Superfly
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Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:36 am

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100923/...N0b3JpZXMEc2xrA2dhbWVnYWNodXJjaA--

Leader of a Super-Sized megachurch in Atlanta, Georgia is has been exposed for engaging in sex with young men.

Bishop Eddie Long finds a wide audience for messages such as marriage is "between one man and one woman." Those words hung heavy Wednesday over accusations that the TV preacher, a married father of four, used jewelry, cars and cash to lure three young men into sexual relationships.

Lawsuits filed Tuesday and Wednesday say the young men were 17 or 18 years old at the time, enrolled in New Birth Missionary Baptist Church's ministry for teen boys.



Not sure what the legal age is in Georgia as 17 is legal in many states and doesn't look like any laws were broken. If anything, this exposes him as a hypocrite. This is a man that is married and has 4 children and condemns homosexuality and adultery.

My question is, can the parishioners get their money back?
Will they choke the Bishop?
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Flighty
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:48 am

It seems like most people who espouse homophobic beliefs are simply tormented gay people. It's sad... mostly for them. Why don't they cheer up and quit with the homophobic lies.
 
san747
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:08 am

This is almost getting old! What leader of a large, non-denominational church isn't gay (or at least have some sort of sexually deviant interest) at this point?
Scotty doesn't know...
 
Quokka
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:55 am

As JC was fond of saying: "Let him that is without sin, cast the first stone."

It often seems that the reason people want to become leaders of religious and other organisations is that they want to control other people's lives, rather than live their own.
 
Molykote
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:20 pm

I can't resist taking this quote out of context:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/09/22...Bishop.long.sex.lawsuit/index.html
Headline: Accused Pastor Crusaded Against Homosexuals

"When I say bend over, even on Sunday, they bend over," he said, referring to the boys he paddled. "Why? Because they respect me.


Of course he's referring to disciplining people's children on behalf of the parents.   
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dl021
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:33 pm

"Bishop" (self-appointed) Eddie Long has one of those churches that owns a G-2 (at PDK, nice airplane) all of his kids drive Range Rovers and Jaguars (from the dealership up the street from me) plus the odd Mercedes, and they have a very tight knit community in SE metro ATL area.

I wondered with the first guy, is it someone looking for a piece of the action.....with this third lawsuit I now wonder how many more are coming.

I haven't heard about Long being anti-homosexual in his preaching, but there's enough going on with his church of 20k plus people that validates my feelings towards much of organized religion where he is collecting money from a group of people, many of whom are not well off, and spending it on jets and luxury homes/automobiles, and extensive travel.

This is not even funny anymore.
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Superfly
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:35 pm

Quoting dl021 (Reply 5):
"Bishop" (self-appointed) Eddie Long has one of those churches that owns a G-2 (at PDK, nice airplane) all of his kids drive Range Rovers and Jaguars (from the dealership up the street from me) plus the odd Mercedes, and they have a very tight knit community in SE metro ATL area.

I wondered with the first guy, is it someone looking for a piece of the action.....with this third lawsuit I now wonder how many more are coming.

I haven't heard about Long being anti-homosexual in his preaching, but there's enough going on with his church of 20k plus people that validates my feelings towards much of organized religion where he is collecting money from a group of people, many of whom are not well off, and spending it on jets and luxury homes/automobiles, and extensive travel.

This is not even funny anymore.

Holy $h!t!
He doesn't even have humility in his success as a messenger of God?
That is usually how attention seeking celebrities live.
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mham001
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:43 pm

He's been accused, not caught. These boys will get a nice payoff. That has run through my mind a couple of times since I grew up doing 8 years as an altar boy. I could easily make an accusation against a now dead priest, who would ever know?
 
ALTF4
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:49 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
That is usually how attention seeking celebrities live.
Quoting dl021 (Reply 5):
"Bishop" (self-appointed)

When you give yourself a title like that, I'd say you're quite right, Superfly. I think he is an attention-seeking wanna-be celebrity.
The above post is my opinion. Don't like it? Don't read it.
 
MD-90
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:57 pm

Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):
Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Um, he wasn't "caught being gay," he had men allege that he had sex with them when they were underage. That's a considerably different situation than if they'd been old enough to give consent.
 
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:16 pm

Quoting dl021 (Reply 5):
Bishop" (self-appointed) Eddie Long has one of those churches that owns a G-2 (at PDK, nice airplane) all of his kids drive Range Rovers and Jaguars (from the dealership up the street from me) plus the odd Mercedes, and they have a very tight knit community in SE metro ATL area.

