Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pastor Brunson likes his money – and doesn't like being asked about it

It's always amused me how the clergy, supposedly bound to poverty by their vows, usually find themselves richer than most company CEOs through their churches and congregations. People truly are people, even those spreading the Werd of Gawd, it seems. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why people become members of the clergy to begin with – it's relatively easy in today's modern world, you get to spout of whatever nonsense you want and still there'll be some idiots out there gobbling it all up, you're exempted from taxes and political shit (well, sometimes) – and to top it off, you get massive wads of cash in your holy pockets.

For example, take Mac Brunson, the pastor of a megachurch, an organization that's been growing faster than a weed (and is twice as poisonous to its surroundings) sucking up lots of money as it continues to spread its reach and influence. He has a salary of $300,000, much of which he spends on luxury offices for himself and his secretary while his congregations get next-to-diddly squat. The following is the account of one of his flock, a concerned person who put up a blog, FBC Jax Watchdog, to illustrate the greed and corruption going on here:

I saw possible abuses at our church shortly after our new pastor arrived, regarding acceptance of a $307,000 land gift just three weeks after he arrived - even though his own Pastor's Guidebook cautions pastors against accepting large gifts! I watched as we spent $100,000 to renovate 3600+ square feet of our newly constructed children's building to provide the pastor and his wife and secretary luxury office suites. I saw the preacher vacate the pulpit unannounced, I heard him say he took several Sunday nights off because he had to finish a book manuscript. I saw us spending money on the A-Group, a church marketing consultant and promotions firms. The head of this firm, Maurilio Amorim, came to be involved in personnel decisions at FBC Jax the first year of Mac's tenure, at a church and city that he knew nothing about. I saw us develop promotions plans to "raise revenue" at our pastors conference through charging for advertising and selling "promotions packages".

That Brunson bastard gets three hundred grand a year. I'd be lucky to have a salary at a fifth of that at the height of whatever career I'll eventually have. And I'll actually be doing some good, instead of spreading lies, deceit and ignorant stupidity through the masses. Figures.

Well, turns out Pastor Mac Brunson didn't like this anonymous blogger's snooping around in his gilded affairs. He soon hired a private investigator – a full-blown private eye – to dig around and try to locate the identity of this blogger. Soon, said private investigator sent a subpoena to Google themselves, who quickly bent over and revealed the blogger's personal identity, full name, all that.

Rich also wants to know why Hinson revealed his name to the church despite finding no wrongdoing. Hinson obtained a subpoena from the State Attorney’s Office requiring Google Inc. to reveal the author of the blog.

Rich’s unmasking led to an eventual trespass warning banning the longtime member and his wife from First Baptist, despite the fact that Brunson and a top church administrator conceded the blog never threatened violence.

Rich said he mailed a complaint against Hinson to the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday. It had not been received as of Wednesday afternoon.

The intelligence detective opened the criminal investigation Sept. 29 into the identity and “possible criminal overtones” of the blog,

Keep in mind, of course, that he hadn't done anything wrong at all. Certainly nothing illegal: no defamation, no injurious accusations that could lead to trouble, no threats, no nothing. He just questioned the overlarge cash flow that Pastor Brunson shouldn't even have had in the first place, being sworn to poverty. For that, he legally lost his right to anonymity and was thrust into the spotlight.

Needless to say, he's now been banned form the megachurch (wait, that's a bad thing?) and Brunson is free to be as disgustingly hypocritical and rich as he wants to be, raking in more and more dollars as he spouts off more and more stupid folderol. An innocent blogger was forced into the open just because he annoyed a greedy bastard by calling him out on being a greedy bastard. Where's the justice here?

This is a prime example of what would happen in a theocracy, of course. Any dissidents would be quickly crushed and silenced, and likely, disposed of.

(Wait ... Am I talking about the Middle-East here ...?)

(via Pharyngula)


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