Bishop Eddie Long and Other Televangelists’ Finances Probed Just tip of iceberg

By Sam Johns

— They have been living large for years off the Black community. They drink more liquor than anybody in the Black community. The smoke more dope than anybody in the Black community, and they use their position in the Black church to carry out debauchery and many other wicked things in the name of God. In fact, Black preachers given new meaning to the term fleecing the sheep... or sleep.

Their influence in the Black community has been fraught with crooked deals with the devil. They don’t believe in God in the first place, but use the Black church to worship the devil. This kind of behavior in the name God is the archetypical Black Preacher today.

Now, Congress is investigating these crooks (both white and Black preachers) on tips about preachers who ride in Rolls Royces and have purportedly paid $30,000 for a conference table, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said last month he's investigating the finances of six well-known TV ministers.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said those under scrutiny include faith healer Benny Hinn, Georgia megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and one of the nation's best known female preachers, Joyce Meyer. With the way most of these evangelists carry on, it’s easy to make the case that they are the AntiChrist that John talked about in the Bible and they don’t even know who they are.

Sen. Grassley sent letters to the half-dozen Christian media ministries earlier this week requesting answers by Dec. 6 about their expenses, executive compensation and amenities, including use of fancy cars and private jets.

"I don't want to conclude that there's a problem,” Grassley said in a statement, “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."

Those ministries that responded Tuesday either said they were cooperating or committed to financial transparency and following the law.

Among those receiving letters from Grassley were:

1. Creflo and Taffi Dollar (Black) of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries of College Park, Ga. Grassley's letter asks for records on private planes, board makeup, compensation and donations and "love offerings" to visiting ministers. In a statement, Dollar called his ministry an "open book" and said he would cooperate. He also questioned whether the investigation could "affect the privacy of every community church in America."

2. Bishop Eddie Long (Black) of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga., was questioned about his salary, a $1.4 million real estate transaction and whether he, and not the board, holds sole authority over the organization. Long plans to fully comply with the Senate's request, and his church has "several safeguards" to ensure transactions comply with laws governing churches, according to a statement from Long's spokesman.

3. Randy and Paula White (white but have mostly Black members like Jim Jones of Jonestown) of the multiracial Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries of Tampa, Fla. are asked about home purchases in San Antonio, Texas, Malibu, Calif., and New York, credit card charges for clothing and cosmetic surgery and the reported purchase of a Bentley convertible as a gift for Bishop T.D. Jakes, a prominent Texas preacher and televangelist. An e-mail to a spokeswoman for Jakes was not immediately returned.

The Senate Finance Committee has chided secular nonprofits for governance and compensation problems in the past, but this level of scrutiny for what are basically "non-pulpit churches" is unprecedented, said Ken Behr, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Because the groups have tax status as churches, they are not required to file tax forms open to public inspection.

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