Sunday, February 8, 2009

Religulous Sued

Reverend Jeremiah Cummings, one of the professional god handlers featured in Bill Maher's film Religulous, is upset over his appearance in the film:

Among other things, Maher pokes fun at Cummings' expensive suit and lizard shoes, contrasting his attire with the humility of Jesus. The minister stutters when Maher challenges him in an on-camera interview with the Biblical quotation, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

“I am made to appear to be some money hungry preacher, which is the typical stereotype of black preachers,” Cummings, a former Muslim who is the founder and director of WICC-TV (Worldwide International Campaign for Christ Television Network) in Orlando ...
Cummings is responding to the slight in the very American way of suing the film production company for $50 million in damages.

The basis for Cummings' plea is that after taping the scenes Cummings found embarrassing, Maher didn't devote the rest of the film to more flattering scenes -- say, of the preacher wearing shoes not made from lizard skin, of moments from his day-to-day life when he is not pressing for donations from poor people, of his reactions to Bible quotes more to his liking, e.g., the ones where Jesus commanded all those who promote his message to leech off the poor and wear the most expensive clothes available (somewhere toward the back pages, in one of Paul's lesser-known epistles).

It's true. Both before and after Maher spoke with Cummings and his lizard-skin shoes, he moved on to discussions with other parasites, grifters, charlatans, and confidence men.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Reverend Cummings:

I am made to appear to be some money hungry preacher, which is the typical stereotype of black preachers

And white preachers, and latino preachers, and Israeli preachers (Benny Hinn) and German preachers ...

The above can also be translated as "Why aren't you bothering Creflo Dollar? He's way more posh than I am! And his names 'Dollar', Hello?"

I don't ask that preachers dress in sackcloth and ashes, but it just doesn't look good when they dress like financiers.

Less Yves Saint Laurent, more Men's Wearhouse, please.

Lirone said...

And presumably if he gets the money he's going to donate it to charity?

Dale said...

SJKP, I did notice that the reverend went out of his way to mention that he's black. That was not Maher's focus in the least.

Lirone, of course! All $50 million will make a difference in the lives of poor people -- the poor people who work in overseas sweatshops sewing fancy clothes for wealthy people.

Anonymous said...

Cummings? Recorded on 3 Gold and 2 Platinum albums with CBS Clive Davis and Sony Records. If he wears tailored made suits that's his money or allegator shoes that his money he earned it. I hope he wins the 50 million dollar lawsuit. What is Bill Maher doing with the money he is earning from the movie?

Dale said...

Anon., I don't know what Bill Maher is doing with his earnings from the film. I do know he's not claiming to be the voice of a god who came to earth and placed a high value on poverty and charity.

Cummings doesn't solicit any money from poor people as part of his ministry? All the money running through his operation comes from his record sales? Really? Are you sure?

He's already wealthy and yet asking for tithes. Neat!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely shocked over what this Beast (the internet) can do to the image of whomever it wants to target.
Maher has no idea how Cummings lives where he lives. But truth is not the issue here.The film was edited so that it would appear Cummings was pushing a DVD and that is not what is on the original DVD from the church in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

asked for tithes? You don't ask for tithes when you are visiting another Pastors Church Dale. Cummings was at my church of 15 years. He did not take up any offerings at all.

Dale said...

Anon II, I'm not sure why you're blaming "this Beast (the internet)" for Bill Maher's movie. The movie was made for and shown in movie theaters. Now it's on DVD.

Also, I re-watched my DVD of Religulous and indeed there is a clip of Cummings waving a DVD as part of what looks and sounds very much like an effort to sell the DVD. Maher's film made no specific claim about whether this DVD was Cummings' to sell; nor did he make any particular claim about whether the selling of the DVD was happening at a pulpit in Chicago or anywhere else. So I don't see your point there. Are you saying Cummings was *not* trying to sell the DVD from a pulpit? Can you, perhaps, clarify what you're getting at and direct me to unedited footage supporting whatever it is you're getting at?

As for "ask for tithes" -- here I'll concede a small point by observing that "tithe" was my word, not Maher's; Maher did not use that word in connection with Cummings. Maher did claim that Cummings' fancy, expensive clothing must have come from "donations" made by the people to whom Cummings preaches. Is this not true? Cummings does or does not accept donations from the people to whom he preaches?

Also, do you agree with Cummings when he told Maher that Jesus regularly decked himself in fine linen and gold? That his teachings embraced the acquisition of fine clothes, fine jewelry, money, and other forms of wealth?