US Government Gets 10% Royalty On 'Passion Of The Christ' Prequel In Plea Deal With Mexican Drug Cartel Money Launderer

from the say-what-now? dept

This story is just bizarre. Sinkdeep alerted us to the details, which seem to make a better story for a movie than the script at the heart of this story. Let's start from the beginning. You've got Benedict Fitzgerald, who wrote the screenplay for The Passion of the Christ, the controversial Mel Gibson movie that made over $600 million. Fitzgerald apparently wrote a "prequel" script to that movie, called Mary, Mother of Christ. However, at some point, Fitzgerald ran into some money trouble, and in defaulting on a $340,000 business loan from a company called Macri, he ended up giving the script to Macri's owner, Arturo Madrigal. Okay, so now Madrigal has the script... but not for long.

Jorge Vazquez Sanchez, who federal prosecutors claimed was a money launderer for a Mexican drug cartel, apparently hatched a plan to extort the script out of Madrigal. This was done by having some "associates" kidnap Madrigal's brother, in Mexico. In exchange for his release, Madrigal agreed to hand over the rights to the script. Vazquez, script in hand, somehow then sold the screenplay to a Hollywood production company now known as Aloe Entertainment (then known as Proud Mary Entertainment) for close to $1 million with a 10% royalty on any profits from the movie. From there, Aloe was able to get the wheels moving on a full on production, with famed pastor Joel Osteen acting as exec producer. Filming was expected to happen later this year.

Throwing a bit of a wrench into all of this is that the US government came down on Vazquez for his various illegal activities, leading him to cop a plea deal in which he gave the US government the 10% royalty rights in the screenplay. He also had to plead guilty for money laundering and extortion. But in giving the feds his cut of the profits, he may have decreased his jail time from 40 years down to 7.

Of course, the story doesn't end there. Apparently, minutes after officially making the plea in court (while still in court), Madrigal slapped Vazquez with a lawsuit of his own, saying that Vazquez had no right to sell the screenplay to Aloe in the first place, and he wants the rights to the script returned. Indeed, it would seem that the script and the deal are ill-gotten gains.

What's really bizarre here is the feds role in all of this. First of all, why would it ever want a cut of the profits in a Hollywood movie? Second, wouldn't it realize that the movie rights were obtained through illegal means -- and shouldn't it then have been the responsibility of the feds to return the rights to the script back to Madrigal? Either way, it seems pretty bizarre that the Justice Department appears to have given this guy a deal for a much lower jail sentence in exchange for some profits from a Hollywood movie the US attorneys had to know the guy had no right to.


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  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 5:39am

    Question:

    Am I the only one that read this ridiculous story and still came away thinking that obviously Joel Osteen is still the biggest con-artist involved?

     

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  2.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 5:39am

    "This story is just bizarre."

    Understatement of the year.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 5:43am

    Profits?

    Don't they know that no movie makes a profit? Haven't they been following Hollywood accounting?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 5:43am

    Re: Question:

    Nope, I did too.

     

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  5.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    Ya, sorry. The stun setting on my face has broken due to over use the last couple of years.

    It's just business as usual when a government agencies do something like this.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 5:47am

    Re: Profits?

    By the time its done its cinema tour around the world, they will owe Hollywood 1 billion dollars in costs.

     

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  7.  
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    radiatorninjaen (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 5:59am

    Well...

    According to copyright science, this would clearly indicate that the US Government is now directly paid by the entertainment industry, in order to make way for more strict IP legislation. Not in the rational, objective kind of way, of course. More in the "combining random incidents with random numbers to indicate whatever causality we see fit for our case and call it science" kind of way.

     

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  8.  
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    TDR, May 15th, 2012 @ 6:04am

    Re: Question:

    Character assassination with no evidence or support. Classy. I expected better from you.

     

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  9.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 6:12am

    Why did the justice department do this bad deal?

    Because they are learning from the ways of the RIAA / MPAA. They are starting to become more like their masters.

     

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  10.  
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    JaseP, May 15th, 2012 @ 6:16am

    DoJ receiving stolen goods?!?!

