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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. Which God?

    Franklin Graham, your ministies should be investigated, then taxed. You have violated your tax exemption status when you get involved with politics. You know you shouldn't do so, yet you continue to try to influence the government with you biases, predudicial politics, taking away the rights of this country's citizens., all based on the babble book and a sky-fairy, of whom no one has seen, or heard from.. Get lost, faker.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      So when our Unions display Obama posters and bumper stickers that declare that our union was for Obama....should our union get taxed as well?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Are unions tax exempt?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • fred

      I have already been taxed once on my earnings why should they be taxed again when I give to the church? You want to double tax Christians but not atheists. You are a hater and that is the result when you see no hope and Christians proclaim of the hope they have. It is your choice to go through life with only the understanding that you are but organic matter responding to chemical stimuli. Empty, dark nothingness caused by an impossible accidental spontaneous universe.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • fred

      Yes the world will be just wonderful when it is filled with hopeless empty organic blobs. What a wonderful belief system atheists have

      May 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      Who's hopeless? Aren't Christians the ones who claim that we can never measure up, never be saved on our own, always need the charity of some deity that created us that way?

      Sounds like a pathetic "hope" to me.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Which God?

      Fred, you have a mental problem. We all know it, and I suspect you do as well, but are too cowardly to act upon that knowledge. I truly suspect that the best part of your organic blob of a brain, ran down your mothers leg.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      fred, once again demonstrates he is an idiot. . . fred, your income is taxed multiples times at various levels. But this isn't about your money, it's about another organization's money (revenue) after it leaves your hands. Commercial businesses are taxed – why shouldn't churches? For example, churches dump crap (in more ways than one) into the public infrastructure – why shouldn't they pay their fair share for sewage treatment?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • fred

      Hot Air
      Unions are not taxed just like churches are not taxed. Thanks to your liberal friends Unions can use donations to promote Democrats without consequence while Churches must never talk politics.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      fred, given that I have never participated in any political actvities in the USA, and amazing to even me, most of my American friends are religious Pubtards, you can hardly blame me for the USA's tax problems. . . That being said, after a little research, it appears that religions and unions are not treated exactly the same – they are covered by different sections of the tax code. Perhaps you (and Topher) should educate yourself on the hows and whys of your country's laws before shooting off your mouth and another toe.

      Now, what about your gross misunderstanding of taxes above – are you silently admitting you are a dufus?

      May 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      All that repetition in the Bible about worthlessness is translation from a picture language driving home the point that pride which rejects God and fills self is the root of many problems (God or no God). How to get people to recognize the evil side of pride and good side of humbleness, submission. It is when we humble ourselves and realize that we are broken the perspective of Gods greatness comes into clear focus. God says I will not refuse a broken and contrite heart but I will turn my face from the proud.
      I goes back to the Garden of Eden the perfect ark for mankind in full dependence on God. To break dependence we had to doubt Gods loving way was best and seek wisdom and power to be like God. Once we taste that fruit you cannot un taste it. Now we go through life using our wisdom and power only to find it empty of real meaning without God. You cannot discover that without life, a hard life where our sins (evil and faults) finally raise to the level we realize how helpless we are to get back to our created design (purpose is to appreciate the wonder of Gods love).

      Our hopelessness is in thinking we can live a good life and experience all God intended without God. Upon acceptance of Christ as asking for forgiveness we are in a position to receive the Holy Spirit. That Spirit opens the soul to experience the fullness of God in creation. Now we have joy and peace in the presence of God currently and assurance that a New Heaven and New Earth await. That is the hope Abraham, Isaac etc. had called the promised land. They never saw the land and even Moses never entered that land but they had hope. It is the hope in a promise not the physical land that reflects the substance of God. Science can measure physical but cannot measure what is the hope in a promise. That is where you find God and see the proof of God that begins with humble submission and recognition that we need a savior.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I'm amazed that fred can prattle on and on about the smallest and deepest details of unproven religious crap but doesn't understand much about something as mundane and real as taxes.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • fred

      HotAirAce
      What I know is that the government is allowed by God because people cannot rule themselves and are not willing to submit to the ways of God (believers or non believers).
      Politicians have crafted thousands of ways to take our money and we only talking about organizations that are exempt from having their money taken. Churches and unions are generally tax exempt. The Church because politicians wanted to appease Christians and get their vote and Unions because liberals wanted to get their vote. Everything else is a smoke screen.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So fred, you know nothing about taxation but are able to separate politicians from liberals – interesting. And of course you are able to substantiate that some god allows government. . . We're waiting. . .

