Pressure mounts on IRS to crack down on televangelists following John Oliver segment

In the wake of a widely popular segment aired on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight this Sunday, the IRS is getting rising pressure to crack down on televangelists and their tax-free donations.

In the segment, Oliver slammed televangelists for utilizing what he called “seed faith,” a doctrine disseminated by preachers which tells followers that their cash donations will reap high rewards from heaven.

“The argument is, sow your money in the ground and you will reap multiple returns many time over,” Oliver said after showing a stream of clip from televangelist sermons. “Except, as an investment, you’d be better off burying your money in the actual ground because at least that way there is a chance your dog may dig it up and give it back to you one day.”

Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation, a group that investigates religious fraud, told CBS News that televangelists are able to receive millions in tax-exempt dollars because the IRS has turned a “blind eye” to their churches.

“They keep trying to send more money, more money, more money so they can get healed,” Anthony said. “A few years ago, the IRS named Scientology a church. Since that happened, anybody can call themselves a church.”

According to CBS News, the IRS only conducted three church audits from 2013 to 2014 after suspending them completely from 2009 to 2013.

Watch Oliver’s segment below, via Last Week Tonight:

Featured image via YouTube



  1. Avatar


    August 21, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    This is also an issue for Better Business Bureau as these ‘groups’ are legally defrauding the public.

  2. Avatar

    Rodolfo V Gonzales

    August 22, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Lets look at the facts! Churches do not pay taxes on owned property. Yet they are protected by police and fire departments nationwide. People can go to Seminaries or colleges and get a doctorate in religion and start a church of their own anywhere they choose and that property is no longer taxed. Free protection on the tax payers nickel!

  3. Avatar

    Teddy Rodosovich

    August 22, 2015 at 6:49 am

    prey pray.

  4. Avatar

    Kevin Burgess

    August 22, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Nice, but taxpayers are still paying for Stadiums too. We ask Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption to get Seed for a giant Stadium of Prayer too, where we may back in everlasting dollar bills. Amen

  5. Avatar


    August 22, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    The only inaccuracy in your statement is that they go to college or seminary. No degree is needed, let alone a “doctorate” Anyone with or without a degree can start a “church” if they can attract enough people.

  6. Avatar

    Bill Errs

    August 22, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    No need for ANY sort o education! There are plenty of places where, for a meager fee you too can start your own BS (belief system)

  7. Avatar


    August 23, 2015 at 12:03 am

    What’s worse is Millionaires can use Charity Status to funnel money to bribe candidates.
    Most States they don’t have to disclose their donations.
    Utter scam going on.

  8. Avatar

    Aurora Pascua

    August 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Ha ha ha Now is the truth ,, never give your wallet to attend a prayer, to any kind of religion,

  9. Avatar

    Dan Childers

    August 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Yeah, the show let them know these guys are leeches and con men. The IRS must be the only ones who don’t know that.

  10. Avatar

    Motherunit420 (@motherunit420)

    August 23, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Doctorate in religion? Pffft! Anyone can get ordained. I did. The Church of the Latter Day Dude will ordain you online, for free. http://dudeism.com/ordination/

  11. Avatar


    August 24, 2015 at 1:03 am

    seeing how they wimped out on Scientology, I wouldn’t be too worried if I was Joel Osteen

  12. Avatar

    Raul Navarro

    August 24, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Cheating the government is not the worst thing that these vipers do. The worst thing is lying to the people while using The Lord’s name for their own selfish greed. The people that contribute to these heretic so called ministries are bible illiterate people. They would rather listen to the lying man on the pulpit than to call him out biblically. They are heading straight to the slaughter along with the viper.

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    August 24, 2015 at 3:13 am

    The BBB is a private entity. You pay dues to join it and get rated, and the more you pay, the better your rating. It is NOT a government regulatory agency nor does it have any enforcement powers whatsoever. It is NOT a consumer agency, it exists solely to promote businesses.

    They may intercede in some cases – if the business is a BBB member – but if the business isn’t a member, there’s nothing they can do to them. For that matter, there’s very little the BBB can do or will do to a member, anyway.

  14. Avatar

    Patrick Shaw

    August 24, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Its almost as if money was the root of all evil or something.

  15. Avatar

    Eddie Carr

    August 24, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Sounds a lot like the argument against illegal aliens, doesn’t it? I bet you’re okay with illegals here though….

  16. Avatar


    August 24, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    You don’t even need a doctorate. Did you watch the John Oliver segment? All you have to do is file the proper paperwork and boom you’re done, you’re a church.

  17. Avatar

    Bill Errs

    August 24, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Church of the SubGenius here! “Salvation guaranteed of TRIPLE your money back!”

  18. Avatar


    August 24, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    There’s a parable in the Bible that talks about “sowing the seed,” or giving to the church. One can’t buy their way into heaven, and any pastor that says it can be done, is very wrong.

  19. Avatar

    Sydney Chandler

    August 24, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    One doesn’t need a theology degree to start up a church. An old gas station will do. I’ve seen them in NC.

  20. Avatar


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