That sounds like it came from an unpublished verse of a Ray Stevens song.   

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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:35 pm

Quoting Quokka (Reply 3):
It often seems that the reason people want to become leaders of religious and other organisations is that they want to control other people's lives, rather than live their own.

I think it's more about the prestige and attention they get from the audience than anything else. Sub-consciously anyways, I don't think they really do it on purpose (unless it's someone who's in it for the money like this guy appears to be).
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usflyer msp
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:11 pm

I cannot stand Eddie Long but in this instance I think he is being set up for a shakedown. I am just not buying the kids' story.
 
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:37 am

Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):
Will they choke the Bishop?

        

I hadn't heard that expression in a long time, Fly! Well played!

Quoting dl021 (Reply 5):
I haven't heard about Long being anti-homosexual in his preaching, but there's enough going on with his church of 20k plus people that validates my feelings towards much of organized religion where he is collecting money from a group of people, many of whom are not well off, and spending it on jets and luxury homes/automobiles, and extensive travel.

You forgot to mention him (allegedly) spending money to lure teenage boys into having sex with him..
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:44 am

And the thing is that over and over and over people give their money, many of them poor, to these folks who promise salvation in return for their money.

Someone really needs to take the tax-exempt status of churches to the Supreme Court. It's not constitutional. Not even close.
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Superfly
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:38 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 13):
I hadn't heard that expression in a long time, Fly! Well played!




Took 13 replys for someone to catch that!  
His name 'Bishop Long' also has a double meaning.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 11):
I think it's more about the prestige and attention they get from the audience than anything else. Sub-consciously anyways, I don't think they really do it on purpose (unless it's someone who's in it for the money like this guy appears to be).




My guess is that he is not a good singer, musician, actor or athlete. Being a politician would mean his personal life would be under more scrutiny so his only crack at show-business is to be a megachurch star.

Quoting mham001 (Reply 7):
I could easily make an accusation against a now dead priest, who would ever know?



.....and there be a line of lawyers and reporters from LA to New York willing to take up your case.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
Someone really needs to take the tax-exempt status of churches to the Supreme Court. It's not constitutional. Not even close.



  
Well said!
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:57 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
Took 13 replys for someone to catch that!

You can count on me, Fly!  
Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
His name 'Bishop Long' also has a double meaning.

Vell, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!  

In this case, though...
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
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stlgph
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:39 pm

personally, i always love it when my pastor text messages me muscle shirt pictures of himself. yum!

http://sandrarose.com/2010/09/bishop...orney-addresses-muscle-shirt-pics/
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Starbuk7
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:16 pm

Just like the old TV Evangelists that kept getting caught back in the 70's and 80's but at least they were only having affairs and not doing children.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):


Lets not group all Church's and religious pastors, priests, rabbis, etc in with these people. There are very many small Church's out there that do NOT act this way but I see it all the time in these forums that when one incident like this happens suddenly ALL religions and their leaders are somehow BAD and should be banned or have something done to them. This is just not right.
 
FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:24 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
Someone really needs to take the tax-exempt status of churches to the Supreme Court. It's not constitutional. Not even close.

Churches that abuse their tax exempt status should have it taken away. But let's not punish all for the wrong doings of a few, okay?

Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):
Not sure what the legal age is in Georgia as 17 is legal in many states and doesn't look like any laws were broken. If anything, this exposes him as a hypocrite.

In many states in the South the age of consent is 16. I believe it's 16 in Georgia.
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mt99
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:32 pm

Quoting Starbuk7 (Reply 18):
here are very many small Church's out there that do NOT act this way but I see it all the time in these forums that when one incident like this happens suddenly ALL religions and their leaders are somehow BAD and should be banned or have something done to them. This is just not right.

Oh please.. these people are the first to cast a wide net with all their "all gays are evil" routine. They want to be seen as individuals?
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ALTF4
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:02 pm

Quoting mt99 (Reply 20):
Oh please.. these people are the first to cast a wide net with all their "all gays are evil" routine. They want to be seen as individuals?

Interesting that you're such an expert on this subject. Out of the thousands upon thousands of small churches out there (sub-1,000 people, or even sub-500 people, not a huge church like the one in this topic of 30,000+), you must have personally spoken with many of those pastors/priests to find out their feelings on the matter.

