Holy cow. You think some of the Religious Right are spooky -- take a look at this guy
who was profiled on the front page of my local Sunday paper.
Buoyed by the emergence of values voters in the 2004 election and fueled by righteous fury at the nation's courts over the issues of abortion and gay marriage, (Pastor Rod) Parsley has been whipping America's evangelical churches into a froth.
For almost a year now, he has crisscrossed the country on a "Silent No More" tour, granting interviews to national news publications and giving notice that he intends to be a major player in state and national politics in the coming years.
Parsley's political platform is the Center for Moral Clarity, a nonprofit association he formed last summer.
The center is closely aligned with the Ohio Restoration Project, an effort that seeks to organize 1,000 Ohio "Patriot Pastors" who will recruit a network of values voters to become today's "Minute Men."
Project activities are scheduled up to the 2006 election, including statewide pastor policy briefings, "Ohio for Jesus" radio spots featuring Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, voter-registration drives and a statewide Ohio for Jesus rally in early 2006.
If Parsley's declaration that he will be silent no more sounds incongruous coming from a man who heads a $40-million-a-year ministry accessible worldwide via 1,400 TV stations and cable affiliates -- including, through the Trinity Broadcasting Network, channels 51 in Kirtland/Cleveland and WDLI 17 in Canton-Akron -- Parsley has a ready answer.
For too long, he says, the secular left has intimidated Christians. Ministers also have surrendered their First Amendment right to engage in partisan politics, he says, relegating their churches to the status of "social clubs."
Parsley's call to action bristles with the metaphors of war. In his writings, he casts himself as a modern-day gladiator for God, advancing on "the very hordes of hell in our society . . . terrible as an army with banners."
And there's more:
Interviews and public records show that Parsley is a study in contrasts.
He opposes abortion, but supports the death penalty, saying the Bible "is very clear that we are to avenge the blood of the innocent."
He decries the nation's incivility and obsession with sex, but defended the conduct of his father when the senior Parsley was accused of sexually harassing his sister-in-law and punching out a house painter in a bill dispute.
He claims he has cured cancer with prayer, but he has been unable to cure his son of a form of autism known as Asperger syndrome.
Parsley, who dropped out of Circleville Bible College during his second year, also urges members of his church and the millions who have watched his Breakthrough ministry on TV to tithe at least 10 percent -- regardless of their financial status -- telling them that God will return the money.
He has preached this prosperity gospel while accumulating vast personal wealth, including a $1 million, five-bedroom, 5½-bath house with a swimming pool; a $63,000 Cadillac ESV and a $68,000 Lexus LX470 for himself and his wife, Joni; and a $5,000 Polaris all-terrain vehicle.
Parsley shares a gated 21-acre compound in Fairfield County with his mother and father -- church officials Ellen and James Parsley -- who live in a $940,000 home. The senior Parsleys also own a $450,000 vacation home on Lake San Marcos near San Diego....
Asked about his lavish lifestyle, Parsley says he wants "to create a culture where people enjoy the prosperity that God's given us."
He addressed the question more directly in his book "God's Answer to Insufficient Funds."
"Everybody believed in prosperity until the secular press got upset about it," he wrote. "We've sinned by trying to make people ashamed of the blessing of God on their lives. We have said, Don't wear that, don't drive that, and don't live there.' It's time we said, Satan, you didn't give it to me and you're not going to take it away.'
"Don't ever be ashamed of the blessing of God on you. Just throw your head back and say, Bless me, God. Bless me until I can't stand it.' "
You know, somehow I just can't picture Jesus saying something like that.
So what we've got here is a guy who's apparently missed the WHOLE point of piggish, conspicuous wealth, with a "Christian warrior" attitude, all but saying that he's going to use his considerable assets to help elect Kenneth Blackwell governor -- on his way, I'm sure, to the presidency. Blackwell, was, of course, the guy whose questionable actions helped deliver Ohio, and the presidency, to Bush last year.
See what I mean about spooky? As much as being a profile, this lengthy, front-page article serves (at least to me) as an exposé...a warning that this is a guy we're going to have to watch out for in the future.
Like we really need another
wealthy, influential, evangelical right-wing nut in this country.