Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" goes toe to toe with the televangelists: Let's welcome "Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption"


by Ken

Last night, in showcasing last week's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver feature report, "Sex Ed," I tried to make it clear that no disrespect was intended to this week's -- a blockbuster taking on the 21st-century version of televangelists, bigger and crasser than ever -- and taking even more audacious advantage of the IRS's nearly complete lack of enforcement when it comes to who and what qualifies as a religious institution.

In the segment, we see a training film on "Churches and Religious Organizations" for IRS people, IRS Senior Tax Specialist Virginia Richardson describes U.S. tax law in this area as -- "for reasons as old as the United States" -- "purposely broad and sometimes a little vague." To which John responds:

"A little vague"? Oh, they are underselling that. Because the films of Christopher Nolan are "a little vague." A text from your mom reading, "Please call. Not emergency but please call. Very important. Don't worry," that's "a little vague." The IRS regulations are close to meaningless. According to their tax code, not only is the term "church" not specifically defined, but --

"U.S. tax law," John notes, "allows television preachers to get away with almost anything. We know this from personal experience." And he proceeds to introduce Last Week Tonight's very own televangelical enterprise, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.

Note: A note on the YouTube page notes: "Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption will not be able to accept donations from Church supporters from the states of Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, or South Carolina. We apologize for any inconvenience."

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At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is consistent with, if not the basis of, the recent rash of claimed (and granted) exemptions to non-tax law due to "religious belief," like the SCOTUS, Inc.'s Hobby Lobby case.

Hobby Lobby (HL), presumably as a corporate person (another fantasy of the SCOTUS Inc.), or its CEO, as a monumental hypocrite (see below), did not want to pay for its/his employees' birth (conception) control as part of their ACA health care coverage.

Somehow the court did not care about, or the government's legal team did not mention, that almost all of the merchandise sold by HL is imported from China, the country of the one-child and forced abortion policies. (A portion of the HL retail business is IN China.)

Therefore, no proof was required to demonstrate consistent, prior behavior based on the claimed "religious belief." To the contrary, ample proof of the complete opposite was ignored.

Apparently there are no "religious" restrictions to making piles of money but only in having to spend a vanishingly small fraction of those earnings.

Note: I have not read every word of this or similar cases. Those who have, please correct me (with citations) if necessary.

As shown on the DWT masthead: ""When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."

John Puma


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