We both know that law enforcement officials can investigate”fraud” without passing new laws against specific activities like reading Tarotcards.  In fact back in l944 the SupremeCourt allowed the Postal Service to investigate something called the “I Am”movement that was soliciting funds through the mail.  The Court noted, quite sensibly, that if a”religion” was actually set up to bilk people, it had no absolute FirstAmendment protection.  In other words,you can accept money for beliefs that are new, or sound strange to others, butyou better believe them yourself.

It was a nice try to link this tothe ongoing investigation by Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa of the finances ofsome “prosperity gospel” television preachers including Creflo Dollar andKenneth Copeland.  There is of course ahuge difference between the issues. Senator Grassley is not trying to ban people from “preaching” that “godlinesswill get you wealthiness.”  He was merelyasking these ministries to provide enough financial data to be sure theyweren’t running afoul of IRS rules against setting up religious groups forpersonal benefit.  He has every right todo so.  If, and I emphasize if, some ofthese groups should be paying taxes and are not, it just means the rest of ushave to pay more.


By the way, I know “wealthiness” isnot a real word, but neither was “truthiness” until we got Steven Colbert!

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