17 February 2008

get me to the church on time

An intriguing, though no doubt unintentional, thread runs through today's Sunday Mail. Early on, we read of "Pastor" Benny Hinn, the unabashed worshipper of the dollar, and his so-called "miracle crusade" of Australia. The newspaper reports that people "wept, rocked and chanted, cried silent tears, spoke in tongues and smiled..."

Some of them were in a special "roped-off section" of the Brisbane Entertainment Centre - the name is eerily appropriate for Hinn's particular talents - to be cured. According to the paper, no miracles were performed, perhaps because Hinn delegated this task to several Australian "volunteers" ("how do you become a volunteer? I didn't vote for you! I want the proper charlatan").

One family came along to seek a cure for various medical infirmities. '"We've tried everything", Mrs S said. "Fung shui, wind chimes, crystals and positive thinking. We really wanted to give this a go."'

Give it a go, indeed. When one participant repeated Hinn's imprecations, "Pastor Hinn says the more you give, the more wealth and love you receive." Not much in there about miracles, healing, or God for that matter. So you may as well give it a go as sit on the back verandah with some incense and a wind chime from the Eumundi market. Or go to a proper church, for that matter.

Or the doctor.

Turn to the Body and Soul section and you learn that "getting back in touch with our natural surroundings is something that has many benefits", and I think I hear the crystals calling already. Oh yes: '"The first step towards re-establishing a bond with nature is to notice it," says "Pagan priestess Amargi Woulff."'

We'll leave this selective extract right there - not much more to be said, yes? - and jump to an alarming article in which we learn that the Catholic church has revealed how growing interest in satanism and the occult has led to a rise in exorcisms across Queensland (I would have said "throughout", but I'm just a pedant).

Anyway, the church's only "authorised" (I'd love to see the entrance examination) exorcist in Queensland says that "it's frightening what can happen when you invite entities into your life which are not meant to be part of God's world."

I wonder where "Pastor" Hinn fits into the hierarchy of nasties and crazies who need to be exorcised? Above or below Pagan Priestess Amargi Woulff? Only a matter of how many figures, including the noughts, after the dollar sign, perhaps?

This blog post has been brought to you by the Church of VVB, dedicated to ridding the world of its nonsensical beliefs.

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