Limbaugh dismantles Obama

Is Barack Obama Anti-American?

Is Barack Obama Anti-American?

By Bookworm

Everything has a fundamental essence, a quality that makes it uniquely itself. Take an orange, for example. It’s not only a citrus fruit — it’s an orange-colored citrus fruit. Horticulturists can alter its size, its texture, its sweetness, and even (to a limited extent) its color, but as long as its color is orange, the fruit remains “an orange” because that color is its definition. Change the color, however, and suddenly you have the un-orange, the anti-orange. You have something completely different that no longer contains the essence of the original fruit. Lose the essence and you lose the orange.

America has an essence too, and that essence is liberty. Since its inception, America has been defined by liberty — both the liberty of the individual and the liberty of the nation. As the Declaration of Independence more elegantly states, “Goverments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” If we, the people make a social compact by which we consent to be governed, it means that government is our servant, not our master. Lincoln understood that ours is a nation boasting a “government of the people, by the people[, and] for the people.” 
This uniquely American precept, one that sees the power of government flowing from the people rather than controlling the people, ideally results in a situation in which citizens are subject to minimal government constraints. As the Founders envisioned American government, the state exists to optimize individual freedoms, not to control the individual. 
To this end, once the Founders delineated our government’s structure in the Constitution — a structure that grants the government only specifically enumerated powers and ensures that no single branch of the government can become dominant — the Founders immediately turned their attention to the individual freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Each of these rights is intended to optimize the citizen’s power against his (or her) own government.    
The First Amendment espouses the purest statement of individual rights ever set to paper and imposed against a government: American citizens can practice their religion without government interference, speak freely without government censorship, read papers untouched by government control, and gather openly and loudly to make their political views known. 
Unlike citizens at all other times and in all other places, Americans can protect these broad rights with firepower, because the Second Amendment grants them the right to bear arms on their own soil, a right entirely separate from the military’s obligation to protect American citizens from foreign enemies. Given that the Second Amendment was ratified on the heels of a successful revolution, the Founders manifestly intended that Americans, protected by the military abroad, were free to protect themselves from their own government at home. (To appreciate this right fully, remember that one of the first things the Nazis did was to make private arms illegal, especially for Jews.)
In the Fourth Amendment, the Founders protected American citizens from government overreach that extends into the home. This was the first time in history that a government promised its people that they did not need to fear that their own government would seize their persons, despoil their homes, or steal their property. 
If the government does engage in a reasonable search and seizure, the Fifth Amendment promises that the citizens swept in the government net will be given a fair trial. Further, when the Founders stated that the government cannot force people to testify against themselves, they put a definitive end to the practice of torture, once a staple of judicial systems the world over (and one still routinely practiced in totalitarian theocracies such as Iran).
Read the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution and you will see that the American system is structured so that government is subordinate to the people, not vice-versa. The government’s sole purpose is to provide a functioning framework within which American citizens can act freely to exercise their “unalienable Rights … among these … Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Liberty also extends to the nation as a whole. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are replete with examples of the Founders’ absolute obsession with a free-standing national sovereignty. Indeed, the entire point of the Declaration of Independence is to establish America as a nation second to none. 
The Founders, wise in the ways of man, were also aware that foreign powers can gain control, not only through aggressive acts, but also through apparent acts of friendship. Presidents who might develop overly friendly relationships with foreign leaders may not unilaterally enter into treaties unless a two-thirds (or super-) majority of the Senate ratifies the treaty. Likewise, without Congress’s explicit permission, no government official may be flattered into acts contrary to American interests by accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.” 
Despite blunders of enormous magnitude (e.g., slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, and the imprisonment of American Japanese), Americans have for the most part taken their freedoms with the utmost seriousness. We have not allowed ourselves to be ruled by tyrannies, dictators or bureaucracies. We like our taxes low and our freedoms high. We tore ourselves asunder to wipe away slavery’s stain. In the past ninety or so years, when we’ve fought wars, we haven’t attempted to conquer other people.  Instead, since 1917, we’ve shed our American blood to free others from their domestic tyrannies. 
As to this last point — namely, America’s willingness to strive for freedom on behalf of other nations — those on the Left who sneer at our “imperialist ventures” are implicitly siding with Hitler, with the North Koreans, with the Communist North Vietnamese, and with Saddam Hussein (mass murderer of his own people). While ordinary Americans have died so that others on foreign shores can live free, the Left lauds those who would deny their own citizens (or the citizens of conquered nations) the same freedoms we unthinkingly enjoy.
Our American essence, therefore, can be defined as follows: American individuals are free from control by, and fear of, their own government, and the American nation is free from control by other nations.
Barack Obama stands out as the first American president whose every instinct is contrary to America’s essence. At home, every single one of his initiatives is directed at increasing government control in every area, with a corresponding decrease in individual liberty. Here’s an incomplete bullet-point list of his anti-liberty goals on the home front:
