Monday, 15 April 2013

The excesses of the NZ religio-industriel complex

As much as we like to laugh at the excesses of the American religious-industrial complex, New Zealand is far from immune. Indeed our statutes require less accountability in regard to the spending of charity money than even the US, the world capital of hucksters brandishing Bibles like Peter Popoff, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Robert Schueller and Joyce Meyer. Many have seen the flash cars of the elders Destiny Church and Brian Tamaki's helicopter wish list item. But he's not the only one. Ray Comfort Started out, here in New Zealand and now operates in California. But still New Zealand tax laws provides little accountability for the use of revenues by charitable organizations connected with religious institutions.

A few examples:

While you crunch down on your WeetBix, keep in mind not a single cent was payed in revenue taxes by the manufacturer, because the commercial entity Sanitarium is owned by the Seventh Day Adventists.

Ngai Tahu has an individual receiving 14% of revenues in there remuneration package.

Some how in 2012, the Royston Hospital Trust Board Achieved the staggeringly exorbitant rate of 7% of revenue spent on charitable purposes. This on revenue approaching $1m and expenses less than $64k. The Royston Trust has assets of $25m.

To me this kind of burns because I have worked for a couple of charities myself. One of which is now defunct because it could not get enough revenues to cover the expenses of the very worthwhile work it was doing for low income Wellingtonians. And the other is perhaps Wellingtons most successful charity The LifeFlight Trust, which at time I worked was spending 24-27% on overheads, which should not be begrudged because if for-profit organizations can teach the non-profit sector anything it is that you have to spend money to make money. It is better to spend $400 on advertising to collect $1000 and keep $600 for the cause than to spend $10 on raffle tickets sold for $100 and keep $90 for the cause.

I Saw it on TV.
Destiny Church has previously offered content for Sunday morning programming on Prime TV. Hour of Power from the Chrystal Cathedral has been on the Sunday morning programme for something for the order 20 years. It is worth noting that the cathedral went bankrupt, but not the ministers, and they were able to keep it going. It is worth noting some of the programmes offer Prosperity gospel which asks belivers to gave away money in the hope of unspecified receiving. Often believers give away money they can ill afford. Other programme offer end-times theology which leads to poor planning or no planning at all and folks ending up without resources to help them through difficult times. And let us not forget the nonsense of Harold Camping.

Sean Faircloth mentions that US based Evangelicals see their religion as an export business. Just looking the TV schedule for this week, it is hard to disagree that this is how they see it. It is worth noting that where these churches the most popular, the most poverty exists. Especially where Prosperity Gospel is involved. In some sense this is worse than pokies, at least pokies rarely pay out.

CH day tm  Show
2 Mon 4:10 It is Written
3 Mon 5:00 Joyce Meyer
1 Mon 5:30 Believers voice of Victory
2 Mon 6:00 Creflo Dollar

1 Tue 5:05 Believers voice of Victory
3 Tue 5:30 Joyce Meyer
2 Tue 6:00 Creflo Dollar

3 Wed 5:00 Joyce Meyer

1 Wed 5:05 Believers voice of Victory
2 Wed 6:00 Creflo Dollar

3 Thu 5:00 Joyce Meyer
1 Thu 5:05 Believers voice of Victory
2 Thu 6:30 Creflo Dollar

3 Fri 5:00 Joyce Meyer
1 Fri 5:05 Believers voice of Victory
2 Fri 6:00 Creflo Dollar

3 Sat 6:00 Charles Stanley

1 Sun 5:30 The world to come with David C Pack
3 Sun 5:30 Charles Stanley

P Sun 6:00 Music and the Spoken word
P Sun 6:30 Life TV
3 Sun 7:00 Charles Stanley 1315

P Sun 7:30 Hour of Power
P Sun 8:30 Tomorrows World
P Sun 9:00 Impact for Life
P Sun 9:30 Life TV
P Sun 10:00 Running With Fire

See Also
  Dr Michael Gousmett's article on NZCPR
Public schools languish while privat schools boosted

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