      May 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • ME II

      @Topher,
      what hope is there in "full dependence on God"?

      "Our hopelessness is in thinking we can live a good life and experience all God intended without God. "

      What "hope" is there in thinking that we cannot live a good life without God? That sound like the opposite of hope to me, hopeless.

      When did "submission" become hopeful?

      May 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • ME II

      @Topher,
      "What I know is that the government is allowed by God because people cannot rule themselves ..."

      Funny how God has "allowed" every government that ever existed good and bad. Almost as if you didn't care or wasn't even there.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      The more I read from fred the more I realize the dude is not quite right.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      "What I know is that the government is allowed by God because people cannot rule themselves and are not willing to submit to the ways of God (believers or non believers)."
      ...
      ..
      This has got to be one of the most ignorant statements coming from a Xtian.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      what hope is there in "full dependence on God"?
      =>Good point. In those moments when one is fully dependent on God peace and love overwhelm the senses such that the long awaited hope is realized (i.e. we are caught up in the wonder not hopeful for the wonder). In the Old Testament when they spoke of a hope in the promise it was on the basis they had a previous encounter with God. The had experienced a taste of the presence of God that came when they fully trusted God. When Abraham held the knife in the air to sacrifice Isaac the child he waited for the hope was in the promise God would provide. The hope God will provide is assurance that we will be united in Gods presence. This full dependence is a peace often referred to as resting in the Lord.

      What "hope" is there in thinking that we cannot live a good life without God? That sound like the opposite of hope to me, hopeless.
      =>It is a relief to fully understand our place. It is when you let go of your fears and false efforts and climb up on Jesus lap and realize God already did it for you.

      When did "submission" become hopeful?
      =>Jesus submitted onto death for the will of the Father even though the Father, Son and Spirit are equal parts of the trinity. "be one as we are one".......I came to serve not be served....

      May 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • fred

      MEII
      As you recall it was Gods people that demanded a King like the other nations not God as King. God said fine but you will be taxed and driven like slaves, face wars etc.

      May 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      Just a little bit further and you dboublespeak will be complete:

      Submission = freedom

      May 15, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      Excellent summary. When we submit to Christ as Lord we have total freedom. Most people only submit once in a while and not fully which blocks experiencing the presence of God. In our lives when we work as onto the Lord we have greater joy at work and are more productive. Jesus said you cannot have two masters. Why choose the things of this world that will not last to be your master?

      May 15, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  2. roe

    well all know rich people want their money and all of it. These people make me sick. They dont care about anything but them selves. so basically fk you and your jesus. No take that to the bank.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  3. heh

    Its about time the IRS went after these tax evaders...

    May 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  4. Jean

    Franklin isn't at all like his father, lets start with that. If a "church" becomes a political machine it should loose it's tax free exemption..period! If a church makes profits from business dealings, it should loose tax exemptions. it goes without saying that when a "church" violates the rules that it should be investigated. F. Graham has no cause to be huffy about it when he clearly stepped over the line into politics and in my opinion should lose his exemption.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Michael

      Agree. 100%.

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

    Pat: "Maybe they should have been more careful who they endorsed."
    Wow. It appears the IRS got that message across loud and clear. Intimidation by a government agency, just maybe?
    WOW.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  6. Loathstheright

    And they absolutely should have investigated this tax cheat.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Robert

      id be willing to bet money all of the people calling this guy a tax cheat haven't filed 100% legit returns at any point in their lifetime

      May 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Well that's a safe bet 'cause you only need one non-compliant tax payer to cover your bet. Are you willing to bet that no religious organization and their charlatans and shamans have never broken any tax law? Any laws at all? I've got a million dollars that says one or more of America's supposedly finest citizens have broken the law!

      May 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Which God?

