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dogemperor [userpic]



dogemperor [userpic]
IRS laying the smack down on dominionist churches/501(c)3 groups?

This has been reported on Talk2Action, but not yet on Dark Christianity, so may as well post it here:

Apparently the IRS is now starting to aggressively go after churches and 501(c)3 groups violating tax-exempt status by electioneering, according to this news article. Even more of note, reportedly some groups may end up losing their tax exempt status for multiple violations:

text of the article follows )

The "real world" effect on this is that at least three groups--possibly linked to dominionist groups--have probably lost their tax-exempts, and a number of dominionist groups are probably on what can be delicately referred to as "double-secret probation". Of particular note, the sort of "Christian voter's guides" distributed by the Christian Coalition, American Family Association et al could end up getting churches in rather serious trouble.

This is especially relevant as not only is Americans United but also now Defcon America have specific projects to allow persons to anonymously report electioneering violations at churches, and even mainstream pastors are starting to stand up (such as in the Ohio Pastor's Rebellion of over 40 churches filing IRS complaints against World Harvest Church in Columbus for illegal electioneering). Americans United reports in its press release that they themselves reported 11 churches in 2004 alone.

The IRS has released some details here in regards to the matter and also indicates it will have even more stringent regulations in 2006--in part because of a Treasury Department audit indicating lax enforcement of the law in regards to illegal electioneering. Entire denominations in certain cases could be in trouble (among other things, the Assemblies of God has been documented as being a major fundraiser for John Ashcroft's senatorial campaign).

I've posted a reply on Talk2Action which the general relevance of this increased enforcement for groups specifically monitoring abuses.

dogemperor [userpic]
Here we go again...

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]cyber_istari) Just saw on [info]state_of_belief:

NC GOP asking state churches for copies of church directories. Fortunately, some state church leaders are warning against it, mostly on privacy grounds.

(Never posted a story before. Forgive me if I missed this one in the community already.)

Current Mood: stressed
dogemperor [userpic]

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]another93)

I had my doubts when King sold her husband's Dream speech for a commercial. But this is just sad to see her embrace the mega church.

King's suburban funeral site raises concerns

ATLANTA — The church where Coretta Scott King's funeral will be held is not the historic inner-city church where her husband preached but a suburban mega-church headed by a controversial pastor who subscribes to the "prosperity gospel" — the idea that the godly will be rewarded with earthly riches.

With a seating capacity of 10,000, the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is well-suited to host today's service. The long list of mourners expected includes President Bush, former President Clinton, Stevie Wonder and Maya Angelou.

But some here are concerned that the message of New Birth's pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, does not mesh well with the precepts of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was a champion for poor and disenfranchised blacks.

Long, a fitness buff with an energetic style, has emerged as one of the nation's most influential black pastors. Since he took over the church in Lithonia in 1987, membership has expanded from 300 to more than 25,000. Long's weekly program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, "Taking Authority," is seen nationwide.

While his ministry may emphasize the relationship between spiritual and economic success, it does not ignore the downtrodden. After Hurricane Katrina, Long's church mobilized to help about 5,000 Gulf Coast residents, providing meals and housing.

But his style does not always sit well with some members of the civil-rights era's old guard.

In August, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Long received more than $3 million in salary, benefits and perks — including the use of a $350,000 Bentley — between 1997 and 2000 from a charity he founded. In response, Long told the paper that "Jesus wasn't poor."

Long has angered some pastors with his support of Bush's "faith-based" initiatives and his opposition to gay marriage. The latter position put him at odds with Coretta Scott King, who interpreted her late husband's message as one that was tolerant of gays and lesbians.

"Thus far, Long has not been connected to the social-justice movement in the city of Atlanta," said Robert Franklin, a professor of social ethics at Emory University's Candler School of Theology.

New Birth does boast an important tie to the King family: Bernice King, Coretta and Martin's youngest daughter, is a minister there.

Neither Long nor members of the King family could be reached for comment Monday. But friends said the family decided it would make sense to hold the funeral at New Birth's arena-style worship center, which will be able to handle the large crowd.

Still, Ebenezer Baptist has played a role in the weeklong celebration of King's life. On Monday, hundreds of mourners waited in a driving rain to enter the church's worship hall and file past her casket. Across the street, an estimated 1,700 people filled the church's newer facility for a musical tribute, including Oprah Winfrey and other entertainers such as Gladys Knight.

