Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell meet Jake Pickle

How are Jake Pickle and Jerry Falwell connected?

Two ways: Congressional hearings and his book, "Jake" co-authored by Cong. Pickle and his daughter, Peggy. Believe me, this is worth reading to get to the kicker.

Pickle writes about the hearings in the book. It was the late 1980's and the IRS asked his oversight committee to take a look at tax abuses by non-profits, including the televangelists. And the television preachers were hostile.

The witness list was a who's who of who was going to heaven: Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggert, John Ankerberg, Paul Crouch, Robert Tilton, Ernest Angsley and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (who declined). Interestingly, this host of preachers didn't want to be in the same waiting room with Oral Roberts, who had recently talked of "coming down from the tower" where God told him he would die if he didn't raise more money.

Among the abuses the committee investigated:

-- a television minister held extravagant receptions and had an island vacation home. One minister paid his home mortgage from ministry funds without board approval.

-- another TV minister used the services of an exclusive fund raiser. Virtually all the money raised was split with the fundraiser with very little cash going to the poor.

Without boring you further, suffice it to say IRS rules got tougher on non-profits as a result of the hearings.

OK. Here comes the kicker.

Congressman Pickle was never known as a fashion authority. Throughout his public career, he consistently wore outlandish sport coats with matching ... well, read on.

Pickle wrote in his book: "The shenanigans of television ministers had another side effect, one I take personally: evangelists helped make white shoes and white belts unfashionable! I always liked the crisp white belt and matching shoes, so I'm mad at evangelists for ruining a perfectly good look."

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