A great deal has been made of a few statements made by Jeremiah Wright, the man who used to be the reverend at the church Barack Obama attends. Although there only was enough news about what Reverend Wright said to fill up part of one day's news, Fox News and other media outlets have been talking about the Jeremiah Wright story day in, day out, for weeks on end, as if it is one of the top news stories every single day.
We here at Irregular Times don't like to give such a tedious, stilted kind of attention to political candidates. We believe in writing about a campaign issue just a few times, to get the facts out, and then letting readers settle the issue in their minds on their own. For that reason, we have no intention of returning fire with the kind of boring repetition with which the the right wing has worked to make the Jeremiah Wright flap into a scandal of epic proportions.
However, there are some very interesting connections between Republican presidential candidate John McCain and some extremist, unscrupulous preachers on the far right wing side of the political spectrum. Those radical religious connections deserve to be noted, and to be considered by voters.
For now, I'd like to focus on just one extremist aspect of just one of John McCain's closest spiritual advisors: Rod Parsley. John McCain is so close to Rod Parsley that he has called Parsley his "spiritual guide". What kind of spiritual guidance is John McCain taking from Rod Parsley?
One of Rod Parsley's most consistent spiritual teachings is that you can buy miracles with money. No kidding. Rod Parsley actually tells his followers that God will give them anything they want - if they send Rod Parsley some money first.
The following is actual text from Rod Parsley's web site, asking people to send money to Rod Parsley in order to convince God to provide them with a miracle answer to their prayers.
Resurrection Seed 2008
God is going to kill your giant, slam the door shut on 2007 ... sickness, sorrow, lack, every attack of the adversary ... and throw wide open a new door into your NOW SEASON of 2008. Now is the appointed time to sow in faith for you harvest of health, peace, joy ... whatever you need! In your NOW season, there's going to be no lapse of time between sowing and reaping.
Take a step of faith toward God like you've never taken - with a sacrificial seed you've never sown before - to receive a harvest like you've never experienced! Because when God speaks to you about a seed, He already has your harvest in mind.
Sow your Resurrection Seed today for the giant you need destroyed Now. It may be a financial giant, it may be a physical giant attacking your body, it may be a spiritual giant rising up against your family. Whatever your need, sow your Resurrection Seed in the fertile soil of your valley.
And I want to pray over your seed and your [prayer needs] right here at World Harvest Church altar on Resurrection Sunday.
Submit your miracle prayer needs, and let's believe together for your NOW season.
CLICK HERE to sow your Resurrection Seed offering right now, slam the door shut on 2007 and walk into your NOW SEASON of 2008!
This text doesn't come right out and say "If you write me a check for 500 dollars, God will give you anything you want," but it might as well. The symbolism of the seed is quite clear. To get what you want - your harvest - you have to plant a "sacrificial seed" that proves your faith in God. That sacrificial seed, Rod Parsley suggests, should come in the form of a gift of money to Parsley himself.
Notice what Rod Parsley does NOT say. Rod Parsley doesn't say that, in order to show to God that you are willing to sacrifice, you should send a check to the Red Cross, or to OxFam International, or Doctors Without Borders, or any worthy cause that actually helps people. Nope, Rod Parsley doesn't want your money to go anywhere else but to him.
What's really twisted is Rod Parsley's promise to "pray over your seed" on a church altar. Rod Parsley is actually putting money on an altar and praying to it. Who is Rod Parsley actually worshipping in this bizarre ritual - God or money?
Rod Parsley places no limit on the promised benefit that will come to his followers - just so long as they keep sending him money, year after year. He promises his followers will get "whatever you need". A new car, a pool in the backyard, a million dollar home, a new wife, a handgun, a food processor, a big flat screen television set. All these things and more, anything that can be imagined, can come to his followers, says Parsley, but only if you write a big check out to Parsley.
You don't want to send your money to Rod Parsley? Why not? Don't you want to "believe together for your NOW season"?
The idea that John McCain would take this kind of huckster on a spiritual guide is deeply troubling. There's the obvious problem of the fraud involved, of course. Rod Parsley cannot influence God to provide his followers with miracles on demand. John McCain either realized Rod Parsley is defrauding his followers, and is willing to go along with the fraud, or McCain is a fool. Neither possibility suggests that Senator McCain has the judgment necessary to be President of the United States.
A less obvious problem, but just as concerning, with Rod Parsley's spiritual guidance over John McCain is that Rod Parsley's spiritual teachings encourage people to be selfish. Consider the content of Rod Parsley's Resurrection Seed 2008 message, and you'll see that it's not at all concerned about helping other people - besides Rod Parsley, of course.
The Gospel of Rod Parsley encourages his followers to think about what they want and what they need - for themselves. The Gospel of Rod Parsley tells people that the world exists to serve just them, and that Christianity is about using the power of God to get stuff to enjoy for yourself.
It's no wonder that John McCain would take on Rod Parsley as a spiritual guide. Rod Parsley's religious teachings of greed through God are strongly in accordance with the right wing vision of economics: A world in which everyone is in it just for themselves, and things like cooperation or assistance of people in need is something to be sneered at.
John McCain has chosen to use Rod Parsley's power as a resource in his presidential campaign, and the power that Rod Parsley lends to the McCain for President campaign comes right out of the pockets of his gullible followers, who truly believe, thanks to Parsley's crooked guidance, that giving money to Rod Parsley helps them get closer to the riches of Heaven.
In the 2008 presidential election, America must do better. The last thing we need, after the disasters of the Bush presidency, is another four years during which snake oil salesmen pitching dishonest financial schemes are allowed the run of the White House.
Check out our Irregular Center of Information, and then please consider the strongest alternative to John McCain...