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Thread: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/loca...t/12375663.htm

    By Darren Barbee

    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

    The tax-exempt status of faith healer Benny Hinn's $6.5 million world headquarters in Grapevine is being examined by the Tarrant Appraisal District after a televangelist watchdog group this week questioned whether the property should be considered a church.

    The review of the property at 3400 William D. Tate Ave., triggered by a request of the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation, is considered somewhat unusual, appraisal district officials said. But any request for a review is investigated as a matter of policy.

    The ministry's 58,000-square-foot facility, with 235 employees, passed muster with the district in July 2003, when it was granted a property-tax exemption, according to the ministry and appraisal district documents.

    Hinn is known for worldwide crusades in which believers are promised miracle healings. But Trinity contends that the ministry hides its spending from donors and uses donations to provide Hinn with a multimillion-dollar California parsonage and a seven-figure salary.

    Ministry spokesman Ronn Torossian said that the Grapevine facility meets all requirements for its tax exemption and that the organization spends all of its money on spreading the gospel and providing for the needy. He lashed out at Trinity President Ole Anthony, calling him and his organization anti-Christian and anti-religious.

    "They are on their crusade ... to harm Christianity, to harm religion," Torossian said in a telephone interview from New York. "And we find no credence in anything they say or do."

    Anthony said that Trinity, a nonprofit religious organization, brought the matter to the district's attention because he wants to bring "integrity to the body of Christ."

    But Anthony also said he opposes ministers "becoming fabulously wealthy on the backs of God's people."

    The Grapevine building is used to handle the mail and phone calls of Hinn's ministry, according to Anthony and appraisal district documents. In a Wednesday letter, Anthony asked chief appraiser John Marshall to re-evaluate the gated property, in part because no public worship services are held there and only those with access cards or permission are allowed entry.

    "Designating this organization as a church would be tantamount to naming Interstate Batteries, General Motors, the Dallas Cowboys and other for-profit corporations as churches because they hold periodic Bible studies on their premises," Anthony wrote.

    Vinita Tribble, the district's support services director, was part of a team that initially examined the property for tax-exempt status.

    "What we're doing at this time is re-examining the evidence that we have," Tribble said. She said the district has an obligation to investigate any allegations that an exemption was granted in error.

    "It will stay under continual review as the situation develops," she said.

    By law, a religious property-tax exemption may be granted if a property is regularly used as a place of worship, she said. That can mean anything from individual meditation to a group ceremony to religious education.

    The district approved the ministry's 2003 request for an exemption only after asking for several documents, including the ministry's bylaws and its authorization from the secretary of state to do business in Texas. District officials also asked for a detailed explanation of how the property is used primarily as a place of regular religious worship.

    In April 2003, the ministry responded that:

    All employees are Christians and have "some form of organized worship, fellowship, prayer and biblical study at the Grapevine property on almost every business day."

    The property has a sanctuary devoted to religious worship.

    Call-center operators pray with callers and take tithes and offerings.

    In addition, Tribble said, the property was granted a certificate of occupancy from Grapevine that described the facility as a church.

    "The evidence that I was provided with the application was sufficient ... to bring it within the property-tax exemption statute," she said.

    The ministry's attorneys acknowledged to the district that the building does not offer public worship services. And in 2000, a ministry spokesman told the Star-Telegram that the building would be "a traditional corporate office facility. ... There will be no facilities to accommodate the general public."

    But not every inch of a property must be devoted to worship to qualify as a church, Torossian said.

    "Our underlying religious purpose at our property in Grapevine is that of a church religious organization with religious beliefs and religious services, which are performed," he said.
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    Member CrackerJack's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    If Jesus were alive today he'd burn that place down, and I'd be right behind him.

