Thursday, July 7, 2016

Evils of religion Part 7: Protestantism's present-day scandals

Perhaps your heart goes out to Protestants for all the persecution they suffered through the centuries at the hands of the Catholic Church, or even other Protestants. But that doesn't mean they are closer to God.

Despite ‘protesting’ some of the Catholic Church’s false teachings, they held onto: 

  • Catholicism's trinity (which changes God from a single Almighty to a board of directors)
  • Hellfire (which makes God more cruel than Hitler) 
  • Immortality of the soul (which makes God a liar – after all, God told Adam and Eve they would “positively die” if they disobeyed Him. It was Satan who told Eve: “You positively will not die.”)

Protestantism added a confusing belief to what they received from Catholicism: Once Saved Always Saved. Confusing because, for centuries they tried – and some still try – to scare people into obedience with Hellfire. If you're saved, if you can be instantly saved by claiming you've accepted Jesus, why worry about hellfire?

With the coming of the free love generation in the Sixties many decided that God accepts everyone no matter what, contrary to what the Bible says in several places. (Matthew 24:13; John 3:36; John 15:13,14; Hebrews 3:14; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Corinthians 10:12.) 

The serial killer Son of Sam was ‘saved’ four years before he shot 13 victims in 1976 and 1977. Every president since Kennedy has claimed to be 'saved'. A good friend of mine said she 'got the call' and went down front in church and was ‘saved’ three times before it finally occurred to her that what she was feeling was coming from her own emotions, not the holy spirit.

Protestants have also adorned their clergy with pompous titles and garb. They may call their pastors ‘Reverend’ rather than ‘Father,’ but they can’t show you any scriptural foundation for the term. Only once do Protestants find in their version of the Bible the word “reverend” and that's in reference to God: “Holy and reverend is his name. The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalms 111:9, 10, ASV) 

Furthermore, creating a paid clergy, and a clergy/laity distinction, engenders in the laity the belief that they can pay others to fulfill their obligation to defend their faith and spread the gospel. (1 Peter 3:15) Much more sinister, however, is that it creates in the clergy a belief that they are above the standards of conduct to which the rest of us are held.

Protestantism has a lot to answer for. 

Calvinism’s predestination teaching was responsible for “Manifest Destiny,” the doctrine that justified Europeans expanding across America, Africa, and Australia, wiping out native tribes. It must accept the blame for America’s early history of slavery, as well as the apartheid movement that plagued South Africa until just a couple decades ago. Calvin's teaching spawned the idea that is still going strong: that God predestined white people to be superior to people of other races.

Perhaps most insidious is this: People with no Bible knowledge see a TV preacher waving a Bible and they assume that the racist, immoral actions of those oh-so-pious religionists must be based on that book. Catholicism at least admits their teachings are based on tradition more than on scripture.

Unlike Catholics, Protestants have been the first to jump on every unscriptural fad that has come along: The U.S. census reported that couples living together without marrying jumped 700 percent from 1960 to 1970. Subsequently the Anglican Church, instead of upholding the Bible’s standard, announced in 1980 that objections to people living together without benefit of marriage should be dropped. Other Protestant religions soon followed. Next, the Protestant churches started lining up to approve same-sex marriage and homosexual clergy. The 'United' Methodist Church recently became sorely disunited when it decided to approve of same-sex marriage, and large numbers of their churches broke from them.

Even the teflon reputation of the Pope of Protestantism, Billy Graham, has taken its share of hits.