    Am I the only one who sees the DoJ as being guilty of receiving stolen goods?!?! How on Earth could they even POSSIBLY believe that ANY possessions this man had where not acquired illegally?!?! His sentence should be reconsidered and the rights returned to the first legal purchaser,... And THEN, the DoJ should keep an eye on the accounting in the case... Just to be sure that the usual, cooked and fraudulent books aren't being kept.

     

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  11.  
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    JaseP, May 15th, 2012 @ 6:16am

    DoJ receiving stolen goods?!?!

    Am I the only one who sees the DoJ as being guilty of receiving stolen goods?!?! How on Earth could they even POSSIBLY believe that ANY possessions this man had where not acquired illegally?!?! His sentence should be reconsidered and the rights returned to the first legal purchaser,... And THEN, the DoJ should keep an eye on the accounting in the case... Just to be sure that the usual, cooked and fraudulent books aren't being kept.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 6:19am

    Reality indeed is stranger than fiction.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 6:20am

    Re: Profits?

    And yet the idustry keeps making movies anyway

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 6:28am

    "Hollywood movie - the movie" a film of a holy script, mexican cartels, govement coruption and sizzling hot gypsy's. Staring mel gibson as himself. coming summer 2013.

     

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  15.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: Question:

    .....Really? I kind of didn't think I had to do this, but whatever, here you go. Tidbits about Joel Osteen that are fun:

    1. He took over his father John Osteen's ministry after John unexpectedly died. And by unexpectedly, I mean completely expectedly to everyone except John, apparently. John stated that he believed God would have him live until his 90's by somehow god-gifting him brand new body parts. This is the basis for Joel's ministry: stupidity.

    2. At the time he took over, Joel said repeatedly that he didn't want to. He said his true passion was in Film Production and Marketing. Ironically, that's absolutely still the case, as he markets the shit out of himself to dupe his massive cattle herd.

    3. Joel Osteen has arguably the largest single religious congregation in America....as a man who has zero biblical training....at all....none....and in case you need me to put a fine point on it, that's fucking stupid.

    4. Joel Osteen is a Christian, albeit a completely uneducated Christian, and one of the tennets of Christianity...and I mean BASIC FUCKING TENETS, particularly of the clergy/pastorship, is a life of meagerness through genourosity. In other words...the very antithesis of Joel Osteen's estimated $40million net worth (which continues to grow, btw). He's combatted that by saying that he won't apologize for his success because it's God's blessing, completely missing the point, which is that as a leader of a "Christian" flock, he's obligated to live meagerly through charity, regardless of that blessing.

    I could go on, but the point is that he's a fraud who preys on people's need for a positive message through well-groomed marketing techniques. He's Dr. Phil. He's Wayne Dwyer.

    Except that he doesn't have the balls to admit it....

     

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  16.  
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    lol, May 15th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Better not pirate this one boys and girls. I can see Uncle Sam suing everyone with a threat only Hollywood could dream of"for now at least". Pay up or go to PRISON! and we all know Bubba is going to do a remake of the passion inside your ass soon as you get there.

     

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  17.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:01am

    Re: Question:

    I was wondering how often the prosecutor fell for phising attacks in his/her email.

    The other thing that occurred to me was that the US Government is now in a serious conflict of interest when it comes to IP laws.

     

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  18.  
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    Panda (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:06am

    Where

    Where does it say anywhere that a religious leader has to "live meagerly through charity?" I really want to know. Is it a rumor or something? I know Catholic Christian Priests take a vow of poverty, but it is of their own volition. Is this to what you are referring?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Profits?

    Movies don't make money. Studios make money. If a movie grosses $250 Million (produced by a independant production company owned by the studio), it has a $260 Million distibution fee levied against it by the studio. Viola, the movie lost $10 Million. Thats the simple version but the gist.

     

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  20.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:13am

    Re: Where

    "It is easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to obtain heavenliness."

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:13am

    The moral of the story, NEVER pay the ransom. You'll just encourage the kidnappers to take more hostages to collect more ransom. There's even been cases where someone is sent to pay the ransom, so the gang kidnaps the ransom payer and frees the original hostage, then demands ransom for the guy sent to deliver the ransom payment.

