Posted Nov. 13, 2007 – Bishop Eddie Long, whose cross-town fellow mega-minister disclosed that his church drew $69 million last year, says that the U.S. Senate is butting in where it doesn’t belong.
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In his first comments since getting his letter of inquiry last week from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the Atlanta pastor called the investigation into the finances of a half-dozen big-balling televangelists “unjust,” “intrusive” and “an attack on our religious freedom and privacy rights.”
Long, who heads the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., told his congregation Sunday that Grassley "wants to impose the will of government on our religious rights."
Long, like the other ministers who received Grassley’s letter, has promised to comply with the senator’s request. Dollar, pastor of World Changers Church International of College Park, Ga., opened his books Monday, revealing a whopping $69 million in contributions last year. But he denied that his Rolls-Royce and extremely wealthy lifestyle had anything to do with the money his church rakes in.
Others who got the letter include Randy and Paula White of Florida; faith healer Benny Hinn, and Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Texas; and David and Joyce Meyer of Missouri.
Grassley said that he was motivated to force the televangelists to be accountable after receiving reports of their lavish lifestyles, including driving Rolls-Royces, scurrying about on private jets, kicking back in sprawling cribs and otherwise abusing the trust of those who pay into their ministries.
In his letter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee demanded to see all records relating to personal income, compensation and gifts; purchases of luxury vehicles and other items of extravagance; use of private planes; gifts and honoraria to other ministers; and the composition of church boards.
Is Sen. Grassley butting in where he doesn’t belong, or does he have a responsibility to watch out for the public trust? Click "Discuss Now" to post your comment.