But that nod to the past did not appease critics such as Franklin. It is the funeral, he said, that is "the high, holy moment in the African-American village." And he argued that the best place for her funeral was in the heart of the inner city — not just for symbolic reasons, but logistical ones as well.

"I'm frankly a bit sad for all of the poor and homeless people in the downtown area who will not be able to make it to the suburbs," he said. "The King legacy was their legacy too."


dogemperor [userpic]
ooh..... lookie here.....

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]cheap_laugh)

An Abramoff/Dobson connection?

Gambling might not rank as high as homosexuality or abortion on the list of social evils monitored by Focus on the Family found er James Dobson, but its growth has provided many occasions for his jeremiads. The indictment of Indian casino lobbyist and influential GOP activist Jack Abramoff was one such occasion. In a January 6 press release issued three days after Abramoff's indictment, Dobson declared, "If the nation's politicians don't fix this national disaster, then the oceans of gambling money with which Jack Abramoff tried to buy influence on Capitol Hill will only be the beginning of the corruption we'll see." He concluded with a denunciation of vice: "Gambling--all types of gambling--is driven by greed and subsists on greed."

What Dobson neglected to mention--and has yet to discuss publicly--is his own pivotal role in one of Abramoff's schemes. In 2002 Dobson joined a coterie of Christian-right activists, including Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, to spearhead Abramoff's campaigns against the establishment of several Louisiana casinos that infringed on the turf of Abramoff's tribal clients. Dobson and his allies recorded messages for phone banking, lobbied high-level Bush Administration officials and took to the airwaves. Whether they knew it or not, these Christian soldiers' crusade to protect families in the "Sportsmen's Paradise" from the side effects of chronic slot-pulling and dice-rolling was funded by the gambling industry and planned by the lobbyist known even to his friends as "Casino Jack."

Will we see Dobosn, Perkins, Falwell and Robertson indicted? one can only hope....

Current Mood: amused
dogemperor [userpic]
Dominonism Found and Challenged (?):

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]friarjohn)

Church leaders come forward to defend call for IRS audit
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Joe Hallett
Picture (Metafile)

The Rev. Eric Williams says more pastors are joining a call for an IRS investigation of the political activities of two local churches.
Religious leaders who accused two evangelical pastors of illegally playing politics came forward yesterday and reaffirmed their decision to challenge the tax-exempt status of the pastors’ churches.

Arrayed around the pulpit at the North Broadway United Methodist Church in Columbus, 22 of 31 pastors who originally filed the complaint with the Internal Revenue Service gathered for a news conference to defend their rare and explosive action. Yesterday, the ranks of signers grew to 33.
And the Rev. Eric Williams, senior pastor of the North Congregational United Church of Christ in Columbus, said at least two dozen more ministers from Ohio and across the nation have asked to have their names added to the complaint seeking an IRS investigation into the political activities of the Rev. Rod Parsley, of World Harvest Church in Columbus, and the Rev. Russell Johnson, of Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster.

“We come from different traditions, we come perhaps from different theological points of view, we come from different experiences, but we all come together around this one single concern,” Williams said, referring to the pastors representing nine Judeo-Christian denominations.

The pastors want the IRS to determine whether the two evangelical megachurches headed by Parsley and Johnson, along with three affiliated organizations, should lose their tax-exempt status for participating in partisan politics.Read more... )

Liks provided by yours truly.

dogemperor [userpic]
A possible method for impeaching dominionists?

I actually saw the following in a response to a recent Raw Story article (on a leaked Justice Department memo in regards to the ongoing scandal about how the NSA may have illegally spied on US nationals with the President's consent and used warantless wiretaps--reportedly, the Justice Department will be defending the President) and, well...it's piqued my interest, to put it mildly.

Namely--at least according to this blogger--it may theoretically be consitutionally possible to have impeachment proceedings begin without the House Judiciary Committee voting for it, specifically, by a state government calling for impeachment:
here's the whole skinny )

Now, I'll be honest. Most of me is inclined to take this with a bit of salt...but I'm having problems finding flaws in the strategy he's taking (at least as far as *getting the dominionists out of office*). It also might be worth looking into *state* impeachment rules, too.


dogemperor [userpic]
Ohio Restoration Movement churches may be in deep trouble with the IRS

(crossposted to Talk2Action--as this is a fairly major development in the fight against dominionism in Ohio, and--if the pastors in question win--possibly nationwide)

Two particular churches which have been linked to the Ohio Restoration Project--World Harvest Church in Columbus and Fairfield Christian Church (also in Columbus)--may be in serious tax trouble.