      Robert, speak for yourself.You know nothing about anything.Go kiss your sky-fairy's azz.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  7. The Bottom Line

    I find it interesting that since churches have a choice between being tax-exempt and being political, they unanimously choose the money over putting out their message.

    Says a lot about religion.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Yes, .... I thought you Atheist wanted Religion out of politics? Now you whine when they choose to not speak on politics?

      Interesting where the Atheist mindset is.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • The Bottom Line

      Actually, it is the Constitution that wants religion out of politics.

      Nice try, Marky, but as much as you try to change the subject, the reality is that churches can speak politically if they pay taxes, and look at what 100% choose.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  8. Flagship, NC

    I listened to him tell people how to vote before the last election. HE NEEDS TO BE TAXED!

    May 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Michael

      Tax religion now.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      I did as well but it i was not from the pulpit. Should a pastor be not allowed to voice politics even when they are not in their churches? Unions are also tax exempt but they tell people how to vote while at the job site. Should we review every union as well?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Paul

      Yes, all unions and all churches should pay taxes. Churches especially need to start paying property taxes.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  9. Michael

    You mean they actually target people?
    I was audited when they targeted medical professionals in NY.
    Maybe I should have alerted the press.
    Say a prayer Franklin.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  10. Wyatt Buchanan

    This has been an ongoing problem going back to the Clinton's; Obamas mentor's. Bill Clinton used the power of the IRS to revoke the tax exmept status of a pro-life chruch in Binghamton NY because they took out an ad in the paper and urged people to not vote for anyone who is pro abrtion while at the same time the Southern Black Baptist Leadership took out news paper ads supporting Clinton urging people to vote for him and nothing was done to them. It's the same old doiuble standard.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Michael

      The horror!
      My family was in real estate in NY and an IRS audit was pretty much routine.
      Maybe if anyone in your church had a pair it wouldn't be such a shock.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Say wha?

      Considering that is prohibited by law, with the penalty that they lose their tax status, why would you be surprised? That's like being outraged because thieves are arrested for robbery.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  11. TimeForChange

    Wonder if Al Sharpton or that other fake minister Jesse Jackson were also audited.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Julian

      Of course not. They are black.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • heh

      Maybe they are political groups that didnt apply for non-political tax exempt status?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      *National Action Network, Inc., is a 501 ( c )(4) organization. Contributions or gifts to National Action Network, Inc., are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

      Maybe you can google "Rainbow Coalition" for yourself.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  12. JonathanL

    My wife and I were targeted because I am an Atheist and she is a believist but not in BillyGrahamism. They are very specific and when they target you, and you are guilty until proven innocent. My sympathies whatever your beliefs or disbeliefs.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Michael

      Most people are targeted because they can't do math.
      Tax atheists now!

      May 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  13. Jeff

    i like franklin. because unlike his alzheimer father, he actually has the balls to call islam a terror religion.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Michael

      Ask him for a date.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      But he doesn't have the stones to say the same about christianity.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  14. UncleM

    He should have his tax exempt status revoked immediately for his political interference.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  15. Yeah Right

    Poor little victim, having to answer to authorities when he breaks the law. Don't they know he is above the law?

    Christians are soooooooooooooooooooooooo persecuted.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You are of course talking about the President

      May 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Yeah Right

      Ah, Billy, you are so cute when you do kindergarten tricks like that!

      May 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Moonraker

      Franklin Graham should be targeted along with all the other evangelicals peddling their nonsense and taking advantage of stupid people. I'm sure he has money stashed all over the place.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Then you have to target every group.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Dat

      "Then you have to target every group."
      Why would you say that?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Don

      "The organizations, both of which are run by Graham, later received notice that they remain eligible for federal tax exemptions, he said."
      Apparently Christian haters don't care for the law or facts. But hey, it's your right to hate whomever you want......oh, wait a minute, aren't you the ones trying to pass hate speech legislation?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Dat. You have to target every group that has Tax Exempt group, from the Churches to the Unions to Planned Parenthood. We read a bunch of Atheist cheer target the church but they do not understand that there are groups also targeting groups that they might agree with. To be fair this is where the trouble starts is when we believe that everyone is on the same page with targeting a groups tax exempt status.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      The investigation evidently found that he did not break the law.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  16. Tax the churches, now!