  • He wants to deny individuals access to the marketplace –where they can make their own decisions about their own health care — and instead put the government entirely in charge.
  • He’s willing to give government control over American businesses (e.g., the bank takeovers and Government Motors).
  • His administration, while on record as opposing the Fairness Doctrine, is aggressively exploring a backdoor regulatory scheme that would have precisely the same practical effect as the Fairness Doctrine: it would impose government restrictions on content, rather than allowing the market (that means us, the consumers) to control content.
  • His FCC wants to control the internet, a humming beehive of free speech (much of it critical of Obama).
  • As his loud battles with Rush Limbaugh and Fox News illustrate, he desires a single-party press, not a free one.
  • He believes that now that he is in power, the opposition should shut up and “get out of the way,” a notion that runs directly counter to the First Amendment.
  • Although he’s mostly erased the record that once existed in cyberspace, his dream is to create a civilian national security force, subordinate to the administration, which would be larger than the American military. The military, please note, is controlled by the Constitution and has traditionally existed separate from, but subordinate to, the rest of the American government.
  • He wants to take away the right to bear arms. He’ll pay lip service to supporting the Second Amendment, but his fundamental goal is to use government to remove arms from individuals
  • In a stunning blow to the freedom of born alive infants, he is one of a handful of politicians nationwide who believes it is appropriate to leave such infants to die alone and untended. With few exceptions, even those whose politics are entirely colored by a pro-choice viewpoint couldn’t swallow this approach.
  • Without money, people have no choices. The more money the government siphons to itself, the fewer choices we as individuals have.  Although he dresses it as fairness (it’s “fair” for the “lucky” to pay substantially more), Obama believes that it’s government’s role to “spread the wealth.”  That may be “fair,” but it’s not consistent with liberty, hard work, and individual choices.
Of course, not all of these Obama dreams will become reality. His health care initiative is struggling, he’s trying to flush his civilian security force theory down the memory hole, he’s humiliated himself in his battles with Limbaugh and Fox, and he’s generally doing a fancy dance by which he tries to hide his authoritarian impulses (as, for example, his attack on the Second Amendment). But those practical realities don’t matter. This post isn’t about what Obama will actually do. It’s about what he wants to do, what his desires are vis à vis the American people — and it’s very clear that his desires are antithetical to the American essence. He wants to limit or destroy individual liberties.
When it comes to America’s role abroad, Obama’s impulses are also all antithetical to liberty and American independence. Again, here is an incomplete list of examples of Barack Obama’s innate preference for tyranny over liberty:
  • Through selective punishments and rewards, he has turned against the only democratic nation in the Middle East (that would be Israel) in favor of the bloodied tyrannical theocracies on her borders.
  • By reversing his pledge to keep a missile defense system in place in Poland and the Czech Republic, he has favored Iran’s Muslim tyranny over these democratic nations only so recently freed from Communism.
  • Figuratively and literally, he bows to dictators (Saudis, Venezuelans, Russians, Iranians, Cubans, etc.). In other words, contrary to America’s hundred-year history of siding with the people against their tyrants, he sides with the tyrants against their people.
  • In Honduras, he has sided with the delusional Manuel Zelaya against the people and their Constitution.
  • In Iran, when the people took to the streets against a corrupt dictatorship, through his silence and muted statements, he effectively sided with the megalomaniac theocracy and against the people.
  • In his much-heralded speech to the Muslim world, in addition to grounding Israel’s right to exist solely on a Holocaust the Muslim world denies, he repeatedly and noisily trumpeted the right of Muslim men to control Muslim women, a trope he reiterated in subsequent speeches. 
  • In his global speeches, he assures tyrannies the world over that America is abandoning her century-old role as the world’s policeman against megalomaniacs and tyrants. They are freed from any constraint.
  • By joining the farce that is the U.N. Human Rights Council, he is lending America’s imprimatur to the most violently anti-Semitic, authoritarian, dictatorial, anti-American political body in the world.
  • Through his waffling in Afghanistan, both in terms of ideology (why are we fighting?) and practical matters (troops! we need troops!), he is emboldening Al Qaeda and the Taliban, while simultaneously painting targets on the backs of our armed forces.
  • As part of his belief in the increasingly discredited notion of climate change, he stands ready to cede American sovereignty to a U.N. body that can control American wealth distribution and police the American body politic.
With the exception of the last item, and unlike the list regarding Obama’s domestic goals, the above bullet-points are not made up of things Obama merely wishes he can do. They are composed of things Obama has already done. He has subordinated America and her values to some of the worst actors on the globe. 
America is no longer the symbol of liberty around the world. She’s just another nation — and worse, one whose leader, by temperament and political belief, has more reverence for dictatorships than democracies. In other words, when Obama deals with the world outside America, he again denies America’s essence, which has so long marked her as the symbol of and standard-bearer for freedom.
Just as an orange deprived of its color becomes the anti-orange, it’s reasonable to state that because the overwhelming number of Barack Obama’s desires and actions are antithetical to America’s essence, he is in fact anti-American. He’s not merely making little changes around the edges, smoothing away rough spots, augmenting existing traits, or getting rid of a few ugly cankers. Instead, both at home and abroad, Barack Obama is trying to destroy America’s essence, that commitment to liberty that makes her unique in this world, and that makes her uniquely American.
Bookworm is the proprietor of the website Bookworm Room.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/11/is_barack_obama_antiamerican.html at November 01, 2009 – 07:46:42 PM EST

