Mega deadline for mega churches under investigation is here

Today is the deadline for the mega churches under investigation to turn over their financial statements in accordance with the investigation by Sen. Grassley. The two churches headed by African Americans – World Changers Church and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church – both in metro Atlanta, have said they won’t turn over the information with a subpoena. They said the request violates the protection offered to churches under the Constitution. Joyce Meyers has turned over the requested documents Benny Hinn said he needs until Jan. 31 to respond. Kenneth Copeland and Randy and Paula White have yet to respond.

It will be interesting to see what will happen from here.  I still have  problem with these Pastors being singled out. There are many others that live the same “lifestyle” as these, yet they are not under investigation. Why is that?

Dr. Dollar and Bishop Long have all right to request a subpoena. Can the senate just “request” to see the books of any business and get it? Can they send you a letter in the mail “requesting” to see how your money is spent? So why is it different with these churches. 

Is Grady on life support?

Grady Memorial hospital in Atlanta just got a new board, which is supposed to help save the ailing county hospital. It’s the largest provider of care to the poor and uninsured in the state, yet it is not state supported. Only two counties- DeKalb and Fulton- contribute tax dollars to keep the facility open.  There is something about this that just doesn’t seem right.

The hospital has the best burn unit and trauma center in the region (not just the state). Which means, if you live in Cobb and your house burns down with you in it, guess where they’re taking you? If you live in Henry and you run your car into a ditch, guess where you’re going? That’s right folks, straight to Grady! But when it’s time to pay the bills, guess who’s paying? Not Cobb and Henry. Only Fulton and DeKalb.

This year, the two counties contributed $125 million to the hospital. The numbers show that $44 million of service is given to people who live outside of the two counties every year. So if the hospital in on the hole, why is it so hard to see these counties need to start coughing up money for the service they use?

I’m no politician, but it just makes sense. Since the entire State utlizes the hospital, some contributions should come from the state level.

Pastors under investigation – Are mega churches cheating the system?

 

 With Atlanta quickly becoming a megachurch Mecca, it’s not surprising that two of the six preachers under Senate investigation are from Atlanta. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa wants to look into their finances because of the extravagant lifestyles they lead. The lifestyle alone couldn’t possibly be the only basis for this type of investigation. The real issue is tax evasion. Are pastors using the tax protection given to churches by the government to finance their personal lifestyles?

When you look at pastors such as Bishop Long, who was a successful businessman before he took over leadership at New Birth, how do you determine where his lifestyle crosses the line? A Bentley and a private jet may seem “extravagant” to someone working a regular job, but to say Donald Trump, maybe not. Extravagance is relative.

I remember reading an article on Bishop Long about a year ago, where again, his lifestyle was under the microscope. The article had a negative spin and talked about the money he was making, the car he was driving, the home in which he lived. At the bottom of the article (the part that most people don’t read), it explained how most of the money he made was from speaking engagements outside of the church, the car he drove was on loan from a Bentley dealership and the house he lived in didn’t belong to him. So while on the surface people equated his lifestyle with the money he was getting directly from the church, it wasn’t so.

My issue with the investigation is who determines how much is enough? We don’t have a problem with actors making $1 million dollars per episode for what they do. We don’t have a problem with rappers raking in $1 million for a concert. So is it necessarily wrong for a pastor to make that kind of money? I say no. If a church with 1,000 members can afford to pay their pastor a nice salary, what would you expect from a congregation of 25,000?

Preachers under investigation

What in the world is going on? A senator in Iowa is calling for an investigation into the finances of six pastors, one of which is Bishop Eddie L. Long, senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist church in Lithonia.

Although I don’t attend New Birth, I often times find myself defending the church. New Birth is VERY active in the community, and much of the work is never printed in major newspapers or broadcast on the television. People are unaware of the resources available at the church to anyone who is interested. You don’t have to be a member. They are also unaware of the support the church gives to those in need. But whenever the issue of money in church comes up, people think something unethical is going on.

Let’s be honest people, ministry is not free. It takes money to run a ministry, and even more to run a successful one. I’m sure New Birth has to write a check to Georgia Power every month, just like the rest of us. And I’m sure its a tidy sum.

My big question is why do so many people have a problem with megachurches and the men who lead them? What is the issue? Why these six? All pastors should be watching this case closely, because whatever happens, the results are going to affect alot of other ministries.

Hair-raising Information

This issue we featured hair salon owner Marion Summers, who is one of only a few black hair distributors in Georgia. This story led to us watching Black Hair; The Korean Takeover of the Black Haircare Industry. It’s a documentary by white filmmaker Aron Ranen. It turns out that Koreans dominate the black hair industry. And when I say dominate, It’s a ridiculously high number like 98 percent.

Now I have no problem with someone having an entrepreneurial spirit and being successful at whatever they do, but this is not the case. Koreans have systematically blocked Blacks out of the industry. The Korean distributors won’t even sell to Black-Owned Beauty supply stores. Some even ask if you’re Korean or Black before they will do business with you.

But where does the responsibility lie? Is it with the Koreans for pushing blacks out of the business? Is it with the black salon owners? consumers? No matter which side of the debate you fall, it’s still a very interesting phenomenon. Here’s a clip to give you an example of what’s really going on.

And you thought it was over

I’ve come to believe that we here at OCG News operate in two states – we’re either on deadline or we’re about to be on deadline. Well today, my theory was debunked. We’re in this new “not-quite-done-with-deadline” state. I know we put the paper to rest yesterday, but today has been hectic. You hear me?

Valerie wasn’t in the office today, but you  would have never known. If you think physically being in the another location is a reason to stop working,  you thought wrong. She was cracking the whip through time and space. Somehow, Valerie has found a way to defy the Laws of Physics and be in two places at the same time. If I didn’t KNOW she wasn’t in the office, I would swear she was right here.  

A great co-worker

I have to send this shout out to Emmanuel. My daughter had a 3rd birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Well, she is in LOVE with Dora the explorer. I had the great idea of renting a Dora costume on the internet. But my big problem was, who was going to get IN the costume. Mr. Emmanuel saved the day. He got “dora-fied” with no problem. I was so excited, that was until Dora actually showed up at the house and scared the gibbies out of my little girl. She cried the entire time Dora was there. I guess it didn’t help that Emmanuel is 6’2″.

Emmanuel as Dora