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Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries
"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence," Franklin Graham wrote to the president.
May 15th, 2013
09:50 AM ET

Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - Franklin Graham, one of the country's most prominent evangelicals, says the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service included two of his ministries.

"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us," Graham wrote in a letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama. The evangelical leader is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.

Graham said the IRS contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a North Carolina-based ministry, after it ran newspaper ads in that state in April encouraging support for an amendment against same-sex marriage. The group also bought newspaper ads in November encouraging Christians to vote for candidates who oppose same-sex marriage, support Israel and "base their decisions on biblical principles."

Graham said the ads were purchased by funds donated by "friends of our ministry."

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In September, the IRS informed the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, an international aid group, that it would review the groups' records for the tax year ending in 2010, according to Graham. IRS agents conducted the review in October, Graham said.

The organizations, both of which are run by Graham, later received notice that they remain eligible for federal tax exemptions, he said.

"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence - or justifiable," Graham said in the letter to Obama.

The IRS did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. The agency has acknowledged that it gave extra scrutiny to tea party groups applying for federal tax exemptions. The Treasury Department's inspector general said in a report that the IRS' use of "inappropriate criteria"  ended in May 2012.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Obama said Tuesday that he has directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold IRS employees accountable for "these failures."

"But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong," Obama said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Billy Graham • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,354 Responses)
  1. Hubert

    How about no one gets tax exempt status. Is that fair to everyone?

    May 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • ting

      you really don't get it! do you?

      May 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Athy

      Or equally unfair to everyone.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      Hubert, that is as fair as anyone could hope for, but we've got these pinheads who want special treatment. Wat do?

      May 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • The government

      Sure sounds good to me Hubert I want fireworks at the next big party!

      May 15, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Except schools, prisons, courthouses, and churches. We could get along without megachurches, but little corner churches are the social backbone of this country. They do more harm than good, except for fooling around with politics, and it wouldn't be wise to mess with them. Also, you want schools run with your taxes to pay extra taxes when they buy stuff with your tax money? You gotta see the big picture. I'd like to see those huge phony churches pay taxes on their giant complexes, but not REAL churches.

      May 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  2. Apple Bush

    It is a terrible thing to lose your thoughts to permanent melancholy.
    Logic replaced with dread and misdeed
    Eat?
    Why the same dreams and people?
    Why the same shame and funeral?
    Sleep?
    My potion did not kill me. It doesn’t matter.
    Open me and purge it. Make me a child.
    Regrets adding up. Must balance the books.

    May 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-C3trU9ljw&w=640&h=360]

      May 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You're a creative writer. I've got a melancholy addiction myself. Just not drinking isn't enough to alleviate it though. Are you talking to any real people?

      May 15, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I am looking for a new therapist. I have gone through two and the both sucked. You?

      May 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Why did you post that mockery of God here? What do you think it proves?

      May 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      As a friend of mine said "I never had a healing experience I had to write a check for."

      There's something to be said for a community of people recovering from the same issues helping one another. It's not professional but it's organic and honest.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      @bill

      Good advise I am sure. all therapists do is tell you to breath and take drugs and we don't take credit cards.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I told the best therapist I went to "I can't sleep and I can't eat." He said "When you're tired you will sleep and when you are hungry you will eat".

      In the mean time helping someone who is in worse condition than you is better than a pill. It's prayerful too.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  3. aldewacs

    Dear Franklin Graham: please stop playing the pathetic persecution card. It's getting real old.
    If you stopped trying to influence secular life with your power wishes, your cult would be ignored, as it should be.

    May 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  4. Rob

    Could someone here remind me please? What happened to Madeline Murray O'Hair?

    May 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Frodo, The Giant Space Poodle

      Didn't they turn her into an airport?

      May 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Athy

      She died and went to heaven as punishment for being an atheist.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Rob

      Frodo & Athy – that's the kind of discussion I like, funny and enlightening. In my humble opinion every one loses when the discourse degenerates into name calling and hate speech from either side.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      You scared of being held accountable, Rob?
      If someone is angry at you, don't you care if you've wronged them and they are righteously angry at you?
      You think victims fighting back are not justified in their hate?
      You must love Ariel Castro. Go worship your hero in his cell. Oh, he is so oppressed and persecuted!
      Waaaambulance is on its way!

      May 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Reel it in

      To what exactly is Rob personally accountable? Think hard..I know you can.

      May 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      I'm guessing you already know she was murdered. I don't see the connection to the article.

