Mega-churches on the march

Yes, we are in a prime news moment with the hot spotlight finally on Karl Rove, with the reverberations still being felt from the the London bombings, and with Rehnquist maybe not resigning afterall, leaving the O'Connor replacement at the center of the battle for the soul of the Supreme Court.

Yes, these are all important events, and no mere distractions. But we are constantly fighting defensive battles. How are we building infrastructure and movement to a point where we might have the political power to halt the many political disasters happening today and far into the future?

The conservatives and the religious fundamentalists are not skipping a beat on the ground, organizing and building with great speed. For example, next weekend in Houston, the Lakewood church, by most accounts the largest church in America, with 30,000-members, will be opening the new Lakewood Church Central Campus. The church has taken over the Compact Center, former home of the Houston Rockets basketball team, and transformed it into a 17.000 seat church, with programs on Saturday night, and several on Sunday.

Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church Senior Pastor,has aweekly television show which airs on dozens of channels nationwide, and his optimistic message has made him one of the country's most popular preachers. Meanwhile, media from around the globe will be converging on Houston next weekend to help spread the glorious work of Osteen and Lakewood.

As the church explains on their web site "The scope of the project has been unlike anything ever done before - A church with no limits...and no outreach that stretches the imagination and opens doors to the power of God to change millions around the world."

Lakewood is but one of a number of successful giant ministries, some more political, others with even more potent international media reach, all of them seemingly very successful at recruiting people who feel they need to belong to something bigger than themselves that will give them a sense of protection. The whole relentless enterprise reminds me of the Neil Young line: "rust never sleeps."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.