Let’s set aside for a moment the accusations that megachurch pastor Eddie Long is a hypocritical, gay-bashing closeted homosexual who used his position to coerce sex from teenage boys. Can we all just agree that an enterprise with a leader who rolls like this probably doesn’t deserve a tax deduction as a charity?
Bishop Long cuts a flashy figure in Lithonia, the Atlanta suburb where he lives and has built his church. He is often seen in a Bentley attended by bodyguards. He tends to wear clothes that show off his muscular physique. He favors Gucci sunglasses, gold necklaces, diamond bracelets and Rolex watches. He lives in a 5,000-square-foot house with five bedrooms, which he bought for $1.1 million in 2005.[…]
In 2005, for instance, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published tax records showing that from 1997 to 2000 Bishop Long had accepted $3 million in salary, housing, a car and other perks from a charity he controlled.
Taxing the non-charitable part of megachurch operations isn’t even on the political radar, and I’m sure it’s just my heathen nature causing me to bring it up, but why the hell should the Haggards and Longs of the world get hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax-free perks from their “charities” just because they’re in the Jesus biz?