Earl Paulk, televangelist and former pastor to the now almost defunct Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Atlanta, was charged with perjury yesterday, for lying under oath in a lawsuit brought by a former congregant, Mona Brewer, who charges that he forced her to have sex with him over a fourteen year period. In sworn deposition testimony in the suit, Paulk admitted to having sex with Brewer, but said it was consensual. The perjury charge comes in because he testified that she was the only woman he's had sex with outside his marriage. (At least a dozen women, including his own granddaughter, have accused him of sexual abuse.)

But late last year, court-ordered paternity tests confirmed something that had been rumored for years: that the 80 year-old Paulk was actually the father of his nephew, Donnie Earl Paulk. In other words, he had slept with his brother's wife.

During the George H.W. Bush administration, the president bestowed upon Paulk one of his "thousand points of light" accolades, summoning Paulk to the tarmac in Atlanta so he could meet the pastor on Air Force I. If that's not a morality (or lack of morality) tale about how messed up it is for politicians to curry favor with religious figure because they are presumptively pure, I don't know what is.

There's a lot more about Paulk, how he exercised spiritual control over his congregation, and interviews with former members of his church and former associates, in God's Profits.

--Sarah Posner

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