The Carpetbagger reports that Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) is hot on the trail of some fraudulent “media mega-ministers”. Grassley, he reports, “has sent letters to six mega-ministries, asking some pointed questions about their finances. One of his targets is Benny Hinn, perhaps the most transparently fraudulent evangelical TV huckster out there
Hinn lives in a $10 million estate (considered a “parsonage”), owns a fleet of cars and a private jet. He travels all over the world claiming to heal people of various afflictions. Over the years, numerous news media outlets have tried to take Hinn down. They’ve pointed out his opulent lifestyle. They’ve tracked down people Hinn claims to have healed and found some of them unhealed and others dead.
Clicking over to his website, the first impression is–there’s sure a lot of stuff for sale here (“priestly blessing plate– $25, Deliverance from Guilt book– $15). In fact you can “Shop @ Benny Hinn Ministeries (sic)”
Further clicking reveals that Hinn’s given name isn’t Benny, it’s Benedictus. Pastor Benedictus Hinn—seriously. Clicking over to the Pastor’s Note on Hinn’s website we find that Benny has “an urgent need…raising the money needed to get the Gospel to the world”.
But Benny, you’re living in a $10 million beach front parsonage— yet begging for dollars (ten dollars, fifteen, anything helps!!) from the people watching daytime TV?
According to the Senator’s letter, the parsonage is located at 35 Ritz Cove, Dana Point, CA. I searched the internet news a bit, but didn’t see much coverage of this story. I would think the media would be all over it. Isn’t this a perfect opportunity for enterprising reporters in Southern California to board a helicopter and check out this “parsonage”? But apparently it hasn’t risen to the level of a Malibu wildfire or a cops and robbers chase. So I looked for the parsonage with Google Earth. Looks like a nice neighborhood. But I do have to object to the government forcing me to subsidize this place.
By my calculation (and IRS Publication 517) Pastor Hinn can exclude from his income something on the order of $1 million annually—plus utilities and mortgage interest, property taxes. Sweet deal! You might call it a miracle.
Or, as Grassley, puts it: ““Jesus comes into the city on a simple mule, and you got people today expanding his gospel in corporate jets. Somebody ought to raise questions about is it right or wrong.”