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Victoria Osteen Tells All to a Landover Lady

"I saw a Mess and Freaked!" - Ladies' Exchange Secretly Recorded by Feds

Freehold, Iowa - After 72 hours of unsuccessfully attempting to decipher a secret message to al-Qaeda, the Department of Homeland Security released to the public today an audio-taped telephone conversation between Mrs. Harry (Heather) Hardwick, of Landover Baptist Church, and Mrs. Joel (Victoria) Osteen, of some church in Texas. The government had secretly wiretapped the December 20, 2005 exchange pursuant to the Patriot Act based on officialsí well-founded belief that Mrs. Osteenís outburst aboard a Continental jet earlier in the day constituted a terrorist threat by a couple with suspected al-Qaeda ties. Though assuring the public of no immediate danger, the FBI apparently believed Mrs. Osteenís 15-year behavior as the domineering diva wife of an effeminate, obviously whipped evangelist was just too stereotypical to constitute anything more than an act. Further, Mrs. Osteenís decision to storm the cockpit because a flight attendant said it would be a few minutes before she could clean Mrs. Osteenís tray table constituted bitchiness that would make Diana Ross blush and was therefore obviously a ruse for a more sinister motive. Though hoping Mrs. Osteen would reveal the coupleís al-Qaeda involvement to Mrs. Hardwick, the FBI was forced to release the audiotape under the Freedom of Information Act when it became clear Osteen had been too clever to spill the beans to a patriot like Heather.

Heather: Yes, Vickie, Iím so glad you called. First things first, love. What was the liquid on that tray table that threw you into such apoplexy? 

Victoria: I have no idea.

Heather: Didnít you run your finger through it, just to get a little taste? If it was cheap liquor from a former patronís plastic cup, Iíd be incensed, too. But sometimes the sugar coating of the lemon tarts that airline serves can melt, drizzle and stick to . . . Oops, I digress. Now Vi, you of all people should know better than to throw a tantrum in public (unless, of course, you can plausibly claim to have been controlled by the Holy Spirit, much as your husbandís father used to do when he and his congregation spoke in tongues, right on cue! ). Honestly, once you and that nellie became multi-millionaires off the donations of countless hapless souls, you had to expect some level of public scrutiny. Believe me, I know what a cross it is to bear, being married to a famous man of God, which is why I always look my very best whenever I leave our manse.

Victoria: I couldnít help it, Heather. I saw a mess and freaked. I canít believe that Houston-based stewardess would act like I was some common person who had to show deference and respect the normal rules. I didnít think there is person alive in Houston who doesnít know who Joel and I are and wouldnít roll out the red carpet for us. Heck, if theyíd given us our own private waitress, the whole incident never would have happened.

Heather: Yes, it is a sad commentary on our society when preachers spend their parishionersí hard-earned tithes on first-class airline seats for their families to travel to lily-white, expensive resorts like Vail and get no respect from the very people their followers are paying to feat them in style. Apparently, there remains a patchwork of folks who still believe in those obscure New Testament verses that say we should give our money to the poor -- or, at the very least, not take money from the poor to make ourselves rich. They obviously donít understand contemporary Christian capitalism.

Victoria: It chaps my hide, Heather! Joel has worked his rump off, wining and dining book publishers and construction investors. We built the largest church in the country so we could be rich and fam---

Heather: Second largest, dear. I know itís tempting to exclude Landover Baptist from the list, given that churches like yours arenít even remotely in the same league in terms of size or quality. You can, however, claim to be the nationís largest non-denominational church with a non-message.

Victoria: Pardon me?

Heather: Letís face facts, love. You have a large following because your hubbie doesnít preach anything that could be deemed even remotely controversial to anyone. I loved his leap into network television when Larry King asked his opinion on abortion and homosexuality, and he refused even to condemn those vile acts, responding with a line typically reserved for hair stylists and florists: ďI donít go there.Ē He even refused to affirm that only Christians will go to Heaven. Some may call that blasphemy, but I refuse to judge, particularly since I rarely have occasion to travel to abandoned sports arenas in Texas to do my worshipping.

Victoria: We have a positive message, Heather. We teach people that as long as they love God and have faith in themselves, they can lead the best life possible now.

Heather: While that kind of line may work in Susan Powter infomercials and dime store psychology books principally sold in rural Wal-Marts, it is hardly enough to sustain an operation as ostentatiously gargantuan as yours. Since your so-called message is little more than the opening minute of an Oprah special, you have to ensure that your congregation worships and idolizes you. There can be no more slip-ups, Vi!

Victoria: But many opinion leaders have backslid in their private lives, and their followers forgave them.

Heather: That is because they committed to definite positions, hon. Because a man of God like Rush Limbaugh condemns everyone who isnít a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, wealthy, heterosexual male, he can become a hillbilly heroin/hydrocodone addict and his fans donít mind, because they love his message of hate and animosity too much to abandon him, no matter what his indiscretions. When Brothers Falwell and Robertson say something utterly ridiculous (which is a fairly regular event), we overlook it because these devout leaders condemn everyone who isnít like us.

Victoria: But we want to embrace everyone, Heather.

Heather: Thatís apparent, Vickie. To ensure that as many people as possible join your ďChurch of the Generic Message,Ē you stand for nothing substantive, thereby making certain you donít alienate anyone (except people wise enough to recognize the absence of substance). To accomplish this in the long-term, you must make yourselves so loveable and beyond reproach that people embrace you despite your complete lack of ideology. Pulling a Leona Helmsley on a commercial airplane just wonít cut it.

Victoria: Iím not sure I will always be able to control myself, Heather. I get so angry when some blue collar worker acts like she can speak to me as an equal. I mean, itís not as if I married Joel because of some masculine prowess he possesses [laughter from both]. I expect to be treated like the wife of a man whose ministry is broadcast throughout the nation, at least in the wee hours of the morning.

Heather: Then, perhaps itís best that you follow Paulís admonition to women and keep your mouth shut at all times. Or you may want to demand even greater weekly donations from your congregation and charter a private plane. By all means, though, stand by your husbandís side, particularly after each Sunday service Ė at least so those watching and listening to him for the first time will know heís actually married, and not assume the worst. 








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