An alliance of thirty moderate churches has teamed together to file formal complaint against World Harvest Church and Fairfield Christian Church for electioneering violations.

As groups such as DefCon America are gathering documentation of illegal electioneering in churches, it's very encouraging to also see mainstream churches finally standing up to dominionists attempting to hijack Christianity.

More details, including a backgrounder )

dogemperor [userpic]
In direct relation to busting dominionists' tax exempt statuses...

In light of first the DefCon America call for people to report dominionist groups violating tax exempt status and a later report of at least the second serious threat against Focus on the Family's tax exempt status, I would like to present both a bit of useful info and history and a very long list of groups that you, too, can file complaint in regards to.
First, the history )

A brief note on the whole 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 stuff...the US tax code allows specific exemptions to federal taxes for certain classes of nonprofit organisations. To make a very long story short, the three main types of nonprofit groups legally recognised under the US tax codes are 501(c)3 groups, 501(c)4 groups, and PACs (political action committees). Both 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 groups can be set up as nonprofit groups; 501(c)3 exemptions tend to be used by churches, schools and educational groups whilst 501(c)4 groups tend to be used by actual lobbying groups. (Of note to Dark Christianity, dominionist groups typically register as 501(c)3 groups, and typically under the "religious ministry" or "educational foundation" exemptions (with the exception of groups like the DeVos Foundations, which are organised as private charitable foundations). The very few dominionist groups registered as 501(c)4 groups are uniformly registered as "social welfare organisations".)

The main difference in practice between a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4 in practice:

501(c)3 group donations *can* be counted off on taxes as "tax deductible donations" but 501(c)3 groups generally are not legally allowed to engage in most political activity. (Certainly not advocating certain persons or certain parties for election, even certain issues can be iffy if it's a party-defining issue)

501(c)4 groups have more leeway as far as lobbying in Congress and state governments but donations to these groups are *not* tax deductible.

The specific IRS rules for lobbying for 501(c)3 groups are here and the rules for 501(c)4 "social welfare" groups are here.

Of special note (and of major import for dominionist groups)--groups that lose their 501(c)3 status as a result of lobbying *cannot* apply for 501(c)4 status; they lose their tax exempt status period. (Christian Coalition had changed their status to 501(c)4 just before the IRS yanked their tax exempt status, and it was only after almost seven years before it was restored; even now, they're essentially on "double secret probation" with the IRS.) Also, 501(c)4 groups can't have political lobbying as their *primary* activity (which is much of what got the Christian Coalition in trouble, and what may even get the few dominionist 501(c)4 groups in hot water).

Instead of the 1040C or other business-related tax forms that are normally filled out, organisations that qualify as 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 groups fill out a different form, called a form 990 or form 990-PF (the latter mostly applies to 501(c)4 groups); churches are largely exempt from having to register or file a form 990 (it's "assumed" they're tax exempt unless they show misbehaviour like, oh, distributing blatantly partisan dominionist voter's guides in sermon).

This is important in relevance to the next section:
Form 990 filings and tax exempt statuses for lots of dominionist groups )

I know there are probably dominionist groups I've not listed there--if you've additions, let me know and I can add their tax info (and you can have fun reporting them for their misbehaviour!).

dogemperor [userpic]
VERY interesting link re political contributions from churches

...speaking of political contributions:

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.asp?Ind=W05&Cycle=2000 has a list of church groups that have donated politically (something that one would think would be enough to shut down the tax exempt status of churches, but apparently not...though it should).

Apparently the AoG (through private individuals) was the second largest church-related donor in the *country* in 2000, with over $22,000 going to Republican candidates.

Per http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.asp?CID=N00005165&cycle=2000, nearly all of this money went to John Ashcroft's campaign for election--and he was *still* beaten by a dead man.

dogemperor [userpic]
burning the religious right

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]cheap_laugh)

the republicans, on page 119 of THIS DOCUMENT tells it like it is... how the Religious whackos are to be used:

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."
-Mike Scanlon

Current Mood: ecstatic
Current Music: SubGenius Hour of Slack: no.1018 - 1997 rerun SLAMMING HEAVEN No. 039 -S GATE
dogemperor [userpic]
Unholy Alliance


This Time Magazine article connects a player in the spreading White House scandal, Jack Abramoff, with former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
A Rogue Choir...

