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Where are your donated dollars going?

I confess that I am uninformed about the bottom lines of some organizations, charities, and churches I support with monetary gifts; I am uninformed about their budgets, incomes, expenditures, salaries and employees. I am also dismayed by faith organizations that hire and reward paid positions to direct family members.

In my understanding of stewardship, I learned from my parents and my faith group to give a percentage of my income to helping organizations. I not only believe supporting selecting organizations, I make it my practice to support the St. Louis Zoo, St. Jude Research Medical Center, and World Vision. For some of these gifts I receive a tax deduction.

Perhaps, though, I should keep myself informed about the financial income of the charities and churches. The value of stewardship includes holding accountable organizations that are the beneficiaries of our largess. It came as a surprise the amount that some religious organizations acknowledge as an annual income. The following are faith-based organizations where huge income is impressive:

  • James Dodson’s Focus on the Family raked in more than $156 million
  • Alan Sears’ Alliance Defense Fund budget exceeded $31 million
  • Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council brought in nearly $13 million
  • Don Wilmond’s American Family Association took in $22.5 million
  • Pat Robertson’s Broadcast Network amassed nearly $250 million

They are politically active and aggressively pursue their objectives. With significant resources resources they sponsor troubling initiatives across the United States. Contributions to them are legally diverted into political activism.

As citizens of the Kingdom of God, it is incumbent to keep informed on what happens to the dollars we donate to any faith group. Asking for information on salaries or other expenditures makes us more responsible in our Stewardship. It is okay to ask any organization “where are my (donated) dollars going?”

Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland, retired, has lived in Clarksville for seven years and holds great pride in his adopted city and its people. His one objection in Tennessee is the Hall law of taxes on dividends and savings. Charles served in the U.S. Army Chaplaincy from 1966-1986, retiring to serve as a United Methodist pastor near Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He serves on the Boards of Directors for the ARP, Roxy Theater and MCDP. Though retired, he is a regular speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. His five grandchildren, ages two to thirteen years, live in Evansville, Indiana. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and served in Germany and Korea while on active duty.
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1 COMMENT

  1. If these religious/spiritual organizations are funneling any percentage of their money to lobbyists, or acting as political lobbyists pushing their given religion-based agendas, they need to be freed from their tax-exempt status and taxed as if they are a lobbying organization.

    It is the same with any church that preaches politics from the pulpit or pastes political issues on the billboards outside their churches: if it promotes a political agenda or issue, it needs to be taxed accordingly.

    The basic concept: Separation of Church and State

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