    The whole reason Mexican drug gangs started taking hostages is because they realized rich people are willing to pay millions of dollars to get their loved ones back. That's why some gangs have moved out of the drug trade and into capturing what are usually rich foreigners visiting Mexico.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:15am

    Why would anyone believe that "Mary, Mother of Christ" would make anything close to $600 Million. "The Passion of the Christ" made money because there was a total of about 14 minutes of the movie where someone wasn't getting beaten, whipped, executed or otherwise abused in creative ways. It was almost porn.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Question:

    Are you really that naive? Televangelists are ALL con-artists!

     

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  24.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:21am

    Bad deal

    Vazquez, script in hand, somehow then sold the screenplay to a Hollywood production company now known as Aloe Entertainment (then known as Proud Mary Entertainment) for close to $1 million with a 10% royalty on any profits from the movie.


    That was a bad deal for Vazquez, everyone knows no Hollywood movie ever makes any profit.

     

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  25.  
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    John Doe, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Question:

    I can't speak to much about Joel but I do know he preaches a "prosperity gospel" which would explain why he doesn't mind being rich. The "prosperity gospel" is bad theology though. I don't know that makes him a bad person, I can't make that call.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with a Christian being rich as long as you serve God and not mammon which can be quite difficult to do. I do wonder about rich preachers though.

     

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  26.  
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    John Doe, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    You have a good point, pirating this movie will be "stealing" directly from the government. Of course they steal actual money from us, so maybe it isn't such a big deal.

     

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  27.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    Welcome!

    What's really bizarre here is the feds role in all of this. First of all, why would it ever want a cut of the profits in a Hollywood movie?
    Hi Mike, welcome to techdirt! In answer to your question above, if you search around the site a bit, you will find story after story about the feds getting into bed with Hollywood: from the FBI and ICE taking talking points and indeed direction straight from the RIAA and MPAA, to numerous legislative efforts (a few failed, but most succeeding) to increase protections for "Steamboat Willie", the feds have been working tirelessly side-by-side with Hollywood for quite a long time! Come back and talk with us again when you've caught up on those stories I mentioned. ;)

     

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  28.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:26am

    Re:

    I... I think I would watch this. Kind of want?

     

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  29.  
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    Trails (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    Now with more Antisemitism™!!!

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Where

    Which simply means it's difficult, not impossible. In order to get your camel through the tiniest of Jerusalem's city gates (called "The Eye of the Needle"), you'd have to get the animal to go through on its knees. Seriously.
    Not that Joel Oteen isn't an immoral tool, though. Even the camel knows that.

     

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  31.  
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    Liz (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    First of all, why would it ever want a cut of the profits in a Hollywood movie?


    Well there's the FBI and ICE working on behalf of the RIAA and MPAA. Also with so many Entertainment Industry people - from actors, to lawyers, to lobbyists, to CEOs - running and influencing the U.S. Government in various departments, why wouldn't they?

     

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  32.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Question:

    Ohhh, so this is the guy who came up with the "prosperity gospel"! Do tell. I always wondered who was behind that little bit of heresy.

    As DH knows the correct quote about money from the Bible is that "the love of money" is the root of all evil.

    Two thousand years or so on it's hard to argue with that sentiment. Particularly where Osteen, and his ilk, are concerned.

    On point (1) I wonder how John Osteen figured that was going to happen when it didn't for Noah, Moses, David or Solomon (both prodigious sinners who broke all 10 commandments often in serial fashion) or Jesus. Something is wrong with that theological and ego filled outlook.
    (2) The Osteen's strike me as what is broadly referred to as the anti-Christ. One doesn't have to be Satan to accomplish that one simply has to be a skilled con man hiding behind Christianity or any other faith.
    (3) Hiding behind pop psychology isn't theology or ministry. Feel good shit isn't Christian or Jewish or Muslim or any other major or minor faith. For further reference read, and I mean really read, the Book of Job.
    (4) Saying you're a Christian doesn't mean you are one. Conning people out of their savings isn't Christian when you consider that we Christians were told that we would be known "that you love one another". That and a mess of other things. I know that wealth isn't God's blessing. That much I'm sure of. I'm not so sure that it isn't God's curse on con artists like Osteen who will, as many televangelists before him, face a day of reckoning.
    In order to be a Christian means living as one, no matter how imperfectly. As for Osteen -- Jesus has things to say about his like, too. He called them hypocrites.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:51am

    Obviously the Feds are just providing 'guidance'

    Much like the Righthaven debacle, I'm sure that our Federal Government is just providing guidance to all the other drug runners and smugglers out there on how to minimize the penalties when they get caught (hand over ill gotten rights to entertainment...).

    Now we can expect all drug smugglers to start extorting various 3rd world dictators who may have rights to scripts, to that they can obtain the scripts and production rights, so that when they are caught and charged, they will have some bargaining power with the feds to reduce their sentence.

    What? That's not what you got out of the article? Must need more coffee first....

     

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  34.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Where

    Glad to see someone got that reference. :)

    Still, question asked and answered.

     

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  35.  
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    Sean, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:54am

    Profits?

    If it really is 10% of the profits and the script was sold to Hollywood there probably won't be any "profits". The way tax law is written in regard to Hollywood Proud Mary Entertainment can then sell the distribution rights to a different company for $500 billion and the movie will never make a "profit" on paper.

     

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  36.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    But...but...WHAT IF I LIKE THAT?

    Hmm...decisions, decisions...

     

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  37.  
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    Dr Evil, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    WWJD

    just making a movie here, move along - nothing to see.

     

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  38.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    Ah, so it's a taxation con. Gotcha. :)

     

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  39.  
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    Overcast (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Separation of Church and State...

    Unless it's profitable!

    Back to the days of feudalism we go - step by step.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Question:

    and thats your little view on everyone elses belief, you can have it, no matter how wrong it is

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:57am

    Re: Profits?

    So, if I pirate this movie, does that mean I will be costing federal employees their jobs?

     

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  42.  
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    Overcast (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Where does it say anywhere that a religious leader has to "live meagerly through charity?" I really want to know. Is it a rumor or something? I know Catholic Christian Priests take a vow of poverty, but it is of their own volition. Is this to what you are referring?

    It's just a twisting of concepts in the bible is all.

    I'm Christian - but I'm FAR from religious - two VERY different things. But the 'religious' and their profit mills don't like that being said.

    Not all people in a 'religion' follow the teachings from which the 'religion' is derived for sure - actually, I would be willing to say - the vast majority of religions - all sorts of them - don't follow what their scriptures say.

     

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  43.  
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    MrWilson, May 15th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re:

    Or else maybe the film is in the public domain if it is at all owned by the government and there can be no piracy. It's our government after all... Oh wait, I forgot, it's not our government. The corporations bought it out from under us.

     

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    Overcast (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:01am

    Or else maybe the film is in the public domain if it is at all owned by the government and there can be no piracy. It's our government after all... Oh wait, I forgot, it's not our government. The corporations bought it out from under us.

    Good point - so by proxy - we've already paid for the media and should feel free to download it? :)

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Well now pirates will be stealing directly from the US government which will mean they really need to do something about it. And it will be to protect their own interests instead of just bowing to the will of Disney. They are playing the long game here.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    "Either way, it seems pretty bizarre that the Justice Department appears to have given this guy a deal for a much lower jail sentence in exchange for some profits from a Hollywood movie the US attorneys had to know the guy had no right to."

    So, isn't that practically stealing on the part of the government. I mean, if I accepted money that I know was illegally obtained I'd get in all sorts of trouble. Why is it OK for the government to do it?

     

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  47.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    Best story ever!!!

    Is this an actual story or is Quentin Tarantino marketing a new movie?

     

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  48.  
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    Anne, May 15th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    Aloe is connected

    Like at the stars in their upcoming releases - Mattew Perry, Sharon Stone, Kim Bassinger, Laurence Fishburne etc. This is not a one trick pony outfit. On top of that, this film has a built in audience, in Mexico and Latin America where Mary worship is serious business that thing is going to be like printing money - hollywood blackhole accounting not withstanding.

     

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  49.  
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    Dave Xanatos, May 15th, 2012 @ 8:23am

    Re: Profits?

    It's true. I doubt that the government is Hollywood savvy enough to take it from the gross, not the net.

    "10% of net? Hell, I'll give you 50!"

     

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  50.  
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    Chargone (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Profits?

    and is that a bad thing?

     

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  51.  
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    Chargone (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re:

    ... i know what you mean ...
    ... ... ... ...

     

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  52.  
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    Chargone (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    feh. feudalism is a (number of) step(s) UP for this rubbish.

    if nothing else, it's BUILT on personal responsibility.

     

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  53.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Question:

    I've never heard of the guy, but he sounds like, ohh, just about every televangelist ever.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 8:36am

    Re: Question:

    As a Christian, I cringe to throw another brother under the bus. However, I have to agree somewhat with you. Osteen, who preaches at Lakewood Church in my hometown, seems to project a message to his followers that God is like a banker waiting to loan out money to anyone who cries out Lord Lord. While there is no sin in prosperity and it is true that God's word professes his desire to pour out blessings on his people (including financial), his message seems to focus only on financial enrichment of one's life rather than changing the hearts and minds of a person. I tend to stay away from the pastor who expresses the false idea that belief in Christ is a straight shot to earthly fortunes. Osteen seems to have missed some of what his father taught. Nothing wrong with being rich, but definitely not the whole story when it comes to belief in God and walking through life as a Christ follower. He is definitely lacking a complete biblical understanding and his followers are not getting the complete word. Basically his message seems to me to be more feel good rhetoric than biblical-based doctrine. Sad.

     

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  55.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re: Where

    It certainly isn't a Christian Law, but there are very few of those (pretty much just accept Christ as your savior and love your fellow man.)

    However, the roots of the various traditions of poverty and charity are grounded solidly in the philosophy of the faith. It's about not only being as Jesus-like as possible, but also expressed in the notion that how you treat the least (moneyed, statussed, whatever) of people is literally how you are treating Jesus.

    The accumulation of wealth reveals a level of greed which is completely incompatible with Christian philosophy and as such wealthy Christian leaders are a bit of an oxymoron. Although poverty is hardly necessary, a true, honest Christian leader would use that wealth to help the disadvantaged and wouldn't waste it on frivolous, selfish luxuries.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Where

    In order to get your camel through the tiniest of Jerusalem's city gates (called "The Eye of the Needle"), you'd have to get the animal to go through on its knees.

    I have been waiting 30 years for someone to provide any actual evidence that this is true. There is no record anywhere of such a gate ever existing. The only people who try to sell this story as factual are rich preachers and the dupes who listen to them.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    @TtfnJohn -
    The love of money is NOT the root of all evil. The LUST for money is the root of all evil. In other words, what you and I will do to gain fame and fortune is what is at the core of all evil. There is no sin in having money or desiring to be rich.

     

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  58.  
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    AndyD273 (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Question:

    I have to nitpick a little with your 4th point, mostly about the word meagerness.
    I don't think that it's wrong for a Christian, even a minister, to be wealthy, or drive the vehicle that they want, or have a nice home, etc.
    The big point, and the main problem with wealth, is when people start serving the wealth instead of using it to minister to other people.
    I read a bio on J C Penny (the guy who started the store chain. I'm pretty sure it was him, though it was a long time ago that I read it), and I remember one of the interesting facts was that he and his wife decided to give away 90% of their income to ministry (help the poor, minister the gospel, etc) and the remaining 10% was enough to make them very well off.
    That's the real "prosperity gospel". Show God that the more He blesses you, the more you'll help others, and you wont be able to give it away fast enough.
    As soon as the money starts being more important than helping people, then it'll start drawing you away from what you're supposed to be doing, and that's serving mammon, and that's what gets you into trouble.

    The bible does say that "A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children," so it's not wrong to build up some capital.

     

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  59.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    Okay, a couple of clarifying points:

    1. I'm not saying prosperity is against the Christian doctrine. I'm saying that the ACCUMULATION of personal wealth is. To have millions of dollars sitting in bank accounts, or in the ridiculous real estate and architecture of Osteen's churches, is ABSOLUTELY antithetical to Christian faith.

    2. I'm not against the accumulation of wealth, and that isn't hypocritical because I'm not a member of any Christian doctrine. I don't think Osteen is a douche because he's wealthy. I think he's a douche because he's a liar, saying he's Christian while acting un-Christ-like and then going out of his way to try to justify his own nonsense.

