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