The Tax Exempt Status of "Prosperity" Ministries

Saturday mornings have become my designated time for reading Time Magazine, mostly because I get it on Saturday. This morning I read an article on a subject I have been hearing a lot about in recent media. It is about Republican Senator Chuck Grassley’s new investigation into the spending of the top “Prosperity Gospel” proponents, Time names six:

Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer and Paula White.

One thing I never knew before was that the tax exempt status of religious organizations is based in some way on the fact (or trust) that those organizations will be putting money back into public service, something that is to be rightly expected of religious organizations. I think the Church would agree. And this is the problem I have with the pastors listed above. Asking for money for your organization is great, if its used to further the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of Paula.

I agree completely with this quote from the article,

“Prosperity dominates American religious TV, and millions of adherents send millions of dollars to preachers they have never met. For Grassley, this might be fine if the ministries put all the money back into their mission work. But his now famous question about [Joyce] Meyer’s $23,000 commode suggests he questions the destination of the her estimated $124 million annual take.”

This actually raises questions for me about the tax-exempt status of religious organizations in general. Why don’t we “render to Caesar’s what is Caesar’s”?

Now, this post is actually difficult for me since I actually grew up watching and admiring the pastor’s listed here, but at some point enough is enough. I have a hard time trying to understand the logic behind the theology that says God will give you money if you give money to someone who already has a lot of money and is asking for more of it.

Here is the link to the article:  Going After the Money Ministries

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