Ballymena has a good reason to fear god. A major shareholder in one of the town's larger enterprises, he has just laid off around 1200 workers.
When Wrightbus bought the old Gallagher's cigarette factory in Ballymena in 2016, many in the bible belt town and surrounding area must have felt their manna from Heaven had arrived.
The bread had not yet turned stale. Then God was on their side. That's the thing about God: he always stands firm with those who hate the same things he does - queers and abortion seeking harlots tend to be front of the queue, with other abominations in close pursuit. God detests them, so his devotees can do likewise without ever having to entertain the notion that they blanket despise categories of people and then create a god in their own image who follows suit.
Dutifully and unwisely they placed their trust in a God bothering entrepreneur, Jeff Wright. It never occurred to them that their godly employer could be Jeff Wrong, pastor of Green Pastures Evangelical Church. And because they didn't believe in evolution, the moment of the Big Bang for them came in the form of a God tax: rather than profit being reinvested to keep the industry usefully afloat it was given to something as useless as a Church. Even though the writing was on the wall, it wasn't in the bible, so the faithful could not see it. The pastors remained "adamant that their money-making vision is all in the service of God and the local community."
Unadulterated wankology that allows Pastor Jeff to speak in tongues, all of them forked:
"I had been tailor made to take over the family business ... but I didn’t think I had the wisdom to do it. It came to a point one night, I fell on my knees beside my bed, just cried literally to God, ‘look, if you’ll help me, guide me to run this, I would give you this business’. I really felt I had an encounter with the living God that night … We made God a shareholder in the business – 26 per cent of Wrights is owned by an evangelical trust – in order to make sure He was central in everything the Wrights company does.” Then he felt that God had a new question for him. “Do you love me more than these buses?’ I said, ‘yeah, I do’. So God said ‘I want you to feed my lambs and take care of my sheep’.”
A bit late in the day, jobless workers, incensed that Jeff Wright would squander millions of profit in donations to his Green Pastures Evangelical Church, picketed the Church today, while inside Pastor Wrong prayed for them. Changed times from when the Catholic church in Harryville was being picketed by Ballymena bigots, for whom a leading apologist was Ian Paisley Junior. Today he can be found waving his greasy palm against demonising the owners of Wrightbus, the head honcho of which just happened to nominate Paisley as candidate for the Westminster seat. It is truly a miracle how he manages to find the traction to sit on the seat with so much snake oil oozing from the pores of his buttocks. God works in mysterious ways.
That's the thing - God does work but now his flock have no work because God stole it all for himself. Working people have seen their livelihoods sacrificed on the altar of “the church that helps you fall in love with Jesus” but won't help Jesus fall in love with you. In fact, the way things turned out, Jesus doesn't give a flying fuck about you. Ultimately, God told Jeff Wright to screw the workers and send the profit God's way.
From the prayers to the preaching, from the crocodile tears to the bible thumping, from the beseeching of Jesus the Robber, to the berating of the devil, bollix, all of it. Just one more religious racket legitimised by prosperity theology which holds that Jesus wants the soul saving swindlers to be rich and their sheepish followers poor because that's just the way God planned it. There's gold in them thar souls.
Time to get off the Wrong Bus.