      May 15, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "What happened to Madeline Murray O'Hair?" She lived a better life than those three girls who were held captive for ten years by a Christian. Did you have a point besides the one your head comes to?

      May 16, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  5. Bible Clown©

    Gee, this has turned back into WHY ARE CHRISTIANS BECOMING A HATED MINORITY? Isn't there a soldier's funeral you should be picketing somewhere? What a bunch of huns.

    May 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • ting

      Do you tell yourself that your IED is normal?

      May 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • lol??

      Watch it hunsy.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Reel it in

      Bible clown,

      Atheism has so many valid arguments...why pick a false one? You don't need to throw a false generalization at them, a simple.. "Do you see any gods anywhere.. I don't." will do just fine.

      May 15, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      ".why pick a false one?" What in my post did you see as a claim? What are you even talking about? Half the people posting here seem to be under the influence of powerful drugs.

      May 16, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  6. Bootyfunk

    Evangelist = rip off artist supreme

    May 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • ting

      paranoia is treatable

      May 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Salero21

      Butt flu is not treatable.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  7. Gregg Teel

    Tor: your comment is a good example. think it elevates the discourse to call people names?
    Colin: How do religious beliefs impact you in a negative way?
    Ath: So religious view shouldn't be expressed or voted on because you don't agree with them? I don't like my tax dollars going to fund abortions but they do. I don't call you names or say you don't have the right to think that way because I don't agree with you.

    May 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you can't really be asking how religion impacts someone in a negative way, can you?
      seriously, how about YOU answer that question. how do you think religion impacts the non-religious? try to be honest. give a full answer.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • sam

      Because it's ok to vote to marginalize entire groups of people based on a throwaway line in the bible. That's for starters. I really don't think you want to have this discussion, Gregg, you're never going to get it.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • ting

      That MPD is glaring!

      May 15, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Gregg, I don't want your religious views dictating laws and social norms just as you (and I) wouldn't want the views of Islam etc. dictating laws and social norms.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Ian

      Face the truth, Gregg. You really are stupid. Blame your parents or your god if you like, but it's the truth.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      Gregg is a troll and will not answer honestly. Don't waste your time with this pos.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Salero21

      FRAUD is a troll and will not answer honestly. Don't waste your time with this pos.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  8. Bible Clown©

    This has gone a long way from the original topic; I actually think Graham is such a political player that he shouldn't be surprised by an audit any more than the teabaggers with all their anti-government rhetoric should be. But we ought to take this opportunity to batch-slap the IRS half to death anyway.

    May 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      In the real world it's not improbable that a political enemy would use government power against one. Neither is it unsurprising that a detractor would use a scandal to inflame opposition. Franklin is probably out of his league but he's just one of many aiming at the big dog.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • lol??

      I wanna be his driver.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  9. nuntukamen

    Nonsense. He put the target on his own back by pretending the separation of church and state was somehow not there. Just stay out of politics and teach what you would like within the confines provided you by your tax exempt status. Your Dad could have and SHOULD have taught you all about making those type of errors.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • ting

      your barking doesn't help, they retained the tax exempt status.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      RELIGION IS THE BEST BUSINESS IN THE WORLD, NO INVESTMENT NEED AND INCOME IS ALWAYS FREE OF TAX. WHO WOULD NOT WANT IT, HINDU, IGNORANT.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      His dad didn't respect our laws any more than his son. He stuck his big nose in every White House for the past 60 yrs.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "your barking doesn't help" ting is the same guy as lol?? He's still got dog fever.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Best Halal is heart of infidel, chewy ism, many recipes, roast ism over hot flame

      May 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTlTUTION

      Hey, look everybody. I can spell CONSTlTUTION WITHOUT A SPACE.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTlTUTION

      But I'm still having trouble with the caps lock.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Frodo, The Giant Space Poodle

      Finally discovered the small L looks like an i. Well it's about time!

      May 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Dippy

      Constitution. Note lower case i.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      @dippy
      Try that in the name field and see how far you get.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • STFU

      Mohammad says "Hey, look everybody. I can spell CONSTlTUTION WITHOUT A SPACE."

      Ha Ha ha, I have seen videos where birds or squirrels, after several attempts, figured out how to get seeds out of tricky feeders, but that did not make them intelligent. You are still a dumb Paki Mohammad A. Dar.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  10. Gregg Teel

    I understand that some people don't believe in God, which is their right. What I don't understand is why are many of them so hateful toward people that do believe? Why doe it bother them that some do believe?

