2002-10-26 / Columnists

From the G-Man

By Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms

White Collar Crime.... 2002

Hey people! There are a lot of things that get on my nerves from time to time, but nothing rattles my cage like people who take a vow to live in accordance with The Creator's laws and then turn around and totally violate those laws. I'll give you one example in two words, Jimmy Swaggert!

Okay, since that example was too easy, let's try this one. Some of the most respected, and admired religious figures are part of the Catholic faith. When the pedophile priests scandal broke, representatives of the church were scampering for cover amidst a barrage of intense media coverage. None of the high-ranking church officials wanted to comment. Some of the priests that were taken out of their parishes in handcuffs didn't even bother to apologize to the church or its parishioners, and that in itself was criminal.

While the firestorm of controversy surrounding the Catholic Church has subsided, to some degree, the fact is there are still priests out there that have never been caught and may never be brought to justice because the hierarchy of the church will protect them. Moreover, I agree with many of the victims when they state that the abuse will definitely continue because the situation is prevalent in churches across the country. So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let this be my first example of a new form of "white collar crime " in the United States and abroad.

I love my black brothers and sisters, but we've got some crap with us too. The black church is not excluded when it comes to white-collar crime. For every good, god-fearing pastor in the church, there is also one creeping around stealing and scheming in the name of The Creator. I can hear my black readers now. "Oh Lord, G- man's gonna start talking about the black church. He's gonna say bad things about the black church." Those

who would say that are not living in the real world.

You see, in the real world, ministers and preachers who are not gainfully employed are taken care of by the members of their congregation. Some of them are taken care of in very special ways by certain members, and you know what I'm taking about. These are the people who make sure the pastor's needs are met in every way. Oh, let me stop playing games here. They are the church sluts, okay?

I have personally sat back and watched men who claim to be representatives of The Creator do some of the most ungodly things known to man. Once they closed the "Good Book," they'd opened up the Jack Daniels. They'd read a scripture on Sunday morning, and Playboy (or Playgirl in some cases) on Sunday afternoon. If the rent check was in danger of bouncing at the bank, or bills were due, the collection plate started to look real good to them.

You have men preaching about the evils of adultery and fornication, and they're running around picking up 18-year-old girls, and boys, when they get out of school. They're running around with this one and that one, sometimes right in their own church, like they never ever preached on the subjects. This same preacher was probably sitting next to the serpent that was trying to coax Eve into biting the "forbidden fruit." As soon as the serpent turned its back, the sleazy preacher was right there saying, "Damn it Eve! Don't be so stingy. Let me get a bite! While you're at it, let me get a little kiss too!"

Make no mistake, these situations set a very bad precedent for ALL religious institutions, and every cleric affiliated with them. However, as bad as these situations are, this is by no means the worse case scenario. You want to know what the absolute worst case of white-collar crime is? It's when these so-called men (and women) of God steal money from the church, and community, or align themselves with organizations that appear to have the community's best interest at heart, but they really don't. Let me explain what I mean.

There is a lot of controversy being generated by watchdog groups across the country about President Bush's Faith-Based Initiative Funding Program. The controversy is that prominent community organizations across the country are aligning themselves with entities that are recognized as "faith-based" (largely religious and grass roots organizations) in order to obtain enormous sums of money to initiate certain community programs. What isn't being discussed is the fact that many of these prominent organizations are getting the money and using it to fulfill their own agendas, leaving the religious institutions, its members, and the community high and dry.

With that said, you might ask, "So, where's the controversy G-man?" The controversy is found in the fact that certain representatives of these institutions (pastors, priests and rabbis) are cutting deals with the organizations behind closed doors, and they are aiding and abetting in allowing the church to be used so these organizations can get the funding. It's nothing more than old-fashioned "pimping" at its finest, ladies and gentlemen, and certain preachers (and other religious figures) are the pimps saying, "Who's your daddy?"

You may be wondering if The G- man is trying to point his finger at anyone in particular, but I'm not about to call any names. However, if I find out that this is in fact happening in Rockaway, I will go after those responsible for perpetrating a fraud against the churches, synagogues and community, and I will go after them with a vengeance.

For so many years the Rockaway community, Far Rockaway in particular, has been used and abused with regard to the funding of programs. This has been allowed to happen because there are too many damn sell-outs in the community, and as soon as they get a whiff of the "big money" targeted for designated areas, their position switches to, "The community be damned. I'm getting some of that money!"

They look the other way while the envelopes are carefully placed in their hands. It happens, and people should stop acting like it doesn't. These people will tell you a lie with a Colgate smile, and they will not think twice about it. It's a disease, and I'm stating unequivocally that certain leaders in this community, particularly where the churches are concerned, have been infected. Again, I could call names, but I think I'm making enough of an impact by simply writing about this ugly situation. They know who they are, and they will have to answer to The Creator for their lies and deceit.

As long as I write this column, I intend to hold people accountable, even if they are servants of God. I was urged not to write this column, but I'm writing it anyway because people need to know why certain sections of Rockaway, and its children, that are aligned with numerous community organizations, still doesn't have s...! Too many games are being played with local and state funding, and it's being done at the community's expense. If we are not careful, funding under the faith-based initiative will also be subject to mismanagement by a select group of greedy, shiftless community reps.

It's no secret that tons of funding (through faith-based initiative pro- grams) may be allocated to the Rockaway community in the future. I suspect that most of that money will be channeled through prominent organizations and a few religious institutions. I think it would be in everyone's best interest to make sure that those receiving the funding do what they are supposed to do with the money. Some people say they are fighters for the community, but when they see a bunch of zeros behind a number on a check, they decide to get stupid all of a sudden. When this happens, the community suffers. Moreover, when religious figures decide to engage in white-collar crime or "play the game," not only does the community suffer, their relationship with God becomes destroyed in the process. Once that happens, game over!

See you next week.

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