The previous blog post "Jacksonville Megachurch Pastors Hold Tithing Vigil to Steer Irma Away from City" has provided rock-solid proof of Poe's Law. If you've never heard of Poe's Law, here is Wikipedia's definition:
"Poe's law is an adage of Internet culture stating that, without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views."My satire piece on tithing - as nutty as it was - was apparently mistaken by hundreds on Facebook as being a real article. The blog blew up with hits from Facebook with people expressing disgust over pastors who would exploit people's hurricane fears to get them to tithe. I also received three emails inquiring whether the article was real or not!
But many Christians mistook this for a real article as they likely HAVE seen pastors use fear of God's punishment as a way to get peeps to fork over 10% of their income. I've chronicled this practice by many pastors. Some have said God will collect your unpaid tithes through car crashes, appliances failing, calamity involving your children, and the ever popular God "poking holes in your purses". Tim Maynard here in Jacksonville said that if you have a wayward child, God may be waiting for you to stroke a tithe check before he will intervene and bring your son back home. It is all sick stuff which will continue, as sane people spot the charlatans and bolt from these churches, leaving higher concentrations of nuts in the pews who are susceptible to such manipulations.
But notice in the Wikipedia definition of Poe's law the phrase "...without a clear indicator of the author's intent..." On my blog I do post satire pieces. I always have, although have been trying my hand at it more frequently. Now I have begun giving a "clear indicator" of satire, using a dateline like "Jacksonville, FL (WD)" and referring to the "Watchdog Press". So if you're not sure, look for that.
Finally, I've noticed here in Jacksonville that many of the pastors are putting Facebook live videos up encouraging their members to pray Hurricane Irma away, to trust in God, be strong in the Lord, and so on. I was aghast at one particular video when at the end, the pastor encouraged the people to do what they are supposed to do as good Christians even in the face of impending disaster: send your tithe money electronically before the storm hits. Yes, the pastor wasn't encouraging them to send money to disaster relief, but instead to send it quickly to the church before the storm arrives.
Nothing like hitting the peeps up one last time for a chunk of cash before they lose everything - to explain why Christians can't spot satire of their men of God.
Do you have a link to the church that was trolling for tithes before the hurricane started? I would love to see that!
Well, when Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have claimed on more than one occasion to have rebuked a storm (once because it was threatening their vacation plans), your satirical piece wasn't far off from reality. Some examples of Poe's Law are the results of clueless idiots out there. But no, this is something that could really happen.
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