Special Alert Newsletter - June 2011
To subscribe: e-mail Des Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org
“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people,” declared the inimitable H.L. Mencken many years ago. The saying that “there is a sucker born every minute” is attributed to Joseph Bessimer, a notorious confidence trickster in the early 1880s.
We doubt if there is a single person who can honestly say that they have never been “conned,” “taken for a ride,” or “sold a bill of goods.” In all too many cases, suckers who gullibly invested in what they assumed would be a “gold mine” ended up getting only “the shaft.” Take for example the various people — some greedy, and other suffering from extreme naivete — who were the victims of George Parker, 1870-1936, one of the most audacious con men in the history of the United States. Parker made a living “selling” New York public landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge to unwary tourists. He convinced his “marks” [victims] they could make a fortune by controlling access to the roads surrounding the various sites. On his third conviction for fraud, he was sentenced to a life term in Sing Sing, a top security prison on the Hudson River 30 miles north of New York City.
According to David W. Maurer, author of The Big Con (1940), “People who read of cons in the newspapers are often wont to remark, ‘That bird must be foolish to fall for a game like that. Why, anybody should know better than to do what he did.’ In other words, there is a widespread feeling among legitimate folk that anyone who is the victim of a confidence game is a numbskull.
“But it should not be assumed that the victims of confidence games are blockheads. Very much to the contrary, the higher the mark’s intelligence, the quicker he sees through the deal directly to his own advantage. To expect a mark to enter into a con game, take the bait, and then, by sheer reason, analyze the situation and see it as a swindle is just asking too much. The mark is thrown into an unreal world which very closely resembles real life; like the spectator regarding the life groups in a museum of natural history, he cannot tell where the real scene merges into the background. Hence, it should be no reflection upon a man’s intelligence to be swindled. In fact, highly intelligent marks, even though they may tax the ingenuity of the con man, respond best to the proper type of play. They see through the deal which is presented, analyze it, and strike the lure like a flash; most con men feel it is a sport of a high order to play them successfully to the gaff [an iron hook ... for landing large fish].” In 1973, Maurer’s book was made into a 7-Academy Award winning movie, The Sting. It starred Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
It has been said that the basic motivation of all fallen humans revolves around jealousy, vanity, lust, and greed. Such “motivators” manifest themselves under a wide variety of guises and disguises. This basic reality is, of course, vehemently denied by all and sundry. For one to even suggest the possibility that jealousy, vanity, lust, and greed were somehow behind many of our decisions is considered “offensive” and “insulting.” In their natural state most people are unwilling or unable to even begin to admit their true condition. Even if recognized, it’s too painful to admit. Thus, this major blemish or flaw in our characters must be denied and covered up. As a result of vehemently denying reality, we humans frequently engage in a wide variety of mental gymnastics in an effort to deny or defend what is ultimately undeniable and indefensible. After all, “what would people think.....?”
As this is unrecognized as being ultimately a spiritual problem it frequently develops into a serious mental problem. In today’s predominantly secular world, this basic flaw in our makeup is all too frequently mis-diagnosed — and is thus mistreated. A visit to a psychiatrist or psychologist is thus the most frequently recommended “treatment. As these “professionals” deal mostly with the symptoms rather than the unrecognized cause of the troubles, these visits usually amount to little more than an expensive form of artificial resuscitation — an exercise in futility. It has been rightly observed that “psychotics build castles in the sky, neurotics live in them, and psychiatrists collect the rent.”
The unrecognized cause of this hideous human affliction is spiritual in nature. Unless addressed accordingly, there is no long-term solution. Fallen man naturally seeks, even yearns for those activities that are degrading and self-destructive. As the affliction is spiritual in nature, it can only be successfully dealt with from a spiritual perspective. To accomplish this, we must all acknowledge the nature of the problem — the engine as it were that drives fallen man, and fallen women too, to act in the way they do. By our fallen nature, our instinctive or impulsive inclinations tend mainly toward those things that are destructive, and thus exacerbate our problems instead of resolving them. (Is that “gnashing of teeth” I hear for telling the truth?).
