Biography of Famous Preacher and Evangelist Reverend Ike Part 2

About the famous preacher and evangelist Reverend Ike, history and biography of the religious figure and leader.


In the late 1960s Reverend Ike took to the road. In Los Angeles he announced that "the lack of money is the true root of all evil." In Houston he told a crowd of 5,000, "I can love the Lord a lot better when I've got money in my pocket. Bless money. Money is God in action!"

The Miami News described Ike passing the plate at the Miami Beach Convention Hall saying: "All of you who can give $100 come up to the front of the altar ... and those of you who can't give $100, take out $50 and bring it up ... and if you haven't got that then take out a 10 or a 5.... No change please.... Hold those bills high, I want everyone to see your faith."

In San Francisco he booked the Cow Palace for one night at $25,000. One observer remarked that Reverend Ike's money pitch would make the late Sister Aimee seem shy and his healing demonstrations make Oral Roberts look dignified. Back in New York he packed Madison Square Garden, instructing 20,000 wide-eyed worshipers: "Don't wait for your pie in the sky, by and by. Say I want my pie right now--and I want it with ice cream on top!"

If to some Reverend Ike appears blasphemous and radical, he means no threat to established institutions. On the contrary, with his scorn of black militants, gamblers, and pushers and his distaste for the world of welfare, he could be someone's ideal symbol of black capitalism in the religion business.

In that role he stands in the spotlights of his United Palace Auditorium, the personification of everything his followers want to be--successful, good-looking, prosperous, and wildly pleased with himself. And to his altar they will likely continue to come, clutching tightly their eager offerings.

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