Dear Mr. President,

Televangelist Benny Hinn could teach you a thing or two, in a roundabout sort of way.

I know it's been tough for you lately, with those Arkansas lawyers calling to have you disbarred. I read that you claimed you won't ask for a pardon from the next president after you leave office if you are indicted for lying about your trysts with Monica Lewinsky.

"I have no interest in it. I wouldn't ask for it, I don't think it would be necessary," you told a gathering of newspaper editors.

Al Gore, however, hasn't ruled out a pardon for you if he is elected--though I think we can safely forget about George W on that score.

But what if you simply pardoned yourself?

Oh, I know White House counsel Charles Ruff promised the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1998 that you wouldn't do that. But you have never personally closed that door.

And if you need some precedent--especially a precedent from the world of religion--you need look no further than TV evangelist Benny Hinn.

Hinn told viewers that recently, when he was sick at home, he saw himself preaching on television (was he just idly flipping through the channels.during a commercial break in ER?) when he heard his onscreen self encourage his audience to put their hands on the TV set.

"I felt silly," Benny said, "but I did it."

Wham! The Holy Ghost power hit him and he fell down. But when he got up, he was well, he said.

It makes a certain kind of sense. Wasn't Jesus encouraged by the crowd with cries of "Physician, heal thyself"? (Just because he didn't take their advice doesn't mean they weren't offering a sincerely held position that deserves consideration.)

In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if Benny caught that whole scene on tape, so we might eventually be treated to a video of Benny commenting on a video of himself being healed by a picture of himself. on video.


This says something about the kind of logic the public will tolerate these days, and, frankly, sir, that should be good news to you.

Still more instruction could come from that scene in the movie Schindler's List, where the concentration camp commandant looks at himself in the mirror and says, "I absolve you. I absolve you."

If you sort of squint your eyes and cock your head to one side, you can even start to believe it yourself.

In short, the recursive laying on of hands is ready for popular acceptance. If it can work for Benny and Ralph Fiennes, why not for the Comeback Kid?

a Friend of Bill
more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad