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This is certainly going to cause some ripples: Senate Panel Probes 6 Top Televangelists

CBS News has learned Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating six prominent televangelist ministries for possible financial misconduct.

Letters were sent Monday to the ministries demanding that financial statements and records be turned over to the committee by December 6th.

According to Grassley’s office, the Iowa Republican is trying to determine whether or not these ministries are improperly using their tax-exempt status as churches to shield lavish lifestyles.

The six ministries identified as being under investigation by the committee are led by: Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. Three of the six – Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar – also sit on the Board of Regents for the Oral Roberts University.

Of course, we first need to define lavish lifestyles. One person’s extravagance is another person’s necessity. Air conditioned dog houses and corporate jets might be essential to maintaining the dignity of their office. Who wants to believe a preacher who flies tourist class and drives a Corolla?


1 ellroon { 11.07.07 at 3:42 am }

Exactly. They need to show how lavishly they can live, praise the Lord!

What the hell is new about this? Some horribly made-up or combed-over doofus demands money on TV and idiots send it in. (Why on earth do they like the combed straight back pompadour type hair style anyway? The minute I see that I know they have gold plated faucets.)

Congress needs to start The TV Evangelist Misuse Of Funds Committee. There’s no need to close investigations because a new one pops up every few years.

2 Fallenmonk { 11.07.07 at 6:00 am }

Creflo Dollar and Eddie Long are local Atlanta guys and they definitely live high on the hog. Big cars, lots of jewelry and big houses. Part of their spiel is to tell their sheep that God will make them rich if they give the church enough money. Carnival hucksters of the worst type.

3 Lab Kat { 11.07.07 at 9:29 am }

‘Cause we all know Jesus would WANT them to have those jets. Plllluueeeeeze.

4 Steve Bates { 11.07.07 at 10:21 am }

Some of those televangelists may actually like being probed…

(Creflo Dollar? Did his parents inflict that name on him at birth, or did the Lord come to him in a dream?)

5 Bryan { 11.07.07 at 10:51 am }

Many of the “heresies” that rocked the Russian Orthodox Church throughout history, and certainly part of the Reformation were caused by the wealth of the Church.

You do wonder about the admonition that involved “the eye of a needle” when you look at the way these people live.

I have no objection to people donating to support these life styles, so long as they “tithe” the taxman like the rest of us. There is double tax avoidance involved, as those who give get a tax deduction and those who receive pay no taxes.

6 Bryan { 11.07.07 at 11:11 am }

A quick check around the ‘Net indicates that there is some debates on both those points, and a wife and co-preacher named Taffi doesn’t help.

There also seem to be rumors that he has moved a considerable amount of US dollars to Canadian “loonies” to cover current exchange rate problems, but hard facts don’t seem to exist when you look at these people, just rumors from his supporters and detractors.

7 Steve Bates { 11.07.07 at 11:15 pm }

Hey, watch it! The best small-animals veterinarian in Houston is named Taffi! 🙂 Based on her fees, I suspect that she, too, is wealthy. But what she sells is worth a great deal more than what any preacher sells.

The thing that burns me is that at the same time these (expletive)s allegedly commit fraud against their TV audiences, they simultaneously engage in politics without a whole lot of consideration for whether the money with which they do so was tax-exempt income. Their lavish lifestyles bother me a good deal less than their telling their congregations just who God wants them to vote for.

8 Bryan { 11.07.07 at 11:27 pm }

Actually, they have been getting a good return on their political work when you look at the cash being shoveled out of the Treasury for “faith-based initiatives.” They obviously should have paid more attention to Senator Grassley. I suspect he is reacting to complaints from his constituents who feel abused by one or more of these preachers.

My maternal grandmother was a supporter of one of these charlatans until the entire family convinced her she should spend her money on a local church that could actually do something for her.

I’ve watched too many scandals involving one or another of these cretins to ever trust any of them.

9 hipparchia { 11.08.07 at 1:26 am }

it’s not my comfort that i’m running the a/c for. i’m not the one who’s refusing to part with the heavy fur coat in the summertime.

10 Bryan { 11.08.07 at 9:59 am }

There’s always a “reason” that it is not their fault, isn’t there.

11 hipparchia { 11.08.07 at 6:01 pm }