Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Republican investigation of televangelists

Hallelujah! Ten televangelists are being investigated by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, for sketchy business.

From today's Dallas Morning News:

Mr. Grassley said the investigation was triggered by news reports and complaints from the public and will look at whether the ministries have abused their tax-exempt status.

"The allegations involve governing boards that aren't independent and allow generous salaries and housing allowances and amenities such as private jets and Rolls-Royces," Mr. Grassley said.

"I don't want to conclude that there's a problem, but I have an obligation to donors and the taxpayers to find out more. People who donated should have their money spent as intended and in adherence with the tax code."

This televangelists and televangelical couples are:
  • Randy and Paula White
  • Benny Hinn
  • David and Joyce Meyer
  • Kenneth and Gloria Copeland
  • Bishop Eddie Long
  • Creflo and Taffi Dollar
I am surprised to see Joyce Meyer and the Copelands on this list. Although I've always been annoyed by Mrs. Meyer's acerbic demeanor and the Copelands' myopic discussion of complicated topics, I never really wondered if they might be engaged in unethical business practices. Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar are completely different stories--the few times that I've seen these men speak (on television) or read about them in the news, I've always felt uncomfortable. I get the feeling that they have abused a lot of poor, sick people with their "health and wealth" "prosperity gospel."

It will be interesting to see what Senator Grassley's investigation turns up. It may be that these folks are all on the up-and-up, but I'm fairly confident some of them are not. Shady dealings seems to come with the territory of televangelism.

Hat tip: Bible Belt Blogger


TweetyJill said...

Joe, I am more concerned about the fact that you actually can recognise these names. I am obviously slacking when it comes to my TBN/conservative TV watching times.

Joe Moderate said...

What can I say? One of my buddies in undergrad once worked as a tech at a TBN affiliate in New Mexico (although he had stopped working there long before I met him due to his disagreement with the prosperity gospel). But we watched TBN together a few times so he could comment on stuff. It was interesting.

Plus, how can you avoid not watching TBN? It's so freaking entertaining! So much yelling and spitting and begging for money. Kinda fun to watch, if you can manage to not think about all the poor people who are getting swindled...

Darren said...

i'm actually NOT surprised that the copelands are on that list. they're pretty much part of that "health and wealth" craze, and are well associated w/ some of the other names on the list.

but joyce meyers?? that IS a shocker!