    May 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Colin

      Because their beliefs impact me. The only way to stop them is to convince enough people how silly the belief in a god is, so as to undermine their power.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Tor

      Gregg: beliefs influence actions. And you get to vote.

      Got it yet? It's pretty simple, stupid.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Athy

      Because some of the people that do believe are letting their beliefs influence our laws. Understand?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      Hateful is threatening people that they are going to be burned ALIVE forever. Take your fake victim card and die in a fire, Gregg.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • ting

      ventriloquism must be an art for you!

      May 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Why do so many people mistakenly call someone that disagrees with them a hater?

      May 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • The government

      Because they think I"m their best friend and always will be.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Richard...the immediate posts above you answer your question.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      ". What I don't understand is why are many of them so hateful toward people that do believe? " My problem is that you want to have your opinions about us, exhibited above by your characterization of disagreement as "hateful," turned into legislation. You elect small-minded, hateful people, and they throw peanuts at black people and pretend the president is a Mau-Mau, and you picket dead soldiers' funerals, and then say those dead soldiers are being "hateful" to you. Believe what you like, but stop being such a Good German with your vote.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Conversation
      No ...it doesn't.
      I see people disagreeing, even name calling , and one who turned a proxy threat back at the party that they disagreed with ...show me where the "hate" is.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      All of the people who vote are letting their beliefs affect our laws.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  11. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Corruption of any kind is hind, filth, but hindu secular s, ignorant self center love it by their religious belief, enjoying tax free status on Tax payers expanse. COW URINE COLAS, NATIONAL DRINK OF HINDU INDIA.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAecqY2sbWQ&w=640&h=360]

    May 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Answer

      slam, boom. More, go, boom. Better.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • from The Cow Urine Diarrheas

      "I ting, therefore I splat"

      May 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • from The Cow Urine Diarrheas

      "I ting, therefore I spam"

      May 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Frodo, The Giant Space Poodle

      I hope you can make a video showing us how you peed your pants over figuring out how to use the small L.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • ??

      Frodo, do you need help with the reply function?

      May 15, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Hindus O Akbar, Allah O Suckbar

      Allah everything filthy ism you touch my ass I touch your ass ism,

      May 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  12. Colin

    It frightens me the most when they talk about "support for Isreal." These crazy nutter REALLY believe that the creator of the entire Universe and its billions of people "chose" the Jews as his favored people to live in Isreal and to throw out/kill anybody who opposes them. They honestly swallow this horsesh.it – and they would readilly use the US military to enforce their Iron Age myth!!

    May 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yeah, Obama should tell Israel to shove off!

      May 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • ting

      fool, learn to spell.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      The only reason Isreal exists is because people were told by the bible that it should...talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy

      May 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Salero21

      ting....do not get pulled into the lies of satan...just wait for the hom.os to give them butt flu.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Tor

      So Salero, all those other diseases that humans can get, cancers and all, god created those to punish us too?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • lol??

      One would think Australia could offer a refuge for anyone wanting out of the coming calamity in the mideast.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  13. Apple Bush

    It must be fun to be a bunny!
    Lookin’ wide awake when you’re really fast asleep;
    Lookin’ fast asleep when you’re hearing every peep!
    It must be fun to be a bunny!
    Floppin’ on yer side or sleepin’ on your tummy;
    Waiting for a berry or carrot or a leaf;
    Rushing to the yummy and showing yer sharp teeth!
    Purring and relaxed now, washed and dried;
    Wanna try to find me? Bunny sure can hide!
    Pet me here and pet me there and I will lick your face!
    It must be fun to be a bunny in a world that is safe.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Apple, how you making it man?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Hey bill d, doing ok, you? Bunny poetry allegory is a bitch man.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Kinda cute. You drinking bro?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Nope, on the wagon. See what happens?

      May 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  14. My Dog is a jealous Dog

    Is anyone really surprised that the IRS is investigating religious tax exemption for orgs making political statements or anti-tax orgs (Tea Party) – that is what they are supposed to do.

    Several years ago the IRS changed the rules around contract labor (they didn't think they were collecting enough) and I was audited for 3 years straight. They follow the money – nothing more.

    If you are a church and want tax exempt status – then do like the Amish do – keep your nose out of where it doesn't belong.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  15. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    hinduism corruption of truth called religions by hindu secularist, criminal self centered, one has to be hindu blinded to follow hindu Pundits, criminal crooks like Graham.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Colin

      I was wondering when Osama with Tourette's Sydrome would show up.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • CHURCH OF ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Please join our community today and be blessed by GOD truth absolute.

