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“”God’s about to take you from where you are to where you never, ever dreamed you could be! He’s about to catapult you into a brand new SUPERNATURAL SEASON!
|—Rod Parsley, begging for money|
Rodney Lee Parsley (1956–) is a Pentecostal Christian televangelist and businessman who runs World Harvest Church, a megachurch in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to the 12,000 member megachurch, he operates several other businesses tied to the ministry, including Breakthrough, a nationally syndicated television show; the Center for Moral Clarity, a right wing political organization masquerading as a grass roots Christian advocacy group; Valor Christian College, a mediocre training school for Pentecostal ministers; and Harvest Preparatory School, a mediocre private Christian school. Parsley's accumulation of various religious businesses have made him fabulously wealthy; in 2010 he sent a letter to donors begging for a million dollars to buy an airplane.
Parsley's church experienced explosive growth in the 1980s and 1990s, riding the coattails of the emerging Word of Faith movement. For several years, Parsley was associated with Dale Allison, an attorney from Georgia and a propsperity gospel con man who traveled all over the country showing churches how to get rich.
Parsley has authored innumerable books, which can be acquired along with DVDs, clothes, and other trinkets at his online store. This is part of a multifaceted approach to accumulating wealth. In 2009 he pleaded for money from his followers stating that his ministry was threatened by a “demonically inspired financial attack.” Parsley begs aggressively for money, subtly stating that the contributor's reward is directly proportional to amount of money they give to him. This is a common tactic used by televangelist scam artists.
- Official website
- Center for Moral Clarity
- Breakthrough Prepaid Debit MasterCard (Parsley's discontinued debit card)
- Robert Wise, Con of the Month - Rod Parsley. forgottenword.org
- Ohio Religious Right Pastor Faces Increasing Scrutiny Over Practices. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, January 2006.
But Parsley’s high profile is coming at a price, and critics are stepping up to the plate. Ole Anthony of the Texas-based Trinity Foundation, a group that monitors TV preachers, notes that Parsley lives in sprawling $1-million home. Anthony called Parsley a “power-hungry” man with “an extravagant lifestyle that has become the hallmark of televangelists these days,” reported The American Prospect. Unlike other mega-churches, Parsley’s World harvest has never applied for membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a voluntary oversight group that encourages evangelical ministries to spend contributions wisely. Parsley says his church is governed by an annual audit “through the scrutiny of the board of directors,” but critics note the church board consists of Parsley and his parents.
- Kevin D. Hendricks, Rod Parsley’s Airplane: Lessons in Financial Communication. churchmarketingsucks.com, 13 September 2010.
- The Devil Stole Rod Parsley's Money. religiondispatches.org, 20 December 2009.
- About Rod Parsley. rodparsley.com.
- Dr. Who? – Televangelists With Fake Educations and Degrees. dustoffthebible.com. 19 August 2015.
- Sarah Posner, With God On His Side. The American Prospect, 23 October 2005.
Parsley, a man by turns bellicose, ingratiating, and kitschy, has placed his cult of personality front and center in the "culture war" -- a label that suits his depiction of an apocalyptic showdown between good and evil. Whether he is discussing the distinction between Christian and Muslim ("I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conﬂict with Islam"), straight and gay ("the pressure on society to accept the audacious behaviors and disastrous consequences of homosexual activity is not a matter of cultural drift or shifting mores; it is a highly orchestrated, highly organized, and extremely disciplined political program"), or atheist and theocrat (the media has engaged in a "high-tech persecution of my faith"), Parsley sees battle lines drawn clearly. And he is the arbiter of what's right and wrong because, as he is unafraid to say, God told him so.
- Kyle Mantyla, Parsley Pleads For Money: “Will You Help Me Take Back What the Devil Stole?” Right Wing Watch, 16 December 2009.
- Susan Puzio, New Book Explores Mafia Like Techniques Used by the Seed Faith Gospel Televangelists. christiannewswire.com, 30 November 2016.
- Larry Madill, Rod Parsley: Jesus' Con Man. The Dauily Kos, 23 May 2008.