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Tony Alamo Ministries

A number of breakaway sects from Catholicism have opposed the authority of the Pope (anyone ever hear of Henry VIII and the Church of England?), but here's one guy who's really taken this to extremes. Tony Alamo's been at it for decades, though he differs from most preachers-turned-cult-leaders in that he was already successful when he suddenly found God. You know those guilt-trip parables that show the rich, successful guy whose life is still empty…because he didn't have Jesus in his heart? That's what happened to Tony. He was a big-time Hollywood businessman and promoter who was suddenly struck by The Lord in the mid-1960s. After that, he turned his life around, founded a number of successful businesses, and began preaching the Lord to the masses…backed up by lots of money and lots of followers.

(If you remember "Tony Alamo jackets" from the 1970s and 1980s, this is exactly where they came from!)

But with Tony, something went wrong. You see, Tony came to realize the truth about what's wrong with the Church today – and that something is the Vatican! The Vatican is secretly behind all of the evil organizations and businesses and governments that oppose Christians – and especially Tony Alamo Ministries. (Don't forget to check out his page of Nazi Catholic's (sic)!) Did you know the Vatican and the President are actually minions of the Antichrist? As Tony sees it, "the Vatican, the one-world government and church are spiritually powered by that old serpent called the Devil." Did you know the Holocaust was actually caused by the Vatican? Tony does!

However, Tony ran into some trouble during the 1990s. Between the death of his wife (he had her embalmed, and kept her body and casket hidden for years rather than bury it) and the tax evasion charges, Tony found himself at the receiving end of the evil Antichrist minions of the government…in other words, he found himself in prison for tax evasion. After serving his sentence (and running his ministry from prison), he was released in 1998 and began re-building his ministry once again. He's had some success – in fact, he's really gotten into collecting everyday material goods. You wouldn't expect a Christian ministry to deal in mattresses, shoes, and other household goods…but they've built him a sizable fortune in the past few years. (At least, until October 2007, when a high-ranking member of his organization was busted on charges of trading counterfeit shoes.)

(I won't get into the charges of polygamy and child brides that have been (allegedly) tossed in his direction…I'll leave that to people who are better able to defend themselves if Tony gets peeved at them. In fact, these charges were apparently legitimate enough for the authorities to take notice, because in September of 2008 Tony Alamo himself was arrested and his ministry raided by federal authorities on charges of making child pornography.)

What's amusing here is that if you go to Tony Alamo Ministries' Web site, the very first thing you see is a link to a section dedicated to False Accusers Against Tony Alamo and More false accusations from the media! It's not as though Tony is paranoid, now, is he? His ministry is apparently worth millions, but the Web site is so amateurish, you'd think it was the home page of a dirt-poor street preacher.

See also: The Ravening Wolf. a report on Tony Alamo Ministries from the Southern Poverty Law Center.