Friday, November 20, 2009

Who is paying for this?

LOS ANGELES – California is investigating several companies suspected of bilking churches nationwide of hundreds of thousands of dollars through fraudulent computer leasing schemes, authorities said Friday.
State Attorney General Jerry Brown said as many as 30 Southern California churches may have been defrauded, with the same companies suspected of bilking other churches in as many as 10 other states. The companies offered churches free computer kiosks that could serve as electronic message boards and generate advertising revenue, Brown said.
"Instead, churches were left with leases as high as $45,000 per year for what amounted to little more than desktop computers and printers housed in podium-sized wooden boxes," the Attorney General's office said in a statement.
I'm fascinated by this story for a few reasons:
First, a criminal (or criminals) figured out how to defraud perhaps the most trusting group of people on the planet - religious folk. They see the good in everyone and forget that sometimes evil not only exists, but triumphs over good. Their naïvety works against them.
Secondly, that churches need advertising revenue, or advertising at all. That seems to be a wild idea, to say the least. I would think the product should sell itself.
But the most interesting part of the deal is that they ran to the state for protection. The state to which they pay no taxes on their property. The state to which they are supposed to be separate from - or at least that's what it says in our Constitution, unless I've read it wrong.
I think it's fascinating whenever church or religious organizations get involved in politics and elections, also. They profess to be able to tell us whom to vote for, yet accept none of the responsibility for helping us pay for the goods and services the government provides.
I say, let them fight their own battles. When they run to the state for help, the state should recite the doctrine set forth by the country that so willingly aids their existence.
Talk amongst yourselves.


Pinewolf said...

Just consider this.... The church as you state is made up of people who, just like everyone else in this country pay taxes. The revenue to run the church comes from the members of that church and for some at a very large price. Some of us donate a high percentage of our income to the organization. We support the church because we believe in the importance of an organized body to do the work of God together. Not unlike a Moose lodge, the Elks, Rotary, Knights of Columbus, etc. All organizations tax exempt but funded with the money from it's members who believe in the mission of the group. Just remember, there is no entity running these groups that is tax exempt, powerful, power wielding, and out to get one over on us. It's just us (American citizens) working together for a cause we believe in.
Of course the God part is an entirely different discussion. I guess I need my own blog for that one. Thanks for listening.

Anthony said...

I understand your point, but by the same token, I don't want "The Church of [whatever]" telling me they support a candidate or a political cause. If the members who pay taxes want to do it on their own, that's their business.

I think that it organizations are going to use taxpayer-funded services then they should be contributing, in the same way that I am expected to contribute to the church I attend.

The crime wasn't committed against the individual members per se, but the church itself which stands on tax exempt ground.

And that goes for the Moose, Elks or other such organizations as well. I'm not just picking on organized religion - although they are a more visible target.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

Secondly, that churches need advertising revenue, or advertising at all. That seems to be a wild idea, to say the least. I would think the product sh

Well said. Exactly.