The Rich are
Going to Hell
by Jerry Guarino
Why would he say that?
The gentrified couple couldnt believe what
they were hearing.
Its just to get
our attention, whispered the woman to her
husband. It must be about being thankful
for what you have.
The husband adjusted his
glasses. I dont see the point. We dont
have to put up with this and they left
brusquely. The preacher continued without
The audience was adorned
with khaki slacks, polo shirts and topsiders. The
tax lawyer in the third row queried his second (trophy)
wife. We take time out on a Sunday to come
here and this is what we hear.
The preppy blonde with the
degree in art history agreed. This is in
very poor taste. We could have gone to the beach.
Their attention was drawn back to the speaker.
Look at your cars,
your homes, your vacation homes and your country
clubs. Do you think they make you a better person?
Do you think you have some special blessing from
above? No, youre the same as the homeless
man in the street, the poor woman who takes the
bus to clean your house, the laid off teacher
struggling to feed her children.
Old money and nouveau riche
sat side by side this morning. There was a
tailored man in a seersucker jacket, crisp Brooks
Brothers oxford and pastel blue tie who looked
like he just landed from Marthas Vineyard.
Next to him was a woman in pinstripe blue and
power tie, obviously a Wall Street broker. She
leaned over to her friend and spoke. I
thought this was going to be about the goodness
of money, how its a
sign of being blessed.
Look at your life.
What do you think about? What do you do each day?
How much time do you give to selfexamination,
peeling back the layers and finding out what your
core really is? Who among you can say I
have earned everything I have?
People started to file out,
first one by one, then in small groups. The
congregation of about 100 quickly dwindled to
just a couple dozen willing to listen.
But not everyone
wants to hear he said gesturing to the
people exiting the tent. They dont
want to give up their comfortable life or face
the fact that their life has been wasted in the
pursuit of money. Who here is willing to peel
away the layers of shame in public, to examine
their life in full view of God and this audience?
A man in his thirties
timidly raised his hand. Thank you, son.
Dont be afraid. Come up here and tell us
The man took the microphone.
My name is Alex. I made a lot of money with
an Internet scam that preyed on the elderly. Im
ashamed of what I have done.
The preacher nodded as he
placed his hand on the mans shoulder.
We have all sinned son. Repentance starts
with confession. What do you want to do now?
Alex cleared his throat and
continued. I could send a gift anonymously
to all those I cheated.
The man of the cloth looked
up. Anonymously? Will that clear your
Alex responded, What
else can I do?
The preacher replied,
Get down on your knees and pray, in front
of your brothers and sisters, so that you may be
The man knelt down as the
preacher held the microphone for him. Now
admit what you have done son.
Alex spoke into the mike.
I have stolen money and ruined the lives of
decent honest people. I have done this without
guilt or remorse.
The preacher reassured Alex.
This is the start of a new life. Through
your confession, you can begin again. Go and sin
Suddenly, two men hustled
the speaker off his pulpit, dragging him away
from the congregation. This surprising incident
shocked the listeners, many of who whispered to
their companions with explanations of what just
happened. Everyone finally left the tent toward
the row of BMWs and other luxury cars. On their
way out, the trophy wife asked her husband.
Why do you think this guy was speaking at a
car dealership anyway?