    3. There is no single faith that I dislike. Not one. I don't agree with....well, any of them, but I don't dislike the faith itself. On the other hand, I find that I DO dislike nearly every adjuticator of those faiths that I've ever met.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Monkey (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re:

    The only difference is that they don't like competition.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Where

    No idea of the provenance, but I'm more than willing to blame UHF pastor Rev. Gene Scott. Anything bizarre and incoherent, but laced with copious references to lost Greek and Aramaic texts... that's him; he may have been nutty as a fruitcake, but he was the BEST fruitcake ever. And he easily qualified as a Rich Preacher.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    The main thing I'm getting from this story is that apparently you can bribe the U.S. government into decreasing your jail time.

     

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  63.  
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    mikey4001, May 15th, 2012 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    Let's not call it "bribing the government." Let's call it "paying your debt to society." Now you can pay with cash.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re:

    i would watch.

    only question is: is that comment insightful or funny?

     

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  65.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    There is no single faith that I dislike. Not one. I don't agree with....well, any of them, but I don't dislike the faith itself. On the other hand, I find that I DO dislike nearly every adjuticator of those faiths that I've ever met.


    I am completely on the same page as you here, particularly if you include most evanglists with the adjuticators.

    Speaking of adjuticators, maybe it's just me but whenever I hear Christians judging anybody, including other Christians, it always sounds like heresy to me. According to Christian philosophy, isn't that judgement reserved exclusively for God? If people do it, it is an act of immense hubris at the very least.

     

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  66.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    This is the beauty of not being Christian: I get to judge everyone in the most horrifically harsh and unfair terms as possible.

    Good times....

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    More illegal actions by the feds, who could have seen this coming?

     

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  68.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    Indeed yes!

     

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  69.  
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    PRMan, May 15th, 2012 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    "Ohhh, so this is the guy who came up with the "prosperity gospel"! "

    Nope. Just the latest in a long line of frauds making money off the innocent, gullible flock who believes pastors are completely honest.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 11:07am

    US Government Gets 10% Royalty On 'Passion Of The Christ' Prequel In Plea

    sure, good luck with that: Hollywood accounting

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 11:12am

    I can see the stories now...
    "'Mary, Mother of Christ' brings in $1 Billion in ticket sales and yet it is not profitable. The US government has a right to 10% of the profits are sending in the Auditor to review hollowood accounting."

    or worst yet...
    "US government 10% entitlement in 'Mary, Mother of Christ' also ties it to the near $1 trillion in loses due to piracy. Now the tax payers are on the hook for their share of the loses."

     

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  73.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Question:

    see, here is the problem with being afraid to "throw another brother under the bus"... is he truely your brother if he lives his life bilking those seeking the word of god? that sound more like a false prophet to me.

    and, as one of my favorite authors said "a man of the cloth should be recognizable as one in spite of what he wears, not because of it"

     

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  74.  
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    Digger, May 15th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

    Re: DoJ receiving stolen goods?!?!

    You forgot something...

    And the folks at the DoJ who received the paperwork for the 10% and whatever ill-gotten gains go to jail for receiving stolen property.

     

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  75.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    That's always been true (cf. plea bargains).

    What's more interesting about this is that they basically blackmailed someone to get a script so they could leave jail sooner.

    But when lawyers get involved...then life imitates arse.

     

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  76.  
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    Eponymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    Contradictory statements are contradictory!
    Desire is lust and money is riches, therefor desiring to be rich = lust for money. Also one doesn't just lust for money they don't have, but can still lust for money they've already gained by doing things like offshoring it to get around taxation.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 1:13pm

    Re: DoJ receiving stolen goods?!?!

    Thank you! I was just sitting here aghast, but then I remembered the drug rules of the past 20 years: in many states, if a piece of property is used to commit a drug-related crime, it becomes the possession (not the evidence) of the police or state trooper group that found and reported it. Many, many cars are impounded, no doubt some of them stolen, and the police get to sell them off. Even land/houses may be claimed. The same with cash or expensive items found on hand at the scene.

    Yes, I'm citing Google, because there are too many cases:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=state+police+drug+property+confiscation&ie=utf-8&o e=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    I wouldn't be surprised if prosecutors thought of this as just another back room deal.

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Dear Techdirt,

    I would like a new button labelled "painfully true" (or simply "ouch") so I can press it for this comment.