Let’s not kid ourselves! Instead, let us go to God’s word (“thy word is truth,” John 17:17), and get to the very heart and core of every problem we — individually and collectively — face as we journey along life’s highway. If we recognize that we are merely “flesh and blood” human beings, then we must face the fact that, as such, we are as it were naturally programmed to produce what the Bible calls “the works of the flesh.” These are adultery, fornication, lasciviousness [“irregular indulgence of animal desires,” Webster], idolatry, hatred, emulations [desire for superiority], wrath, strife, seditions [“insurrection in opposition to authority”], heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like” (Galatians 5:19-21). Human beings are naturally “at enmity against God.” They are “not subject to the law of God, neither can be” (Romans 8:7). Notice carefully that these three verses, and many others from Genesis to Revelation, say nothing about our being able on our own to rise above this sad natural state of affairs! Nothing!
Now, look around the nation and the world in which we live. Are the conditions with which we are surrounded not an almost perfect reflection of “the works of the flesh” outlined by the Apostle Paul? Of course! For mortal human beings, these various, highly destructive activities are “as natural as falling off a log.” They are an integral part of the “human” condition. Sad? Yes, but true!
Until about sixty years ago, most churches in America served to at least restrain and control the national as well as the individual affects of this. Most taught biblical principles and biblical morality in the light of what the world had to offer. These biblically-based values were generally accepted as being “par for the course” — the way things should be.
Since then that affect has all but vanished under the tidal wave of the anti-God, anti-Christ religion of Humanism that has swept the nation and the world. Most churches have long-since been infiltrated by change agents who despise God’s word. They have compromised their doctrine and their mode of operation to supposedly “accommodate” the needs of a changing world. To keep gullible sheep coming in to be sheared of their donations on a regular basis, they are loathe to feed them anything of spiritual substance. Fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah in the modern world, they are “a rebellious people ... that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceit” (Isaiah 30:10). Their “values” are thus dictated by the world. They stand for nothing, but will fall for anything. They have cast aside any concept of a spiritual compass by which to direct their lives. They blithely ignore the fact as the Lord Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), that his way and his truth are the only criteria by which things of a spiritual nature may be judged. They have thrown biblical Christianity in the garbage can. They promise their naive adherents a sizzling “spiritual” steak, but only serve up an empty “sizzle” without any true spiritual “meat.” This meatless “sizzle” results in untold millions dying of spiritual malnutrition while vainly attempting to create through raw emotions what can only be achieved through the inward working of the Holy Spirit (“love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, temperance, against which there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
These are all unnatural to mankind. They are not accessed by human effort. The real thing can only come from God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who attempt to “fake it till they make it,” can never succeed. They can only produce a nauseatingly toxic version of the real thing — a smug, self-righteousness, sanctimonious attitude that automatically turns real people against “religion.” As their efforts are so phony, their supposed “spirituality” can only result in the collapse of their fictitious dream world. The end results? Utter frustration and spiritual burnout.
FERTILE BREEDING GROUND
Such a sad situation, and the recent gigantic leaps forward in communicative technology, has created a fertile breeding ground for con artists of every hue — political, religious, business, financial. Instead of just being able to zero in on dozens or a few hundred possible “marks” at a time, television, radio, and the internet have opened up the way for narcissistic con artists to target untold millions of potential suckers with their smooth sales pitches. One has just to “channel surf” on their TVs to find a wide array of these charlatans. They are found lurking around every corner and hiding under every rock.
Progressively, they seem to have fashioned themselves in the mold of Elmer Gantry, a mythical character in Sinclair Lewis’s 1927 satirical novel and the 1960 movie by the same name. Gantry was a young, narcissistic, womanizing college athlete who had ambitions of becoming a lawyer. Encountering an itinerant preacher after he and some college buddies became involved in a drunken brawl, it began to dawn on him what a con man with his flamboyant, sharply honed and silver-tongued abilities could accomplish in the world of counterfeit Christianity. There was obviously lots of gold “in them thar hills.” It was his for the taking. Although regularly exposed as a charlatan, and frequently facing total disgrace, Gantry always managed to escape complete humiliation as he relentlessly pursued his hypocritical, womanizing, money grabbing, unrepentant life of mass deception. He continually proved that “there is a sucker born every minute.” And that it is virtually impossible “to underestimate the intelligence of the American people.” All too many are suckers ready to be “taken to the cleaners.”
