Sunday, January 13, 2008
Christianity Today has published an editorial critical of Senator Grassley's inquiries. In early November, Senator Charles Grassley, ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Finance announced that he had asked six ministries with significant media presences about their finances, including the compensation, benefits, and expenses of their executives. He also publicly released copies of the letters he had sent to the ministries, which are available on his 2007 press releases website. As of the December 6, 2007 deadline for responding to these letters, Senator Grassley reported that only some of the ministries had provided the requested information, and it was unclear how much of that information even the ones who had responded had provided.
The Christianity Today editorial raises concerns about both the accuracy of some of Senator Grassley's accusations against the ministries and the First Amendment concerns raised by Senator Grassley's criticisms of the ministries' apparent theology. Not that Christianity Today is sympathetic with the theological views held by at least some of the targeted ministries - it calls the "health-and-wealth gospel" a heresy and urges other churches to push for push for financial accountability by these ministries. But it argues that a Senator is not the right person to be making this theological inquiry.
(Full Disclosure: The firm with which I am Of Counsel represents one of the ministries targeted by Senator Grassley, World Changers Church International, with respect to this inquiry.)