I know a gay pastor/priest and also several gay music directors at several methodist churches. These people must be anti-gay though, based on your assertion.

Now, leaving the gay topic alone, it only takes one bad one to spoil the bunch - and this event only reinforces that idea in people's minds. It is so easy to say "so many" when referring to bad events in a religious community, but by far, the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of those involved in the religious community have not done something like this.

Now, I guess I'd better say I am not defending his actions, before that somehow gets spun out of this post. Just look at my other reply a few replies up.

[Edited 2010-09-24 07:02:52]
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:02 pm

Quoting mt99 (Reply 20):
Oh please.. these people are the first to cast a wide net with all their "all gays are evil" routine. They want to be seen as individuals?

The church I attend has quite a few openly gay men and lesbian women.

And the state I live in is famous for having the first openly gay Episcopal bishop (choked or otherwise!).

And this state is that bastion of conservatism, New Hampshire USA!

So let's not toss around the "these people" labels, OK?

Some believers are anti-gay (probably most, unfortunately), but things can and will change, so please don't lump everyone in one bucket. Some of us are trying to be that change and don't deserve the label, just like GLBTs don't deserve most of the labels that have been attached to them.
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Starbuk7
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:11 pm

Quoting mt99 (Reply 20):
Oh please.. these people are the first to cast a wide net with all their "all gays are evil" routine. They want to be seen as individuals?


No, we are not, I have never said "all gays are evil" and for you to group all small religious establishments into this category is just plain wrong. This is a very narrow minded attitude and painted with a very broad brush.
 
mt99
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:13 pm

Quoting ALTF4 (Reply 21):
Out of the thousands upon thousands of small churches out there (sub-1,000 people, or even sub-500 people, not a huge church like the one in this topic of 30,000+), you must have personally spoken with many of those pastors/priests to find out their feelings on the matter.

No i haven't - but it seems like you have spoken each of them, to know that my feeling on the matter are incorrect.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
so please don't lump everyone in one bucket. Some of us are trying to be that change and don't deserve the label, just like GLBTs don't deserve most of the labels that have been attached to them.

That's all i was trying to say.
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ALTF4
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:36 pm

Quoting mt99 (Reply 24):
No i haven't - but it seems like you have spoken each of them, to know that my feeling on the matter are incorrect.

Nor have I, but common sense, after taking all factors into account, would seem to side with me.
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Superfly
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:58 pm

Quoting Starbuk7 (Reply 18):
and should be banned

Who said "ban" churches in this thread?
I find the whole fiasco rather amusing.


Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
And this state is that bastion of conservatism, New Hampshire USA!

No longer a conservative state.
New Hampshire is a swing state.
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:04 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
Someone really needs to take the tax-exempt status of churches to the Supreme Court. It's not constitutional. Not even close.

Fully agree Doc!

Why do churches have tax-exempt status?

Are only their verified charitable operations tax-exempt? Or is their whole operation tax-exempt, with the exception of their salaried employees?
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lowrider
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:48 pm

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 27):
Why do churches have tax-exempt status?

Because of the first amendment. The simplified answer is that the only way to avoid putting one church at a disadvantage over another due government imposed laws is to stay out of it altogether. A 0% tax rate is very fair that way. Can you imagine the hue and cry if there was a perceived inequality in the taxing of predominantly black churches and predominantly white churches? Or how about a between churches, synagogues, and mosques?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
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MD-90
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:39 pm

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 27):
Why do churches have tax-exempt status?

Because the church before any state was in the US.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:28 pm

Quoting Starbuk7 (Reply 18):

Lets not group all Church's and religious pastors, priests, rabbis, etc in with these people.

I'm not. I'm saying that no establishment of religion should be tax-exempt. If they can demonstrate that they are actually nonprofit, then they can be tax-exempt. Just like any other non-profit.

Right now, they don't even need to file taxes. That's just awesomely unconstitutional to me. It allows abuses such as this. And we've seen it over and over and over. Jim Bakker, Susan White, etc.