    That was a heartfelt emotional response.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Well, there's no arguing against emotion, especially if it's heartfelt

      May 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Heartfelt emotion – is that another description of completely unproven religious beliefs?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  17. Eric

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

    May 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      He was not talking about Graham's as yet un-investigated allegations!

      May 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • sam

      Graham's a shyster jumping on an existing bandwagon in the hopes he can look relevant.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  18. Michael

    The devil made them do it. right ?

    May 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Science

      The red one >

      May 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  19. Honey Badger Don't Care!

    If those a holes weren't using thier pulpit as a political soapbox then they would have nothing to worrry about.

    Having said that, TAX THE CHURCHES!!!

    May 15, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Topher

      Honey Badger

      I asked it a few pages back and I'm honestly curious. Why do you think a pastor shouldn't be able to talk politics, and why do you think churches should be taxed?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • tony

      Because they are 100% businesses and nothing else.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Answer

      Look at the Gopher s-c-u-m not wanting to think about the very essence of his own question.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Topher

      Tony

      That might be true for some churches. But I'd say that the exception, not the rule. MOST churches don't sell any products. True, nowadays you have churches with coffee bars or sell books and cds, but the basic church model is simply show up and worship God. So why should they be taxed?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      True, most churches don't sell a product, they sell a service which is also taxable. The service is wholly bullsh!t, but a service nonetheless.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Topher

      Which service is that?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      "MOST churches don't sell any products"

      Nonsense. They sell a point of view about god, and immorality

      May 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Salvation, peace of mind, ever lasting life. . .

      May 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      What they sell is the pastor's supposed authority and insight into the mind of god

      May 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Madtown

      the basic church model is simply show up and worship God
      ---–
      But, they still are providing a service, and to be able to continue doing so they need to pay the costs of doing business. Overhead, salaries, etc.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Answer

      The essence is this...

      Where can the pastor make his own voice to be able to effect changes to his own country through politics? On a personal basis it is in his own home dwelling. To his own family. The pastor has his right to his single vote.

      Bringing your own political viewpoint in the confines of a church is clearly wrong. It is wrong because our current society is no longer shackled by the powers of a delusion.

      The authority of a "church" has seen it's days. The authority of our governments are what we, humans, have NOW. Get used to it. The "god authority" and it's "power base" are dying.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Nonsense. They sell a point of view about god, and immorality"

      So you want to tax point of views?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Answer

      If you think that your "god authority" should be re-instated once again – that supplants our current government – then you're asking for a theocracy.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Answer

      So you want to tax point of views? <<– You buy a book with an opinion or story and pay taxes already.

      Idiot.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Topher

      Answer

      "Bringing your own political viewpoint in the confines of a church is clearly wrong. It is wrong because our current society is no longer shackled by the powers of a delusion."

      Why is it clearly wrong? If my pastor even went as far as naming names as to who to vote for or not vote for, it's simply an endorsement. We all do that when we talk politics around the water cooler at work. A pastor can't make a person vote one way or the other. So why does it matter?

      "The authority of a "church" has seen it's days. The authority of our governments are what we, humans, have NOW. Get used to it. The "god authority" and it's "power base" are dying."

      This I agree with. The Bible says this is what's going to happen.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Topher

      Answer

      " You buy a book with an opinion or story and pay taxes already"

      But you are purchasing a product. You pay for the book or the download of it. I'm not taxed for discussing politics or whatever with my family or friends.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Answer

      CNN, Fox, ABC, etc...

      NY Times, Chicago Tribune, etc..

      They're all outlets of "points of view." Incorporated to do business – taxable.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Answer

      @Gopher

      Ask yourself about what a church does. What is it's function? A s-c-u-m like yourself can only see your church.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Topher

      Again, you're paying for a product, in this case, a newspaper. Or the cable to watch the news.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Madtown

      But you are purchasing a product.
      ---–
      Topher must believe that if he can't enter/exit a brick and mortar building with a widget in a shopping bag, then he has not interacted with a "business".

      May 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Answer

      "I'm not taxed for discussing politics or whatever with my family or friends." <<– And here, now picture the muslims and their mosques. Their own political endeavors.

      Do you see how these religious ploys will bring down the system of our "free society"?

