Discussing
Quick Thought: Should Churches Get BP Payouts

Jerod Clark

Arshield
August 23, 2010

I will say here like I said on JesusNeedsNewPR. Most of the complaints about this say it is like taking money from the Government. If you take money from BP (or the government) you will be beholden to them later.<br><br>Instead, I think this should be much more like receiving an insurance payment. If a BP gas station blew up and seriously damaged your building, I cannot think of any good reason why a church would not accept an insurance payment. <br><br>For the oil spill, many churches, like many other non-profits in the area, put out a lot of money to help those in their church and in their community and at the same time were getting less from their congregation because many in the church were out of work. Now I would not object to BP asking for proof (though financial statements) to show that they really were down in offerings, but I do not think it is inappropriate to receive just compensation for a loss.

Chriscrob
August 23, 2010

I would tend to agree. Typing a letter on church letterhead demanding to be compensated for our losses seems to be the sort of thing you should avoid. Even if the money is really owed to the church (which it isn't...if the workers get payouts shouldn't they tithe on that? Unless they had a crab business on the side the church was not directly harmed by the oil spill) demanding justice instead of forgiving debts is not the way the church should act. <br><br>With that said I understand where they're coming from. Paying bills and salaries must seem next to impossible at this point. And to have so many people in need and no way to help them? Getting paid would be tempting. <br>But our trust is not in money...it can't be. Trusting that God can and will provide seems a better option than trying to force BP to provide.

Rupzip
August 23, 2010

Do we really want to be getting checks from the government? Once we start this 'addiction', there will be no going back

Sistersharonblcl
August 23, 2010

WOW ISN'T IT ENOUGH THAT THEY TAKE UP TITHES AN OFFERING AND ANYTHING ELSE THEY CAN TAKE FROM THE PEOPLE IN CHURCH LIKE FOR A GUESS SPEAKER AND THE LIST GOES ON AND WHEN A MEMBER NEED SOMETHING FROM THEM AND FIND THERE SELF AT HARD TIMES WE HAVE TO GO AND APPLY FOR SOCIAL SERVICE CAUSE THEY DO NOT EVEN TRY TO HELP THERE OWN WHAT IS A MATTER WHAT THEM AS A SOCIETY OR GROUP OF CONGRAGATION THEY HAVE LOSS THERE MINDS AND IF THAT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH THEY PASS AROUND TITHES EVLOPES TO SEE WHO GOT WHAT AND IT ONLY FOR THE ONES THAT ARE IN THE MIDDLE CLASS TITHING BUT YET IN STILL THEY SEEK OUT WHO IS WHO AND LEAVE THE POOR WITH OUT NOTHING GOD SAD PAY YOUR TITHES HE SAID NOTHING IN HIS WORD ABOUT PASSING OUT EVLOPES TO THE CONGRAGATION WOW YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME WHERE IS THE CHURCH IN THE BUILDING OR THE BUILDING IN THE CHURCH I SAY GIVE UNTO TO THEM AS THEY HAVE GIVEN UNTO TO US GRACE UNTO YOU ALL AMEN.

Kittyguest
August 23, 2010

I'm thinkin'...NO. Because tithes are to be given by the man or woman as God has prospered him/her. Just my quick thought.

Arshield
August 23, 2010

The fund they are requesting money from is not government money.

solid4JC
August 24, 2010

I suppose this is one of those "Only In America" stories. Is the Church a business or The Body of Christ? Does the pastor -the shepherd of the flock have his hand raised in blessing or out for the money? Give to the poor Jesus said- not grab from the rich.

Tracey Sheneman
August 24, 2010

It is completely inappropriate for this church to be seeking compensation in this manner. <br><br>The church operates as a non-profit and is tax-exempt. The church relies on voluntary tithes and offerings as well as support from the parent organization of the denomination for material support. One cannot compare a church to a business affecting by the BP oil spill, as the analogy does not fit (unless the church is violating its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and is invested in non-church related businesses). <br><br>The church should reach out to its members and its denominational headquarters for financial help, and not turn to a global for-profit corporation for compensation for losses which may (or may not) be peripherally related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.<br><br>Ye of little faith!

