CALIFORNIA: How Many Say Amen?

Big, fat-faced C. Thomas Patten was an evangelist in fancy maroon shirts. He wore cowboy hats with brims that were wide, and cowboy boots with toes that were narrow, and his congregation couldn't refuse him a thing. When he asked for money, they gave him money—for a choir loft that went up & down like the stage at Radio City Music Hall, for an electric Escalator that lifted worshipers up to a raised altar. These wonders never appeared, but in seven years in Oakland, Calif. Tom acquired nine cars, 46 suits, 200 pairs of boots and a cabin cruiser....

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