Government Waste and Fraud
American Atheists just sued to prevent Kansas City from giving $65,000 to a Baptist organization (here). This is the second largest grant given by Kansas City in 2016.
The Baptists claimed the city’s money was to be used for secular purposes – transportation. But it was for transportation to a Baptist convention. Furthermore, the grant covered 25% of the convention’s budget – far more than the cost of shuttle buses and other transportation. Not only were the Baptists illegally getting taxpayer subsidies, they were committing fraud.
No major media covered this story, though American Atheist sent out press releases. While evangelicals whine about waste and fraud in government, they didn’t complain about this fraud. Nor did it affect their belief that the government discriminates against Christians, as the PRRI/Brookings survey and many others have found.
In fact, America gives religion billions in tax breaks. It also gives religious charlatans like Ken Copeland, shown below, special dispensation to run financial scams under the cover of religious worship. Not only are they allowed to make claims that would constitute fraud if made by anyone in finance, their ill-gotten gains are tax-advantaged. You could buy a whole lot of infrastructure with the money the government hands out to religion. But no party is willing to suggest that religion pay its own way.
Even after the pope denounced the gospel of prosperity, no one commented on his hypocrisy in high-fiving Ken Copeland.
When he met with an imam, Pope Francis declared, "the meeting is the message." But he wants us to ignore the message from his meetings with Copeland and other prosperity preachers.
But it could be worse. An article in CRUX, a relatively new, independent Catholic paper, pointed out that Italy handed over $1.3 billion to the Catholic Church, while Germany handed over $6 billion. Many other countries also fund the Church with taxpayer funds. As the article notes, America doesn’t do this, although it has other means of funding the Church. Again, no major media carried this story.