There's no law against praying on the poor and the desperate and talking them into willingly giving you their money. But there IS something wrong with doing so and not paying taxes on it. Although I do have to wonder if it wouldn't be "fraud" if it were anything other than religion.
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:36 pm

Quoting lowrider (Reply 28):

Because of the first amendment. The simplified answer is that the only way to avoid putting one church at a disadvantage over another due government imposed laws is to stay out of it altogether. A 0% tax rate is very fair that way. Can you imagine the hue and cry if there was a perceived inequality in the taxing of predominantly black churches and predominantly white churches? Or how about a between churches, synagogues, and mosques?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

You have it backwards. The idea that any yahoo can name himself a "Church" by putting a cross up on his building and then avoid taxes is fundamentally unfair.

Saying: "You have to pay taxes if you make a profit, no matter who you are" is more compliant with the first amendment. Saying "We're going to make a law that religions have special status" is not.
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lowrider
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:04 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 31):
Saying: "You have to pay taxes if you make a profit, no matter who you are" is more compliant with the first amendment. Saying "We're going to make a law that religions have special status" is not.
The power to tax is the power to destroy -Chief Justice John Marshall

Congress should not have the power to destroy a church, no matter how loony you may think they are. Further, many churches engage in charitable work, putting them on the same level as many secular charities. Should we tax the United Way and Red Cross as well? If all churches are treated equally, then where is this special status? As I said, 0% is pretty uniform, no matter what the circumstances of the congregation.
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Superfly
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:29 am

Tax them all!

Quoting lowrider (Reply 32):
The power to tax is the power to destroy -Chief Justice John Marshall

There are taxes on food & clothes and all other goods. Is the intent to destroy food & clothes?
Chief Justice John Marshall had it all wrong.
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DocLightning
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:44 am

Quoting lowrider (Reply 32):

Congress should not have the power to destroy a church, no matter how loony you may think they are.

I don't care if they advocate the castration of every redhead with a rusty hacksaw.

If they turn a profit, they should pay taxes. If they don't, they shouldn't.

Why can't you grasp that?

It's not about being a church, it's about PROFIT. The idea that a church can be putting away millions of dollars in profit, paying the "pastor" millions per year, and not having to pay a cent of taxes? That is absolutely wrong. AND it's rife for abuse.

They should have to turn over their balance sheets. Right now, they don't have to. They say "we're a church" and they're done.
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lowrider
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:00 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 33):
There are taxes on food & clothes and all other goods.

Next your going to tell me that taxes benefit the business that produce these? Or maybe you could simply explain how taxes are not an economic disincentive? How they do not tie up capital that could be otherwise profitably employed?

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 34):
If they turn a profit, they should pay taxes. If they don't, they shouldn't.

Why can't you grasp that?

A church is not a business and does not produce anything. It is not very different from a charity or a private club, functionally. Should we tax all charities then, since they may not disperse all of their money every year? We wouldn't want them to save up for anything, would we? Churches save money for various projects as well. I suppose you think it is unethical for a church to save up money to pay for building maintenance and renovation as well. All your idea does is to give churches incentive to make sure there is no extra money left over to tax. A pastor's paycheck is no more the public concern's than a CEO's. It is between that person and the governing body of the church. If you don't like it, don't attend and don't donate.

So, what is there left to grasp? I see a church as a charitable organization, not a business. If it is not a business, then there is no profit. I won't argue the morality of this particular example accumulating vast wealth for self-glorification. I would not attend such a church. But in order to safeguard churches and charities that I think are worthwhile, I will have to tolerate ones that I do not.
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Derico
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:56 pm

That's the problem with Protestantism: people blindly follow a cult of personality instead of what the actual religious teachings.

No other religion on this planet creates as many crazy cults, sects, and crazies that either isolate themselves, get involved in bizarre sexual perversions in their self-contained communities, make millions by treating their ''religious organizations'' as a for-enterprise worthy of public stock, or end up in high profile showdowns with authorities or worse, just go off to some jungle or cave and perform mass suicide.

A leader being found a homosexual is the most common in protestant denominations. And they don't even have the cheap excuse of celibacy.

I have seen those tv shows were the preacher is speaking in an almost posessed fashion.... to many protestant churches are nothing more than cults of personalty.

As I have said before, too many here bash the Catholic Church and rightly so, but I have stated there is tremendous hipocracy and this is just another example. The highest levels of the Catholic CHURCH and many of the Protestant denominations are twisted. But you never see threads about all that happens in other Christian branches...
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:21 pm

Quoting lowrider (Reply 35):

A church is not a business and does not produce anything. It is not very different from a charity or a private club, functionally. Should we tax all charities then, since they may not disperse all of their money every year?

