I hope Chuck Schumer* Grassley is treading verrrrry carefully in his current investigation into whether a half-dozen evangelical megaministers have been financing posh lifestyles with tax-exempt donations. Certainly I share the Senator's distaste for high-living preachers (can't Joyce Meyers think of any worthier way to spend $23,000 than on a marble-topped commode for her ministry's Fenton, Missouri, HQ?). And I find the Jesus-will-make-you-rich-if-you-have-faith-and-give- us-your-cash "prosperity
gospel" peddled by some of these characters to be one of the most theologically dubious--not to mention the hands-down tackiest--messages of modern Christianity.
That said, messing with self-proclaimed men and women of God is always tricky business, as evidenced by this ominous quote given to The New York Times by the Rev. Creflo A. Dollar Jr. (great name, eh?), whose Georgia-based World Changers Church International is being probed. The Reverend Dollar plans to cooperate with investigators but only after consulting with various legal experts. "The questions at hand are much bigger than World Changers," he explained, "as it could affect the privacy of every community church in America."
Got that? Creflo and wife Taffi may or may not be misusing gullible donors' dollars, but start poking around in their books and Mr. and Mrs. Prosperity Gospel will spin their predicament into a Congress-hates-all-Christians issue faster than you can say WWJD?
An ugly propaganda battle with popular megaministers is not what the Democrats need at this point (or any point, really). This isn't to say that these cash-soaked crusaders don't deserve a little scrutiny. I'm just saying Chuck should watch his step and try to control his more flamboyant tendencies in this case.
* D'oh. Never blog pre-caffeine. Apologies to both Chucks.