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Containing a selection of published articles from various print media.

Sheridan Sun: Is this tele-evangelist selling salvation or snake oil?

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As viewers of late-night television will readily attest, the products and services advertised in the wee hours of the morning are often of questionable quality, and their advertisements boast promises best taken with a pinch of salt. We are compelled to apply HEAD-ON directly to the forehead even though the product has been scientifically determined to be a candle with no analgesic effect, and we are terrified by tales of airborne pathogens infesting our homes, with ineffective ionic air filters touted as the solution.

One commercial stands out from the crowd: Pastor Danny Davis and his televised ministry. Although the commercial originates in the United States, we Canadians are blessed to receive it on our airwaves. The mulleted Davis appears in grainy footage exclusively between the hours of midnight to four AM.

In his broadcast, Davis extolls the virtues of “No-Evil Oil,” a syrupy substance that, according to his website, has been “prayed over for 17 days.” The purported properties of this sacred sludge border on the miraculous – in his commercial, Davis claims that a woman in his congregation anointed a photograph of her incarcerated son using the gelatinous god-goo, only to be rewarded with an early prison release for her malfeasant youngster. Another congregant was cured of a persistent skin condition by virtue of No-Evil Oil’s concentrated evil-busting power.

While Davis’ advertisement promises free samples of this sacred unguent, one intrepid YouTube user has taken the ministry to task. Justin Wells contacted the Davis ministry and requested his “free” sample of No-Evil Oil.

Because 16 days just wouldn't be enough.

“I had been suffering from insomnia,” said Wells. “Around 3 am, while channel-surfing, I stumbled across a religious channel broadcasting Pastor Danny’s infomercial. I had always had an interest in tele-evangelists from a skeptical viewpoint, and began watching. I’d heard of lots of tele-evangelists promising miracle cures before – mostly as a goof, I called the number, so I could get a closer look at the ‘No-Evil Oil’ – I figured, at least it would make a good YouTube video.”

What Wells received consisted of two plastic baggies containing reddish syrup, the same kind of baggies enterprising drug dealers use to package their wares. In addition, the package from Davis’ ministry contained a single latex glove akin to those found in hair-colouring kits. This glove, dubbed the “End Time Wealth Glove” by the ever-creative Davis, was to be used in very specific fashion: the user is asked to don the glove, point skyward, and exclaim “Money cometh!”

Naturally, money does not come(th) without first greasing the palm of the almighty: the user is also encouraged to return the glove, now thoroughly suffused with angelic energy, to Davis’ ministry – along with a completely optional donation ranging between $20 and $818 to prove his or her faith.

One cannot help but wonder whether Pastor Davis has read the parable of Jesus expelling the moneylenders from the temple, or read of the ancient and corrupt practice of the church selling indulgences to absolve sin. Can salvation truly be obtained through a latex glove, a generous donation and a few dime-bags of spit and food colouring?

The Sheridan Sun attempted to contact Danny Davis and his ministry. No comments were forthcoming.

This story originally appeared in the Sheridan Sun.

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Written by tomczerniawski

March 14, 2010 at 11:48 am

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