Events on the American religious scene, particularly over the past 60 years, have only served to seal those realities in heavily reenforced concrete. Dozens of “Elmer Gantrys” — vehemently proclaiming themselves to be “men of God” and “anointed by the Lord” — have blazed their way across the American religious scene, raking in the loot and building their respective religious empires. Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggert, Jimmy Bakker, R.W. Schambach, Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Herbert W. Armstrong, Billy James Hargis, Rick Warren, and John Hagee are the names of just a few. Each had/has his own particular “take” or “twist” on how to best fleece the dumb sheep as smoothly, as gently, as efficiently, and as profitably as humanly possible. Like the beguiling religious “whore” featured so prominently in the Old Testament, their lips “drop like a honeycomb and (their) mouth is smoother than oil” (Proverbs 5:3). These bunco artists have the personal charisma and phony “love” to charm their way into the hearts of untold millions, and their grubby paws into the bank accounts of the poor suckers to whom they sold a fraudulent bill of goods. Many of the most ardent followers of these charlatans have been “cleaned out” financially, and then forsaken — left to exist in poverty without a hand being raised to help them. Most of these “men of God” end up making fortunes, living in sumptuous mansions, driving or been driven around in luxury cars, flying from one con job to another in multimillion dollar jets, and staying in 5 star hotels. Smooth man, smooth! “A wonderful [amazing] and horrible thing is done in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:31). A great question!
Often, when the dupes begin to ask serious questions about the propriety of what is happening in these ministries, they are told to “have a good attitude, pray about it, and keep your mouth shut. God is in charge.” The God of the Bible is obviously not in charge. Another “god” obviously is. We wonder, could it possibly be “the god of this world who has blinded the minds of them that believe not [the word of God], lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ ... should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:4)?
Trinity Broadcasting, run by Paul Crouch, is probably the most popular of the “religious” networks conning America’s “Christian community.” There, one encounters all types of con artists, each striving to outdo their “Christian” rivals with claims of the “miraculous” events that will occur if TV viewers will only send in enough of the green stuff. As www.ondoctrine.com points out, “all the teachers and preachers on the TBN network find themselves in a symbiotic relationship. They all need each other to exist at the level to which they aspire. Crouch needs the preachers and religious teachers to fill his programming schedule and to increase the numbers of listeners [viewers]... The teachers and religious leaders need Crouch and TBN so that they can gain exposure, sell their books, tapes, CDs and other goods, to win adherents to their beliefs and extend the boundaries of their ministries in addition to tapping into the greater number of potential donors. The relationship of those who constitute TBN bring them into a common theology, not necessarily of a biblical nature, but one in which the giving of donors may be maximized. All other doctrinal issues are secondary, or are presumed to be non-existent in the pursuit of donations, in order to expand the ministry.”
Is this not a fulfilment of a prediction made by the Apostle Paul? “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves false teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:3-4). People with “itching ears” are only interested in “feel good” theology, not the genuine article.
Despite the fact that Paul Crouch, the great “man of God,” was exposed as a sex pervert by the Los Angeles Times, and paid one of his male playmates, Lonnie Ford, $425,000 (from sucker donations) to keep his mouth shut, his popularity among religious dupes has never waned. These people are obviously suckers for punishment!
Revealingly, sexual perversion — euphemistically termed a “gay” lifestyle — is rife among those of this “pentecostal” persuasion. Austin Miles documents this in his 1989 book, Don’t Call Me Brother. Other “cons” are so numerous that they are accepted as being par for the course.
The current “king” of the TV phonies is Joel Osteen whose broadcasts are, according to his own website, “incredibly inspiring.” Osteen’s is the number one Neilson-rated “inspirational” program on the religious scene. Grinning like a Cheshire Cat on steroids, Joel assures his fawning viewers that “God’s dream for your life is bigger than your own.” Osteen’s immense popularity with the religious TV-junkies is certainly impressive.
