A case of clear-cutting trees along the Mississippi River in Crow Wing County shows that times are still pretty good for “Mac” Hammond, the megachurch owner and preacher of the prosperity gospel.
Hammond, who does a morning gig on WCCO called the “winner’s minute”, isn’t shy about his wealth and spread a theology around it which insists that God favors some people with material wealth.
And Hammond and his Living Word Church have plenty of material wealth, Hammond and his wife own 10 acres of the land; the church owns hundreds of acres around it.
A neighbor insists the Hammonds wanted a better view so down came the trees. The Hammonds blame nature.
They’ve now been ordered to restore them, the Brainerd Dispatch reports.
“When we got out there and talked to the guys from the church, they didn’t disagree,” Chris Pence, environmental services manager for the county, tells the paper. “They didn’t want to have any problems up there either. They’re building a building up top, and the last thing they would want is to have erosion causing that to have any questionable issues.”
The paper tried to talk to the Hammonds but got directed to a church associate pastor who said the Hammonds are on sabbatical, but are “mortified” by the tree clearing. They blamed a logger for clearing the area they said was created by a “blowdown.”
A neighbor isn’t buying it, based on the lack of evidence around the forest still standing.
“I think there are a lot of developers who would like to get their hands on it,” associate pastor Brian Sullivan said. “We want to protect it. We think it’s a good investment. At this point, we have no intention of selling it. It certainly—having that property has enhanced our loan-to-value ratio as a ministry. Really recognizing the value of that property in context to the river and the community has caused us to really, as a ministry, go, ‘Let’s continue to care for it. Let’s continue to protect it.'”