Tags: john oliver | televangelism | rich | tax-free

John Oliver: Televangelism Ministers Getting Rich Off Tax-Free Gifts

Image: John Oliver: Televangelism Ministers Getting Rich Off Tax-Free Gifts
Comedian John Oliver attacked televangelism and the IRS on his HBO show "Last Week Tonight." (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 24 Aug 2015 03:18 PM

Comedian John Oliver continued his attack on televangelism and the Internal Revenue Service during Sunday's "Last Week Tonight," where Oliver started his own "church" and asked viewers for donations.

Last week, Oliver criticized some televangelists for asking viewers for "seed" money in change for blessings, which he charged was only used to enrich the ministers. Then he slammed the IRS for conducting only three audits of churches from 2009 to 2014.

"In order to prove how ridiculously easy it is to establish a tax-free 'church' that pads its coffers with donations for 'blessings,' Oliver established his own church — Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption — and asked his viewers to send cash donations to a P.O. Box that he'd then donate to charity," wrote the Daily Beast's Marlow Stern.

On Sunday, Oliver announced that viewers sent in "thousands" of dollars, which will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"The more money you send in, the more blessings will be returned to you," Oliver said at the end of his televangelism segment. "And that is still something I'm, amazingly, legally allowed to say."

Ole Anthony, president of the Trinity Foundation, which says it investigates religious fraud, told CBS News that 5 million viewers watch televangelists on a regular basis. Anthony charges that the lack of IRS action allows preachers to get away with what he calls abuses.

"They keep trying to send more money, more money, more money so they can get healed," Anthony told CBS News about the people giving to the ministries. "A few years ago, the IRS named Scientology a church. Since that happened, anybody can call themselves a church."

Erik Stanley, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told CBS News, though, that churches already do a good job at policing themselves and that the churches' tax exemptions are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

"You are always going to find abuses and excesses in the nonprofit community, and even in the church world," Stanley said to CBS News. "There is no surer way to destroy that free exercise of religion than to begin to tax it."

Raw Story reported that minister Jennifer LeClaire, of the Awakening House of Prayer, criticized Oliver's efforts for she charged was tying all televangelists together.

"[W]e have to be careful not to paint everyone who believes for an airplane or sows a seed to get out of debt as a heretic," LeClaire stated, according to Raw Story.



© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
Comedian John Oliver continued his attack on televangelism and the Internal Revenue Service during Sunday's "Last Week Tonight," where Oliver started his own church and asked viewers for donations.
john oliver, televangelism, rich, tax-free
413
2015-18-24
Monday, 24 Aug 2015 03:18 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved