There are few messages more obvious in the Gospels than a disregard for the biological family and a rejection of earthly wealth. Jesus says nothing about abortion or homosexuality, but he is quite clear about abandoning your spouse, parents and children and divesting yourself of all worldly goods. These are terribly difficult doctrines; and few of us who call ourselves Christians are able to live by them. But most Christians have at least not deceived themselves into thinking that the Gospels are actually about family life above everything and wealth as a critical element of Christian life. Until now. The Prosperity Gospel is one of the greatest blasphemies against the message of Jesus - but it is increasingly a part of the American "Christian" landscape. After all, why lambaste the wealth your congregants crave when you can demonize the minorities outside? This Time cover-story is chilling about what has happened to Christianity in some parts of the country. Just dont expect the religious right to criticize it.

(Photo illustration: Michael Elins.)

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