Has the IRS singled out friends of Kenneth Copeland and others that preach a prosperity gospel? The Startribune.com reported the following:
The Rev. Mac Hammond, founder of Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, told his congregation in a letter that an IRS investigation is “politically motivated,” and part of “a very clear effort, on a national scale, to discredit, defame and intimidate ministries and preachers of what has been called the ‘prosperity gospel.’”
In his first public comments about the IRS inquiry, Hammond, who heads one of the state’s larger churches with nearly 10,000 members and reaches a greater audience through Sunday TV broadcasts, said that those “behind these attacks [are] enemies of the gospel.”
“They are fearful not only of the moral imperative communicated by these ministries, but the growing wealth and influence of those constituencies,” he wrote.
The IRS has filed a petition in U.S. District Court to force the church to answer a demand for detailed financial information. The church declined to comply with an IRS summons in March, arguing that the law states the request must come from a “high-ranking official” of the IRS.
Church leaders are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 2 to argue the case.
An IRS spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on current cases.
Hammond’s mention of a national inquiry into churches like Living Word refers to a request by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for six prosperity ministries to turn over financial records. Although he’s not looking into Hammond’s church, Grassley wants to see if the other six churches are avoiding taxes. Some have complied, others have refused, including Texas preacher Kenneth Copeland. Hammond sits on Copeland’s board.
Hammond said opponents are trying to deter donors by calling into question “the motivation or integrity of the leadership.” Read the Full Story…