I really shouldn’t do it, but for some reason – perhaps just a streak of masochism – I can’t resist it.
It’s a Sunday morning, early – around 7 o’clock. The rest of the household is still asleep and I’m limited in my activities because of noise. We have one of those “open-plan” houses so beloved of architects in the eighties. You know, they tried to save a few bob on construction costs by doing away with doors and calling it “fashion.”
For thirty minutes of sanity I watched a recording of the BBC World News, benefiting from the only newscast of this American weekend with relatively little bias – and, some actual news. But by seven-thirty it’s over. Then I start to get the symptoms, the itchy fingers reaching for the TV remote. There’s another half hour to kill before the deliciously conservative CBS “Sunday Morning” magazine program with Charles Osgood, and meanwhile, the religious nutters are beckoning.
Almost unconsciously, I begin to flip the channels.
Statistically, one third of Americans are obese, and Pastor John Hagee is undoubtedly in the top ranks of those numbers. Unlike the “Savior” he continually espouses, Hagee has grown fat preaching a doctrine of hatred, specifically against Islam. First and foremost, Hagee is a Jew lover. He is a prolific writer of nonsense, mostly praising the Jews and slamming everyone else in the Middle East. His latest book, “Jerusalem Countdown” is bound to be a bestseller, bought by the gullible and witless in their tens of thousands.
“Jerusalem Countdown” is just a rehash of that old, done-to-death idea of God using the Middle East conflict as a prelude to Armageddon. In Hagee’s version the Islamists get a good whupping, while to the strains of an angelic choir (of course) Christians and Jews unite in a long procession to Heaven – not least those who have contributed to the spread of Pastor Hagee’s teachings, and of course, his waistline.
“Jerusalem Countdown” contains “shocking information of the impending war”, originating between Israel and Iran, but escalating into the atomic destruction of mankind.
Can we afford not to read it? I don’t see there’s much point. If Armageddon is pre-ordained by God, reading a book isn’t going to make a lot of difference. If it isn’t, Pastor Hagee is, at best, deluded; at worst, an outright liar and charlatan. Personally, I know where my bet would be placed.
So entranced was I with Pastor John, that I missed most of Pastor Benny Hinn on the channel next door. I was just in time to hear him telling me I was “bowed down by demonic forces”. Why? For not accepting Jesus into my life – and contributing to Pastor Benny’s welfare fund.
Sorry, Pastor Benny, but I’m not bowed down by demonic forces. Quite the opposite, in fact. I love my life, always have done, and don’t need the rantings of charlatan preachers like you to tell me otherwise. Of course, I do realise that I won’t end up going to the same “Heaven” as you and Pastor Hagee.
That fact, of itself, helps bring even more joy into my sadly irreligious life.
Ah, it’s eight o’clock on Sunday Morning, and time for Charles Osgood.