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A View from the Altar / Reverend Ike for Prez
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Reverend Ike for Prez

I am partly amused and partly disgusted by the antics of health-and-wealth preachers.  Charlatans ranging from Benny Hinn and (late) Reverend Ike to the preposterous Ken Copeland promise that if you’d send their ministry a check, God would multiply it back to you.  It wasn’t precisely something for nothing since you’d have to “sow a seed” to get something back.  Still, the implied rate of return was beyond what any reasonable person should expect.

The social mechanics behind this are not complex.   People are greedy and lazy.  Fair enough?  That includes both the charlatan and the flock he’s fleecing.  The charlatan has figured out that if you say what people wish was true and smear a plausible coating on it, people will actually pay you to say it some more.  The willing victims toss in a few bucks and enjoy the fantasy that riches earned by somebody else will magically flow to them.  They tranquilize their garbaged-up consciences by noting that this works only if it’s God’s will, so if they get something, God was behind it, so it couldn’t be wrong.

It strikes me that a lot of left wing politicians saw this going on and decided to take a swing at the same con.  Lots of people worship government as a god, so it’s a natural fit.  And the same moral views apply, namely, whatever the government does with money cannot possibly be wrong.  So they promise their voters heaps of loot — cash, vouchers for this and that, health care, cushy government jobs — on pretty much the same deal.  None of the wealth they spread around will have to be earned.  You just have to cast your vote to the left, and wealth earned by other people will magically flow to you.

The politicians may be excused for rejecting my characterization of this as a con.  After all, the money is flowing.    And it actually does cost them nothing, since voting is free, and about 45 percent of Americans now pay zero federal tax.

Be assured that consciences are mostly unanguished about all this.  It is, after all, justice.  The government preacher said so.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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