The IRS might be feeling the pressure to crack down on televangelists who use "seed faith" to reap millions of tax-free dollars from believers after John Oliver went in on the practice in a segment on Last Week Tonight, CBS DC reports.
"This is about the churches that exploit people's faith for monetary gain," Oliver said in the segment, which explained the "prosperity gospel" that televangelists preach to boost donations, which as Oliver pointed out, go to fund private jets and gigantic estates.
Oliver explained that the prosperity gospel "argues that wealth is a sign of God's favor, and donations will result in wealth coming back to you. That idea takes the form of 'seed faith,' that donations are seeds that you will one day get to harvest."
In case you haven't watched it yet:
The segment also pointed out that the IRS is extremely hands-off with churches of any kind, and has performed exactly three audits on churches over the past two tax years. That could be why the IRS is feeling the heat to do something.
On top of all that, it turns out that pretty much anyone can start a church and enjoy this tax-free status, which is exactly what Oliver did with Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption – Last Week Tonight's brand new, for real, church. Any "seeds" given to that church, though, will go to Doctors Without Borders.