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]ns_kumiho)

CHARLOTTE HARBOR — The pastor of a Charlotte Harbor church had 16 church members booted from a service after they allegedly refused to stop singing and let the clergyman preach.

Deputies were called at 10 a.m. Saturday by Pastor David Noel of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Harborview Road.

Noel told a deputy he was instructed by regional church superiors to involve law enforcement to remove the rogue choir.

The deputy issued trespass warnings to the group, and all 16 left the church without incident.

The sheriff's office got another call from the church shortly before noon when a parishioner wanted to file assault charges against Noel.

Edourd Pierrelus, 57, of Port Charlotte, said Noel got mad at him, hit him in the chest and twisted his earlobe during a church service a week earlier.

The man told the deputy the entire congregation of 25 witnessed the attack. Pierrelus said that because of the way the singing dispute was resolved, he now wanted to pursue charges of simple battery.

Deputies say the dispute is rooted in concerns about the handling of church funds. The members of the rogue choir told deputies they'd handle those concerns within the church.


Anyone know the story behind all this?

dogemperor [userpic]

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]cheap_laugh)

to Operation Blessing. Operation Blessing is run by Pat Robertson, and his wife. O.B. used money, planes and it’s tax exempt status to ferry mining equipment to the now failed diamond mines. FEMA has removed them from their hoempage, but....

Listen up:
Robertson has supported the tyranny of Mobutu by engaging in business (Damond Mining) with the tryant:


From and article found at skeptictank:


A yearlong investigation of televangelist Pat Robertson’s activities in Africa is now over, but state officials are sitting on the final report pending a review by attorneys, reports the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. The probe focused on possible inappropriate activities involving Robertson’s Operation Blessing outreach, and a private corporation he operated known as the African Development Co. Based in Zaire, the firm was established by Robertson during the rule of the late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The two men established close ties, and Mobutu wined and dined Robertson during one visit to the country; ADC also received vast forestry and mineral concessions, but the diamond mining operation eventually went bankrupt. Mobutu, after a quarter-century of iron fisted rule, died last year in exile from cancer. He left Zaire bankrupt and impoverished, and since 1994 had even been considered persona non grata in the United States.

In April, 1997 two pilots who worked for Operation Blessing charged that planes linked to Robertson and his ministry flew mostly to haul equipment for ADC’s private diamond operation. Robert Hinkle, the chief pilot told reporter Bill Sizemore that of about 40 flights within Zaire during the half-year period he was there, “Only one or at most two” were related to the humanitarian mission of Operation Blessing. The rest were “mining-related.”

“We got over there and we had ‘Operation Blessing’ painted on the tails of the airplanes, Hinkle told the Virginian-Pilot, “but we were doing no humanitarian relief at all. We were just supplying the miners and flying the dredges from Kinshasa out to Tdshikapa.”

dogemperor [userpic]
Some nifty information on the Coalition for National Policy...

CNP info (for those who aren't aware, the CNP is a very secretive group that essentially coordinates dominionist policy and acts as a "master think tank" for many, many dominionist groups; it is supposedly invite-only, though in past (the late) Institute for First Amendment Studies and People for the American Way have successfully gotten membership lists):


Of interest in this article:

Shrub has given invitation-only speeches to CNP and may himself be a member.

Apparently the CNP has a website (http://policycounsel.org) that they have taken care to "poison" search engines so that a search for "coalition for national policy" or its leaders will not find it in a Google search.

Oh, and they've also apparently been investigated for tax fraud...

dogemperor [userpic]
Keeping Con Artists Out of the Pulpit


An interesting article talks about the real need for background checks for pastors in Christian churches. Someone calling themselves 'Reverend' does not automatically make them a 'good' person. Sometimes, it's the opposite- as many Christians (and Pagans) have bitterly experienced.

All Calls Not Divine

Like most other professions, good and bad people make their way into the ministry. Some religious folk want to believe that everybody who puts on a collar is answering a divine call and will forever stay on the straight and narrow. But we have evidence to the contrary.

Some people may be answering the call of an empty bank account. A congregation in South Carolina, for example, had upwards of $1 million in the bank before the new minister took his place in the pulpit. He started a building project, hired questionable consultants,...

He literally went on a spending frenzy. Because this is a Baptist church, one wonders why the deacons didn't reel him in. But they apparently joined the rest of the congregation in letting this man make financially ruinous decisions.

Unfortunately, situations like this are becoming more the norm than the exception. We all know people or know of people who attend services at imperfect places of worship.


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