“Prosperity Gospel” Hasn’t Earned Congressional Blessing

31 03 2008

Churches that preach wealth as an essential part of Christian faith are under political review . . .

Religion
‘Prosperity Gospel’ Churches’ Spending Reports Due

Listen Now [5 min 32 sec]

Morning Edition, March 31, 2008 · Monday is the deadline for some popular mega-churches to report to Congress on how they spend their money. These churches all preach wealth as an essential part of faith.

Steve Inskeep speaks with religion professor Anthea Butler about “prosperity gospel.”

US News & World Report writes about “prosperity gospel” here.

Time Magazine does the same here:

Some see Grassley’s acts as a religious vendetta, launched by a white-bread Evangelical who doesn’t get the group’s view of rich pastors as a sign of divine grace. Grassley has hinted that his purpose may be to revamp tax laws to keep up with rapacious preachers.

Remarks Charles Haynes, senior scholar with the First Amendment Center: “I’m worried that [the six] might be used to push for stringent transparency regulations that would affect all religious groups. They are extreme, and extreme cases can lead to bad law.”

Grassley rejects the criticism. “We’re not looking at doctrine. I don’t know much about the words Prosperity gospel,” he says. But he acknowledges that religious-freedom concerns may make an investigation a “little more difficult to defend.”

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4 responses

31 03 2008
Crimson Wife

Regardless of one’s personal beliefs about the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, it’s hard to think that he’d/He’d approve of private planes and “business” trips to Fiji…

31 03 2008
JJ

And also there’s that pesky verse about rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, which makes me wonder whether those tax breaks are about to be (and ought to be) called into question —

4 04 2008
Nance Confer

CW, I agree but I don’t understand how any church can be exempt from paying taxes on income. If you end up with more at the end of the year than you started with, even if you are a church, what’s a reasonable amount to leave untaxed? Just enough to patch the roof or do churches really need the gold topping that one of our many local churches has? Where’s the line? Why is that line different from the line I have to live with as a small-business taxpayer?

Nance

4 04 2008
JJ

Apparently there IS no line!

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