Just last Sunday, John Oliver took on the shady world of televangelism and the common practice of a type of seed-faith known as “prosperity gospel.” During the 20-minute segment, Oliver described prosperity gospel as the notion that wealth is a sign of God’s favor and donations sent to the church will result in said wealth coming back to you.
After that episode of Last Week Tonight aired, a report hit from CBS News that the IRS is now being pressured into clamping down on televangelists. Making these men and women of God accountable for the private jets they acquire from those aforementioned “seeds” definitely is a step in the right direction, but there’s no sure bet this will actually happen.
According to religious fraud investigator Ole Anthony, “Televangelists are able to receive millions because the IRS has turned a “blind eye” to their tax-exempt churches.” That being said, church audits were suspended from 2009 to 2013, with just a total of three conducted from 2013 to 2014. Since the IRS named Scientology a church, it’s become free reign for anyone to label themselves as such.
To drive this point home, Oliver created his very own church last weekend called “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.” To refresh your memories, here’s the entire segment:
The most important difference between the religious organizations mentioned above and the church John Oliver created are the seeds being donated to his congregation are not funding any new private jets for the man. Instead, the money is being distributed directly to Doctors Without Borders. (Via CBS News)