If it is the function of journalists and journalism to offer a voice for many who cannot be heard, John Oliver and his hit convey Last Week Tonight can have fulfilled that position in a hilarious yet poignant means. Following his impassioned section concerning televangelists and the exceptional lack of oversight the interior Income Provider workout routines over churches and spiritual establishments, the IRS is dealing with significant criticism and power to habits a extra thorough investigation of televangelists and their use of tax-exempt donations.
As Oliver mentioned in his segment, frequently, now not only are donations solicited in critically questionable ways, But they are then used somewhat frequently for non-religious, non-church purposes. Fairly, various televangelists, Oliver suggests, look like wolves in sheep’s apparel, taking advantage of the naïveté of their herd for their own non-public achieve.
In a CBS Information report released rapidly after Oliver’s phase aired, it was published that the IRS, which has in the past made headlines for conducting needless audits, has done somewhat the other when it comes to the loosely defined “churches.” Actually, between 2009 and 2014, the IRS carried out a grand total of three audits of such organizations, all of which passed off between 2013 and 2014, and not using a such investigations taking place etween the years of 2009 and 2013.
Associated: Watch: John Oliver slams televangelists, then turns into one on Ultimate Week Tonight
The Issue with this leniency, Oliver and CBS point out, lies within the method in which the time period “church” is defined. Even If there are officially 14 criterion used to determine a church, Oliver’s facetious establishment of his personal spiritual institution,Our Girl of Perpetual Exemption, proved just how laughably riddled with loopholes these requirements truly are. Indeed, so long as church doctrines are “really and surely held” and “now not illegal,” the whole lot from proclaiming peanut butter sophisticated to Nutella and local weather exchange as gospel reality might be thought to be religions.
Now, the Trinity Basis, a corporation that concerns itself with non secular fraud, is taking renewed hope that Oliver and the power of ridicule (and social media) will at last prompt some motion from the IRS. Ole Anthony, the president of the Trinity Foundation, instructed CBS Information that the “prosperity gospel,” or the realization that giving one’s church cash will convey the giver riches and well being, is draining some folks (specifically folks who can not have the funds for it) completely dry. “They Maintain seeking to ship extra money, extra money, extra money so they are able to get healed,” Anthony said. And preachers can continue to just accept money risk- and tax-free as a result of the complete absence of the IRS.
Neither the IRS nor any of the televangelists whom Oliver called out in his segment (who requested their donors to lend a hand them buy non-public jets or promised to cure illness in the event that they acquired a donation) have replied to requests from numerous sources for remark. But it may just be the case that one 20-minute clip on YouTube will carry down the reign of the fraudulent televangelists.