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10 People Who Give Christianity a Bad Name

Listverse Staff

Christianity has been around for two thousand years and, for the most part, it has preached a good message by which to live. But unfortunately, as with all organized bodies, many people claiming to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ have shown themselves to behave quite opposite to the message it espouses. This list looks at 10 of the worst.

10

Sun Myung Moon

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He is the founder of the Unification Church, which has become worldwide since its origin in 1954. Moon was born in 1920, and has set himself up at the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. A lot of people go around saying, “I’m Jesus,” but they are usually dismissed as insane or seeking attention.

Moon has convinced anywhere from several hundred thousand to one million people to join his church and consider him “Jesus reincarnated.” Moon is vehemently opposed to homosexuality, and yet he makes the common mistake of hating them, spewing rage at them, instead of trying of forgiving and trying to convert them from the sin. Such hateful opposition does nothing but galvanize the offended party to continue as it is. Christians must be in the business of saving souls, not assisting their damnation.

He is extremely anti-Semitic, and his entire church with him, championing the Holocaust as divine vengeance against the Jews, because they did not support Jesus, and this brought about his murder by the Roman government.

And none of that mentions Moon’s extraordinarily lavish lifestyle. Modern church founders typically make a lot of money founding churches. Jesus didn’t make one cent. Moon has been known to spend $2,000 a day, and give his children as much as $50,000 monthly allowances. His “True Family’s” home is a huge mansion on 18 acres in Irvington, NY, with 12 bedrooms, a dining room replete with pond and waterfall, 7 bathrooms, a bowling alley, and that’s not counting the mansions in Korea, England, Scotland, Germany, thoroughbred horses for the kids, private tutors, Ferraris, motorcycles, and blank checks to take on their vacations, first-class of course.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

The funniest part is that he was convicted of tax fraud and served 18 months in prison. Remember the fish Jesus told Peter to catch? It had two coins in its mouth, one for each of them, to pay the tax? “Render therefore unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.” Even Jesus paid taxes.

9

David Koresh

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Vernon Wayne Howell was a handsome, charismatic Texan, considered so poor a student in elementary and middle school that he was enrolled in special ed classes. He memorized the New Testament by 11, and impregnated a 15 year old when he was 19. He must have forgotten a few verses.

By 1983, after being kicked out of a 7th Day Adventist Church for fooling around with the pastor’s daughter, he began calling himself a prophet. He was able to recruit followers because of his good looks and magnetic personality, eventually proclaiming himself Jesus Christ, “the Son of God, the Lamb who could open the seven seals.” He taught that monogamy was the only proper relationship, but that polygamy was perfectly fine for him, and him alone, and quickly had sex with Karen Doyle, called her his second wife, after his first died, and proceeded to have sex with as many as 140 different women.

Karen Doyle did not get pregnant, probably because she was 14 years old, so he slept with Michele Jones, 12 years old. By proclaiming this God’s will, he was able to have sex with any woman or girl whenever he liked. He tried to gun down George Roden, who was also a high ranking member of Koresh’s sect, and escaped conviction by mistrial.

By the time of the Waco Siege, he had, by his own admission, fathered at least 12 children, some by girls as young as 12. And the followers just kept coming. To be honest, the FBI seriously botched the siege, and used unnecessary force, but Koresh was the primary culprit of his followers’ deaths, 82 of them, by fire. Which side started the fire is hotly disputed and will never be known, but Koresh told his followers, “Don’t move until you see God.”

They didn’t see God before they burned alive, Koresh with them.

8

Pat Robertson

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He’s worse than the previous two because he doesn’t even know how to lie convincingly. He swears that “the spirit of God comes mightily upon [him]” and enables him to leg press 2,000 pounds, though he is 79 years old. This claim has been thoroughly debunked by weightlifting experts, and yet he persists in claiming and not proving it.

He has claimed to be able to deflect hurricanes by praying to God, and stated that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for abortion throughout America (not for Mardi Gras, which would be a little more understandable), thus showing that he did not pray for Katrina’s deflection. He believes that 9/11 and Katrina might be divinely connected.

Most recently, he denounced Haiti after the January 12, 2010 earthquake, stating that Haiti deserved what it was getting because it swore a pact with the Devil back in 1791, in order to drive out the French. Whether that pact was sworn or not, his comments were obviously intended to inflame and hurt, and they did so. How Christian of him. He was roundly denounced by most Christian denominations, and still refuses to retract what he said.

He predicted Doomsday in 1982. Ronald Reagan came close, I guess. He predicted a Pacific Northwestern tsunami in 2006, then a terrorist attack on American soil sometime in 2007. He defended this last failure by stating, “All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God, in his mercy, spared us.” He has made many other predictions, none of which has come true.

He has many times called for the destruction of Islam and all its followers, not for their conversion to Christianity. he calls Islam “satanic.” He calls Hinduism “demonic.” He even claims some Protestant Christian denominations as harboring the spirit of the Antichrist. He has made quite a few anti-Semitic remarks, notably about Ariel Sharon, the former PM of Israel, whose stroke and vegetative state Robertson calls “an act of God.”

