If you’re not already following John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on HBO, I’d highly recommend that you start. Honestly, it’s worth paying for an HBO subscription. In fact, my only real complaint is that his show only airs once a week on a channel that not everyone has access to. The show is basically a mixture of random, often funny stories with the bulk of the show being dedicated to issues that actually matter.
Take for instance last night when he absolutely tore into the ridiculous nature of televangelists and the fact that even in 2015 these con artists are scamming Americans out of tens of millions of dollars.
Oliver took particular offense (as should most people) to these “pastors” who are raising millions of dollars – to buy private jets. Yes, there are people who are so stupid that they’re donating to these so-called churches knowing that the money they’re giving is being spent on buying private jets.
Oliver played a clip of Mike Murdock who, without hesitation, bragged about buying two private jets while calling them a “blessing.”
“F*ck the haters, act happy for me,” Oliver quipped. “That’s not a sermon, that’s the first draft of a Rick Ross single.”
You see, there’s something called the prosperity gospel which, as Oliver points out, preaches that wealth is a sign of “God’s blessing.” Amazing isn’t it? An entire religious belief predicated on greed being a sign of “God’s love.” While it’s certainly appalling, it’s also an absolutely genius scam. You can be the head of a massive tax-exempt church, conning your followers out of tens of millions of dollars for your own personal enjoyment, and that’s perfectly acceptable because there are idiots out there who believe doing so is just part of “God’s blessing upon you.” I guess using their logic, if you’re poor – God hates you.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that these scam artists don’t place much emphasis on the many times Jesus Christ (you know, the person on which Christianity is based) spoke out fiercely against greed.
But silly me, there I go trying to put the Christ in Christianity.
Oliver then turned his attention to tax-exempt churches, calling out the IRS for how easy it is for these “churches” to get tax-exempt status by pointing out how vague tax laws are regarding religious “non-profits.” He also went on to point out that the IRS has only audited three churches in the last two years, which is absolutely ridiculous.
But then Oliver showed his true brilliance. Apparently for the last seven months he had been sending money to infamous televangelist Robert Tilton to see exactly what would happen.
To summarize his dealings with Tilton (though I would highly encourage everyone to check out the video of the segment) he ended up sending him $319 over seven months, received about one letter a week (usually asking for more money) often carrying random items like oils, cutouts of paper mountains and even some odd insert that contained an outline of his foot.
If that all sounds extremely bizarre, it should, because it is.
So, naturally frustrated by all of this, Oliver did what any logical person in his position might do – he started his own church.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to John Oliver’s Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.
And yes, it’s real.
Please, if you have some time today, watch the segment. It is a magnificently scathing takedown of the entire nature of these very for-profit “non-profit churches” and how they’re exploiting our tax system to get rich because for some reason there are still millions of people who are sheepish enough to continue giving these frauds money.
Watch the segment below via HBO: