Hinn leaves -- gays and lesbians arrive

The Orlando Sentinel/June 9, 1999

Happy trails to Benny Hinn.

The last guy who said God called him to Texas was Davy Crockett.

Seriously, I'm sorry to see him go.

Contrary to what many of his critics say, I found Benny very sincere when I profiled him for Florida magazine in 1991. He truly believes he serves as a conduit for God's miracles.

Benny is an electrifying showman on stage, and there is nothing wrong with that. Whoever said worship had to be boring? His message connects with all races, all denominations, all income levels. He has the most diverse congregation in Central Florida.

Yet I think back to a crusade I witnessed in Oklahoma.

I sat on the arena floor with the truly infirm, those suffering from paralysis, muscular dystrophy, missing limbs.

I watched a woman with a dying boy scrape together crumpled bills for the collection because Benny took the offering right before the miracles began. Give to the Lord and he shall return your gifts a thousandfold.

Right after they gave their money, the crippled watched those in the bleachers run down to the stage to announce they had been cured of bad backs, bum knees and environmental disease. Then, with the service over, they slowly were wheeled out in a most depressing procession.

The cameraman never came down to the arena floor.

Why does God never work a miracle that can be documented on an X-ray?

Benny's answer: God's will.

Why does Benny live so luxuriously? God's will.

Benny has much to offer. But he is so enamored of his calling that he has risen above second-guessing himself.

Well, I spent three hours at the big Gay Days bash Saturday at the Magic Kingdom and didn't get hit on once.

Nobody likes older men anymore.

After talking to David Caton of the American Family Association, I expected a San Francisco-style gay parade. In fact, there were more traditional families than there were gays. And all the latter did was mill around, looking hot, eating ice cream, socializing, a few discreetly holding hands. Kind of what we all do at Disney. If not for the red shirts, I doubt anyone would have known it was Gay Days.

But I must say the lesbians were completely out of control.

Two hugged when greeting each other by Cinderella's Castle, and a couple on the ferry boat exchanged a quick peck.

If I had had my camera, I could have snapped off a picture for Dave to put on his Web page. The American Family Association says the event is designed for Disney and gay leaders to acclimate children to the hedonistic homosexual lifestyle.

Well, they did a darned poor job of it. The only thing the kids probably noticed was that the adults were hogging the line at Winnie the Pooh.

By cutting its teen anti-smoking campaign, Florida has become a national leader in saving Social Security and cutting taxes.

The myth about smoking is that it costs society money through increased medical costs. This is the basis for Florida's $13 billion settlement with the tobacco industry.

But studies show that while smoking costs more in the short term for cancer wards, it saves over the long haul. Nonsmokers also die of expensive, lingering diseases. The difference is we have to pay them an added 15 years of retirement before they go.

As you can imagine, it's hard for tobacco companies to argue against paying higher taxes by claiming their customers do us a favor by dying early.

Smokers also are less educated and make less money, meaning they contribute less to pensions anyway. Getting rid of them ensures more money for everybody else.

Even better, while they are here, the smokers lower our taxes by paying for that $16 billion settlement through higher cigarette prices.

So fire up, kids. Smoking is good for us!

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