7

Matthew Hale

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Hale is currently serving 40 years in prison for attempting to solicit the murder of Judge Joan Lefkow. Not a very model preacher. But actually, he calls himself the Pontifex Maximus of the Creativity Movement, which is just another offshoot from the Ku Klux Klan. The church is for whites only, and it has its own bible, in which one finds passages such as, “You have no alibi, no other way out, white man! Fight or die!”

His church calls for a worldwide, racial holy war, to exterminate the Jews and all black people, in order to establish “a white world.” His reasoning: God is white; God created the Jews and black people to test the faith and resolve of white people; thus, killing a Jew or black person is not a sin. After one of his followers, Benjamin N. Smith, committed a deadly shooting spree, targeting only minorities, Hale “defended” his actions on TV by saying, “We do urge hatred. If you love something, you must hate that which threatens it.” He is on audio tape laughing about the shootings and imitating the sounds of gunfire.

6

Michael Bray

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Bray is not an ordained or college-educated minister, but he does preach a lot about abortion. He served 46 months of a 10 year sentence for conspiring to bomb 10 abortion clinics in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D. C. He and his wife stand firmly on the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, and that because it preaches so firmly against homosexuality and adultery, then upon being convicted of either in a court of law, the guilty party should be put to death. Even though American courts of law have no problem with either. They might be sins, but they aren’t felonies.

Bray didn’t exactly help the Christian cause of conversion by allowing Richard Dawkins, the most famous atheist in the world, to interview him for a show called “The Root of All Evil.” Bray was thoroughly outmatched, of course, and made Christianity look like…well, the root of all evil.

He is now out of prison and living in Wilmington, Ohio, officially labeled as a terrorist.

5

Paul Jennings Hill

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Hill was a trained and ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church, but the church excommunicated him in 1993 for taking such a militant stand against abortion, and for becoming a member of the Army of God, a Christian terrorist, anti-abortion organization.

This ordained minister finally let his anger get the best of him when he traveled to Pensacola, Florida on July 29, 1994, to an abortion clinic, and murdered one of the doctors, and his bodyguard, point-blank with shotgun blasts. He wounded the bodyguard’s wife. Then he calmly put down the shotgun in the grass and sat and waited for the police.

He was executed. The law does not permit vigilante justice. And come to think of it, “Love thine enemies,” seems a fair argument against it also.

4

Marshall Herff Applewhite, Jr.

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And if you thought the last several entries were weirdos, Applewhite has gone down in history as a true psychopath. Born May 17, 1931, he proclaimed himself a prophet in 1972, and then, as they all seem to do, proclaimed himself Jesus Christ reincarnated. He was not as handsome as #9, but he wasn’t exactly ugly, either, was married, and seemed for all the world to be “blameless and upright before God.”

Followers flocked to his forceful charisma, when he told them that UFOs were coming to take them away to Heaven. When the UFOs didn’t show, the followers left, but he kept preaching to various friends and their acquaintances, and by 1975 acquired a following of 93 men, women and children.

He eventually recruited people from all 50 states, and settled in Rancho Santa Fe, California. His wife died of cancer in 1985, and sometime between then and 1997, he had a nurse surgically castrate him, for purification. He called his church “Heaven’s Gate.” His congregation worshiped him fervently.

On March 19, 1997, as the comet Hale-Bopp was passing Earth, Applewhite recorded himself preaching to his congregation that suicide “was the only way to evacuate this earth.” His congregation did not believe in suicide, but was so enamored with him, that 39 members took his word for it, and on March 24, 25, and 26, they killed themselves with mixtures of phenobarbitol and applesauce, followed by vodka. They also put plastic bags over their heads to be sure of asphyxiating, in case the poison didn’t work.

Applewhite’s idea was to die so his spirit would ascend to the UFO following Hale-Bopp, which would then take him and his followers to another plane, both physical and spiritual.

3

Jim Jones

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But that’s nothing compared to the 909 people, 276 of them children, who became enamored with the handsome charismatic founder of the Peoples Temple. James Warren Jones started out Methodist, and seemed to have fine intentions, endeavoring to bring about civil right for blacks and integrate American society. Somewhere along the line, he went patently insane. He was an aggressive narcissist, just as entries 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 10. He never claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and the only reason he founded the Peoples Temple was for the money he could make via his congregation.

The strangest part is that his followers were not hopeless runaways or uneducated and uninformed. They were predominantly members of other Christian denominations, Methodism, Presbyterianism, Disciples of Christ, etc. They were taken in by his good looks and charm, and his ability to lead and convince.

n 1974, the Temple went to Guyana, with only 50 members. But Jones promised others back in the States a tropical paradise, and they flocked by the hundreds to “Jonestown.” Because he had always been an outspoken communist sympathizer, and intended Jonestown to be a socialist save haven, he drew the attention of the U. S. Government.

On November 17, 1978, investigating claims of abuse within the Temple, California congressman Leo Ryan went to Jonestown, and about 15 members wanted to leave with him. They attempted to depart via a nearby airstrip, and were fired upon by Temple security guards. Ryan was killed, along with four others, one a Temple member.

