An independent group that monitors just how “Christian” certain ministries are when it comes to handling the money has put several African-American ministries on its “donor-alert” list.
Cited among its top 30 untrustworthy religious organizations are the Atlanta-based ministries of the Rev. Creflo Dollar and Bishop Eddie Long, and the Dallas-based ministry of Bishop T.D. Jakes.
Traditionally, the Matthews, N.C.-based Wall Watchers releases its list of “Shining Light” ministries and a regular bulletin of "donor alerts" to help unwary givers avoid falling prey to what it deems as questionable ministries. This is the first year, however, that it has released an official list of “30 Donor Alert Ministries” through its Web site, MinistryWatch.com.
“Most donors expect charitable organizations to act on behalf of others and not for greed, personal aggrandizement, or other reasons; however, ministries are operated by human beings who are subject to the shortcomings common to man, including what some may call the ‘principle of ethical entropy,’ or as Christians call it, sin,” the evangelical organization states in introduction of the newly released list. “Donors do not always have the power or know-how to pursue accountability; however, each donor can do their part by making an informed giving decision by looking at various factors and issues,” it added.
Wall Watchers takes into consideration such issues as lack of transparency, high salaries, misleading marketing efforts, revocation of tax-exempt status, ties to cultic practices, and in-process investigations.
The ministries of Dollar and Long, along with four others, are being investigated by a Senate tax oversight committee for their spending practices, which allegedly included fat salaries and extravagant purchases like private jets, Rolls-Royces, sprawling cribs and tons of other tax-free goodies. Others making the bad list are Long Paula White Ministries, Bennie Hinn Ministries, Joyce Meyers Ministries and Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
“As a Christian myself, and a person who believes in tithing, I feel I have a right to know where my money goes,” he explained. “If a person gets a tax deduction for a donation, the deduction and donation should be for a legitimate purpose.”
TD Jakes Ministries earned a “Transparency Grade of ‘F,’” Inspirational Network (INSP) for “High Salary,” and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) for four previous “Donor Alerts” that covered several issues.