Tracey Sheneman
August 24, 2010

Should churches affected by the recession be able to seek compensation from the federal government or Wall Street financial firms? I think not.<br>

Arshield
August 24, 2010

But that is not what we are talking about. This is a specific situation.

Goodbug73
August 24, 2010

I think you're right on the money (no pun intended). If this church is concerned about tithes, perhaps they could be assisting their congregation in the process of seeking reparations from BP. I can well imagine that the forms will not be easy to navigate. <br><br>Also, I have a problem with any nonprofit organization requesting settlement monies because donations are down. That's part of being a nonprofit. My own church is facing hard times because of a number of factors, the downturn in the economy being one of them. I don't feel that we should get a government grant to make up the shortfall, though.<br><br>This church's request should also serve as a reminder to us, however, that we need to support the service organizations in these affected areas so they can do the work that we are not geographically located to do well.

Jamesggilmore
August 24, 2010

I'm of two minds about this.<br><br>On the one hand, I have issues with the church asking for a payout from BP. Churches shouldn't be in the money-making business.<br><br>On the other, I want to see BP punished as much as possible for the massive environmental and economic damage its carelessness and greed have wreaked. I want them to be all but bankrupted by this disaster.

Printenv
August 24, 2010

If there are loses due to the spill, those who are entitled to reconciliation should be suing BP, not the church. When those individuals receive money the tithes should come from that (where appropriate), not from the church suing BP.<br><br>Basically agreeing with people here.

Sandra
August 24, 2010

Churches in this situation should not ask for nor accept such payouts. Doing so circumvents God's gracious provision for his people and robs his people of exercising and growing their faith in him. It's not that he can't provide for these churches--he can do anything he wants--but oftentimes, he will let us flounder, trying to do things in our own strength. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is the one to whom we should look for provision. He is the to whom these churches should look for help, not BP.

Rickd
August 24, 2010

If the church is concerned about the reduction in tithes perhaps they should read the Bible and review the purpose of tithes. Tithes were saved up for a one time party, the annual camping trip, the national Feast of Tabernacles. They could temporarily be converted to money if it was too far to travel with perishable food but then it had to be quickly converted back to food. Moses specified you could then buy barbecued beef or strong drink (or beer as some translations indicate). They were blown in a week as each family shared their best potluck with each other. Tithes were always food, never money. Jesus talked about the Pharisees who scrupulously tithed mint dill and cumin. They did not pay salaries and were never used for building improvements. When money was needed for construction or maintenance, spontaneous and temporary gifts of money were contributed as each family could afford. Tithes were designed to benefit the poor, not to impose a burden on the poor as we do now. Every 3 years the food was given to the Levites once a year, because they had no land to grow food. The levites then shared with the high priest who stocked the store room in the temple with food and wine. Once Jesus was resurrected and the Old Testament Festivals were completed, tithes were never used again. The New Testament believers did not collect tithes. The Roman Catholic Church cobbled together a distorted concept of weekly monetary tithes, a religious tax, to pay for all the expensive real estate, art and the new professional clerical class. The Greek Orthodox Church refused to participate in the whole tithe system. So yes, I believe in supporting pastors, teachers, missionaries and some facilities with regular gifts and contributions as one can afford them. But if tithes are down, it might be a good time to re-examine our mission, staff size and real estate holdings. And perhaps return to the original purpose of celebration and blessing the poor instead of building empires, architectural wonders, high tech campuses and denominations.

Paulvanderklay
August 24, 2010

Fascinating. Churches throughout North America have benefited from money from the Lilly foundation and other groups to sustain and improve their ministry. When it comes to money its important to look at what the money is intended for and how a church handles it. If I were a BP exec who was given a pile of money to somehow alleviate the suffering in the community caused by the spill I would definitely consider supporting churches, mosques, synagogues, community centers, etc. as a part of the overall plan to cushion the community from the temporary downturn caused by this environmental catastrophe. Religious and civic organizations play an important part in the overall fabric of a community often by providing support services to the most vulnerable in that community. This is part of the reasons contributions to religious non-profits are tax deductible. We as a society recognize the important function they play in our social networks. If as a result of the economic impact of the spill these organizations are suffering and are at risk, this could extend the long term impact of the catastrophe perhaps making it vital to use monies to help them weather this storm.<br><br>I certainly wouldn't want churches becoming opportunistic in looking for a quick buck, but I don't see anything wrong in BP money going to bolster them in this crisis.

