden path. It is extremely unfair.
The Benny Hinn “fire conference and miracle service” was scheduled to last three days. Among the “miracles” the Texan preacher performs are those in which he instructs participants to “let the bodies hit the floor”. The routine is featured on YouTube videos that show the devout falling down backwards, “slain in the spirit”.
Hinn, according to this site, is far better at fleecing people than making prophesies. He once prophesised that God would destroy the homosexual community of America by fire “in the mid-nineties – about ’94 or ’95, no later than that.”
His ministry is believed to rake in up to $120-million annually. Hinn lives in an oceanfront hacienda valued at $8.5-million.
He also foretold that Fidel Castro would die during the 1990s, and that the world would end by 1999. Hinn has also taught that the Biblical Adam flew to the moon. He has said that the Christian Trinity is actually God in nine persons, not three, because the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are each comprised of trinities
Mr Hinn has visited before without any problem but the Home Office has changed the rules for ministers of religion. He fell foul of tier five of the new points-based system for all visitors to Britain, which came into effect last November. One of the aims of the new rules was to combat extremism and prevent teachers of religious hate entering the country.
A Border Agency spokesman said:
Under the UK’s tough new points-based system, religious workers must obtain a valid certificate of sponsorship prior to arriving in the UK. These rules are designed to make sure that a legitimate sponsor is linked to each application to enter the UK for work purposes. These rules are applied objectively and clearly set out for travellers. People who arrive without the required documentation can be refused entry to the UK.
Hat tip: Stuart W