Evangelist Tony Alamo — currently being tried for various child-related offenses (e.g. child abuse, child pornography, etc.) — has had a long and storied career of using his cult either to skirt the law or flout it outright. All by himself he exemplifies many of the problems associated with religions. His recent trial has brought out a number of revelations which are surprising even to his watchers. This can be seen in this AP report (via Yahoo News):

In the years after evangelist Tony Alamo took the 14-year-old girl as a bride, she said, she caught glimpses of her father on the surveillance cameras that fed into the minister’s office.

As her father walked by outside, monitors provided views from every angle. But even though only a few walls and doors separated them, leaving Alamo’s home without permission was unthinkable.

Alamo was a prophet, she’d been taught. He was “God’s chosen one.”

I’m trying to figure out how a man who possesses extraordinary divine insight, enough to be called a “prophet,” somehow has to rely on security cameras to know what’s going on in his own compound.

But it’s not coming to me.

And I suspect it never will.

Tony Alamo is no stranger to the US legal system; the AP article mentions that he’d done time in the ’90s for tax evasion. The degree of control he exerted over the lives of his moronic sheep was extensive:

At the compound more recently, followers filled out request forms for everything, whether clothing or toiletries. Alamo himself approved all expenditures, witnesses said.

Alamo’s house, meanwhile, had television, a swimming pool and ponies in the backyard — unbelievable luxuries for a life one described as floating just above the poverty line.

The point of Alamo’s hypocrisy becomes crystal clear in the very next sentence:

Those amenities led at least one mother to push her underage daughter to become an Alamo wife, testimony showed.

The prophet used these luxuries in order to “get some.”

I’m also trying to figure how a “prophet” needs to use enticements like this in order to acquire wives, but … again … it’s just not coming to me.

Oh well.

The sheer ridiculousness of Alamo’s operation is apparent:

Families were prohibited from keeping food at their homes, the 20-year-old woman said. Alamo also banned his followers from eating meat or dairy products. At one point, on a layover at a Las Vegas airport, the woman said she and another Alamo “wife” committed a sin — they ate a cheese pizza.

Sometimes, Alamo put requests from his followers on hold in order to have money to print the church’s apocalyptic tracts.

Those fliers, outlining everything from Alamo’s feared “one-world government,” his belief in flying saucers and his hatred of the Vatican, served as a backbone of the ministry after he stopped preaching in the wake of his 1994 tax conviction. Each person had a distribution quota, the 30-year-old woman said.

Records in Alamo’s office included the “account,” she said — a list that showed how much literature each follower passed out on the constant cross-country tracking trips. …

Interesting. Once again, a “prophet” somehow requires record-keeping in order to know what his sheep are doing? He can’t somehow manage the feat of just “knowing” what they’re doing, on his own?

A true paradox!

At any rate, propagating fear of a “one world government” would appear to make Alamo what R.T. Carroll of the Skeptic’s Dictionary calls a PCT (or “paranoid conspiracy theorist”). That’s all we need … a lunatic Christian evangelist out to rid the world of nefarious dangers like the Bilderbergers, the Illuminati, and Pizza Hut!

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