Kenneth Copeland – Godfather of ‘Prosperity Gospel’? Why Not Comply with Grassley?

February 6, 2008

CBS Evening News recently did a story on Kenneth Copeland Ministries and the related public investigation launched by Senator Charles Grassley. The article CBS Investigates is linked here. Copeland Article

The senate investigation relates to compliance with the tax laws governing non-profit organizations. The question is whether the ministry resources are being diverted into for profit business that the Copelands own or have control of such as aviation, real-estate development and texas oil and gas wells.

A portion of the article is reprinted here:

“It’s a business, it’s a bottom-line business,” said a former ministry employee – who feared being identified. The employee answered hundreds of prayer requests a day, most sent in with donations, before quitting, feeling “betrayed” by Copeland’s gospel of prosperity.

Michael Hoover, who worked for Kenneth Copeland Ministries for five years, quit in 2005 over disagreements with the church. He says he witnessed other employees doing work on behalf of for-profit businesses tied to the Copeland family.

“In my viewpoint, I believe that they were using a lot of the ministry’s assets for personal businesses,” he said.

“The nonprofit activity and the for-profit activity are so intertwined that you can’t, you can’t separate them,” said Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation.

kennethcopeland.jpg

Kenneth Copeland recently stated: “You render unto the government what belongs to the government. And you render unto God what belongs to God,” he said, according to the newspaper. “You can go get a subpoena, and I won’t give it to you,” Mr. Copeland continues. “It’s not yours, it’s God’s and you’re not going to get it and that’s something I’ll go to prison over. So, just get over it.”

Here’s the question, what would keep the Kenneth Copeland Ministries from being fully compliant with the Senator’s request?

As a business ethics speaker (www.chuckgallagher.com) I understand that every choice has a consequence. What will be the consequences of Copeland’s non-compliance?


Senator Grassley Not Backing Off from Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, and Other Ministry Requests!

February 6, 2008

According to a report from the News and Observer, “Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said Friday that he has no intention of backing off from his investigation of six lavishly spending ministries, despite what he said was considerable “pullback” from those ministries.”

charles-grassley.jpg

Senator Chuck Grassley had requested in 2007 financial material from six mega-ministries: Randy and Paula White of Tampa, Fla.; Benny Hinn Ministries in Grapevine, Texas; Joyce Meyer Ministries in Fenton, Mo.; Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga.; Creflo Dollar Ministries in Atlanta, Ga.; and Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark, Texas.

Thus far the only ministry that has complied completely was Joyce Meyer Ministries. The Kenneth Copeland Ministries has been reported to have complied partially, but Copeland has resisted publicly. Likewise, Creflo Dollar Ministries, has refused to voluntarily provide any information and said it would await a subpoena and Eddie Long has resisted as well.

Grassley, the Iowa senator, a Baptist, was invited to the New Baptist Covenant by former president Jimmy Carter. During a 25-minute address, he spoke about hunger. But later, at a news conference, most of the questions dealt with his controversial investigation into the ministries.

Grassley said he plans to send follow-up letters to those ministries that have so far snubbed his initial requests for information about their spending.

“We’ll deal with them in the way of encouraging,” Grassley said. “I think it’s a case of people waking up and realizing that they have nothing to hide.

Grassley explained that he began the investigation last year after seeing newspaper and television investigations about how these ministries reward their leaders.

“It’s nothing about the message,” said Grassley. “It’s about obeying the tax laws.”

Grassley said he wants to make sure the ministries are not abusing their tax-exempt status, but he said he was loath to consider subpoenas for now.

As a business ethics speaker, (www.chuckgallagher.com) I have had many comments about the ethics involved with the Grassley requests. Most of the ethics issues surround the governments requests and the ministries responses.

Questions:

What is the motivation behind not complying with the senator’s request?

If there is nothing to hide, should the ministries comply?

Does their resistance and non-compliance color your view of the ministries in question?