From a theological perspective the problem with the prosperity gospel is not so much that it assumes that one's actions have miraculous or "supernatural" repercussions, even actions related to monetary exchange. The problem is, rather, the way in which it inverts a more "orthodox" logic.
The New Testament praises those who give generously to the needy and to support the people who provide leadership to Christian communities. Almost just as often, it tells those leaders not to be financial burdens to others or to create circumstances in which they appear to be unduly profiting from their preaching.
John Oliver, proved his mettle with his remarkable expose of the -- ahem -- "seedy" side of faith: televangelists who are purveyors of the so-called Prosperity Gospel, reaping rich rewards by preying on the poor and the weak who are often literally seeking a lifeline in the church.
It happened slowly at first, then suddenly political satire was everywhere. I don't know when exactly the turning point was. It might have been 8 years of Bushisms that provided the kindle for the fire. Or maybe the absurdity of the 2008 election cycle was the turning point, when an SNL skit discredited a Vice Presidential candidate in the eyes of an entire generation.
John Oliver's brilliant piece did a marvelous job laying out many of the problems in the abstinence-only approach, from its emphasis on shame and ineffectiveness in preventing unplanned pregnancy or STIs to its harmful neglect of the needs of LGBTQ teens.
I had the privilege of singing under Oliver in the 1980s, when Seiji Ozawa was the principal conductor and guest conductors included Kurt Mazur and Charles Dutoit. I relied on those Tanglewood ties to gain an interview with Oliver last week.
While not everyone will be a fan of the way he presents the information, John Oliver brings forth a poignant conversation we need to be having -- both as parents and as communities (school systems).
Here are four excellent segments that show Oliver is becoming one of the most influential voices in our country to say loud and clear: No More Drug War.
Do you know that roughly 26% of all produce is wasted in the United States before it hits the store because grocers choose to adhere to strict cosmetic standards for fruits and vegetables--meaning that pretty produce rules!
Imagine a little 10 year old boy making a shirt that you bought your son at GAP Kids. That is exactly what happened when a 12 year old girl was found in Cambodia making clothes in 2010 for GAP.
To get to the heart of what the words gender and transgender are all about, I believe it is more effective to show than to tell. The new short film, Dylan, by Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, does exactly that.
I'm a female who's been online since 1991, which means my adult life is peppered with online harassment stories the way a country dog is peppered with ticks. I wanted to be left alone, and it was clear that my own say-so wasn't going to be enough, so I explored my options.
The Confederate flag is a target precisely because it is a symbol. But by focusing on overt symbols rather than concrete policies and inherent prejudices, many are missing the point.
That so many states are taking this issue seriously is tremendous progress. It is crucial, however, to ensure that the laws being passed truly protect victims and that they are clear, principled, and constitutionally sound. Unfortunately, many of these state laws do not fulfill these criteria.
If the TPP's enforcement mechanisms were as toothless as those of labor side agreements or the ILO Declaration there would be no need for fast track. If the labor side agreements or the ILO Declaration had enforcement mechanisms as vigorous as those of the TPP I daresay the vote on fast track would be lopsidedly against.
In a move that seems ripe for a John Oliver comedy segment, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has taken to radio, print, television, and social media to blanket Americans with the concept that our air is just fine the way it is -- more specifically, that ozone pollution doesn't require any further regulation.