Episode 25: Prophets for Profit

Warning: This episode may be controversial and offensive to some listeners.  (As usual?)

Ann, Dan, and Becky are joined by recurring guest Paul Smith from TruTalk on Tru Radio Network.
In what was supposed to be an episode about the differences between for-profit and not for profit organizations, we go way left as far as churches are concerned.

What is the separation of church and state?
What are the requirements you have to meet to become a church/religion?
Why aren’t churches taxed?
If you make a living from the church, do you have to pay personal income tax?

Big Business

  1. Where should we draw the line between profit and non-profit?
  2. If a church or pastor’s sole mission is to benefit financially from the congregation for personal gain, under the guise of spirituality, should they be charged with fraud? (Mansions, Cars, Vacays, Gifts, etc…)
  3. If there’s a separation between church and state and churches are tax exempt, should churches be allowed to require its members submit W2s or tax returns?
  4. What are Tithes for? Where does the money go?
  5. Using the traditional collection plate and donation methods, how are churches transparent with their accounting?
  6. With so little reporting and transparency, what systems are in place to prevent fraud?

The Black Church

  1. Do Black churches prey on congregations more than others?
  2. Mega churches, prosperity churches, and entertainment.

Personal Anecdotes

Paul shares how he became an atheist after attending protestant churches for a number of years. He walked away from the church after saying to himself, “this can’t be God.” After being an atheist for 5 years, Paul was reunited with his faith as a devout Catholic.

Dan shares his personal experiences growing up in black churches and shares his distrust towards pastors after sharing stories about being tricked into being saved. He details his family members who as pastors used the church solely for financial gain and routinely used scare tactics to prey on their congregation.

Ann shares that although she’s been to some of the bad churches, she has had an overall good experience in the church. She recognizes the bad but believes that they’re in the minority.

Becky details her family’s time in the black church and found it to be fairly normal and pleasant for the most part.

Ask An Attorney:

Dan asks,
I sent Apple a letter of intent to sue for a redhibitory transaction to Apple’s legal department and received a response from customer service, not legal. Why did legal not respond? Why did customer service respond? What’s my next step?