Surging ministry, growing questions

Surging ministry, growing questions

By Ames Alexander and Tim Funk
aalexander@charlotteobserver.com, tfunk@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Saturday, May. 23, 2009

INDIAN LAND, S.C.

As Easter approached, the ad ran repeatedly on the Inspiration Network: David Cerullo, clutching a Bible, told viewers they, too, could receive prosperity, physical healing and other blessings God gave the ancient Israelites.

 

All they had to do, the televangelist said, was send $200 or more.

 

“Go to your phone,” he said. “Sow your Passover offering and watch God do what he said he would … Call now.”

 

Pitches like this have transformed the Charlotte-area cable network into one of the world’s fastest-growing Christian broadcasters, beaming into more than 100 countries on five continents. They’ve also helped turn Cerullo, Inspiration’s CEO and on-air host, into a wealthy man.

 

He brings home more than $1.5 million a year, making him the best-paid leader of any religious charity tracked by watchdog groups. His salary dwarfs those of executives leading far larger religious nonprofits.

 

David and Barbara Cerullo live in a 12,000 square-foot lakefront home in south Charlotte – complete with an elevator and an 1,100-square-foot garage. Their grown children also receive handsome salaries.

 

His network, with a budget of nearly $80 million last year, sprang from the remnants of Jim Bakker’s PTL Club. Cerullo and his colleagues have raised much of the money by repeating this on-air assertion: God brings financial favor to those who donate.

 

Cerullo says he’s heard from many people who’ve “reaped a harvest” after contributing.

 

But some donors are disillusioned. Rebecca Mills, 54, of north Mississippi, gave about $400 two years ago. Money was tight. But it was a time when she was recovering from breast cancer and trying to get closer to God.

 

The more she read the Bible, the more she wondered why she’d written those checks: “I could just … tell that what they were saying wasn’t right.”

 

Much of the money sent by people like Mills is now funding the City of Light, a 93-acre campus in northern Lancaster County, S.C., where the network’s plans include a sophisticated training and broadcast center.

 

Taxpayers are also helping to pay for it. Eager to bring jobs to a county with 19 percent unemployment, South Carolina offered the network incentives worth up to $26 million to land the campus – a deal that has been questioned by economic development experts.

 

Cerullo said he works hard for his salary and has turned down recommendations that he be paid more. He said his appeals to donors are based on God’s promises in the Bible, and that 80 cents of every dollar donated is spent to spread the Gospel.

 

“Ours is an organization based on accountability, based on integrity, based on trust,” the 56-year-old minister told the Observer. “We’ve proven that in the last 18 years over and over again.”

 

Rise of a broadcast power

 

The son of a well-known evangelist, David Cerullo didn’t grow up wanting to follow his father’s path.

 

As a teenager, he planned to be a doctor. But, at his parents’ request, he agreed to try Oral Roberts University, a Christian school in Oklahoma. There, he said, he began to feel God point him in another direction.

 

“In that still small voice in my spirit,” Cerullo said, “I felt God suggest to me, ‘Look, change your major to business, and I have other plans for you.’”

 

After graduating with a business degree, he joined his father’s ministry and eventually helped run it. He was ordained in 1974 by the Assemblies of God, but said that even today, “I am probably more comfortable in a roomful of CPAs and lawyers and bankers than I am in a roomful of preachers.”

 

His father, Morris, grew up in a Jewish orphanage in New Jersey and converted to Christianity at age 14. Later, Morris Cerullo staged worldwide crusades in which, his Web site says, “the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear.”

 

The Inspiration Network launched in 1990, when Morris Cerullo paid $7 million to buy the assets of PTL’s cable television network out of bankruptcy. David Cerullo became president.

 

Throughout most of the 1990s, the network differed from many other religious TV stations: It didn’t ask for donations on the air. Instead, it generated revenue by selling advertising and airtime for programs produced by other ministries.

 

That changed in 1999. David Cerullo decided Inspiration should create its own programs to spread God’s word. “We started to put a face on the network,” he said.

 

That required money, so the network began soliciting donations from the public. Increasingly, it came to rely on “prosperity preachers” – guest evangelists who told viewers that God favored those who donated.

 

The gifts grew rapidly, from about $200,000 in 1999 to about $40 million last year.

 

The influx of money has created a powerhouse of religious broadcasting.

 

The ministry’s flagship Inspiration Network carries a variety of programming, from shows featuring controversial evangelists John Hagee and Benny Hinn to Christian hip-hop videos and an adventure show for children. Twice a day, the network airs its homegrown “Inspiration Today!” show, in which Cerullo and other evangelists ask for contributions.

 

Generous pay

 

As their networks grew, David Cerullo and his wife built a comfortable life. Their home, in a gated south Charlotte community, is valued at $1.7 million, real estate records show.

 

Few nonprofit leaders are paid more than Cerullo. In 2007, he received roughly $1.52 million in base pay, along with other compensation totaling about $69,000, according to the ministry’s IRS filing.

 

Guidestar, which monitors nonprofits, compiles a database on thousands of charities – including 13,000 religious organizations that filed IRS returns for 2006, the last year with complete records. None of the faith-based groups paid their leaders more than the Inspiration Network.

 

Even religious nonprofits with vastly larger budgets pay their presidents substantially less, the Observer found. The Christian Broadcasting Network, founded by Pat Robertson, has a budget roughly four times larger than Inspiration’s. Compensation to CBN’s president totaled $344,000 in 2007.

 

Concern about Cerullo’s salary prompted Wall Watchers, which monitors religious charities, to issue a “donor alert” to caution people about giving to the Inspiration Networks.

 

“That amount of salary is outrageous and out of sight,” said Rodney Pitzer, research director for the Matthews-based group.

 

Cerullo declined to discuss Wall Watchers’ warning.

 

His family is also on the payroll. His wife, Barbara, received about $198,000 in total compensation in 2007, according to Inspiration’s IRS return. Son Ben, daughter Becky and their spouses, who also work there, received a total of nearly $400,000, according to a network spokesman.

 

Barbara heads Inspiration’s women’s ministry. Ben, ordained by his grandfather’s ministry, oversees youth efforts. Becky is starting a network aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds. Becky and Barbara are not ordained ministers.

 

IRS rules prohibit nonprofits from paying “unreasonable compensation” to officials. But the agency examines the returns of fewer than 8,000 of the 1.8 million tax-exempt organizations each year.

 

A paid independent consulting firm recommends the salaries of Inspiration’s executives, including Cerullo, according to spokesman John Roos. The board of directors makes the final decision.

 

Cerullo said he and his wife, both of whom sit on the board, recuse themselves from discussions about his salary and abstain from the votes.

 

For a while, though, that arrangement apparently left just one board member to decide his salary. From late 2005 to 2008, the board consisted of only three members, including Cerullo and his wife.

 

The board expanded to four members last year and to six members this year, officials say. Today, the board is chaired by Cerullo and includes a fundraising expert and a neighbor who helps run a communications firm.

 

Cerullo says he earns his pay, typically working 60 to 80 hours a week. He oversees four cable networks, a ministry and a television production company, all while playing a key role in developing the City of Light complex, he said.

 

The board received a recommendation that he be paid “substantially” more, Cerullo said, but he turned down the additional money because “I am blessed beyond my imagination … I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I won’t take it.”

 

He said he knows of other religious nonprofits that pay their CEOs more, but he wouldn’t identify them. He also declined to share a salary survey used to set his pay. But he said that study looked at compensation for cable network CEOs, church pastors and ministry leaders.

 

Cerullo said the “average preacher” probably would not have the business know-how to do what he does, and that his salary is still below what his peers earn at cable networks such as Discovery and CNN.

 

Cerullo’s staff is also well-paid. More than 25 of the network’s 330 employees collected over $100,000 in 2007, the IRS filing shows.

 

Roos, Inspiration’s senior vice president for marketing, said the network examines national salary averages before setting any employee’s pay.

