By Stephen D. Foster Jr. | 12 November 2015
A “Christian” pastor in North Carolina is living the good life off the generosity of congregants who think good things will happen to them if they make him wealthy.
Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church perfectly demonstrated why it’s time to tax the churches, after he refused to disclose what has to be a rather hefty salary to a reporter interviewing him about church finances.
“I know that we have to have integrity and we have to be generous, and I know the extent of which that is true for me and Holly,” Furtick claimed about the beliefs of him and his wife before telling WCCB that he won’t tell them what he makes and how much of it he donates to help others.
“So to go on record and say here’s how much money we’ve given and here’s what we do with our finances, to me, that would be the most arrogant thing I could do and it would rob me of the blessings of what Jesus said, which is that when you give, you don’t get up and tell everyone how much you’ve given.”
Jesus also said, “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But Furtick isn’t doing that. He just built a 16,000 square-foot mansion on 16 acres worth $1.6 million complete with a tax-free housing allowance from the church and he says it’s a gift from God when it’s actually the product of a scheme known as “prosperity gospel.”
Prosperity gospel is when the church leader tells his or her congregation that God will bless them if they give their money to the church, and that the more they give the happier they will be.
This is very advantageous for the church and its leadership, but not so much for the congregants who give their money away in exchange for the promise of potential success.
And how does the church manage their ill-gotten gains? By hoarding it for themselves, of course.
According to Raw Story,
Elevation Church does post some financial records on its website, reporting that the church took in $33.5 million in offerings last year and gave away about $3.8 million in outreach, spent $9 million on personnel and reported $13.9 million in cash assets.
Only just over ten percent of what the church took in last year went towards helping out the community while nearly 30 percent went to church staff. The rest is held as cash assets. And those numbers only equal $27 million, which makes one wonder what the remaining $6 million is used for.
But Furtick refuses to disclose what his salary is with the church because he says it’s against God.
“So when you give one part of a picture, whether that’s how much one of the staff members, what they make, that’s between them and God. That’s not mine to release, and the same with my family. I wouldn’t do that to my wife and my kids. I wouldn’t do that to one of our staff members.”
In other words, Furtick doesn’t want to risk pissing off the people he has been swindling because once people wake up and realize he’s been getting rich off their tithes, he may no longer be able to afford living in that big house he built for himself instead of using the money to actually help those in need.
Megachurches are so rich but only a fraction of their take from parishioners actually goes toward helping others. Meanwhile, the pastors of these churches are able to buy private jets, fancy cars, and lavish homes and shield it from taxation while the rest of us who actually work to make a difference in the world get no such exemption and we certainly don’t get rewarded by God for giving our money to people who are already outrageously wealthy.
And this is why we need to tax these churches. So money can be used to help people in need and the country as whole instead of the greedy assholes who pretend to worship God so they can make a buck.
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