Phyllis Wheatley

Page 1 of 4

Phyllis Wheatley

By | October 1999
Page 1 of 4
Televangelists like Jimmy Swaggert and Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker promise the Christian faith to millions everyday. For the right price, anybody can have something- a.k.a. Christianity, God, and faith- in their lives. On these shows, there is no need to have believed in religion before, as long as there is a need for it now.

Religious telecasts asking for money in exchange for faith attract nearly five million people each year. Fifty-five percent of these people are elderly woman; Thirty-five percent are from the desperation pool, the poorest and neediest members of society; The remaining ten percent are those who might be classified as upper-middle class, who want spiritual justification for their greed. Most of us know that the religion professed on these telecasts is not about trusting in God or having a deep belief in his teachings, ideas that aggregate Christianity in society. Instead, the old, the poor, and the rich are buying something to have as their own when they have nothing else, whether it be in the material, social, or emotional sense. So-called faith gives them possession, yet places responsibility in the hands of a higher force. And in that, they are hoping to find freedom in knowing that their lives are less empty and without direction. It may seem that we can hardly relate the televangelist audience of the 20th Century to poetic views on Christianity of the 18th Century, but surprisingly, there lies many similarities between the two.. Both Anne Bradstreet and Phyllis Wheatley appeal to Christianity after their own personal tragedies. These women, like the many viewers who watch Church-TV everyday, have lost everything and are left with nothing. In an attempt to fill the void in their lives, left by Bradstreet's burnt house and Wheatley's treatment as a slave, they turn to the Christian faith that at times seems as empty as the faith that can be commercialized and sold by dramatists on television. In analyzing...