 

“This is a high-tech, very specialized (operation),” he said. “…That comes with a price tag.”

 

Still, two larger religious broadcasters, Trinity Broadcasting Network and CBN, had fewer employees earning six-figure salaries, records show.

 

Inspiration has chosen not to join the 1,385-member Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), which sets standards for governance and fundraising by Christian charities. “I don’t believe in organizations that set themselves up to create burden with very little benefit,” Cerullo said.

 

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who is investigating the finances of six other televangelists, questioned why any religious nonprofit would decline to join ECFA, which he likens to a Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

 

Grassley would not comment specifically about the Inspiration Network, but told the Observer that leaders of religious nonprofits should be careful not to use viewers’ donations to adopt “filthy rich” lifestyles. Grassley wants to know whether some nonprofits are violating the spending rules that allow them preferential tax treatment.

 

“I saw (PTL’s) Jim Bakker treating his organization like a personal ATM,” said Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which helps shape the nation’s tax laws. “Any religious organization ought to get away from that impression.”

 

“Debt cancellation!”

 

Emotional on-air pitches generate much of the money used to pay network salaries. In March, Morris Cerullo appeared on Inspiration’s “camp meeting” with a message to fire up prospective donors.

 

“Is anybody ready for the greatest financial breakthrough you’ve ever experienced in your life?” he asked.

 

The elder Cerullo, a Pentecostal minister, at times appeared to speak in tongues. His gravelly voice periodically rising to a shout, he urged members of the audience to fill envelopes with $900 donations.

 

“When you sow for your financial anointing, the windows of heaven are going to open for you,” he said. “ … In the next nine months, you are going to experience more financial blessings than you’ve ever experienced in your life! 100 fold! Debt cancellation!”

 

Soon, these words appeared on the screen: “Call now with your $900 offering and receive God’s debt cancellation.”

 

Until about four years ago, the elder Cerullo had served as an unpaid member of the network’s board.

 

Like other prosperity preachers who raise money for INSP, Morris Cerullo has been criticized for his fundraising methods. In 2005, he was indicted in California for tax evasion, but the charges were later thrown out.

 

David Cerullo says he believes in his father – and that good things will happen to donors. He said he has gotten many letters and e-mails from contributors who “received what I would call a harvest.” He declined to name them.

 

“I don’t back off … the concept that seeds produce harvest,” he said. “It’s naturally accurate. It’s biblically accurate. It’s spiritually accurate…. The Bible says give, and then what? Then it will be given unto you.”

 

Laura Gamble is among those who believe her seeds have yielded fruit. The 69-year-old Easley, S.C., resident said she’s a regular viewer and contributor. She believes her donations have had something to do with improvements in her health, she said.

 

“I just got out of the hospital, and I’m having a good recovery,” she said. “It’s God looking out for me.”

 

Donors fuel rapid growth

 

Texas televangelist Mike Murdock, Morris Cerullo and the other ministers raising much of the network’s money adhere to a much-criticized brand of evangelism called prosperity gospel, which holds that God rewards them and their faithful donors with financial prosperity. With the Inspiration Networks and other broadcasters spreading their messages around the globe, those prosperity preachers have in recent years watched their audiences swell.

 

The financially desperate are among those most likely to be drawn to such pitches, experts say.

 

Janet Gibbens, 60, of northern California, was holding down odd jobs and barely making ends meet about five years ago when she saw Morris Cerullo on the Inspiration Network. She’d been reading Cerullo’s books and listening to his preaching for years. When he called himself a prophet of the Lord, she believed him.

 

On the air, the elder Cerullo urged viewers to donate to the network – and then prepare to receive “financial blessings that would stagger the imagination,” she recalled.

 

“I wanted to have something more than this poverty,” she said. “If I coughed up the $200 … He was God’s emissary, you know. If you did that in obedience, the sky was the limit.”

 

So she sent about $200 – all that remained in her bank account, she said.

 

But her financial situation never improved. About three years ago, she began reading information that caused her to doubt the claims of the people she had trusted. Her faith in those ministers evaporated and was replaced by rage. She now wonders why she ever believed Cerullo’s claims. “It’s almost like a brainwashing, that they can convince you to give all your money,” she said.

 

In recent years, the debate over the prosperity gospel has been the subject of cover stories in national magazines, theological conferences and Grassley’s Senate inquiry. Critics say preachers who espouse it – from PTL’s Jim and Tammy Bakker in the 1980s to Missouri-based Joyce Meyer today – distort the Bible to justify their luxurious lifestyles.

 

“If that was Christ’s message, then I want to know why he wound up on the cross. That’s not prospering,” said the Rev. Mike McDonald, pastor at Broad Street United Methodist Church in Mooresville. “He warned against seeking material gain – often quite explicitly.”

