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Time Churches gave a full account in Australia

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by ManlyBacker, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

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    At least they are doing something in the USA. Tax exempt status is a privilege we all pay for and needs greater scrutiny, especially with the influx of overseas organisations lining up to fleece the gullible.

    Senate investigates lifestyles of the rich and pious
    Anne Davies Herald Correspondent in Washington
    November 9, 2007

    LUXURY cars, corporate jets, huge salaries and oceanside condominiums. It sounds more like the trappings of Hollywood than of those who claim to serve the Lord.

    In a highly controversial move, which has raised issues about the separation of church and state, a Senate committee has announced plans for an inquiry into the financial workings of six well-known evangelical churches after concerns were raised about the lavish lifestyles of their founders and whether these were being built on tax-exempt proceeds from their donors.

    At least three of the churches under investigation have a presence in Australia, mostly in Queensland.

    The inquiry is being driven not by the Democrats but by a Republican on the Senate finance committee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who has made scrutiny of these mega-churches part of his brief.

    On Monday he faxed letters to a half-dozen evangelical mega-ministries requesting information about salaries, board oversight and perquisites, which appear to include luxury oceanside homes, flights on private jets and opulent office furniture.

    "I'm following up complaints from the public and news coverage regarding certain practices at six ministries," Senator Grassley said. "It's part of my long-standing interest in making sure tax-exempt organisations are accountable."

    The six ministries share features: they have a Pentecostal theology, attract 10,000-strong congregations, have a big television presence and preach a "prosperity gospel" message emphasising material rewards for the faithful.

    The ministries are: Randy and Paula White of the Without Walls International Church, of Tampa, Florida; Benny Hinn of World Healing Centre Church Inc in Grapevine, Texas; David and Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries in Fenton, Montana; Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Newark, Texas; Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia; and Creflo Dollar Ministries of College Park, Georgia.

    Benny Hinn has toured Australia several times and is known for his flamboyant, highly theatrical style of ministry, which includes televised faith healings and mass spiritual "slayings". He has a post office box in Mansfield, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

    Curiously, Joyce Meyer's ministry is also based at a post office box in Mansfield, Queensland.

    Creflo reports that it has an office at Unit 1, Olympic Circuit, Southport, Queensland, while the Copelands have an Australia/Asia/Pacific website.

    The Copelands visited Australia for seven days last year as part of a mission through the South Pacific. They were aboard their $20 million Cessna Citation jet, bought after an appeal to their congregation to allow them to spread the word further afield.

    The US tax agency requires that pastors' compensation be "reasonable", a figure set by collecting comparable salaries and weighing factors such as church size and a pastor's value to the congregation. Internal Revenue Service rules prevent pastors and other insiders from excessive personal gain through their tax-exempt work.

    Creflo Dollar said the inquiry could affect "the privacy of every community church in America".
     
  2. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Australia desperately needs a Charities Commission to keep the few dishonest charities accountable and to clear the neames of all the rest that get tarred with their brush.
     
  3. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Big difference in some ways between the USA as money there put in the plate in church is tax deductible whereas that is not the case here. Any money given to ministry over there is tax deductible whilst here it is certain deductions that are provided.

    Important to add that church based charity over here is massive and take that away and it would cost the government billions to pick up the tab.

    All for the charlatans to come under scrutiny if it is done fairly.
     
  4. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    I'm not suggesting that the majority are doing anything untoward. But there are some cowboys out there that give the rest of the sector a bad name.

    We have a problem Houston - we need to deal with it.
     
  5. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

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    It is a matter of transparency, and where and how the money is used. Churches get a GST refund from the Government and pay no tax on income so there must be some accountability. That doesn't alter the fact that many ministries do valuable community work and are deserving of their status.
     
  6. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    MB obviously I move in such circles and the majority of these ministries are exceedingly frustrated that there is not an avenue for transparency.

    In the end it's not up to thousands of far-flung charities to come up with the means of accountability. The responsibility rests with the government and for some reason they have dragged their heels.

    I would say the ALP are more likely to get a Charities Commission happening.
     
  7. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

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    I would link it to the ATO as they are the ones providing refunds. There will always be a large number like me who think some Churches are completely undeserving and that others are running scams so it would be good to clear those who are legitimate.
     
  8. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Ban Catholics
     
  9. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    Precisely.

    For the record I have a lovely little letter from the ATO giving my mob a clean bill of health. We are one of only a handful of charities that have been given the big ATO tick.

    so stick that in your pipe and smoke it Flip.
     
  10. fLIP

    fLIP UFO Hunter

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    Deleting peoples posts again Matanazi?

    Fair Dinkum it was a joke attached with a wink based on that creidble TT episode.

    I am sick and tired of certain peoples opinions having the rule of this place. Im out.
     
  11. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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