      Our core beliefs:

      1. No goat urine in the coffee.
      2. CONSTITUTION is spelled CONSTI TUTION.
      3. Belief in the undefined "Absolute Truth" absolutely.
      4. Hindu people....well just don't.
      5. CAPS LOCK cures cancer.

      Bless you brothers and sisters!

      May 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      You missed two of my post so for.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Oh FUCK!! I missed some of Islamabot's posts too. Son of a ....

      hey, good coffee, what's in this?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • sam

      LOL Colin!

      May 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    Franklin Graham told the nation that the re-election of Obama was proof positive that the US has turned it's back on God and that massive economic collapse would ensure as a manifestation of God's wrath.

    It must irk him that the US economy has been steadily recovering from Dubya's devastation since Obama took office.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • sam stone

      Hopefullly he chokes on it

      May 15, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • ting

      do you pull statements like that out of your ass?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Colin

      Unfortunately, it's a bit like those nutters who keep predicting the end of days and are constantly proved wrong. It won't educate their flock. As (somebody) said " You just can't fix stupid."

      May 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • sam

      No, ting, he's on record with that quote. Don't you like it?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • snopes says

      ting is a ding-a-ling

      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and false

      May 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Ting
      Nope. I pull statements like that right from the speaker's own media appearances, like this one:
      http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/frankin-graham-billy-obama/2012/11/15/id/464264?s=al&promo_code=10C0E-1

      May 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Science

      Doc...................they do not like sources.................it has to come from the bible.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • ting

      the onion, your ass what's the difference?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Science
      I know. All this "evidence" is just Satan trying to fool them!

      The wonderful thing about citing The Bible as a source is that God is never available for an interview to clarify what He really meant...

      May 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The difference is that The Onion is a reliable source for humour whereas my ass is only reliable as a conduit for fecal expulsions.

      Any other rhetorical questions for today?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Science

      Doc.................Boils down to the little red devil + and the bedVroooooooooom !................and money .........not funny !

      May 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Cletus

      "Oh noes! One o dem balack kneegrows don't belong in no White House! It's a sign Gawd is angry at old Jeb over there for putting on that dress last Sunday and flashing Mrs. Heplewhite. The END TIMES are upon us! Flee the wicked dark-skinned demons with your whole heart and trust in the Lawd to bring us to prosperity! Please give generously for our mission trip to the Congo where Gawd's gloary is killin them balack kneegrow sodomites! If we kin bribe them even more, they will stay there and not immigrate to our great state of Texass!"

      May 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "the onion, your ass what's the difference?" Lately, no difference. The Onion has made a cnt of itself.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Frodo, The Giant Space Poodle

      @Bible Clown
      I bet you regret posting that. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

      May 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      LOL@Bible Clown's massive cvnt.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  17. jonathan

    I am an ex-mormon. When I was 19 I even went to do 2 years of the church's bidding with no compensation in return. That church has an incredible amount of income and assets. It's funny, you can see plenty of poor people at church, but you never see poor people in charge.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Colin

      Congratulation Jonathan on getting out.

      The belief that an infinitely old, all-knowing sky-god, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, chose a small nomadic group of Jews from the 200 million people then alive to be his "favored people" provided they followed some rural laws laid down in Bronze Age Palestine equals Judaism.

      Judaism PLUS a belief that the same god impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to negate a rule he himself made equals Christianity.

      Christianity PLUS a belief that the secrets of the Universe were revealed to a failed conman in upstate New York, that aliens from other planets mated with humans who will one day be gods, that post mortem baptisms send people to a heaven, that the Israelis colonized America and that magic underwear will protect you from evil equals Mormonism.

      I guess Mormons take the gold for utterly stupid beliefs. One can imagine Brigham Young standing on a pedestal, accepting his medal and humbly proclaiming, “If my beliefs are even more ridiculous than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants”.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Johnathan
      The LDS are the worst for money grubbing.
      Not only do they demand that every Church member ti/the 10% of their total worth each year, they actually force them all into an annual audit with a Bishop to make sure they're paying up.
      No ti/the means no Temple Blessing which in turn means that you don't get the learn the secret handshakes, passwords, new names, and "special sealings" needed to get past Joe Smith and into the Celestial Kingdom.
      Spiritual blackmail at its worst.