When the shooters returned to Jonestown, Jones and accomplices were preparing a mass suicide by poisoning: Flavor Aid loaded with cyanide, phenergan, Valium and chloral hydrate.

There are graphic pictures of the dead lying en masse outside the pavilion, 909 of them. The children were probably not told that the drink was poisoned.

Jones shot himself in the head.

2

Charles Coughlin

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Father Charles Edward Coughlin was a priest who used the radio to acquire a large audience for his political and religious propaganda. He was born in 1891, and one of the first to use modern technology to mass communicate for such a purpose.

He started out innocently enough, using radio to decry the KKK for burning crosses on his church grounds, but ten years later, in 1936, he started praising and defending both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini for their politics, and spewing some of the most despicable virulence against Jews to which the world had borne witness up to that point.

He blamed the Great Depression on “an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers,” then blamed Communism, the Russian 1917 Revolution, and Marxist atheism on “global Jewry, in its attempt to lead people astray from the perfection of Lord Jesus.”

He plagiarized a speech by Goebbels, then delivered it himself in a rally in the Bronx, September 13, 1935, giving the “Hitler salute.” And this is what he said. This is what Father Charles E. Coughlin, SJ. said, “When we get through with the Jews in America, they’ll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing.”

He acquired thousands of followers, who chanted things like, “Wait until Hitler gets over here!” Coughlin was linked with a group that attempted to overthrow the U. S. Government, after which he was abandoned by most. He still refused to change his politics, and fought a series of radio duels with Unitarian Walton Cole, who wanted the Catholic Church to put an end to Coughlin’s vitriol.

F. D. Roosevelt himself was the man who shut Coughlin up for good, when the latter started railing against the New Deal. The courts ruled that the 1st Amendment did not apply to radio, and Coughlin’s license was revoked. This forced him to pay for his own air time, which he could not do for long.

On May 1, 1942, the Archbishop of Detroit, Most Rev. Edward Mooney, ordered Coughlin to stop his political activities and confine himself to his duties as a parish priest, warning that he would be defrocked if he refused. Coughlin complied and remained the pastor of the Shrine of the Little Flower until retiring in 1966. He died in 1979, at 88 years old, still publishing inflammatory articles against Judaism and Communism.

1

Fred Phelps, Sr.

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He has 13 children, 4 of whom have disowned him and their other 9 siblings. Those 4 children, two men and two women, have denounced the man himself as “a vitrolic, megalomaniacal sadistic psychopath.” I can’t phrase it better than that, and yet, it still does not fully capture the personality of this man. Ordinarily, the lister should remain aloof from the list, but in this case, except for his congregation, which officially numbers 71, 60 of whom are Phelps’s relatives, it is highly doubtful if anyone else on the planet agrees with, or even slightly supports, Phelps’s savage, barbaric perversion of Christianity and its founder. So I don’t feel quite so bad about being biased.

His “ministry” at the Westboro Baptist Church, which he founded, in Topeka, Kansas, is based almost entirely on anti-homosexuality, which is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, sin to denounce by means of quoting the Bible. God condemns homosexuality at least twice, in Leviticus, and from this principle, Phelps feels he can condemn the entire world, but especially the United States of America, the latter which he has described as a liberal hellhole that supports homosexuality. That’s a very, VERY cleaned-up paraphrase of his graphic, disgustingly profane diction.

Whereas, there are plenty of verses to quote against hatred, “Love thine enemies” just one of them, as quoted above. Phelps and his worshipers (since they certainly don’t worship Jesus) petulantly ignore these verses and enjoy themselves by hating others. It is a physical and emotional release, a pleasure just as sensual as that garnered by loving others.

He may never have begun a sentence with “God loves…” For him, sermons ought to begin with “God hates…” Most of the time that blank is filled in with homosexual slurs.

He extrapolates God’s hatred for gays to ridiculous lengths, denouncing the entire world as imminently doomed to Hell, except for…you guessed it: him and his precious few followers.

His two estranged sons have described him as “a malignant narcissist, with the same short, viciously intemperate disposition as a serial killer toward his victims.” The only reason he has not killed anyone is not because he views it as a sin, but because it would give the rest of the world more universal ground on which to stand against him. He prefers to set himself up as God on Earth, perfect and blamelessly instigatory.

His oldest daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, has defended their actions as righteous with every word, according to the Bible, and forcing “the sinful American nation to open its mouth and condemn itself.”

He and his congregation picket at least 6 churches and political establishments around their hometown everyday, with signs that read, “God Hates F_gs,” “Thank God for Dead American Soldiers,” “America is Going to Hell,” etc. They do this for the sole purpose of offending and causing wanton emotional distress. They picket the funerals of dead soldiers, screaming at the families, even while they grieve at the gravesides, that the soldier has gone to Hell and so will they. Then they laugh. They have been sued at least once, successfully, but they successfully appealed this suit and paid nothing.

Phelps is the man responsible for sending these brainwashed fools, who revel in their own malice, across the country. He has condemned every single President, from the time he was old enough to care, as the Antichrist. He has even called President Obama “a n____r” on several occasions.

Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

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