In fact, all charities and private clubs ARE required to file tax returns every year. Churches are not. Nonprofit private clubs and nonprofit charities do not pay taxes, but they must still file them. Churches do not have to file anything.

Quoting lowrider (Reply 35):
I see a church as a charitable organization, not a business.

Well, then you see wrong. If the church is simply a scam to get people to give money and the "pastor" takes all the excess after operating costs home, then it's not much of a charity, is it? That's exactly what this church is.

A church MAY be a charitable organization, and many are. If so, then they can submit their tax returns just like every other business and nonprofit.

It gets even worse, guess who decides whether you are a Church or not? The government. So if I decide to start a Church of the Sacred Penis and try to file as tax-exempt because I'm a religion, the government might say: "you aren't a real religion." And so that is respecting one establishment of religion but not another.

ALL churches should have to file their returns. If they are nonprofit and operate as such, then they shouldn't have to pay taxes. If they operate for profit, then they should.
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lowrider
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:41 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
Churches are not.

Sorry, but the IRS does not agree with you. Churches do have to file various forms to maintain their tax exempt status.
The IRS can even audit churches, within certain limits. Don't take my word for it. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
If the church is simply a scam to get people to give money and the "pastor" takes all the excess after operating costs home, then it's not much of a charity, is it?

Depends on the circumstances. Many small churches have pastors who are employed part or full time in other lines of work because the church cannot fully support them. If that churches operating expenses include things such as a recurring soup kitchen, or some other charitable establishment, and the pastor is only paid after all these are covered, is it still a scam?

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
It gets even worse, guess who decides whether you are a Church or not? The government.

That is part of the beauty of rule of law. You can lay down a consistent standard, and anyone who meets it, can be classified as a church. Tax exempt status isn't just given away, and isn't worth worrying about if your organization is small enough.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
So if I decide to start a Church of the Sacred Penis and try to file as tax-exempt because I'm a religion, the government might say: "you aren't a real religion." And so that is respecting one establishment of religion but not another.

If you have the spare time to pursue this, have at it. If you can meet the same standards as other churches, then you should gain equal status. If you can show that you do meet the standards, and some bureaucrat denies your church the same legal standing as others, then you should absolutely sue them.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
ALL churches should have to file their returns.

They already do, or they jeopardize their tax exempt status.
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Superfly
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:14 pm

Quoting lowrider (Reply 35):
Next your going to tell me that taxes benefit the business that produce these? Or maybe you could simply explain how taxes are not an economic disincentive? How they do not tie up capital that could be otherwise profitably employed?

Don't put words in my mouth.
Taxes don't kill all industries as you claim.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
So if I decide to start a Church of the Sacred Penis and try to file as tax-exempt because I'm a religion, the government might say: "you aren't a real religion." And so that is respecting one establishment of religion but not another.

  
Perhaps I can start my own church just like that one.
It's a great way to earn cash and it appears to be a recession proof industry as many preachers live very well off of their poor flock.
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ltbewr
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:36 pm

Apparently at services today, this alleged sex offender Rev. Long has denied the charges. He should be investigated by government proscutitors, but in the meantime, kept under strict personal and financial watch to prevent him from potentially offending again. The church's elders or management board should also take control of finances, not just rubber stamping expenses to their leader or better yet, removing him from his job.

As to the issue of taxation and religious organizations and officials, I think there is a need for reasonable limits imposed on them. There should be a reasonable level at which income of officials will be subject to taxation, perhaps $75,000. There should be limits on the value of housing provided to group officers - no McMansions or greater. No private jets mainly for the leader to use, limits on travel and other business expenses for the leaders and for their projects. Limits on property tax deductions for excessive property mainly used for funding purposes. Limit the amount of money that can be used by officials for legal defense, especially if involved in a sexual offiense or financial fraud or theft. The intention of the concept of non-taxation of faith groups and minister was never intended for commercial mega-churches like Rev. Long, but for the many 1000's of them that a valuable part of our communities, culture and life, to recognize the many social benefit benefits the provide.
 
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:02 pm

I wonder how different the world would be if much of religion didn't condemn or didn't care about homosexuality. Like it was not even an issue. That would end like 80% of all controversy. ALL controversy.
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lowrider
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:03 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 39):
Taxes don't kill all industries as you claim.