Bethanykj
August 24, 2010

This is a really interesting discussion. <br>I find myself currently agreeing with Paul. If there's money to help, and you need help, you should be allowed to apply for it. At first it sounded to me like the church was demanding a payout, and that made me really uncomfortable. Looking for evidence to support this feeling, though, I had a hard time finding it. I'm still a bit squeamish about churches asking for money beyond tithes and offerings, but I can't refute Paul's comparison to grant funding.

Tracey Sheneman
August 25, 2010

I like the way you put it, Paul. <br><br>Perhaps a fund needs to established for non-profits and religious organizations with legitimate claims of financial loss to draw from, administered by a third party perhaps. But a church seeking a payout from BP directly - that justs reeks of impropriety.

Tracey Sheneman
August 25, 2010

Indeed, it is. I was attempting to draw an analogy. <br><br>The bankruptcy and reorganization of GM and Chrysler had a financial impact on working Americans, as did the home mortgage crisis. As a result of the recession, financial support for churches by member tithes and offerings is declining. Why is it fair for GM and the Big Banks to get bailout packages, but churches have to go, cap in hand, to their members asking for relief? Because of the tax-exempt status of churches and the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, chiefly. <br><br>perhaps a better argument for non-payment of claims to churches affected by the BP oil spill can be employed. Although it is reasonable to assume that churches have been adversely affected by the economic fallout from the spill, the churches are not businesses: they do not derive cash flow from the sale of goods and services to the public. They are not automatically entitled to compensation by BP. <br><br>Let their members continue to support the area churches, and as payouts from BP to private companies trickle down to local church members' pockets, donations will go up, collection plates will be filled, and life will return to normal. Sounds good in theory, at least.

Common Household Mom
August 25, 2010

isn't requesting a payment from BP similar to requesting a payment from your insurance company after a tree falls on your house? Except nobody could buy insurance against a gigantic oil spill affecting all of the Gulf of Mexico. Does buying insurance indicate that we are not trusting enough in the Lord?

Rickd
August 25, 2010

Grocery stores are impacted because out of work shrimpers have less income. Furniture stores sell less furniture. Shrimpers and resort workers have less money to buy back-to-school clothes, hair salons see fewer appointments, car dealers sell less cars. Where does it all end? We are consumed by the entitlement, victim-hood culture. Those whose livelihoods have been directly impacted by oil befouling water have a basis for appealing for compensation from BP. But churches? That is really pathetic and a measure of how dependent we have been on the money train. Which is worse, the “prosperity gospel” or physical churches and campuses with staffs and technology that require an ever larger weekly fix of money? Maybe we need to think about what is the church.

Kjml
August 26, 2010

The payments should go to the front-line businesses that depend on the water, beaches, and wildlife. If they are made whole, then the industries which depend on THEM will be revived also.<br> If the church members who lost work and income are compensated, 10% of that compensation (or whatever their normal rate of giving is) will find its way into church coffers. <br> Our church is going through hard times, now, too. It's time for the pastor and the membership to roll up their sleeves, exercise their KNEES, and get to work finding solutions within themselves and from the Lord's grace.

Siarlys Jenkins
September 3, 2010

I say no. Tithes are voluntary contributions. If BP makes the individual parishioners whole, then parishioners can, if they wish, tithe from what they receive to the church of their choice.

Siarlys Jenkins
September 3, 2010

It is true this is not government funding, so it is neither a constitutional nor a moral issue from that standpoint. However, tithes and offerings are voluntary contributions. BP is not responsible to pay for anyone's voluntary contributions to anything. If BP makes whole those whose livelihoods were damaged or destroyed, then they have the option, if they choose, to tithe or make offerings with a portion of that money to their church.

Countryboyatheart
September 6, 2010

As a minister I could not go the route of appealing for money from any fund such as what BP has set aside to help those impacted. My Bible tells me to trust God and He will supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory.<br><br>I continue to withold judgement on BP until I see the final root cause analysis.It's far to easy to play the blame game and get caught up in the whole "extract our pound of flesh from BP". I think we'll see the government doing enough of that for all of us in the coming weeks now that the blow off preventer has been brought to the surface and is in the hands of the government.

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