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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:38 PM
Original message
Rick Warren's Clout
How much clout does Rick Warren have?

The California megachurch minister and opponent of gay marriage who will deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration had his income tax returns audited in 1996. When the IRS tried to collect the taxes it claimed he owed, Warren went to court. Congress then passed a law granting Warren's tax deduction, pre-empting the US Court of Appeals from even taking up the case against him. The votes in the House and Senate were unanimous.

The IRS permits members of the clergy to claim exemptions for their housing. At the time of Warren's audit the amount claimed had to be "reasonable"--it shouldn't exceed the fair market value for the rental of the home. That 1996 audit concluded that Warren was deducting more than that--the IRS said he owed it $55,300. Warren challenged the IRS in tax court, arguing that his housing exemption should be unlimited.

The facts were simple: in 1993 Warren deducted $77,663, his entire Saddleback Church salary that year, as a housing expense--and paid no taxes at all on that salary. In addition, he claimed a deduction for his mortgage expenses--even though they had been covered by the salary. He made similar claims in subsequent tax returns.
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But before the three-judge panel could rule, either on the IRS effort to collect back taxes from Warren or on Chemerinsky's broader argument for declaring the entire exemption unconstitutional, Congress stepped in--and acted with "almost miraculous" speed, as Richard Hammar, editor of the Church Law & Tax Report newsletter, explained to the New York Times. The new law granted Warren his deductions (along with any other clergy who had done the same--although Warren was the only one to end up in court). Congress also put into law, from that time forward, the IRS's "fair rental value" rule.

The Clergy Housing Allowance Clarification Act of 2002 was approved unanimously by Congress, then signed into law by George W. Bush on May 20, 2002, rendering the IRS case against Warren moot. "I have filed hundreds of briefs in federal courts," Chemerinsky told me, "and this is the only time that Congress passed a law to make a specific pending case moot." He added, "It is very rare for Congress to pass a law to make a pending case moot before there was a decision."
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Religious denominations from Reform Jews to Southern Baptists expressed their support for the exemption. But their goal was preserving their own exemptions in the future, not defending Warren's past tax returns. The bill could have established the "reasonable" standard the IRS sought for the exemption without letting Warren off the hook. Or Congress could have waited to see what the courts would decide about the constitutionality of the exemption before acting on it.

Instead, Rick Warren posed as a defender of clergy of all faiths against a godless left-wing court. Not even the most progressive members of Congress were willing to stand up to him--not Ted Kennedy, Paul Wellstone, Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders or Barney Frank. Obama's invitation to Warren is dismaying, but this history may make it more comprehensible.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090202/wiener

pnorman
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
1. He's got photographs
of lots of judges and Congressmen in compromising positions.

That is the only fucking possible explanation for this outrage. And how come this wasn't front page news?

It never fucking ends, does it? So-called "religious" folks doing everything they can to rip us off. And succeeding.

Still, their faithful continue to fill their coffers.

I honestly don't get it.

What is wrong with people?
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vixengrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. People are easily impressed by the outward show of "rightness".
Not "righteousness" and not "morality"--rightness. People believe that the Pastor seems to have his external shit together, he's saying the right things, ergo,, people suppose "let's follow him, and our shit will miraculously get together and we, too, will learn how to say the right things." And he sucks up to local power and they return the favor to get temporary approval from his masses.

(The problem with sheep is they totally expect to be sheared. They even benefit from a little shearing, it makes them feel lighter and cleaner. They just never expect the sheperd to want mutton. Still less, lamb.)

How did he do it? It's "on purpose". He's a brand. It's all about marketing. Take a look at the reverse-tithing model, and you'll see he's not much different than any executive plowing profits back into his business. A lot of which is self-promotional "goodwill" extenuation of the brand in other countries via so-called "charity." Looks great on paper, totally tax deductable, very profitable. Extends the consumer-base. In other words--he "sats his bread upon the waters," and it comes back to him in the form of more "bread."

I tend to look at most religions as having a parasitical component--he's a really flagrant example when you break down his methods.
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NRaleighLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. Congress acting with almost miraculous speed? Now THAT is a miracle!
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Just like they managed to do to save America from the terror of Terri Schiavo's husband
:eyes:

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NRaleighLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. .. and I forgot to add. Rick Warren WILL burn in hell.
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
4. Sigh...ok, another Obama "to do" item.
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liberalmuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:19 PM
Response to Original message
5. Mark my words...
in a couple years it will come out that he's been schlepping a young guy.
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. That must be heavy.
Schtupping (sp?) - I think that's the word you want, lol!

But yeah, I wouldn't be entirely surprised at that.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. He's not heavy - he's my brother!
Badoom cymbal crash.

Which makes it even grosser, if you think about it...

:rofl:

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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. LOL. Yes, yes, it does! nt
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