I was flipping the dial yesterday when I happened upon one of the TV evangelical programs on our local Fox News channel (5).  Figured I would see what such are about.  This one was being broadcast from Houston — in a huge amphitheater filled with what looked to be middle class white Americans from the long and short views of the audience.  Osteen apparently features his cute blond wife, Victoria, as a regular part of the show with occasional close ups of her at his homey mentions.  The background scenery in addition to a massive audience is eye catching — a large rotating skeletal globe map of the earth.

The theme of the day — a 30 minute sermon in which Osteen parades the stage with his mike — was a lesson on whom one should associate with and and whom one should avoid.  The latter were the unhappy, depressed, unsuccessful, complaining people who, for instance, were bitter about not getting a job promotion.  The good ones were those who were happy and successful who one should hang around with as did Henry Ford, Firestone, and a third early 20th century capitalist who built homes near each other.  I cringed a bit at Ford who became bitterly anti-Semitic towards the end of his life (Protocols of the Elders of Zion) and received the highest award given to foreigners by the Nazis:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ford

Joel Osteen.com looks to be a money maker with a wide variety of ticket and book offers — some quite high prices for “premier” things:

http://joelosteen.lakewood.cc/site/PageServer?pagename=JOM_homepage

The thing that really got to me — along with the programmed laughs every three minutes or so — was the total reversal of the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth.  Osteen’s avoidees would seem to be the poor in spirit whom Jesus asked us to support in his sermon on the mount.  And Osteen’s happy and successful ones which we should seek out are the wealthy who would have trouble passing through the proverbial eye of the needle to get into heaven.

The audience of several thousand seemed to be thoroughly on board and happily amused by his folksy jokes along the way.  I wonder how much they make on these shows which apparently travel around the country as well as appearing on local TV stations?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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