Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) apparently believes that he has the constitutional authority to oversee church finances. Watch as he does the quick shuffle to explain where his power to conduct such investigations comes from.
Grassley attempts to equivocate- “Well, this is not a first amendment issue…We’re not interested in doctrine.” This is, of course, a patent falsehood. The churches chosen to be investigated have a core doctrine, aberrant though it may be. They believe that they can create wealth with the spoken word, that Christ intended for His faithful to be wealthy and the degree of wealth achieved will depend on the depth of faith. Does this ignore the true teachings of Christ? Clearly. But who appointed Grassley to be the Archbishop Laud of the United States? Grassley’s own attempts to justify his foray into constitutionally forbidden territory reveal his real aim. To subjugate the government of Christ’s Church to civil authority.
Twice Grassley is asked if he intends to investigate the Catholic Church, one of the largest landholders in the country and one of the richest church entities in the world and twice Grassley quickly sidesteps the question. The fact is that Grassley knows that the Catholic Church has the status of not only a church but that of a foreign nation and too much probing could cause an international furor, not to mention create problems with Roman Catholic neighbors and allies.
Grassley further “explains” that his committee has jurisdiction because it oversees “…tax law. We have tax exemption to encourage charitable giving.” Well, no Senator Grassley, that’s wrong. You have tax exemption because it used to be understood by government servants that the tithe is a tax collected by the church and mandated by God for the operation of His Church including the feeding of the poor and that failure to exempt the amount tithed amounted to a double tax on an independent entity. The sudden requirement for churches to obtain Internal Revenue Service 501(c)3 “tax exempt status” in 1953 (thanks to another Senatorial swindler Lyndon Johnson who didn’t like the fact that several Texas churches had openly opposed his election effort, and so used the tax code as a gag for the pastors’ mouths) is nothing more or less than a club that is hung over the head of churches to bring them into submission to the state. Grassley makes it abundantly clear that he is now prepared to swing that club in order to assert the authority of the state over the Church. Submit or let your congregation be double taxed, a sure way to de-fund a church.
Grassley has demonstrated that he has a predators heart regarding getting the prey he wants. He chooses the weakest member of the herd, cuts them out then mercilessly chases them down and eviscerates them. The word-faith pastors he has chosen are clearly the weakest members of the herd. Having abandoned the true core teachings of Christ in favor of the health and prosperity gospel wherein they enrich themselves from the givings of their flock, they are an easy target. Many orthodox Christians are torn about what to think about the investigation because they do not understand the separate roles of the Church and state and they revile these pastors as con men. They therefore hesitate to step in to defend the pastors, not realizing that their own churches are going to be next on the list for any infraction Grassley and his ilk can pull from their grab-bag of unconstitutional tricks. This is how all totalitarian governments handle matters. First go after the unpopular groups then, as they fall, go after members of successively less popular groups until none are left to band together for defense.
Grassley, who knows he is on shaky constitutional ground, doesn’t hesitate to play the class envy card. If the Church should happen to awaken to this attack as a call-to-arms, he will have a ready made set of allies in the class envy crowd. When asked if he thought it mattered if a pastor of a large successful church drove a Rolls Royce vs. a Buick, Grassley wasted no time in saying “…for a person like me it’s simple. Jesus came into the city on a simple donkey. To what extent do you need a Rolls Royce to expand the ministry of Jesus Christ? I speak this as a Christian…” And there you have it. As a representative of the civil authority he is going to invade the realm of church authority to fix what he perceives to be a problem in certain ministries because he doesn’t like the way those ministries run their affairs. Grassley wants the Church to answer to the state before answering to Christ.
Senator Grassley needs to realize that disciplining individual members of the Body of Christ is up to the Body of Christ as a whole, not a meddling outside authority which has clearly demonstrated that it has an ulterior motive in doing so. He also needs a little remedial training in the US Constitution which explicitly prohibits ANY government interference in the free exercise of religion. Perhaps he should take Michael Peroutka’s Institute On The Constitution class. The word-faith pastors are clearly engaging in the practices of their faith, as flawed as they are. The Body of Christ has been doing a pretty good job of exposing the false teachings and practices of these pastors and it’s also doing a pretty good job of picking up the pieces and repairing the human damage they’ve done inside the Body.
Thank’s Senator, but the Church doesn’t need any help.