      What if in 20 years the muslims win their right to impose "sharia"?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Topher

      Madtown

      If I go to church, it doesn't cost me a dime to listen to the pastor. Nor am I required to believe anything he says.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Answer

      @Gopher

      What points of "god authority" do you personally want to impose over on all Americans? What laws do you want changed? Think on it s-c-u-m.

      Your religious views are wrong.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      For Topher. . . The Canadian Atheists take on religious tax exemption. . . Once upon a time. . .

      It was recognized that religious cults could wield political clout and that it was not good for the various cults to be overtly influencing lawmakers with their delusions, so the lawmakers offered the cults tax exempt status to shut up. In other words, the cults were bought off. Now, go do some homework and prove me wrong!

      May 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • JMEF

      Topher
      You are being deliberately obtuse. Priests, pastors and ministers are trained professionals in their field and are paid to provide service to their flock. Equate that with other professionals, lawyers provide their knowledge of the law, doctors provide their knowledge of medicine, pilots provide their skill, etc. all are services, get it, and they all pay taxes.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Madtown

      If I go to church, it doesn't cost me a dime to listen to the pastor
      ----
      None the less, they are in the service industry. Yes, the SERVICE INDUSTRY. I reiterate what JMEF wrote, very succinct and correct.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Topher

      Short of talking about God and worshipping Him, what service am I getting? Because whatever it is, I'm getting it for free.

      May 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Paul

      Churches should have to pay taxes because everyone else has to pay taxes. Why shouldn't churches have to pay taxes?

      May 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      "So you want to tax point of views?"

      Not necessarily. But to cliam they do not sell anything is absurd

      May 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "But to cliam they do not sell anything is absurd"

      What are they selling?

      May 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Paul

      Topher, why do you think that churches should not have to pay taxes like the rest of us?

      May 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • JMEF

      Topher
      Again deliberately obtuse. Do you remember the story a little while ago of the black couple that could not get married in the church they chose? The excuse given by the congregation was not bigotry but they were not paid up members of the church. So Topher if you wanted to get, a baptism, marriage, funeral, etc. would there be no cost? If every one that came into the church and did not contribute/pat for the SERVICE, how long do you suppose the joint would stay open? Do not be so stupid.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What are they selling? Snake oil and bullsh!t.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Answer

      Do more dodging Gopher.. we expect it.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • sam stone

      "What are they selling?"

      Are you daft, man?

      They are selling the supposed expertise of the pastor

      The same way doctor's offices are selling the expertise of the doctor

      May 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      Gopher is a liar, and a coward, and a jesus sucking toady.

      Get back on your knees and beg for salvation, boy

      May 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Topher

      JMEF

      "Again deliberately obtuse."

      It's not deliberate. It just comes naturally. 😉

      "Do you remember the story a little while ago of the black couple that could not get married in the church they chose?"

      No, sorry.

      "The excuse given by the congregation was not bigotry but they were not paid up members of the church."

      I think this is good policy for any church. If you want to be married or baptized or whatever by a specific pastor or in a specific church, you should agree with its beliefs. It keeps you out of trouble so it doesn't appear like the church or pastor is endorsing something not honoring to God.

      "So Topher if you wanted to get, a baptism, marriage, funeral, etc. would there be no cost?"

      Not in my church. Baptism is given only after you are saved and make that declaration that you are in agreement with the church. It is also what we do to gain official membership. It didn't cost me a dime when I was Baptized a few years ago. You cannot just show up and request a Baptism.

      "If every one that came into the church and did not contribute/pat for the SERVICE, how long do you suppose the joint would stay open? Do not be so stupid."

      Maybe not for long. True, God says to give 10 percent to the church. But do you realize how very low the percentage is that church-goers actually give this? I've heard it's less than 30 percent. It's not like churches are swimming in money. (Well, maybe the mega-churches are.)

      May 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Topher

      May 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |

      sam stone

      "Get back on your knees and beg for salvation, boy"

      I already have salvation. I don't need to ask for it again.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Paul

      Topher, it is not a tough question, why do you think churches should not have to pay taxes like the rest of us?

