Anyone who knows me knows that I dislike (to put it very mildly) organized religion. I have a great disdain for it (read my very first blog if you doubt this). However, today, there was yet another article in the news about the Rev. Haggard. Geez! Enough already!
So, I started thinking. How many high profile religious leaders have fallen in recent times? Just the Christian ones, I'm not concerned about the Jewish Rabbi who is serving life because he had his wife murdered so he could be with the church secretary or the Buddhist (whatever they are called) who while mandating that all of his priest(?) live a life of poverty was raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year at their expense for his own pleasure. No, I wanted to look for the Christian leaders who have fallen. Maybe because there are more of them? Maybe because they are certainly more colorful and WAY flashier. Maybe because they are just closer to home for me since I was raised Christian? Who knows, don't really care. I was just curious and the list below represent just the ones I could remember or find. I truly have to take a class on my keyword abilities because they really do suck.
You won't be surprised to find out that I actually knew 2 of them.
Now this list contains several who actually went to prison but most of them just got canned from their day job (preaching) for a spell with very few of them out of their chosen line of work permanently. (that's the great thing about being a Christian preacher. Get fired? Heck, no problem. Found a different church and call it something else and you are right back in business!)
YEAR: CLERGY: OFFENSE:
1972 - Jerry Falwell - Greed (phony bonds)
Jerry Falwell was on the board of directors for a company I worked for years ago. I was so prepared not to like him. However, I did. As much as I vehemently disagreed with every view in his peanut head and every word that came out of his narrow bigoted mouth in public, I couldn't help but love his personality away from the press. He was hilarious and I looked forward to chatting with him at every meeting.
1987 - James Bakker - Sex and Money (did prison time - has a new church in Branson, MO)
1988 - Jimmy Swaggert - Sex
1988 - Marvin Gorman - Sex
Now this one is funny actually. Marvin and Jimmy were competitors for the all mighty TV dollars. Marvin found out about Jimmy's honey and went to the press with it which temporarily toppled Jimmy's empire. But don't shed any tears for Jimmy - he hired a private investigator who followed Marvin around and got photo's of Marvin with prostitutes in New Orleans. When was the last time you heard Marvin's name?? Still remember Jimmy though don't you ?
1991 - Robert Tilton - Money
1999 - Henry J. Lyons - Sex & Greed (sentenced to 5 years in prison)
I knew Henry Lyons as he served on the same Board of Directors for a company I once worked for. (The same one that Jerry Falwell sat on. Seeing a pattern here with this company??) I was required to attend the Board meetings so we interacted on several occasions. I did NOT like Henry. I found him to be extremely rude, sexist, racist and overbearing. However, Henry had the nicest wife. A long suffering woman with a heart of gold. However, one day she discovered that while Henry refused to put their child into a private university and the entire time that Mrs. Lyons was pinching pennies and trying to be the good Bishops wife, he had a multi-million dollar home on the water down in Florida that he shared with his much younger mistress. Mrs. Lyons promptly went to that house and finding her husbands vehicle parked in the driveway tried to get him to answer the door. When no one would come to the door, Mrs. Lyons set the house on fire. THEN they came outside (for sure). Come to find out, both the house AND the mistress were being paid for by the church coffers. He went to prison and Mrs. Lyons got a divorce.
2002 - Father John Geoghan - Sex with underage boys
2002 - Cardinal Bernard Law - Covering up priests sex with boys
2003 - Terry Hornbuckle - 3 counts of rape - currently in prison. But his wife is now the senior pastor at their church raking in nearly $24K a month. Not a bad gig for her.
2005 - Father Paul Stanley - Sex with underage boys
2006 - Warren Jeffs - Sex, kidnapping and intimidation (the list goes on and on - currently in prison)
2007 - Ted Haggard - Sex
2007 - Richard Roberts - Greed
2007 - Lindsey Roberts (the wife) - Greed
2007 - Kenneth Copeland - Greed
2007 - Creflo Dollar - Greed
2007 - Benny Hinn - Greed
2007 - Eddie L. Long - Greed
2007 - Joyce Meyer - Greed
2007 - Paula White - Greed - All of 2007's batch - except for Teddy - stem from the misappropriation of the donations coming into the coffers at the Oral Roberts University. I'm not talking about keeping the money from the candy sales here. I'm talking about stuff like the University paying for Richard Roberts daughter (and all of her friends) to go to the Bahamas on spring break in the University's private jet all expenses paid by the University. I'm talking about Lindsey Roberts teenage boyfriend getting a free ride at the University including clothes, new sports car and vacations all at the University's expense. All of the Robert's children's friends getting full ride scholarships at the University regardless of aptitude or participation (as in actually going to class). I'm talking about numerous multi-million dollar mansions for the Roberts all over the country. That kind of stuff. When asked what he thought about this entire situation, Eddie Long replied "well, Richard was raised wealthy. His idea of frugal and your idea of frugal are probably very different". Yeah, that's true.
2008 - Terry MacAlmon - Sex
2008 - Todd Bentley - Sex
To sum it up, in a religion that publicly places so much emphasis on wealth, rewards and riches, the accompanying downfalls regarding the abuse of sex and power/money is not at all surprising but inevitable.
In the end, are they fallen or just plain found out?
But that's just me.