Franklin Graham’s Festival of Hope and Hypocrisy
The Franklin Graham Festival of Hope rolled through our quaint city this past weekend. Too large for the local temple of obscene wealth, First Baptist Church Jacksonville, the festival assembled at the Veterans Memorial Arena. Our new arena is a multi-gazillion dollar edifice where the locals enjoy concerts, shows, NCAA Basketball and various and sundry other activities. Of course, the Arena sits right on the edge of some of the poorest communities in town. And that little old house of worship at First Baptist occupies several city blocks worth tens of millions of tax-free dollars.
In the midst of all this poverty, in a city with historically low wages, with gun violence so out of control it is a daily reminder of the inhumanity humans inflict on one another, comes the Festival of Hypocrisy with a finely honed snake oil salesman masquerading as a preacher of hope.
Derek Gilliam wrote a tepid and shallow piece for The Florida Times Union that failed to report one word of Graham’s message. Instead, we read about attendance and volunteers who worked the show and how one attendee had hope that Jesus would heal our city.
Excuse me, hasn’t the extreme right, the tea bagging types, and every Joe the Idiot Republican, many of whom identify as Evangelical Christians, spent the last eight years ridiculing President Obama’s hopey changey thing?
The president has preached it repeatedly. If you work and study hard, stay out of trouble, and take care of your family it is reasonable to have the hope of a better life for yourself and your family. It was the American dream before warmongers, the church, and corporations successfully usurped power from greedy politicians.
I wonder when a “ministry” like Grahams comes to town why don’t they invade the poorest neighborhoods with volunteers and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick and tend to the multitude of needs among “the least of these”. Surely, the followers of Christ have folks among them who can do these works in Jesus name. It is kind of what he commanded suggested.
It is so much easier to fleece the flock if you can use your holy book to rail against others: Homosexuals, Muslims, immigrants, or anybody else that isn’t just like them. Actually getting out and doing the things that Jesus said is such a pain in the ass. (There are Christians that really go out and minister to the poor and needy, but they are few and even fewer who can sustain the sacrifice)
When the PGA Tour comes to North Florida once a year they raise hundreds of thousands, if not millions, that go directly into local charities. Franklin Graham and others should do as they preach to their sheeple, give until it hurts. God loves a cheerful giver.
When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. (Luke 12:48 NLT