  • While he bragged in his revivals about tearing down racial barriers he endorsed racist Price Daniel in his run for Governor of Texas. Graham claimed to be close friends with Martin Luther King, but when King came out in opposition to Vietnam, Graham castigated him for criticizing American foreign policy.
  • On Good Morning America in 1991, when asked about abortion he replied, “There is a Christian position, I think, but I’m not prepared to say what it is.” Ahh, leadership!
  • The IRS launched an investigation of Billy Graham’s $100,000,000 organization after they ran ads in 2012 urging voters to “consider candidates who make decisions based on biblical principles and support of the nation of Israel.” A couple years later, the organization changed its IRS status from "non-profit" to "church". A seemingly small change, but non-profits are subject to IRS investigation; churches are not.
  • His son, Franklin Graham, reportedly receives a yearly salary of $1.2 million. Due to his recent sex scandals and loud support of Trump, a petition for his removal from the organization has received over 22,000 signatures. 
While Protestantism may not have velvet-robed pimps riding around in pope-mobiles, it has nevertheless produced and is still producing its share of anything-for-a-buck prostitutes:
  • Jimmy Swaggart’s ‘ministry’ has bounced back nicely from his highly publicized adulterous prostitute/masturbation humiliation back in 1988. An insider claims Swaggart Ministries pulls in $2 million a month from duped donors. A ministry-funded printing facility takes on lucrative commercial printing jobs on the side, including posters for local night clubs and CD labels for foul-mouthed hip-hop artists. The ‘two-bedroom cottage’ he frequently mentions in his sermons is actually a gold-fauceted, 9,337 square foot mansion on 20 landscaped acres – the most expensive residence in Baton rouge. He was the inspiration of the Ray Stevens song, “Would Jesus wear a Rolex?”
  • Pat Robertson’s net worth is estimated to be somewhere between two hundred million and a billion dollars. His involvement in politics – including running for President – is well-known. Less well known is his support of Zaire dictator Mobutu and Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, both guilty of war crimes and gross human rights violations. In 2007 he pronounced that God had told him that millions of Americans would die in a terrorist attack before the year was out. Apparently God was wrong, but Robertson still has millions of worshipers.
  • Benny Hinn’s ‘healing’ ministry collects more than $200 million a year. He has a private jet and a $10 million mansion. If he really can heal people, as he claims, why doesn’t he simply start clearing out hospitals?
  • Kenneth Copeland also flies around the country in a $20 million private jet. He owns the airport where it lands and lives in a mansion the size of a hotel. When asked by congress to cooperate in an investigation of his financials his reply was, “Go get a subpoena.”
  • Jesse Jackson turned his former gig as part of Martin Luther King's inner circle into a net worth of $10,000,000. He was booed at a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, when he turned up not to offer comfort to the mourners but to beg for money.
  • Al Sharpton, another media whore, has a net worth of $5 million. Like Jesse Jackson, while he claims to be a Baptist preacher, virtually all his time in the spotlight is devoted to race, not the Kingdom.
  • Most of the ‘flock’ of Charles Blake’s Pentecostal Church lives in poverty in South Central Los Angeles. But it’s a big flock, and his annual salary is $900,000. He lives in Beverly Hills, not South Central.
I spoke to a lady who attends a sizable protestant church near my house in Arizona. She told me a typical Sunday attendance is about 1,000. They pass a collection basket “once, sometimes twice if there’s a special need,” she said. “How much does each person put in the basket?” I asked. “Oh, ten or twenty dollars,” was the reply.
I said, “Let’s assume it’s ten. Can you tell me what that church can possibly be doing with $10,000 tax-free per week – every week? The mortgage must be paid off by now. They are exempt from property taxes. The light bill can’t be more than a few hundred a week.”
“Well, there’s a staff…” she said. But most of the “staff” are Sunday volunteers. Have you looked at a church during the week? Most of them are locked up. The big ones might have a secretary or two working a 40-hour week. So where is the bulk of that half-million bucks a year going?
Does that sound remotely like anything Jesus did, or said we should do?
She got very thoughtful. Maybe you should, too. Do the math about your own church, see what you come up with.
Since I started this series I've been accused of being anti-religious, agnostic, atheist, Jewish, and Muslim. I suppose equal time requires me to take a look at religions that are not calling themselves either Catholic or Protestant. We'll do that next. 
Please leave a comment. 
Bill K. Underwood is a columnist and author of several books. You can help support this site by following the link here to

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