And I will ask you to return the favor of not putting words in my mouth. I never claimed that taxes have killed industries, only that they have the potential to. They can certainly injure companies in various ways. If you harm them bad enough, they will go out of business, either by accident or design. Taxes have been used to handicap companies in the past, and this concession was gained through political maneuvering. Back to churches, are there any that you can think of that might engage in similar practices? Perhaps use some political maneuvering to gain some tax advantage or destroy an opponent?
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:19 pm

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 40):
There should be a reasonable level at which income of officials will be subject to taxation, perhaps $75,000. There should be limits on the value of housing provided to group officers - no McMansions or greater. No private jets mainly for the leader to use, limits on travel and other business expenses for the leaders and for their projects.

LTB, so far as I know, employees / sole proprietors (and church leaders) pay income tax just like any firm or nonprofit. Other things are (technically) subject to fair value income taxes, including housing (far as I know). But, we can both see where these things can be fudged. The Rectory at National Cathedral in DC is a beautiful mansion but I doubt the resident would pay income taxes on its fair rent. But, technically it should be that way, esp for these fraudulent megachurch nonsense organizations. An IRS agent could follow them on a $100,000 vacation, determine they were not doing religious things, and tax them personally for that income. But, arguably you could do the same with corporate leaders.

It's complicated. Tax avoidance can be so subtle. The laws themselves are designed for abuse.

[Edited 2010-09-26 14:21:36]
 
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:16 pm

Quoting lowrider (Reply 38):

They already do, or they jeopardize their tax exempt status.

Look it up. They do not have to file a complete tax return like other nonprofit charitable organizations.

In addition, there have been egregious violations of tax laws. The most recent high-profile example was the illegal political involvement of the LDS church in Proposition 8. And yet, in spite of the fact that specific violations listed as specific examples in the IRS Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations were violated, they have had to pay no taxes. So in spite of rules that exist they are poorly enforced.

Granting churches automatically tax-exempt status should also be found unconstitutional because it places a burden on nonbelieving or non church-going citizens, like me, to cover the lost revenue that should have been paid by the for-profit churches. If a church is making money, I should not be footing their tax bill.

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 40):
He should be investigated by government proscutitors,

For what? I never saw an allegation that he broke a law.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
Churches do not have to file anything.

And apparently I misspoke. They have to file an "electronic postcard" stating that they are tax-exempt. In some cases they have to file form 990-EZ, but if you look at it, it's not very specific or detailed and there are tons of ways to get around certain rules. For example, a minister preaches from the pulpit encouraging churchgoers to start an independent organization with a political cause, much like what the LDS Church did. Because nobody is allowed in a LDS temple other than a Mormon, there is nobody to prove that this ever occurred. So you just happen to have a bunch of Mormons who just happen to donate a huge amount of money to a political cause in another state, but of course the Church has nothing to do with it.

If any other nonprofit tried to do that, they'd lose their nonprofit status. But the LDS Church did not lose its nonprofit status.

Similarly, the LDS Church and the Catholic Church have vastly expensive properties filled with priceless relics. The LDS Church, in particular, demands that all members pay a whopping 10% of their annual income to the Church. Their operating costs cannot possibly be that high. And yet... they are tax-exempt. And who gets to cover the revenue that could be coming from this for-profit company that sells eternal salvation to its subscribers?

We do.
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:24 pm

Quoting acidradio (Reply 41):
I wonder how different the world would be if much of religion didn't condemn or didn't care about homosexuality. Like it was not even an issue. That would end like 80% of all controversy. ALL controversy.

Hardly. Through human history, religions have been notoriously intolerant of any dissenting viewpoint, especially Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. After all, if you have a monopoly on Truth, it's very threatening when someone says that you might be wrong.

Religion has been used to justify slavery (slaves exist in the Bible and there are laws specific to them), denial of anesthesia to laboring women (consequence of the original sin), racism (each reproducing in its kind), violence (examples too numerous to list), etc. In addition, as a system of thought control, it is an avenue to great power and wealth by those who rise high within its ranks.

There are also positive aspects of religion, but the religions that emphasize the positive aspects of religion in general rarely attain great power or influence for the very reason that they do not stoop to the behaviors necessary to achieve such status.

This is also not to say that religion is the source of all evil. Dogmatism might be, but religion hardly has a monopoly on evil. You might point to Iran, Al-Qaeda, the Inquisition (and general behavior of the RCC), Christian Identity movements, the Israeli/Arab issue as examples of how religion causes evil, but I will point to North Korea, China, the USSR, and Cuba as examples of how religion is not necessary to cause great evil. Of course, you could argue that they have a lot of similar traits in that there is absolute authority with no system of checks and balances.

