Saturday, February 09, 2008
Ba-ba-ba Benny and the Hinns
Damn! Pastor Benny Hinn held a Training for Ministry conference (whatever that is) in Nashville last week and I missed him. "Who's Benny Hinn?" you ask. Well, he's a televangelist who puts the "huck" in religious hucksterism. He truly is a sight to behold.
I first laid eyes on Benny Hinn 'bout 10 years ago. I turned on the boob tube early one morning to catch the weather, and I spied a guy with a bad haircut - wearing an equally bad suit - healing people and putting "fire" on great masses of the 10,000 people who'd congregated to see him. "Who the hell is this guy?" I asked myself.
Over the next few weeks I started regularly watching Pastor Benny's program. I quickly learned that he was not interested, at all, in dispelling the stereotypes regularly given to TV preachers. Like I said, he had a God-awful haircut. He wore ill-fitting pinstriped suits. He had gaudy gold rings on each ring finger. And he claimed that God worked directly through him, which allowed him to heal people.
It was the healin' part of Pastor Benny's shows that kept drawing me in. He didn't just heal folks; he put the healing "fire" of God on 'em, which often led to large numbers of people writhing on the floor. I would laugh my ass off watching this spectacle, and it kept me coming back for more. [Click here to see a hilarious send-up of Hinn's healing and fire-throwing.]
I don't get to see Benny Hinn's program as often as I once did. It comes on each morning after I've left for work; and it comes on in the evening opposite Hannity & Colmes, which I ain't missin' just to watch Pastor Benny do his ridiculous thang.
Sometime before Thanksgiving, I did happen to catch the tail-end of Pastor Benny's show. He told his viewers that he was giving away free copies of his autobiography. All interested viewers had to do was send him a letter and he'd send you a book. I don't know what possessed me to do so, but I wrote to Hinn's "church" in Dallas for my free book. (Since there're no books written by televangelists amongst the 3,500+ books in my house, I guess in the back of my mind I figured I needed at least one.)
I never got my book, but I did get my name placed on Benny's beggin'-for-money mailing list -- big shock! For the past two and a half months, I've received at least one fund-raising letter a week from ol' Benny; and during the two weeks leading up to Christmas, I received five different letters from Benny, including one asking for money for upkeep of his private(!) jet. I told a friend of mine: I don't know what [Hinn] spends on direct-mail, but I'll bet he could run a soup kitchen for a year with the same amount of money.
If I'd known Benny Hinn was going to be in Nashville, I would've made plans to go see him. Not only would I have told him to take my name off his ****in' mailing list, I would've asked him when I'm going to get the free book he ****in' promised me! Don't think I wouldn't have done it, neither.