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Scamming Rwanda

It makes me sick to read about televangelist (and former presidential candidate) Pat Robertson scamming hundreds of millions of dollars from followers to supposedly save lives after the crisis in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in 1994. Instead, very little of that money was used for aid, with a large part of it being used to fund a diamond mining operation owned by Robertson.

In fact, Robertson continues to scam donations. At the same time that Robertson was raising money for a school in Congo in 2011, describing it as “thriving”, a film crew visited the school and found it abandoned, stripped of its furniture, and falling down.

The state of Virginia even investigated the aid operation, concluding that Robertson made “fraudulent and deceptive” statements and “misrepresenting” its operations. According to the report “Pat Robertson made material claims, via television appeals, regarding the relief efforts. These statements are refuted by the evidence in this case.”

And yet state officials declined to prosecute Robertson. Could this have had anything to do with several large donations made at the time to Virginia state politicians by Robertson?

Robertson has been involved in other controversial mining operations in Africa. During the civil war in Liberia, he supported the then-president Charles Taylor, even though Taylor was already indicted by a UN war crimes tribunal and was later convicted of crimes against humanity. What Robertson didn’t mention at the time was that he had an $8 million investment in a Liberian gold mine.

And remember that since religious groups avoid paying most taxes in the US, your tax dollars are subsidizing these evil scams.

If Robertson believes in a hell, I sincerely hope he burns in it.



  1. wildwood wrote:

    Robertson is a giant, (well I can’t think of anything printable so fill in the blanks).

    I am against the tax free status of religious groups in this country. Not to pick on one religion but just as an example, the Catholic church in this area owns many hundreds of acres of lands and many businesses, and of course there is no money going into the tax coffers for any of that. That means all of us are supporting religions whether we want to or not, because we end up paying more in taxes to make up for the void caused by church owned properties. They get the use of streets, fire protection, police and all the other services provided by local governments, and pay nothing for the services.

    Friday, September 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    Another fascinating history of megachurches is the Foursquare church, the first of the megachurches. Aimee Semple McPherson was totally fraudulent; yet the church is still going and the lemmings are still following it. A teaching of the church is that the wife must do as the husband says. Oh, yes, Aimee Semple McPherson.
    I think churches would not want to be taxed, they would them be sitting ducks to be prosecuted for fraud like Robertson. Religion would disappear here as it has to a great extent in England.

    Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    I am actually ok (for the most part) of religious activities themselves being not taxed. The only problem is how in the world can you have separation of church and state when the state has to decide which religions qualify for tax exempt status? If the state gets to define the rules for what is a valid religion, then the state is implicitly involved in religion.

    I think a better solution would be to keep the tax exemption for non-profits, and let religions qualify the same way as other non-profits.

    Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink