Monday, September 14, 2009

Being Jesus Peddlers

"Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God."

--St. Paul

There are "so many" such people still present today: preaching peddlers profiting hand over fist using the name of Christ. Should some churches identified by not only membership but profit be taxed? Maybe this can help pay for health care. Ministers are often by far more profitable than entreprenuers. Guess who pays taxes?


Marion said...

You've touched upon a sore subject with me. When I hear that certain Christian ministers and organizations are making millions of tax-free dollars per year and are jetting around in private planes, well, it totally pisses me off. I think it pisses Jesus off, too. Interesting idea, Judith. Blessings!

Judith Ellis said...

Of course, the details need to be worked out. Many churches are acting as large corporations. I also think that many non-profits are scams. There is a lot of profit in non-profit.

Insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, which began as a cooperative, is a non-profit. But I wonder often what he difference is between it and Fortune 500 companies.

Oh, God, help us to fight and give us wisdom to know the difference between hypocrisy and greed and care and justice.

Marion said...

Amen, sister Judith. I honestly believe it's going to take God's help and lots of praying to figure all this out. But wouldn't it be wonderful if the big churches could help provide health care for their members and local community who couldn't afford it? Isn't it the duty of the church to care for its members? I think if all those megachurches would put their pastors and employees in reasonably priced homes and cars and sell the jets and bling-bling, then just think how many people could be helped? I'm getting excited just thinking about it. This Bible verse came to my mind:

Isaiah 58:10-11 New King James

10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Judith, you need to get right on this idea of yours and get some national media attention. You're on to something! Blessings, friend...

Judith Ellis said...

Marion - I so appreciate your comment. Thank you. I must say that we always need God's help. But some things seem pretty clear-cut. If you are a pastor and have multi-million dollar homes, if you are driving around in Bentleys and Rolls, if you have multiple vacation homes and take luxurious trips yearly, if your children are driving around in luxury cars like a 16 year-old that I know, if your child has a clothing lines, if people are walking up to you and giving you thousands of dollars in cash at any given time, you and your church should without a doubt be taxed.

My brother who is a pastor told me just today about a story that angered me. A senior he loves had been giving a certain mega ministry anywhere from $100-$200 dollars a month for a total of some 15 years. She had, in fact, been giving two other ministries the same, plus paying her 10% tithes to her local church. (By the way, I believe in tithing for the upkeep of the chuch and for the reasons in the passages above.)

She began to have difficulty with keep up with her giving. Be the responsible person that she is she wrote the mega church pastors explaining that she will not be able until her situation turns around. She received a letter from one of the pastor admonishing that her monthly payment is like a utility and could she go without her heat in winter.

This senior had been living off of her husband's military pension and had come into some money from a loved one who passed. I was incensed with this story as every American should be. But let's be constructive her and perhaps this will deter some from profiting from ministry. Let's tax these churches and their pastors. Many already operate like corporations and like corporations they can't be trusted to do what's right. Regulation is needed.