Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Detroit pastor goes Gatsby

Mansion.jpgOur sister paper in Detroit has a mind-blowing story about a Christian minister whose church bought him this $3.65 million mansion. The 11,000 sq-foot mini-palace also qualifies as a tax deduction, at the cost of $40,000 a year to Redford Township.

"God's empowerment is to make you have an abundant life," Elder Marvin Wilder, a lawyer and general counsel for the church, told the Detroit News. "In this country we value rock stars, movie stars and athletes. They can have a lavish lifestyle, and a pastor who restores lives that were broken shouldn't? When our value system elevates a man who can put a ball in a hole and not a man who does God's work, something is wrong."

Detroit World Outreach Pastor Ben Gilbert is a purveyor of the Prosperity Gospel, a belief that God wants his people to be rich. It reminded me of this story, written two years ago by a fellow religion reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Detroit story led Nancy McLaughlin, religion reporter for the News-Record in North Carolina, to ask her readers a reasonable question, "Should the tax law be amended?"

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