You really should read this Senator Charles Grassley’s investigation into megachurches. It’s about time someone pulled down these big-time scams.
Nearly 2,000 years later, some who claim to speak in Jesus’ name are taking a different view. Consider Bishop Eddie Long, who pastors a megachurch in Lithonia, Ga. With a salary approaching $1 million a year and a nine-bathroom mansion situated on 20 acres, Long’s choice of vehicles reflects his opulent lifestyle: He drives a $350,000 Bentley.
Far from casting out money changers, Long is likely to join them. In a 2005 profile in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he defended his high-flying ways, insisting, “I pastor a multimillion dollar congregation. You’ve got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that’s supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering.”
These charlatans tend to hide behind the first amendment and claim that their congregations have a right to worship as they please (which generally seems to mean throwing money to the pastor at his bidding). As the article makes clear, Grassley isn’t interested in challenging them on constitutional issues: he’s investigation financial fraud, not doctrine.
That sounds fair to me. Churches ought to repay their tax exemption by being required to provide full, open, public disclosure of all of their finances.