Religion
Wednesday April 26, 2017

 

 

 

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by P. David Gardner

L. Ron Hubbard, the dead but not forgotten inventor of Scientology, is said to have once loudly proclaimed, "I'd like to start a religion. That's where the money is!"

And he was right. Despite years of scrutiny and some measure of setbacks, his legacy is now worth billions of dollars, much of it socked away into solid investments in real property all over the world.

You can look at that sentence and rightly say that this is dead wrong, that the money-making cult should be shut down or at least taxed to death. But Scientology continues to enjoy tax-free status as a religion, though it is clear to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that the “religion of Scientology” is anything but.

If you turn your gaze to the most popular organized religion in the world, Christianity, you may find that even though it is not cloaked in the same garb of religion as is Scientology, it is just as ruthless a money-making enterprise as the cult is.

Witness one Franklin Graham, son of the deceased pastor Billy Graham.

The Charlotte Observer has noted that Graham Jr. takes down over $250,000 from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Charlotte ministry his father started a long time ago. On top of that, he nets more than $620,000 by being the head of Samaritan's Purse, an international relief organization.

What's more, when the economic downturn occurred in 2009, Graham stopped pulling a paycheck from the Charlotte organization because it was in trouble, and had to let staffers go just to survive. But now things have turned around, and the ministry's board told Graham he should be getting paid again. And he agreed with them.

This “God” Business pays, and it pays well, as long as you're at the top of the heap. Meanwhile, a substantial amount of the “flock” which attend services are losing ground every year, often struggling to make ends meet, and going hungry to boot.

What a world.

P. David Gardner is a long time writer and reporter, as well as a graphic designer and photographer. And he creates terrific web sites too. For more details, see pauldavidgarder.com.

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