In 1999, when his father died, Joel took over as senior pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church, where some 5,000 attended each week. He quickly expanded his church’s influence and increased attendance fivefold. He then negotiated with the local Council for the use of a former basketball stadium.
When originally built as “The Compaq Center” in 1975 at a cost of $18,000,000, that arena served as the home of the Houston Rockets basketball team. In 2005, the Houston City Council entered into an exclusive 30-year lease agreement with Osteen for the use of the facility. Upon signing the agreement, Osteen launched a massive “renovation” program at the former Rockets headquarters — pouring $95,000,000 into the project. What emerged 15 months later was a luxurious 16,000 seat “church” which had all his mega-church rivals drooling with envy. Last year, the Council agreed to sell the facility to the Lakewood Church for $7,500,000. Osteen now has the biggest religious show in the United States! The fictional Elmer Gantry couldn’t have dreamed of anything better.
PIERS MORGAN SHOW
Recently, Osteen appeared on the Piers Morgan show on CNN. He pulled out all the stops. Supersizing his usual “prosperity” message, he told his mainly secular audience that they were “not expecting enough” in life and needed to “supersize (their) dreams. God wants you to have a thousand times more than you have now.” Rejecting the God-inspired biblical message of leading people to an acknowledgment of their sins and bringing them to repentance, Joel declared, “I don’t want to talk to people about sin. We want to lift people up.” As a top religious leader, he never got around to explaining how people can be truly “lifted up” without first being brought to an acknowledgment of their natural sinful condition, and thus repentance. That would be too “deep” for his shallow followers.
With the ludicrous notion of gay “marriage” on the minds of many people, Osteen was asked if he believed homosexuality (sexual perversion) was a “sin.” Doing a soft shoe shuffle, he skirted the issue, implying that he “loved” everyone and wasn’t going to judge their actions. Morgan then stated that, “an addiction to alcohol or drugs is one thing, but being gay..... There’s nothing you can do about it...”
Whether that statement was due to “political correctness,” ignorance, or plain naivete is irrelevant here. However, as Morgan, 45, has had two wives and at least three children of his own, he is obviously not confused about the basic nature of the human “plumbing” system. Anything other than that which has been acknowledged as “natural” from time immemorial is obviously unnatural — and a form of rebellion against the natural state of affairs set in motion by the law making and sustaining Creator God. As the Bible clearly states in Romans, chapter one: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (v.22). “God gave them up to vile affections” (v.26). Because they “did not like to retain God in their knowledge (educational system), God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (v.28). As a result, they “change(d) the natural use of their bodies... into that which is against nature” ... and “burned in their lust one toward another” (vs.25,27). Throughout history sexual perversion (or sodomy) has been an abomination in God’s sight, hence his treatment of those who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). Also, Leviticus 18:22;20:13; II Peter
WOULD YOU LIKE TO HELP?
We have now been publishing this AlertNews letter for nearly five years. Our sole objective has always been to help our readers understand more perfectly what is happening in — and to — our once great nation. Looking back over those 50 plus AlertNewsletters, we believe we have more than adequately fulfilled our declared purpose. Due to our willingness to tell the truth, rather than being “politically correct,” our ongoing assessment of events has been right on target. We believe TRUTH stands on its own. As it is TRUTH, it doesn’t need crutches, or a “defender.” It only needs investigation.
Des Griffin donates a considerable amount of his own personal time to the researching and writing of these AlertNewsletters. If you appreciate his efforts, please seriously consider financially supporting our efforts to get the truth out and into the hands of others. Thanks!
2:4-9; Jude v.7; I Corinthians 6:9-11; I Timothy 9-11.
For Morgan to state that there is “nothing (homosexuals) can do about it,” is patently false. The possible claim that a thief, murderer, or rapist can do “nothing ... about” their behavior is also patently false. Lamentably, failure to make this simple distinction is serving to turn our beloved United States in another Sodom. Is there any reason why America’s escalating penchant for “fornication and going after strange flesh,” should not inevitably result in it also “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude v.7)? Only a biblically illiterate “sucker” would conclude otherwise.
Regrettably for America, its top “man of God” has failed to grasp that fact.
Best Wishes, Des Griffin