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January 7, 2011

Grassley Asks ECFA to Lead Independent Inquiry

The national commission will examine churches' financial practices.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has asked the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability to head an independent commission that will obtain feedback about the financial practices and oversight of churches and religious groups nationwide.

The goal is to help determine best practices and changes that encourage compliance with federal tax laws and maintain financial integrity within the religious community while avoiding new laws mandating such behavior. But those involved say it’s too early to tell how the commission’s work will affect any changes—or whether it can prevent new laws—and how long it will take.

In a press conference called this morning in Washington, D.C., ECFA leaders outlined requests made by Grassley, who yesterday released his final report of a three-year inquiry into the financial activities of six high-profile media ministries. The issues to be explored “could potentially affect every house of worship and every member of the clergy in America,” said Michael Batts, an ECFA board member who will chair the special commission.

This blog post continues at Your Church's blog, a sister publication of Christianity Today.

Comments

Ideally, there should be a "wall of separation" between church and state. Government should not dictate matters of faith to its citizens. It is perhaps unwise also for the government to provide financial incentives to faith groups as the practice brings with it some overreaching oversight, control and coercion.

Kenneth Copeland, Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar, and Randy White and Paula White all take advantage of government financial incentives to build their empires. It is no honorable thing to bite the hand that feeds you. Give up your tax-exempt status, incorporate and act as any other business does in the country.