Democratic Underground

As Recession Looms, Rev. Hagee Rakes in the Dough
August 18, 2001
by Mel Dugosh

While spin doctors in the current Bush administration are busy placing sinister twists on the looming recession enveloping the Nation, frantic cries are beginning to be heard loudly from the religious right as monetary gift offerings and tithes have drastically reduced the flow of desperately needed cash keeping the John Hagee Ministries in San Antonio, Texas, afloat.

John Hagee, the rotund, right-wing, Pentecostal televangelist, founder of Cornerstone Church, and JHM Ministries saw prosperity during the bull market of the Clinton years. Hagee handily raised obscene amounts of tax emept money for larger church buildings, a private television studio, hi-tech recording studio for his children's singing group, and a lavish exclusive 500 bed resort for church members only located in the small Texas Hill Country town of Tarpley, complete with it's own man-made lake suitable for water skiing modestly referred to as "Cornerstone Church Camp."

This August after USAA, San Antonio's largest employer unexpectedly laid off 1370 employees, Lucent Technologies followed suit; these layoffs coming on the heels of the Southwestern Bell Communications unprecedented offer of early retirements buyouts, the closure of Kelly Air Force Base, and an additional 22 percent of San Antonio employers interviewed saying they were considering summer layoffs. Hagee reacted launching an extreme campaign sermon series called "Mastering Your Money."

In this series currently televised on TBN, Hagee likened a trade on today's stock market to a trade of deck chairs on the Titanic. Alternatively, he promised that an investment in his Cornerstone Church would yield a ten thousand percentage profit to the giver awarded directly from God. Ever conscious of San Antonio's large Catholic population, Hagee blatantly insisted any monetary gift given to a Sister, would yield no such increase because the giver would be receive the glorification instead of God. In addition, Hagee; during a fit of yelling, rapid snapping of his plump fingers, and insistent pounding on the pulpit with tightly curled fists, promised that those watching and choosing not to give money to his Cornerstone Church would receive a financial curse administered directly by God.

This is not the first time the Hagee has resorted to outrageous methods for raising cash. Several years ago, Hagee stirred a raging controversy in San Antonio's black communities when he advocated a "Slave Sale" in which students of his private Cornerstone Christian School were to be auctioned off in exchange for cash.

More recently his sermons have become infomercials to push his books, his adult children's - Hagee Family Singers recordings, and advertisements for the John Hagee Prophecy Study Bible upon which the cover states that John C. Hagee is the General Editor. These bibles and other high priced items sell for $45.00 apiece on Hagee's marketwise website.

Chances are that Hagee's latest pocketbook crusade will succeed in part because of Hagee's cult-like control over his church community. In 1996, when a parishioner sued Cornerstone Church for alleged sexual abuse of her teenage daughter at the Cornerstone School by a church school custodian; Hagee demanded his 17,000 member congregation pray a Psalm 35 curse over her and anyone that might come against his ministry for any reason. This deathly violent gothic passage was used by David in the Old Testament to triumph over his enemies. Although, only time will tell if Hagee's latest intimidation will be affirmed by his followers; Hagee's excessive money crusade will most likely prevail however because of their covetousness.

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