Religion can get dangerous because if God is on your side, then everything you do is so ordained and not subject to dissent, even when the actions vary widely from the stated morals of the religion (hence the RCC operating dungeons and waging wars and running brothels). But a secular dogma can also get dangerous because there is no overriding moral compass. Rock on one side, hard place on the other. Neither is superior to the other.

People are attracted to dogmatic belief systems, religious or otherwise, because it gives them a set of instructions by which to live their lives. They don't have the stress of having to make their own decisions and form their own worldview. But, as well-intentioned as these systems may be at their outset, they are invariably overcome by corruption.

There are other systems that are based in humanism, the belief that no one individual has a monopoly on truth and that a form of distributed leadership is necessary to maintain long-term stability. Such systems are very threatening to dogmatic systems because no one individual can attain absolute, unchecked power.

It is obvious that this reverend has used his dogmatic system to attain both power and wealth. As is commonly the case for such men (it's usually men), they do not live by their own teachings. There is monetary excess (although Mr. Long has preached that material wealth is part of God's plan for those who follow him), sexual excess, and a lust for prestige and influence (photos of him hugging Pres. GWB, for example).

The bit that mystifies me is that many of his followers have said that even if these allegations are true, that they will remain loyal to him because of "all he has done for the community." The only thing I can really see that he's accomplished is to amass vast personal wealth. But even if it turns out he's a complete hypocrite (a man who has preached that gay men can be turned straight, that homosexuality is immoral, that gay marriage is fundamentally wrong) they are still willing to follow him. It is true brainwashing.

What should we do about it? Well, I've already brought up one solution: start enforcing the tax laws and revoke the automatic tax-exempt status of churches and religious organizations, requiring them to conform to the same standards as secular nonprofits. That will solve the moneylust issue.

Unfortunately, there is no governmental or regulatory solution to the powerlust side of things. Personality cults will always flourish. China has tried unsuccessfully to destroy such groups (such as Falun Gong), but such efforts invariably backfire. To some degree, attacking poverty will also reduce the influence of dogmatism since dogmatism almost always promises followers a better lot than what they have. This is one reason why such religions have not taken a major hold in Europe; they have a more uniform standard of living.
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:36 am

Quoting acidradio (Reply 41):
I wonder how different the world would be if much of religion didn't condemn or didn't care about homosexuality. Like it was not even an issue. That would end like 80% of all controversy. ALL controversy.

You're probably correct.

Quoting lowrider (Reply 42):
And I will ask you to return the favor of not putting words in my mouth. I never claimed that taxes have killed industries, only that they have the potential to.

No words were put in to your mouth. You're the one that made reference that a tax could kill a church and I simply pointed out that's incorrect.
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Aviacsa737
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:35 am

I wish these people would just learn to accept themselves for who they are and stop being hypocrites. I used to be the same way, untill i realized i was much happier accepting my self for who i was; a gay man. It really is much better than living a secret life and then engaging in something that actually IS wrong, underage sex with either sex. You can be socially conservative on other issues, like i am, and still be Gay. Perhaps they should read up on Hypocracy in the bible. I hear theres a fair amount on the topic in the new testament.
Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity--Karl Marx
 
Superfly
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:26 pm

Quoting Aviacsa737 (Reply 47):
I wish these people would just learn to accept themselves for who they are and stop being hypocrites. I used to be the same way, untill i realized i was much happier accepting my self for who i was; a gay man. It really is much better than living a secret life and then engaging in something that actually IS wrong, underage sex with either sex. You can be socially conservative on other issues, like i am, and still be Gay. Perhaps they should read up on Hypocracy in the bible. I hear theres a fair amount on the topic in the new testament.

My guess is that this is not a new phenomenon but something that has been going on for a long time.



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Starbuk7
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RE: Georgia MegaChurch Leader Caught Being Gay

Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:26 pm

By reading the posts here apparently no-one here knows how the Church's work.

Yes, the churches do not get taxed, however, from all the money that the church takes in (my church anyway) all the salaries that are paid to employees of the church (pastor, secretary, directors, etc.) taxes are taken out. So even though the church operates tax free there are still taxes coming out of the money collected by the church.

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