      And where does the money go?
      According to the Deseret News Agency, the propaganda arm of the LDS, the Church spent some $750 million internationally on charitable works sbetween 1984 and 2004.
      They also spent 4 times that amount (approx $3 BILLION) in ¼ of the time to build a mall in Salt Lake City.

      Mormons are told: "if a dest.itute family is faced with the decision of paying their ti.thing or eating, they should pay their t.ithing." (Lynn Robbins, General Conference, April 2005).

      May 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Answer

      The LDS motto.. "your tithe before anything else."

      May 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      Congrats on escaping, jonathan! I hope you didn't fall into another cult, tho.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Sam

      Don't try to portray the leaders of the church like they're money-grubbing con-men. You know that local leaders do not receive any compensation for all of the time they voluntarily give to the church; and the general authorities receive – if anything at all – only according to their needs i.e. the welfare program. To wit: Bruce R. McConkie could barely support his family on the little stipend he received from the church; any extra income he could drum up only came from selling books. And the GA's who have enough income & assets of their own receive nothing from the church. I don't know what lies you've told yourself to justify rebelling against God, but don't try to burden those not of the church with the same satanic BS.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Religion is Fraud.

      Sam is one of the bad ones jonathan was escaping from. This sort of stalking behavior is illegal, Sam. He's left your cult of lies.
      You have no claim on him whatsoever. He should sue you. You should all be held liable for criminal damages.
      I'd also like to see you all taken out and shot, but we have to move forward using baby steps here...

      May 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • sam

      'Rebelling against god'. Oh please. Shoo.

      May 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Sam
      It is true that lay clergy don't get a dime. That is a testament to the effectiveness of the LDS' brainwashing.
      But don't fool yourself into thinking that the 12 took vows of poverty or live in humble abodes.
      Throughout its history, the Church has remained very tight lipped on financial details. They haven't released a financial statement to the US government since 1959. As a church, they aren't subject to the same sort of fiscal scrutiny that other organizations are. However, in 1984 some figures were released.
      The Quorum Of the Twelve were paid in the range of $80 thousand a year for living expenses, excluding benefits. This does not include any money received by business ventures or sitting on the board of directors for other companies. Adjusted for inflation, that equals $177,385 today.
      In addition to the modest salary, the Prophet and his Apostles are given living arrangments.
      Thomas S. Monson, for example, lived in a 24000+ square foot condo estimated at a value of $2.8 million.
      The Latter Saints have a lot of very profitable businesses in their expanding corporate empire, such as Deseret Management Corporation, Beneficial Financial Group , Bonneville Communications , Bonneville Interactive Services
      , Bonneville Satellite, 35 Radio Stations, Deseret Book, La'ie Shopping Center, La'ie Park, La'ie Cemetary, Hukilau Beach Park, La'ie Water Company, La'ie Treatment Works, Zions Securities Corporation, Farm Management Corporation (commericial farms and agricultural properties), Deseret Land and Livestock, 200,000 acres of land in Rich, Morgan and Weber counties, Sun Ranch (Martin's Cove), Deseret Ranches of Florida (Orlando) (largest ranch in Florida), Deseret Farms of California, Rolling Hills (Idaho), West Hills Orchards (Elberta, Utah), Cactus Lane Ranch (Arizona), Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (CPB), Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret Trust Company, LDS Family Services, Property Reserves Inc. (PRI), Ensign Peak Advisors, Brigham Young University, LDS Business College,... the list goes on and on.

      And they are expanding internationally.
      Don't you find it rather convenient that Spencer Kimbal's "Divine Revelation" allowing dark skinned people into the LDS priesthood in 1978 came at exactly the same time that they were expanding beyond the U.S. into countries full of people "cursed with the mark of Cain" ? Before opening the Temple in Brazil, they'd only gone to lily white shores like England, Alberta (Canada) and Switzerland.

      Joseph's Smith was using the "seer stones" in a treasure hunting scam for which he was arrested, tried, and kicked out of the county before he met Moroni in the woods.
      The aim of the church leaders has been apparant from the very beginning:
      "Ti.thing is an important test of our personal righteousness. President Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) said: “By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. … By it it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 276)."

      They want money.

      May 16, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Kev

      Next stop Speculation Junction.

      May 16, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  18. Craig Amiloa

    This current administration is corrupt to the bone. The Democaratic party is now fully in damage control at this point.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      And what , in your opinion, administration was not corrupt?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      All administrations are corrupt on one level or another.
      Whether you vote for John Jackson or Jack Johnson, you can rest assured that they'll both be at the mercy of special interest groups and corporate interests.
      At least the Dems might toss a few social programmes your way....

