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As a fan of Tommy Lee Jones, both as an actor and more recently as a gifted director, I could not resist a free viewing on Internet of his 1988 movie, “Stranger on My Land”.  He plays the rôle of a Vietnam veteran become a rancher, whose small ancestral property is taken over by the government, exercising its right of “eminent domain”, for military purposes.

Freebies like this come at a price.  You either pay to avoid the ads, each averaging a minute in length, or you put up with at least an abbreviated version of them.  As ads are forbidden during movies on French public television, you get used to the luxury of no interruptions.  Anyhow, I was surprised to discover that one of the ads on my computer screen was not for some commonplace product or service, but an interminable thirty-minute (!) commercial for the “Restored Church of God”, featuring preacher David C. Pack, trotting out scores of quotations from the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament writers to warn us about the current mess in the world as proof of the imminence of the Appearance of the Anti-Christ and the even worse mess that will result as divine punishment.  It was so incredibly boring, ridiculous and unconvincing that I persevered to the very end, totally fascinated by such mercantile means to sell religion.  It would be laughable if it were not so pathetic.  The saddest thing is that apparently such manipulation of credulity pays off.  I did not respond by requesting the “free” literature from Pack’s church in Ohio.

RIDENDA      RELIGIO

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