 

Rev. Michael Horton, a California theology professor who edited “Agony of Deceit,” a book that examines the claims of fundraising televangelists, said such appeals lead to “a kind of Ponzi scheme.”

 

“Certainly it works out very well for whoever’s at the top,” he said.

 

One former Inspiration employee, who asked not to be named, said many of the network’s donors were elderly people of limited means who hoped that giving to the network would help them “turn their own situations around.”

 

She said she valued the network’s mission of saving souls, but was troubled by the growing number of on-air promises that God would bring good things to donors.

 

“That teaches people that the things of God are for sale,” she said. “I just have a problem with that. That stuff’s not for sale.”

 

Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

 

 

I-Team investigates the Inspiration Network Article By DAVE WAGNER, NewsChannel 36 from, November 27, 2008

 
 

I-Team investigates the Inspiration Network

 

 

09:33 AM EST on Thursday, November 27, 2008

 

By DAVE WAGNER / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Dave: DWagner@WCNC.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A warning for donors to stop giving to a Christian television network headquartered here in Charlotte.

It’s a network that preaches if you sow your financial seed, God can make you debt free, even a millionaire.

The I-Team explores the Inspiration Network and its so-called “gospel of prosperity.”

“Tonight is the poorest you’ll ever be,” evangelist Mike Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

It is a pitch for prosperity…  

“Tomorrow, somebody’s gonna drive a Mercedes,” said evangelist Larry Huch on Inspiration Network.

That some call the gospel…

“If you can’t trust God for $58 you’ll never be debt free,” Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

And others call greed.

“They’re preying on the emotionalism, the tough times of the moment,” said Warren Smith with Wall Watchers.

 From their studios in Charlotte, North Carolina…

“You got to act tonight. Now! In Jesus name,” said evangelist Morris Cerullo on Inspiration Network.

To a self-proclaimed audience of 18 million homes…

“Jesus was not poor,” said Huch on Inspiration Network.

The Inspiration Network is attracting millions in donations…

“According to this book, I can give my way into the future,” Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

And the scrutiny of a ministry watchdog group.

“We would warn donors about the Inspiration Network,” Smith said.

Critics call them “televangelist gunslingers.”

“If you’ve ever decided to obey the Holy Spirit, go to the phone right now,” Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

Pastors flown in to raise money for the Inspiration Network.

“I’m asking for 1,179 people,” Cerullo said on Inspiration Network.

Each promising a gift from God for a limited number of callers.

“There are 300 people I want to pray for that will set aside a $58 seed for the next 12 months,” Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

Mike Murdock is part pastor, part P.T. Barnum… theology and theatrics.

“You have a Jehovah gyro in your life,” he said on Inspiration Network

His “prosperity” pitch filled with drama and the promise of divine miracles.

“They did a geological report and when it came back they found gold on her 27 acres of ground. This happened after a $58 seed,” Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

In 2006,  the Inspiration Network paid Murdock $100,000.

And with a $696 donation to the Inspiration Network, Mike Murdock claims it can happen to you.

“My goal is for 300 people to hear the wisdom that God gives my heart for them to become millionaires for the sake of the Kingdom of God,” Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

“I think there are some donors who are very vulnerable to that message,” Smith said. “Especially in tough economic times, you’ll find that there are a couple of growth industries. One is the lottery and the other is prosperity preachers.” 

“Tomorrow, somebody is miraculously gonna have their debts cancelled,” Huch said on Inspiration Network.

“It instead treats Jesus or God as a ‘cosmic bellhop,’” Smith said.

Smith is with Wall Watchers, a Christian ministry watchdog group based in Matthews, N.C.

These are files on 500 of the largest ministries in America. Their financial statements are reviewed by staff, including a certified fraud examiner.

“Our primary concern is that even if you agree with their theology, they have a moral and legal responsibility to be open and transparent,” Smith said.

Wall Watcher’s website, www.ministrywatch.com, analyzes and grades the ministries according to financial transparency or openness.

“I believe that financial integrity and accountability is extremely important,” said Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Ministry Watch gives the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association an “A” for financial transparency.

“My father for years, long before it was ever suggested, he told his board, ‘I want to be audited by an outside auditing firm. I want to make that audit public and we’ll let the world know how we’ve used the money,’” Franklin Graham said.

There’s a lot of money coming in to the Inspiration Network — $56 million in 2006. In a four-year period, $39 million in profit.

“Our concern is their donors don’t know where their money is going,” Smith said.

The gospel of prosperity has been a goldmine for Inspiration CEO David Cerullo. His salary in 2006 was $1.6 million.