      May 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Alias

      Topher

      Why shouldn't churches be taxed?
      And remember that all churches will have to be treated equally under the law.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • JMEF

      Topher
      From what I remember of the attempt to indoctrinate me into religion, my mother had an envelope in which she placed her offering that had her name on it so the church could keep the books on whether she was living up to her commitment. How do they work it out in your church? Is your church prosperous or a dump ready to fall apart?

      May 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Topher

      JMEF

      Right. A "T.ithes and Offerings" envelope. She didn't have to put her name on it. But even when you do, it's not so the church makes sure you're doing it, it's for tax purposes. My church isn't falling apart, but it's certainly not what you'd call prosperous. It's a small church and does well enough to stay out of debt and thus can purchase the things it needs when it needs them.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Topher

      Paul

      Well, for one, the reason the law was enacted ... to keep the government out of the worship. They can't tell you what to believe. Second, it's none of the government's business if I want to give to help pay the pastor's salary or keep the lights on. Third, because God says to give, it's not the government's money ... it's God's. And thus we get back to point one.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Answer

      @ Gopher

      ==quote==

      "Again deliberately obtuse."

      It's not deliberate. It just comes naturally.

      ==end==

      Then change a$$hat.

      That is why you are a s-c-u-m.

      May 15, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • JMEF

      Topher
      In an earlier answer you addressed the fact that you received a free baptism, good on ya. You did not address if there is a fee for church weddings or funerals. Does the pastor charge for his time for such events and do you have any idea what salary your pastor receives?

      May 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Topher

      JMEF

      "You did not address if there is a fee for church weddings or funerals."

      I'm not sure about funerals, to be honest. I'm guessing free, but I'm not sure. Marriages are free. When my wife and I got married, she wanted her pastor from her old town to do it. He had to travel an hour to where we got married, so we paid for his hotel and gas. But it didn't actually cost us anything for him to do the service.

      "Does the pastor charge for his time for such events and do you have any idea what salary your pastor receives?"

      I know what my pastor's salary is, yes.

      May 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • JMEF

      Topher
      My final question for you today and then I will quit bugging you. Do you believe the salary your pastor receives is fair for the services and guidance he provides to you and his congregation and do you think he does it professionally?

      May 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Topher

      JMEF

      You're not bugging me, dude. The salary my pastor receives is WAY too low in my opinion. And for that matter, I think churches should pay pastors' wives considering what is expected of them for free.

      What do you mean by professionally?

      May 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Science

      Hey faith......topher..........someone has to pay the bills please check it out OK............Thanks !

      http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/parker/

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/comment-page-107/#comment-2342007

      Peace

      May 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Topher

      Science

      That's a complete rabbit trail from what we are talking about ... but I can't help myself. 😉

      The Bible vs. Science Then vs. Science Now
      The earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22) — The earth was a flat disk —The earth is a sphere
      Innumerable stars (Jeremiah 33:22) — Only 1,100 stars —Innumerable stars
      Free float of earth in space (Job 26:7) — Earth sat on a large animal —Free float of earth in space
      Creation made of invisible elements (Hebrews 11:3) —Science ignorant on the subject —Creation made of invisible elements (atoms)
      Each star is different (1 Corinthians 15:41) — All stars the same —Each star is different
      Light moves (Job 38:19-20) —Light was fixed in place — Light moves
      Air has weight —Air is weightless —Air has weight
      Winds blow in cyclones (Ecclesiastes 1:6) —Winds blew straight —Winds blow in cyclones
      Blood is the source of life and health (Lev. 17:11) — Sick people must be bled — Blood is the source of life and health
      Ocean floor contains deep valleys and mountains (2 Sam. 22:16; Jonah 2:6) —Ocean floor is flat — Ocean floor contains deep valleys and mountains
      Ocean contains springs (Job 38:16) —Ocean fed only by rivers and rain — Ocean contains springs
      When dealing with disease, hands should be washed under running water (Lev. 15:13) — Hands washed in still water — When dealing with disease, hands should be washed under running water

      May 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • sam stone

      "I already have salvation. I don't need to ask for it again."

      good for you. you get to spend eternity with that pr1ck

      May 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  20. Maxine Shank

    He should not be tax-exempt since I listened to him tell people how to vote before the last election. His Father, also...

    May 15, 2013 at 11:58 am |
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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.