Updated version of the field guide.
Practically an icon of American culture, the Hellfire Preacher knows the mind of God and speaks for him. At least thats what he would like you to believe. And all too often, people do believe just that.
The Preacher constantly puts his own personal spin on the myths and doctrines sacred to his religion. When he reads the religious texts, he cherry picks only the verses that support his opinions and ignores others - especially when they involve helping others in some way. But then it is much easier to take a stand against the private lives of complete strangers than it is to tackle real social problems like poverty and war. After all, those would actually require hard work and personal sacrifice. The Preacher is content to pontificate about divisive political issues, sometimes even openly endorse or denounce political candidates, but still expect tax exemption.
Though he freely points his judgmental finger and condemns entire groups of people for engaging in what he considers to be sinful behavior, it is all too common for investigations to reveal that the Hellfire Preacher has been committing all the same sins and more. Ministers are discovered having sex with gay prostitutes, priests are found to have molested the young children entrusted to their care, and religious leaders of all kinds dip into the tithes and donations provided by their faithful and gullible followers.
These matters are often dealt with internally and rather than being removed from positions of authority, the Preacher might merely be relocated to a new church and the entire scandal covered up by the larger religious body. Not just a matter of hypocrisy, these transgressions highlight the problems inherent in organized religion, namely the lack of public oversight and accountability.