“It’s certainly out of bounds of what we see as best practice within the ministry world,” Smith said.

Cerullo and his wife, Barbara, live in a gated neighborhood in south Charlotte. Their 8,200-square-foot home, with a pool and elevator, can be seen from the air, valued at more than $1.6 million.

In some of the network pitches, viewers are told to send their donations directly to Cerullo himself.

“Send your check or money order to David Cerullo…”

While there’s no evidence donations are being misappropriated, it’s another red flag for Wall Watchers.

“If checks are literally made out to him personally, as opposed to the network itself, there’s no way to know for sure where that money ends up,” Smith said.

Three years ago, the Inspiration Network’s articles of incorporation were rewritten to require just three board members, two of whom are David and Barbara Cerullo.

“So it’s hard to understand how the board of the Inspiration Network could be truly independent and fulfill their legal fiduciary responsibilities of independence,” Smith said. “We would counsel that donors not give money to the organization.”

Despite being on TV every day of the week, David Cerullo declined our request for an on-camera interview. Instead, a spokesman released this statement:

“Our policy is not to engage in public discourse regarding accusations against our ministry. We are audited annually by an independent accounting firm.  Every year we file Form 990 with the IRS which provides complete transparency about our income and expenses. Inspiration Ministries is in good standing with both the IRS and the North Carolina Secretary of State. Never in our 18 year history have we had a formal complaint from any regulatory agency.”

Even if you’ve never phoned in a dime, you could be helping to pay for the Inspiration Network’s new headquarters.

The so-called “City of Light” is just across the border in Indian Land, S.C.

And the I-Team discovered the state of South Carolina handed the tax-exempt Inspiration Network a $1.2 million economic development grant to pay for road, water and sewer construction.

“In effect, whether we choose to be a donor to that organization or not, we are, in fact, a donor to that organization if we pay taxes,” Smith said.

“How many would like to have some prosperity in your life. I’m not against prosperity. I’m for it,” Huch said on Inspiration Network.

As the prayers and pitches for prosperity continue on the airwaves, some critics question who’s really getting rich.

“Money is a weapon. Money is a bridge. Money’s a tool,” Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

“Any donor ought to look really before they gave money to the Inspiration Networks,” Smith said.

“Money’s an instrument. The Bible says money answereth all things,” Murdock said on Inspiration Network.

Again, we want to emphasize there’s no evidence donations are being misappropriated. The I-Team asked the Inspiration Network for more details on where those donations are going and we were denied.

MinistryWatch.com was founded by a devout Christian and their website acknowledges ministries who are good stewards of your donations.

At this point, Ministry Watch has not yet given the Inspiration Network a grade for financial transparency.

O isn’t dithering on Afghanistan! It’s a Harvard Law Seminar!

O isn’t dithering on Afghanistan! It’s a Harvard Law Seminar!