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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    Quote Originally Posted by CrackerJack
    If Jesus were alive today he'd burn that place down, and I'd be right behind him.
    Jesus was a Capricorn, he ate organic foods.
    He believed in love and peace and never wore no shoes.
    Long hair, beard and sandals and a funky bunch of friends.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    I saw an episode of Benny Hinn in which he asked a lady to tell him what was wrong with her. She started telling this long, drawn-out story about how she was in a car wreck and hurt her leg, and it prevented her from working, so she lost her insurance, and blah blah blah. In the middle of the story, Benny grabbed her face, pulled her about two inches from his own face, and whispered into the microphone, "The Power of God is here!"

    What a great way to shut someone up.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Mod Law zombie-a-go-go's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    Call-center operators pray with callers and take tithes and offerings.
    So... it's like religious phone-sex.

    Awesome.
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    personally, I've always thought that medical students should be required to take four extra years of faith healing. Equal time.

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    Too bad the writer couldn't have inserted quotation marks each time he mentioned "ministry." It is a lucrative gig, those moneychangers and animal sacrifice sellers weren't in business because they really cared about helping people, after all. Same principal applies here. At least investigative reporters haven't dug up bags of trashed prayer requests from a dumpster behind the "ministry" building (yet ) like they did with one of Benny's peers, Robert Tilton, who makes Benny Hinn almost look legit.
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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor
    Too bad the writer couldn't have inserted quotation marks each time he mentioned "ministry." It is a lucrative gig, those moneychangers and animal sacrifice sellers weren't in business because they really cared about helping people, after all. Same principal applies here. At least investigative reporters haven't dug up bags of trashed prayer requests from a dumpster behind the "ministry" building (yet ) like they did with one of Benny's peers, Robert Tilton, who makes Benny Hinn almost look legit.
    Oooh, I remember that.

    My BS detector goes off the charts whenever I see one of those faith healers mucking about.

    Here's a question though: why do faith healers need to see doctors?
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    Oooh, I remember that.

    My BS detector goes off the charts whenever I see one of those faith healers mucking about.

    Here's a question though: why do faith healers need to see doctors?
    I always get a little snicker when the World Harvest Christian school (for those familiar with Rod Parsley's fine "ministry") has to shut down for a flu outbreak. Poor little children just didn't have enough faith and the demon of influenza attacked them. Or maybe it was their sinning parents who brought it on
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor
    I always get a little snicker when the World Harvest Christian school (for those familiar with Rod Parsley's fine "ministry") has to shut down for a flu outbreak. Poor little children just didn't have enough faith and the demon of influenza attacked them. Or maybe it was their sinning parents who brought it on
    I have relatives from the SW Missouri area, and I was chatting with a guy in a mall there once, and he asked where I was from. "Columbus, Ohio" I said. "Oh, yeah, that's where Rod Parsley's at, isn't it?" the guy said.

    Great, I thought. This is what we're known for.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    Designated Threadkiller LincolnparkRed's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    I actually audited one of these "faith centers" they were barely scrapping by on their financials but the youth director had an mercedes SUV and the preachers wife was buying $500 suits at Neiman Marcus and yes the youth director was the son of the head pastor.
    Climbing down from the bridge, but keeping the torch lit until Dusty's fate is settled

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    So Long Uncle Joe BoydsOfSummer's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    My dad is a retired minister. Best car he ever drove was a Bonneville. And he is a helluva better preacher than those ass-clowns...lol
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    They should yank the tax emptions for all churchs. The lord will provide.

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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    Quote Originally Posted by alex trevino
    They should yank the tax emptions for all churchs. The lord will provide.
    Some "churches" could certainly stand to have their tax-exempt status removed. But there are also a very good number of churches that truly DO benefit the community they exist in.

    Calling Benny Hinn's headquarters a "church" is like calling Cristian Guzman a "shortstop".
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    A Little to the Left Redsfaithful's Avatar
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    Re: Faith-healer Benny Hinn's tax exemption under review

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    Some "churches" could certainly stand to have their tax-exempt status removed. But there are also a very good number of churches that truly DO benefit the community they exist in.
    It's not even about whether churches are beneficial or not, in my opinion. If the government collected taxes from churches then it would become really easy for the government to show favoritism towards certain religions or denominations, or even to try to push some churches out of existence.
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