      May 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yeah Craig. Did you get your abortifacients yet?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Craig Amiloa

      I don't think I should take those. What do you mean?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Alias

      Unfortunately Bill,
      I got the ones your mama ordered.
      If only our Post Office was perfect the world would be a better place.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Craig
      Bill is trying to insinuate that the primary social programme inst/ituted by the democratic party is the distribution of abortifacients.
      As a Catholic, Mr. Deacon is against any kind of se/xual activity that isn't hetero hu.mping with the express intent of making a baby.
      Furthermore, he believes that blastocysticide is qualitatively the same as infanticide.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Alias

      @Doc
      Bill also thinks our marines are terrorists and the bible is the word of god.
      I think he is taking the wrong meds.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The truth is both sides buy votes. Liberals bestow "social programs" on us while conservatives "build the defense". When you can't make you're minimum Visa payment do you lose your vote?

      May 15, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  19. davesulis

    Churches should not exempt from taxes because they are business too. They have people marketing for them and the money they receive going to their church leaders' pockets. Look how rich they are. Have private jets, drivers, luxury cars to name a few

    May 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • ting

      yep churches fly in private jets and drive lamborghinis, makes sense to tax 'em

      May 15, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Those sports cars and women are just to glorify God. You know how it is.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  20. Judy Wood

    If you want your religious group to be exempt from taxes, keep your religious group out of politics. Don't endorse any candidate. Don't tell anyone how to vote. When you cross that line, you forfeit any tax exempt status. Franklin Graham crossed that line. His group should have to pay taxes just like any other political group. Period.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • AtlJack

      AMEN!

      May 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • EHKIng

      Agreed.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • ting

      they remain tax exempt . keep your stupid opinion to yourself

      May 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • sam

      You first, ting.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I wonder if you are aware that the establishment clause and and the Johnson amendment are independent laws

      May 15, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • mama k

      Absolutely, Judy.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Every election year, some country church will forget they may not use tax-exempt money to endorse a candidate. Big churches use lawyers and launder the money before they endorse big candidates, but some First Self-Righteous Church will go all out for the reform mayor and end up being declared a PAC by the IRS. If you lose your tax-exemption, you must pay taxes on your land, building, and income, which usually wipes out a church and ends with someone else owning the graveyard where your mom's buried. Never mind the politics of it; don't let your church get burned messing with politics.

      May 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @Judy Wood "If you want your religious group to be exempt from taxes, keep your religious group out of politics. Don't endorse any candidate. Don't tell anyone how to vote. When you cross that line, you forfeit any tax exempt status. Franklin Graham crossed that line. His group should have to pay taxes just like any other political group. Period."

      =>
      1. The tax code already prohibits tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates

      2. Are you further attempting to stop churches from lobbying the government on specific issues such as abortion? That would of course be illegal.

      3. If you answer yes to #2 (you believe churches should be prohibited from commenting on issues of public policy), I presume you also would apply that rule to all non-profits that are currently exempt from paying taxes and very active in the realm of public policy debate such as American Atheists?

      Anticipating your response that churches should not be allowed to lobby on matters of public policy, but other non-taxed organizations should be allowed to (I guess if they are atheist that is...), how do you justify that?

      May 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Rachel

      You tell 'er, Chad. That's my boy :-).

      May 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • sam

      Chad and Rachel should just go ahead and post as one under Rachad.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Science

      Hey faith.and chadie too...............the birds of a feather !................chad = rachael = chafie...........

      How did feathers evolve? – Carl Zimmer

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPLgfGX1I5Y&w=640&h=360]

      May 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Science

      Evolving Genes Lead to Evolving Genes: Selection in European Populations of Genes Regulated by FOXP2

      Apr. 18, 2013 — Researchers have designed a method that can universally test for evolutionary adaption, or positive (Darwinian) selection, in any chosen set of genes, using re-sequencing data such as that generated by the 1000 Genomes Project. The method identifies gene sets that show evidence for positive selection in comparison with matched controls, and thus highlights genes for further functional studies.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418124905.htm

      Peace

      BedVrooooom.............and the red devil................not funny !

      May 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Frodo, The Giant Space Poodle

      Chad, number 2 is not illegal. Churches have no business doing anything in our government because THAT is illegal.
      You are so dumb-stupid that I feel quite sure that your momma should be brought up on charges.

      May 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.