| Brother Paul, Sister Jan, Brother Hinn, God, and the Folks
"Come and be saved in the blood of the Lamb!" Brother Benny invites the congregation.
Motley squads of women in dated prints, men in aged suits, oily-faced young women and young men with bad complexions--the old and gnarled, the young and gnarled, the stammering young and the stammering old, dozens of them, the bruised, the pleading, the desperate, the destitute--all rise, march forth, advance, crawl, roll on wheelchairs, are carried to the stage, hurt bodies, pained souls, dozens of them, dozens and dozens, advance in a tide of God's wounded army toward Brother Hinn, who is basking in the radiance of a heavenly stage light. Arms outstretched, he welcomes the bereaved.
"I have headaches that never end!"
"Be gone, accursed misery, festering evil!" Benny Hinn plants a hand on the woman's forehead, shoving her back for "catchers" to intercept as she falls "slain in the spirit." She quivers in the arms of the catchers before she staggers up. "I yam cured! Head don't hurt, pulsin's gone, praise the Lord! I yam cured!"
"Let's hear it for the Lord!" Benny exhorts, selflessly.
"Can't see, gotta grope 'round, keep stumblin'."
With a jolt and an assertive push from Benny's hand, the man falls back onto the arms of the catchers, who thrust him forth, and he hops about in circles. "I can see, I can walk!"
"Let's hear it for the Lord!" screams Benny, generously.
More supplicants come, more, more, still more--begging, suffering witnesses to the mysterious ways of God and the healing powers of Brother Hinn, who understands their hurts, don't you know, feels their miseries, longs to heal them all, God bless, Lord love. Brother Hinn knows because he's one of us, hear us, Jesus.
"I cast you out, Satan!"
A pretty, out-of-place young girl trembles, falls into eager arms, is shoved forward and shouts, "I am saved from sins of the flesh!"
"The devil done possessed
me." A stout woman, meaning serious business, thrusts the saved girl away.
"I cast you out of this good soul, demon!" Brother Benny declares war.
The heavy woman does not budge, does not fall back into the arms of the catchers. Her face grows fierce, fiery red. She growls. "Debil still done got me! Won't let go! Grrrr,
Benny hammers his fist on her forehead, harder, again, harder, the catchers grab her, hold her back, down. The woman wrests free, screeches, growls, moans, twists. "Debil don't let go! Grrrr, grrrr!"
(Well, Lord, if da Debil don't let go, push him outta the damn picture, Benny Hinn!)
The camera sweeps away, and when it returns to Brother Benny the woman is gone--trotted off with da Debil--and Brother Benny is ministering to more cooperative sinners.
Lord, Lordee, what come here? A jar! What do the jar contain? A tumor! A tumor ripped out by the Lord from the very flesh of a lonely old woman who was sitting in her living room praying with Benny on TV and she touched the screen and out pop the tumor, which she sent special delivery in a jar, along with a pledge of all her savings that she had long begrudged the Lord.
"Let's hear it for the Lord!"
Soon the show will end. An old star from Grand Ole Opry is singing happy gospel. Paul and Jan swing and sway. Brother Hinn takes a bow for Jesus, humbly..
What next, after all this? What to do with the empty hours before more relief from pain is proffered, more donations made that attest to a responsive, caring God? Sad, lonely, abused folks before their TV screens--what, now, for them?
They shift to the Shopping Channel and wait for tomorrow and the possibility of less pain.
From the Los Angeles Times, January 1999:
By Ruth Ryon
"Televangelist's Jan and Paul Crouch
of the Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting
Network have purchased a Newport Beach House
for $5 million.... The home was described as
`a palatial estate with ocean and city views.'...
[It] has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a billiard
room, a climate-controlled wine cellar, a sweeping
staircase and a crystal chandelier. The three-story,
nearly 9,500 square foot house, which has an
elevator, also has a six-car garage, a tennis
court and a pool with a fountain.... Trinity
Broadcasting ... has more than 768 TV stations
on the air worldwide. The Crouches oversee a
$100-million-plus-a-year enterprise. [F]aithful
viewers are said to consider the couple, who
are in their 60s ... as everyday folks. The
house is on slightly more than an acre. Jan
Crouch has been wanting a bigger yard for her
According to an article from the Associated Press, Saturday, April 27, 2002:
| Benny Hinn once predicted the World would end by 1999 and Castro would die in the 90's. Hinn once wished for a "Holy Ghost machine gun" to zap his critics. Claiming to absorb psychic power from the graves of dead faith healers, he upheld that women originally were designed to give birth from their sides. Benedictus Hinn, a Greek-Armenian, now in his 50s, earns an estimated million dollars a year and generates close to $60 million in donations. Criticized for driving a Mercedes-Benz, he retorted: "Where in the Bible does it say I have to drive a Honda?"
Los Angeles, California
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Original material by John Rechy appears
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