Friday, November 9, 2007

Tough Week for Millionaire Preachers

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa sent letters to six media mogul preachers Monday asking for documentation detailing their finances. The Senate Finance Committee targeted televangelists including the wonderfully named Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, and Randy and Paula White.

The committee says that those evangelists should spend donors' money "as intended, and in adherence with the tax code." The implication being that these preachers offer donors a range of services from healing to spiritual salvation and returned financial prosperity in exchange for their offerings without necessarily mentioning the private jets, Rolls Royces, and Manhattan condos these preachers sport thanks to their earnings.

This is a particularly timely development considering this week's Flyer cover story focusing on the money and power within the Memphis-based Church of God in Christ, Inc. (COGIC).

Though none of the preachers currently under Senate investigation are affiliated with COGIC, the denomination’s most prominent leader, the late presiding bishop G.E. Patterson built a global media ministry worth millions. Patterson's successor, for now at least, is Charles E. Blake, pastor of the "church of the stars" at West Angeles COGIC in Los Angeles, California. Blake pays himself a salary that nears a million dollars to the chagrin of one former member who asks, "what pastor needs to be paying himself almost a million-dollar salary, living in a mansion in Beverly Hills off the tithes and offerings of a congregation from one of the low-income areas of Los Angeles? The money he makes could be going back into the community."

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Flyer's story, we’re told that Blake’s wife has gone to great lengths to defame us, reportedly referring to our humble publication as a rag.

Well, amen to that.

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