By James Lewis

In his slick PR fashion, Obama’s answer to the charge that he is “dithering on Afghanistan” is to feed the hungry media a military photo op. Yes, Obama can be seen in the pic saluting a US Soldier’s flag-draped casket coming back from Afghanistan. Now we know why the White House insisted that our battlefield casualties should not be shielded from the media. You need tame media access for photo ops. So Obama is finally showing some respect.
For the Hollyweirdos, appearance is reality. We now have a Commander in Chief who knows how to salute. He must therefore be competent to lead. It’s right there in the photo op.
That’s the good news.
The darker news is that General McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops for Afghanistan is now more than two months old, and the enemy isn’t dithering. The Taliban are attacking, and the Afghans caught in the middle are losing their faith in US protection. How many truck bombs do you have to see go off in your local market in Kabul before you figure the US is on the losing side? I mean, pretend it’s Chicago gang warfare. (In fact, could we pay the Crips and the Bloods to go over there and fight the enemy?)
Senator Dianne Feinstein is the best man Obama has on this:
Feinstein participated in a meeting at the White House with Obama and other members of Congress earlier in the week. She told Stephanopoulos her take:
“Well, what he (Obama) revealed was his thinking up to this point, and that the fact that he wanted to hear from various members, and some of us spoke up. And I’ll tell you what I said. I reviewed all of the intelligence and looked at the situation, and it was pretty clear to me that violence was up 100 percent, 950 attacks in August. The Taliban now controls 37 percent of the people in the areas where these people are. Attrition in police is running 67 percent, either killed or leaving the service.
“And the mission is in serious jeopardy. I think General McChrystal, who is one of our very best, if not the best at this, has said a counterterrorism strategy will not work. The president said to us very clearly … we will not pull out.
“Now, if you’re going to stay, you have to have a way of winning. The question is, what is that way? And I think the counterinsurgency strategy, which means protecting the people, not shooting from afar, but securing, taking, holding, and providing security for a period of time is really critical.”
Obama isn’t sure because he just hasn’t thought very much about matters of war and peace. He really needs that Harvard Law Seminar they’re having in the White House. It’s the only explanation for this murderous delay, with our troops stuck in places where the Taliban can find them. The Taliban are trying to kill as many Americans as possible because they know American casualties make headlines, and that’s how they plan to win. Senator Feinstein knows it, and so does everybody else. Obama is getting lots of opinions from all the Enlightened Thinkers of the Left, who all disagree with each other, except that they mostly lean toward retreat. Except for Senator Dianne Feinstein, bless her.
We lost Vietnam through the liberal media. We nearly lost the Cold War because of the liberal media. We are withdrawing in Iraq because of the media. We are eager to appease the crazies in Iran because of the feckless media, and we are going to leave the Israelis to deal with the genociders over there because of the media. We are therefore risking the first nuclear martyrdom cult in history — all because of the liberal media.
Now we know what Karl Marx meant by saying, “First, Conquer the Organs of Propaganda!” That’s the slogan of our J-School Media. We are a hag-ridden nation, and the liberal media are our MacBeth witches, constantly screaming in our ears.
The Taliban obviously think that Obama can be scared into appeasement by killing American soldiers. Weakness kills; strength saves lives. Everybody knows that but the Left. They only practice that kind of power politics against normal Americans.
Obama could be genuinely baffled by the novelty of having to make tough choices. If we give him the benefit of the doubt, he just has to be rehearsed about the options over and over again by General Jones, his NatSec Advisor; by Joe Biden; and by — good grief! — John F. Kerry, the Swiftboat Hero of Vietnam. Democrats are amazingly ignorant and naïve about war and why intelligent warfare seems unavoidable for a decent nation living in the real world with barbarians…like so many members of the UN Human Rights Commission. 
Why would Obama be any better informed than the rest of the Left? He’s swallowed the Party Line for decades. He never has an original thought when it comes to liberalism; he memorized it when he was a kid, and by gum, it’s still exactly the same as it was decades ago. So he must have gulped down the whole peacenik delusion wholesale. And now a Divine Providence with a highly developed sense of irony has made him Commander in Chief.
After all, what does a Chicago pol have to really know about national security? Nothing. Chicago pols don’t even know about school security on the South Side. If they did, the schools would be much more peaceful. In New York City, it took Rudy Giuliani to clean up crime because generations of liberal mayors couldn’t figure it out. If they can’t run safe schools, what can they know about keeping peace on a global scale? When Obama and Bill Ayers got together on that Chicago inner-city program for fixing schools and buying votes, the best he came up with was a “jazz curriculum.” That’s the Dixiecrat solution for African-American education. It is disrespectful to parents and children of any race.
The less honorable explanation is that Obama is dithering on purpose because he’s caught between the delusional Left (which is almost all of it) and the inescapable demands of reality. O might be trying to keep the Left guessing because he wants to cover up any war decision. Maybe he’ll try to sign the Mob-O-Care bill into law at the same time as sending some troops to General McChrystal. If that’s the case, US soldiers are dying over there while Obama worries about Leftie delusionoids.
George W. Bush accepted six years of foaming rage from the yapping Left with good grace. I think he could shrug it off because he understood what was important and what was merely self-serving. The Bush family has a record of solid values. Dad still jumps out of airplanes at 85. George W. Bush used to visit privately with wounded soldiers and their families, and go to see the dead coming home. Real tears are private. Bill Clinton had Hollywood photo ops in Normandy.
The difference is values. Has Obama transcended petty PR when it comes to war and peace? I sure hope so, but I don’t see it.
I would like to believe that Obama is dithering because he really doesn’t understand what’s at stake. That idiot Bush couldn’t have been right, could he? Or Darth Cheney? So there’s got to be a way out, there’s got to be a way to buy off the Taliban, even the ones who have lived all their lives boasting about their warrior spirit and their yearning to die for Allah.
Obama can flip anybody in Chicago. Hell, he can flip the whole Democratic Party establishment. He just knows in his bones there has to be some really really smart way to flip the Taliban and the Twelver Cult in Tehran. It’s just Seminar time until he figures out a way out.
Good luck to our Soldiers. Bless them. They have the best leaders, and one of these days Obama will figure that out.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/11/o_isnt_dithering_on_afghanista.html at November 01, 2009 – 01:36:29 PM EST

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