Fooling the faithful.
David Kuo is a Bible-believing Christian of the fundie/evangelical stripe. And he was one of the top people in the White House working on so-called “Faith Based Initiatives”. He has written a book about his experiences and it doesn't paint a pretty picture of the White House.
He shows a White House which used the religious groups for their own political ends. It played at being their best friend to their faces and often laughed at them and made of them behind their backs. He says: “I heard [White House] staff privately deriding evangelical Christians because they were so easily seduced by White House power.” He says many Republican operatives viewed Evangelicals “with undisguised contempt”.
In an essay for Time he wrote about telling the president that the Faith-Based Initiative program really didn’t have any new funding at all to offer. All it did was make it easier to access old funding. He was asked about all the “new money” and explained that there was none. Kuo explained again to Bush that the $8 billion that the White House kept mentioning was the sum total of old programs.
Bush asked: “Eight billion in new dollars?”
“No, sir.” Kuo answered again explaining to the President that these were not new funds at all. But nothing seemed to break into the thick skull of Bush. He said: “Eight billion. That’s what we’ll tell them [Evangelical pastors]. Eight billion in new funds for faith-based groups. O.K., let’s go.”
And then Bush went out to the pastors waiting to meet him and told them that there was $8 billion in new funding available, even though he was just told several times that this was not the case.
Kuo says that Bush “is ultimately no different from any other politician, content to use religion for electoral gain more than for good works.” He says evangelicals would be better off recognizing that.
So why are Christians so easily duped? That is something to consider. Certainly if I wanted to con people and make a lot of money I could do it. I would have a “religious experience” and suddenly tell them I found Jesus. All my old sinful, atheist ways have been reformed. I’d even ham it up about how Jesus himself appeared to me and told me that I was going to bring countless other atheists to the Lord and that he was raising up in me a ministry to save the most hard core heathens in the West. The money would flow in.
People of intense faith don’t want evidence as much as they want verification. They want you to tell them things which prove to them they are right. Use the right phrases and you have them hooked. They are used to believing the most absurd things without any evidence.
In this blog we have covered some of the Christian urban myths that go around. Some so outlandish that one has to wonder how any sane person could possible believe them. We have discussed con men like Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff. Ministry after ministry gets caught red-handed doing the questionable and still they continue. Jimmy Swaggart got caught with a prostitute -- it was actually much more sordid than the media reported in general. Yet his ministry still exists. Jim Bakker goes to prison for his actions and gets out and is right back in the ministry. Marjoe Gortner could openly bilk believers out of cash by claiming to heal them. Before he went out to “minister” he recorded exactly how he would con these people and why they were happy to believe him. Mike Warnke claimed to be a High Priest of Satan and made lots of money off the gullible believers who actually thought he was telling the truth.
The fundamentalist Chick Publications published bogus accounts of a fake priest exposing the truth about Catholicism. Fundamentalists ate it up. Oral Roberts claimed that a 900-foot tall Jesus showed up one day and told him that unless believers gave Roberts lots and lots of money that Jesus would kill Roberts. Roberts told this absurd story to Christians and the money came pouring in.
The fact of the matter is that Christians are often the easiest people to dupe. But then believing things without evidence is central to their life. They have to be naive and prone to con jobs. After all they let George Bush con them for years now.
If you don’t believe let me tell you about this incredible experience where Jesus himself appeared to me....
Oh, I’ll tell you where to send in your love offering.