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View Diary: Televangelist Grifter Paul Crouch, founder of TBN, dead at 79. (91 comments)

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  •  I met Paul about 18 years ago. (6+ / 0-)

    I was in seminary in Dallas and TBN had a week long grand opening of a new studio in Dallas.  I worked as a tour guide for the week.  Paul's sister was my boss.  It was a lot of fun actually.  

    The place was huge and gorgeous and garish all at once.  Though, what most people don't know is how much they penny pinched to make that place.  I don't know how many times we explained that it was only gold colored paint.  

    I still remember the complaints by some of the tourists about the nude angels in some paintings on the walls and having to take them down and how ridiculous everyone at TBN thought that was.

    The truth is that for all of the ways in which the Crouch family enjoyed being rich, they really truly believed in what they were doing.  Most people don't know the things they did for people that they kept to themselves.  They were genuinely caring people.

    Even making that studio.  I remember Jan talking so passionately behind the scenes about how sad she was to see corporate skyscrapers everywhere, because she remembered when churches were the tallest most beautiful buildings around.  She really honestly wanted to express the grandness of god by making a grand studio.  It wasn't an act.

    I also worked for the 700 club when I was in seminary in Dallas and they were totally full of shit.  I give TBN credit for at least being true believers.  Sure, they were delusional, but they were not out to fleece people.  They asked for a lot of money, but they poured it into running and expanding TBN, because they really believed that they were doing good in the world.

    Now, to be fair, many of the people in front of the camera were very full of themselves.  Though, I think people would be surprised to find out who was and who wasn't.  Benny Hinn was a genuinely decent person.  I was there after he spoke as he went to a back room to beg god to heal children with very serious illnesses and diseases.  He wasn't faking it.  I walked up to him and shook his hand and looked him right in the eyes and he was sincere.  Maybe crazy, but sincere.

    I met Paul as I was making rounds through the studio before the tours one day.  He was in his office going over paper work and he was utterly exhausted.  He had been working tirelessly during the opening.  I had already met a lot of people who were very famous in religious circles, but I had grown up with Paul on the tv and it was like meeting Mr Rogers or Tom Brokah.  I asked to shake his hand and for a moment he hesitated, because he was in the middle of working, but then, I could see him telling himself that it would mean a lot to me, so, he stood up at his desk and reached out his hand.

    I am an agnostic now, but I understand the value that  believing in god provides for people.  I know that TBN provided a lot of comfort and hope to people.  I also think that they crossed the line preaching prosperity theology to raise money for TBN.  But I can't honestly say that it was done with greedy or malicious intent.  I think it was done with a lot of rationalizing and delusions of grandeur.  But with good intentions.  At least, that's what it was like 18 years ago when I was there.

    •  They also poured money (14+ / 0-)

      into 13 multi-million dollar homes and an air conditioned trailer for dogs that cost $100,000.
      Not out to fleece people?

      The lawsuit alleges that Paul Crouch Sr. obtained a $50-million Global Express luxury jet for his personal use through a "sham loan," and that TBN funds paid for a $100,000 motor home for dogs owned by his wife, Janice Crouch, a network director.   The suit also alleges that TBN bought residences across the country for its directors under the pretext that they were "guest homes" or "church parsonages." The properties include mansions used by the Crouch family in Newport Beach; side-by-side mansions in Windermere, Fla.; and homes in Nashville; Miami; and Irving, Texas, according to the suit. - See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/...

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 02:45:53 PM PST

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    •  Sounds like a naive point of view (10+ / 0-)

      Of course they were unfailingly polite with another member of the tribe.  

      The fact that they're charming and seeminly sincere isn't news either; Reagan was said to be the kind of person that would give you the shirt off his back - right before signing legislation that would make millions of others shirtless.

      •  Seems to be a common pattern. (4+ / 0-)

        Apparently, back in the 40's, if you were in the Soviet Union, and went to see Josef Stalin in person, he could be described as very jovial and friendly, and fun to be around. It's just that while he was pleasant in person, if you got on his bad side, he had quite the talent for having you erased...

        •  he was a helluva dancer, old joe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes

          true story: 4 or 5 years ago we went to the stalin museum in gori, georgia...it was fascinating seeing the reconstructed log cabin where he was born (the site of the museum)

          at the end of the tour we went into his private train car and i sat in his favorite (lumpy, soviet) chair

          he was an absolute hero in his hometown, but they have since toppled the gigantic stalin statue in the town square (over howls of protest, no doubt)

          Sarah Palin is a disgusting racist pig.

          by memofromturner on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 04:21:26 PM PST

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        •  everyone said George Bush would be great to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes

          have a beer with.

          personally, i can't fathom it.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 09:24:57 PM PST

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    •  True Believers (4+ / 0-)
      I remember Jan talking so passionately behind the scenes about how sad she was to see corporate skyscrapers everywhere, because she remembered when churches were the tallest most beautiful buildings around.

      That sounds to me like she envied the superior status corporations had gained over churches in our society. Of course her church was a corporation.

      But then, I'm not a seminary student in her employ, pretty well bought into the business.

      Whether or not religious conmen are worse when they believe their own cons than when they don't is a purely metaphysical question. What matters is the harm they cause, which believing often actually makes worse by being more convincing.

      The Qaeda is made of mostly true believers, as is the Tea Party.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 04:19:51 PM PST

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    •  Sorry, AntonBursch, no amount of rationalizing (4+ / 0-)

      or excusing "prosperity gospel" adherents will ever make me believe that they are anything but pure evil.  It is nothing more than giving an excuse for greed.

      I don't give a s@#$ whether they were faking it or not.

      They were nothing more than a money grubbing industry preying on the elderly, the poor, and people of real faith for a few pieces of silver.

      They were Judas in modern day clothing.  They betrayed their faith, and their God.

      Though I could not rejoice in anyone dying, I have to admit that the world is better off without the likes of Paul Crouch.

      In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

      by Sixty Something on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 06:13:58 PM PST

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