Tony Alamo Loves Christ, Cash and Young Girls (Not in that order)

Posted by Censor Librorum on Sep 24, 2008 | Categories: Scandals

Tony Alamo is the leader of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Fouke, Arkansas.   The organization’s  headquarters were raided by the FBI after a two-year long investigation into child pornography. Although Alamo has denied the  allegations, he has been quoted as saying that puberty is the age of consent for girls.

Alamo,  an evangelical preacher,  built a business empire from street ministry recipients and their children, many of whom were addicted to drugs and had no where else to go.

In a phone call to The Associated Press from a friend’s house in the Los Angeles area,  Alamo denied any  involvement in pornography or child abuse:

“We don’t go into pornography; nobody in the church is into that,” said Alamo, 73.   “Where do these allegations stem from? The anti-Christ government.   The Catholics don’t like me because I have cut their congregation in half. They hate true Christianity.”

During an April 2008 radio  broadcast,  Alamo proclaimed that the government had no right to take 10-year-old wives away from their rightful “husbands”: “What I’m doing is fighting for these people that they, the ungodly beast, is throwing into prison for marrying someone 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11—10, if they’ve reached puberty.”

In recent broadcasts, Alamo waxed poetic about menstruation: “The Bible is filled with stories where God commanded young women to get married. When they start their periods, they are women, according to God’s word. They should be able to be married at 13, 14, 15 years old, and in cases if they’ve menstruated already, 12 years old.”

He also contends that Mary was as young as six at the time she conceived Jesus, and sarcastically asks if God could be considered a pedophile: “You want to take the Almighty God to jail, because He wanted the Son of God to be born of a young virgin? But you, Satan, you wicked people in the Vatican, and all the rest of you want people—men—to be married to old bags! You want [girls] to wait until they’re 18 years old, and them having had sex with possibly up to 100 men!”

While Alamo publicly says he’s not a polygamist, and challenges outsiders to “find marriage licenses about me being married to anybody.” Ex-members say he has unofficially “married” at least eight young girls and many others live in his house.

Tony Alamo was born Bernie LaZar Hoffman in Missouri to Romanian-Jewish parents in 1934.   In the early 1960s he moved to Los Angeles, where he met aspiring actress Susan Lipowitz, a Jewish convert to evanglical Christianity. They married in a 1966 Las Vegas ceremony, and legally changed their names to Tony and Susan Alamo.   Tony wanted to break into singing and managing bands, and thought an Italian-sounding last name would be more helpful to his career  than a Jewish one.

Alamo and his wife were active as street preachers along Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in the ’60s.   They also manufactured and sold a line of “Tony Alamo” brand sequined demim jackets, a business that would eventually land Tony in jail for tax evasion.    The women and girls the Alamos recruited from their street ministry did the sewing as “volunteers.” tony-jacket.jpg

These days, Alamo doesn’t seem likely to get additional young female friends.

At a recent meeting in New York, the few locals who seemed to be recent recruits were down-and-out men, including a former Nation of Islam member and two immigrant workers speaking Spanish.  â€œYou can be saved over the phone if you want,” one woman suggested, giving out the 1-800 prayer line for the ministry, when one newcomer was too shy to go up to the “altar” to be reborn.

“They’re full of conspiracy theories about Waco and Jim Jones and stuff, and they hate, I mean hate, the Catholic Church,” offers one man, a diabetic on an irregular income. “They can be a little pushy about the whole saving-your-soul thing. But they do have a really nice salad bar.” tony-cross.bmp

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