I note Congress is beginning an investigation into television preachers who promise wealth to those who give to their “ministries.”

It seems Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has launched an investigation of those preaching this “prosperity gospel.”

Grassley is asking the ministries for financial records on salaries, spending practices, private jets and other perks, according to a story in the Associated Press.

To tell you the truth, I probably despise these charlatans more than any member of Congress. I think they give Christianity a bad name.

But, isn’t a wee bit hypocritical for the government to investigate those practicing their own racket?

Substantively, what is the difference between a spiritual con artist promising instant prosperity for a “sacrificial contribution” and politicians who promise you free health care and all kinds of other goodies if you send them money and cast your vote for them?

Worse yet, these politicians, if successful, then use the coercive power of government to seize your wealth and redistribute it as if they were gods.

It’s really a case of the pot calling the kettle a kitchen utensil.

Government now believes it has the authority to meddle in any matters it wants. That to me is a far more dangerous development than spiritual con artists bilking people in the name of the Lord.

Both are immoral. Both are corrupt. Both prey upon the innocent and the ignorant.

But, think about it, which one represents more of a threat to your life?

I have the power not to own a television. I have the power not to turn on my television if I decide to own one. I have the power to change the channel if a smiling snake-oil salesman starts pitching me. I have the power to listen to the snake-oil salesman and laugh. I have the power to write to that snake-oil salesman and tell him what God has in store for him on Judgment Day. I also have the power to warn people about these predators on the air who have decided they rather not wait for their mansion in heaven.

As an American, I have the power and ability to do all those things.

Likewise, I have the power to tell off the politicians when they come begging for money to support their plans to create heaven on Earth if only they get elected.

But, I’m powerless to stop Charles Grassley and his co-belligerents from picking my pocket every day and spending my money the way they want to spend it. I don’t have a choice. If I refuse to participate in their extortion racket, I will be hunted down by gunmen and thrown into prison.

That’s how the government’s “prosperity gospel” works.

Again, which one of these crime syndicates worries you more?

In fact, I suspect the real motivation to investigate the corrupt television preachers is because they are cutting in on the government’s action.

After all, if you choose to give your money to a tax-deductible “ministry,” phony or not, then that’s less money Big Brother can forcibly extract from you at the point of a gun.

The morale of the story is simple: Don’t ever trust government to be your friend. Government is not your friend. Government is not your meal ticket. Government is not your means to wealth and prosperity. Government is not a friend of freedom. Government is, indeed, the opposite of freedom.

I’m not preaching anarchy here. But I am preaching something darn close to it. It’s called limited constitutional government. It’s what our founders envisioned for their posterity – you and me.

If all the prosperity preachers went off the air tomorrow, would your life be substantively better for it? I doubt it.

But if Charles Grassley and his cohorts in the U.S. Congress tomorrow suddenly realized they were exceeding their constitutional authority by redistributing your wealth, I suspect your “pursuit of happiness” would be considerably less constrained.

More than anything I wish Americans would stop looking at government like it was God. More than anything I wish Americans would recognize there is One True God to whom we all answer – even Charles Grassley and his fellow anointed ones. More than anything I wish Americans would study the Word of God as our founders did and hold both the government and the corrupt preachers accountable to Him.

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