Controversial TV Evangelist Holds Mellon Arena Service

Protesters Decry Massive Downtown Gathering 18, 2003

Pittsburgh -- The main attraction Friday night at Mellon Arena was television evangelist Benny Hinn, an Irving, Texas-based faith healer.

Hinn's fundraising practices and his claims that God heals people through him have been the subject of televised investigative news reports.

WTAE's Jon Greiner reported that a greater-than-capacity crowd descended on the arena Friday, and many people seeking to attend Hinn's service would have to be turned away.

Not included in that crowd was a small gathering of protesters, carrying signs that read "Boycott Mell-Hinn Arena" and "Mellon Is Morally Bankrupt."

"We feel it's not good business for a bank to be involved with a con-artist faith healer, someone who steals money from the elderly and the infirm," said Eric Saferstein. "It's outrageous."

Mellon Arena's booking agency said it does not discriminate against anyone who wants to rent the arena, and said Mellon has nothing to do with acts that appear there.

Hinn has said that he started his ministry after having a religious experience while attending a 1973 service by faith healer Kathryn Kuhlman in Pittsburgh.

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