07 November 2007

More on Senator's investigation of pulpit pumps

Independent Conservative has put up two videos (at YouTube) of news stories about Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) investigating the (mis)use of donor moneys to several of the largest prosperity "gospel" churches, as well as Richard Roberts (Oral's son, and president of ORU).

The first is from WFLA (Tampa), and deals with Randy and Paula White, and their Without Shame Walls International money-making scheme Ministry (about 4 min.):

The second is the full interview between Grassley and WFLA's Jeff Patterson (7:40)

OK, so here's the question: Should the government be allowed to force an organization that calls themselves a "ministry" to open their books? Should the government be allowed to say what is and what isn't necessary to operate one of these "ministries." Yes, if:
  • The "ministry" wants to retain a tax-exempt status with the IRS. (In other words, if they want to avoid paying taxes in order to enrich themselves. You know, that whole "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" thing.)
  • There is concern among the members that the money they are giving for the purpose of spreading the gospel of Christ (which is the purpose of a true ministry) is instead being used to increase the material comfort of the "pastor" above that which should be considered "reasonable."
  • The "pastor" lets it be known that he don't cotton too well to people trying to make him abide by the laws of the land.
  • The "pastor" has installed a board of directors filled with relatives and cronies and yes-men to surround himself in a cloak of secrecy.
  • The "minister" spends more time talking about why you should give them your money than they do preaching the gospel.
  • The "pastor" answers "Yes" to the age-old question: "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex on His Television Show?"
  • The "pastor" is encouraging people to store up massive credit-card debt so they can send him their "seed-faith offering."
  • The "ministry" continually gets a transparency rating of "F" from MinistryWatch. Like this guy did. And this one. And him.
We have to remember something here: This is not about the government telling the church what they can and can't teach. Well, at least not yet. This is about these organizations abiding by the laws they agreed to follow when they applied for tax-exempt status. If they want to retain that status, then they should comply with the laws. (See 1st Peter 2:11-17.) Otherwise, they take off the mask, admit they are a business and not a church, and start paying their taxes.

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