Peter Popoff is at it again
There are few men with the batting record of Peter Popoff. The man seems to have an innate ability to scam people out of their hard-earned money, and does so without breaking a sweat. He’s been largely free to bamboozle people out of their hard earned money using the best shield against rationality, responsibility and accountability: religion.
He began in the 70’s as a faith healer, racking up millions of dollars by making eerily accurate and dramatic “revelations” about his audience’s illnesses, until James Randi exposed him on Johnny Carson in 1986. Turns out Popoff was using a hidden ear-piece and his wife’s rather unprophetic reading of pre-filled prayer cards to make his convincing “miracles” happen. Shortly after, Popoff’s ministry went bankrupt, and he disappeared.
But much like the plague, which lies dormant until our collective immune system is once again primed for infection, Popoff has had a number of resurrections. He first started popping up in Canada in the late 90’s selling holy water he claimed could work miracles (he also said the water came from a magic source near Chernobyl where animals had no diseases).
Apart from selling snake oil, he’s now turned his sights to those in need of debt relief. His latest scam, which he heavily advertises on BET (black entertainment television), is to ask people to make donations, and in exchange promises to ask God to relieve their debt.
When asked to answer critics who say he takes advantage of desperate people, Popoff issued a written response.
“As for religious leaders calling me a fraud, that places me in good company,” Popoff said. “The religious leaders of Christ’s day called him a fake and a demon-possessed fraud. They went so far as to crucify Him. I have no time for my critics, I have a job to do and I’m doing it for God’s glory.”
God’s glory, so far, has netted his ministry roughly 24 million dollars a year, and allowed him to command a salary of more than half a million dollars.
It would be easy to stop this man were it not for the fact he is part of a whole industry of deceit and unaccountability. Prosperity gospels do very much the same thing he does, and the fact all of this is considered a form of religious expression means they aren’t doing anything illegal by lying to people in order to make money. After all, if you prosecuted every single preacher who took money from gullible people in exchange for some improvable supernatural blessing, every single God-pimp would be broke or behind bars.
So long as people continue to believe in absurdities without any critical thought, scumbags like Peter Popoff will enjoy all the luxuries afforded to them by such profound ignorance. You want to make people scam-proof? Start by teaching them enough critical thinking skills to see through the deception of religion. Otherwise, someone like Popoff will always be waiting to pounce on the weak minded and gullible.