Friday, July 28, 2006

Faith healer restores eyeballs to empty sockets, causes missing hands to re-grow on arm stumps

You'd think this blog's raisson d'etre is to bash fundamentalist Christians, as much as I've written about them lately. It's not that I take joy in it (though I do), but that there is so freakin' much to point out in the wacky world of Christian fundamentalism. From Josh the Baptist's anti-Masonic, literalist worldview to Westboro Baptist Church's wackos protesting veterans' funerals with "God Hates Fags" signs, there's a motherlode of fundamentalist foolishness that needs laughing at.

California evangelist A.L. "Papa" Gill popped up on my radar scope this morning, in a story from Nova Scotia, Canada, where he's currently holding a freak show, er, I mean, a faith healin' church revival.

Posters circulated before his revival meetings sound like something from the carnival. His list of miracles includes restoring sight by making a missing eyeball suddenly appear in a formerly empty eye-socket and causing a hand to grow back on a stump of an arm.

This past Tuesday, reporter Peter Duffy spoke with Papa Gill:
"I’m really skeptical," [Duffy told] the tall, well-dressed American visitor before the meeting begins.

Papa Gill chuckles. "That’s OK," he says. "That’s the way I was for years. I was a skeptic. I stayed away from people who talked about God’s healing powers. I didn’t think He still did it!"

"What happened to change you?"

When he was 33, he says, his health deteriorated to the point that his doctors didn’t expect him to live.

"I gathered my family together and asked God’s healing power. Strength flowed into my body and I was completely and totally healed."
Papa never actually says what he was healed from, but he doesn't mention having regrown any missing appendages.

After a warm-up "act" (of course it's an act — this is show business at its finest) by another minister, Papa Gill takes the microphone.

"Hallelujah! God is good!" he cries. "God is the great physician!"

After an hour or so of hallelujahs and arms swaying in the air, the Parade of Pain begins.
Several people step forward and stand near him. One woman with a shoulder problem raises her arm high.

Another woman with a painful neck injury moves her head from side to side.

"Raise your hands!" Papa Gill commands the crowd. "Say YES! I’m going to believe, not just with my head but with my heart! I’m going to give Him my whole heart!"

After more prayers and exhortations invoking the Holy Spirit, he commands everyone to speak in tongues.

"A heavenly new language," he calls it.

And they do. Eyes closed, hands raised, the crowd lets out a babble strangely approximating the sound emerging from his own lips. It’s an eerie moment made even more eerie by the enfolding darkness.

Finally, he calls on those still experiencing sickness and pain to step forward.

Several people do. A father cradles his autistic son. A woman presents a deformed finger. A man proffers a hand shorn of fingers by a circular saw. Another man asks to be rescued from Freemasonry.

Papa Gill attends to each, speaking softly and placing his hand on their heads. Some sufferers he leaves standing. Others receive a gentle push, sending them slumping in a joyful trance to the ground.
You can read more about Papa Gill and (of course) donate to his ministry to receive audio recordings of his sermons and cheesy little books at It looks like Gill's Magic Show will play around northern California for the rest of the summer before he launches a mission trip to Malaysia in October. God knows Malaysians can't wait for him to get there!

Image 1: An undated photo of Gill working the crowd in Kenya.
Image 2: Gill knockin' 'em out in Nova Scotia, Canada, July 24, 2006

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  1. Praise Jesus for god-fearing man like pastor Gill. youo should be ashamed of yourself for making fun of his dedication to healing of people. you maosns are sick and need Jesus!!!!

  2. Hey 'nony - didn'tcha ever wonder why backwoods preachers gone Hollywood like Gill, et al., can manage to heal people on stage, but can't duplicate these "miracles" in an actual medical setting?

    No, I didn't think so. We don't need Jesus so much as you need to start using your brain.

    The Tao of Masonry

  3. You sound so much like the Jewish Pharisees who asked
    Jesus to be crucified. God have mercy on you.


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