Friday, March 09, 2007

Canadian Preachers Rake In the Cash from Gullible Flock

From the Toronto Star, one of the few newspapers in Canada that still does some investigative reporting, comes this appalling story about a family of Pentecostal preachers that have been apparently raking in tons of cash from their poor parishioners.

According to the Star, Paul Melnichuk and his sons Tim and Tom "lead lavish lives in contrast to the mainly working-class black families that make up the bulk of the church."

"Between them, the pastors have amassed a real estate fortune worth about $12 million. Each owns a multi-million-dollar country estate north of Toronto (Tim's is worth as much as $5.5 million), they share a Florida vacation villa, and the pastors and their wives drive luxurious cars – among them a Porsche Cayenne SUV, a Lexus RX 330 SUV and a Mercedes-Benz CLK 320 convertible."

Melnichuk's Prayer Palace claims to fund charities, but "a continuing Star investigation into Canadian charities has found the church devotes little money to charitable work. In fact, the church's most recent financial statements show that only $9,443 was spent on 'benevolent and charity' activities in 2005. The church's annual 'missions' fluctuate between $500 and $36,704 in the past few years."

The Star deserves a lot of praise for investigating these creeps. But the parishioners don't seem to care: a follow-up article reveals that the reporters who blew the whistle were called "wicked" by congregants. But these letters from Star readers show not everyone is fooled.


Anonymous said...

Not surprising that the parishoners don't care. I'm sure most of Ted Haggards former parishoners still don't believe he was soliciting sex from a male prostitute even after Haggard pretty well admitted it.
It's all part of the authoritarian mindset.

Anonymous said...

It is a moral disgrace.
The church is a big plantation. It has always reminded me of the Jim Jones Cult. The Melnichuk family ripped my family to shreds, robbed us of thousands and treated me so horribly. In front of my fathers' coffin Tim and Tom interrogated me because I got away. Tom humiliated me in the funeral home and made a huge scene of grilling me for what seemed like eternity in front of everyone to make me an example. All this right in front of my fathers' coffin.
They treat their congregation like slaves. A white family on the stage and a congregation of working poor blacks and South Asians. Many of them are widows and single mothers. The IRS and Revenue Cda should audit/investigate their underhanded dealings. This clandestine acitvity should be illegal. They are fake and worse, snobs. There is a place in hell for people that lie, cheat, steal and belittle the poor in the name of Christ. They are so cocky about it too. Tom should have laid the church budget out or at least addressed the article instead, he turned the service into a prosperity seminar and bragged about being called Donald Trump. They know they will get away with it so they feel no form of accountability to their congregation. What is worse, their poor parishoners feel they deserve the wealth and defend them. I wish their eyes would open to the truth. I pray they are exposed for the crooks that they are like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.

'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.'

-Rev Martin Luther King Jr