    -Just another AC

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
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    Eponymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re:

    >Of course they steal actual money from us,

    Apologies on calling you out on this, but that comment sounds as silly to me as those township protesters claiming “keep your government hands off my Medicare” from a while back. The reason I find it absurd is that our currency is fiat meaning the Fed created it out of thin air and the only value it has is the one you, and the rest of society, instill in it. This means money has no true value except for the social fiction of everyone acting (or in most cases, like you, actually falsely believing) as if it does (I, as a contrarian, believe in the heresy that money is worthless). Of course the fiat money you lose to taxation could have been traded in for items and/or services of real value so your loss isn't just a theoretical one. On the other hand that fiat money was conjured up by the government so it is their scheme, like Medicare, to do with as they like regardless if we bought into it or not. No you can reply back about the government having a legal and moral duty to do what's in the best interest of their constituents, but that is obviously not how it operates in the wild...

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    *Town hall not township.

     

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  81.  
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    Heather Justesen, May 15th, 2012 @ 3:34pm

    Are you kidding me?

    Okay, overlooking the fact that the government should have known better than to try to get royalties on something the guy didn't own in the first place, didn't any of them ever do their homework? As if ANYONE makes money off of royalties for 'profits' of anything in Hollywood. They're incredibly skilled at never showing a penny of profit of anything they do, no matter how much money the film makes in the box office.

    Okay, that was the thing that made me laugh out loud, but really the whole thing is utterly ridiculous from beginning to end.

     

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  82.  
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    JoeCool (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Where

    "In order to get your camel through the tiniest of Jerusalem's city gates (called "The Eye of the Needle"), you'd have to get the animal to go through on its knees."

    I have been waiting 30 years for someone to provide any actual evidence that this is true. There is no record anywhere of such a gate ever existing. The only people who try to sell this story as factual are rich preachers and the dupes who listen to them.


    Really? You've never seen the countless shows on Discovery Channel (among others) where they not only show the gate, but demonstrate how "easy" it is to get a camel through it? The camel not only has to kneel, you have to remove any and all baggage it may be carrying, then whip the shit out of it to force it to crawl on its knees through the gate. It's really quite interesting to watch.

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Question:

    Idiocy is what gets us people like Harold Camping. Jesus or not, there's a limit as to how much idiocy Christians should be tolerating amongst themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
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    Big Ivory, May 16th, 2012 @ 5:12am

    Re: Question:

    I did too.

     

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  85.  
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    Panda (profile), May 16th, 2012 @ 8:50am

    Thanks

    Thanks for clarifying. You made it seem that you can't be a religious/spiritual leader and still be wealthy.

    Being "filthy rich" just for the sake of being rich, and not using the resources (money) for the betterment of humankind should be classified as a sin (for Christians at least). I believe there is a scripture that says "for those who recognize it as sin, it IS sin" so by definition, Christian leaders should know better.

    I have heard a few of Joel Osteen's messages, and he does speak very well. I am not familiar with his ministry practices enough to pass judgement, however.

    I myself am struggling with my Christianity. I am probably secretly Agnostic, but outwardly think that if the peoples of the Earth had clung to the Torah/Bible then humans would have been better off.

    For example, if everyone would wait for sex until marriage, then there wouldn't be bastard children. If there was no rape, same thing. Also, if there were no adultery, then VD would stay between the TWO and not spread to others.

    As a side note, back in the early days, and I mean thousands of years ago, when life expectancy was 30-40 years, children were married-off (betrothed?) at 12 years of age (approx). When they hit puberty, they were already married so they could have sex when it was a physically natural urge. Now-a-days it sucks to become sexually mature, but not socially adept to weight the complications of doing what comes naturally with any and everyone who is not in a position to be with you through thick and thin. But I digress.

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Jonathan, May 16th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Where

    I don't see many rich Pharisees on their knees right now, and certainly not enough of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
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    Jonathan, May 16th, 2012 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    Actually, I think it was John Calvin who is at the root of that particular line of nonsense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
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    Jonathan, May 16th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    The Devil makes work for idle dollars.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Jonathan, May 16th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Question:

    They're not judging. They're just appointing themselves jury and executioner, and the Bible didn't say anything about that...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
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    LastManStanding, May 17th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Question:

    Satan??? Is that You?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 5:31pm

    I wonder what's worse, being a drug trafficker, a drug smuggler, or a money launderer for a drug cartel?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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