John Oliver Condemns Televangelists and Tithing on Last Week Tonight

Max Morse [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Max Morse [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
John Oliver exposes the tithing tactics televangelists use under the disguise of promised prosperity.

Have you heard of Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption? It’s a new church founded by HBO’s Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, reports The Huffington Post.

While Oliver followed all the “disturbingly easy” rules in creating his non-profit, tax-free organization, his intention was not to shepherd his own congregation. Instead, he did this to expose the evil deeds of true televangelists.

A recent episode of Last week Tonight was devoted to this topic, focusing on the seven month relationship Oliver cultivated with Robert Tilton, who is most well-known for his religious television show Success-N-Life.

Oliver sent Tilton money several times over the period of their relationship. At one point, Tilton sent Oliver a single dollar, threatening “dire consequences” if Oliver didn’t return the dollar with even more money.

The main point of Oliver’s rant is that televangelists prey on the downtrodden, those who can least afford to part with their money, by promising that the small amounts they donate today will lead to a windfall for them later in life, both monetarily and spiritually.

Oliver went on to point out that these televangelists live in style on the donations of their congregants, living in mansions that are legally called “parsonages.” Many of them, fly from location to location in their own private jets.

It gets more absurd. Without even trying, it turns out, Oliver’s television show met several of the legal requirements of becoming a church. With guest star Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), he sealed the deal on the show by pleading for money, providing a gospel choir to create the mood, and even supplying a toll free number, 1-800-THIS-IS-LEGAL for folks to call.

The episode of Last Week Tonight went a long way in exposing what is known as televangelists’ “prosperity gospel.”


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