Saturday, 26 April 2008

Why does Joe have a dog in this fight?

WCG makes the news by sticking its hooter into the inter-Episcopal dispute.

The United Methodist Church and a handful of other religious bodies have rallied to the side of Virginia's Episcopal Diocese as it seeks to reclaim millions of dollars worth of property from breakaway congregations in court.

The U.S.-based Methodists, as well as two African branches and the Worldwide Church of God, joined the Episcopal Church this week in challenging the constitutionality of a Civil War-era Virginia law on which the case likely hinges.

What interests does WCG have here?

Update: Stan has some further detail and links over at his excellent AR blog


DennisDiehl said...

Gavin quipped:

''WCG makes the news by sticking its hooter into the inter-Episcopal dispute." only Gavin could :)

I think WCG is applying Matthew 25 where it says..

35"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me....aaaaand, when bad seeds took my stuff, you jumped right in there and demanded Caesar make 'em give it back!'

Well ok, WCG leadership isn't big on most of that, but I think the last one, where there are material properties at stake has always been near and dear.

No one supports anything that ultimately has nothing of benefit for themselves.

Personally, and pullllease resist the comment, "well you were one of them and deserve what you got..nothing," I'd love to see WCG jump right in there and support pastors whose organizational recklessness and "we will take care of you" lies make Eastman Kodak look like the true Church.

(Dad made paper for 45 years and at 92, Kodak, which is not the company it used to be, still meant what it said.)

Ok, gotta get the leaven out, I mean lead out and get to work at the hospital.

The Third Witness said...

It’s no secret that WCG has been filing amicus curiae briefs in cases involving state government and religious organizations for many years – and this started long before the receivership crisis of 1979. In this case, any publicity generated is probably incidental. What would have been a big surprise is if they had taken the side of what the news report calls the “splinter groups”.

Anonymous said...

I think WCG is afraid it's own splinter groups might someday sue for their share of the assets. So they fight against any legal precedents where splinter groups might win such lawsuits.

The Skeptic

Lussenheide said...

Amazingly to me, is that WCG has avoided large lawsuits, ala the Catholic Church.

Sex abuse by top leaders or at least class action lawsuits by the general laity. I have spoken to a couple of attorneys about class action suits, and there are (generally) time limits on when torts can be filed, and we are long past those.

The "reparations" movement is gathering steam in the Black community here in the USA. Perhaps we need to start a "reparations" movement amongst COG folk.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Weinland Watch said...

I don't think there's enough money left, amongst "the scattered church" (barf) to even get a reparations movement off the ground Bill. :-(

Tired Skeptic said...

So, let's see now. By this logic, the Roman Catholic Church should be able to sue all protestant churches to get their property back.

The truth be told, it is probably the case that Virginia, seeing that churches would never obey the Bible but would take their brothers in Christ to court, decided, rather prudently, that if the churches were not going to obey the Scriptures, that civil law should be prepared, just in case.

People in congregations payed for many many years to cooperately build properties. Then, they discovered that the national / international institution was a proponent of a proposition with which they did not agree [seeing as how, arguably, the practice is condemned by the Bible], and they promptly left the association behind. Now the former church wants the property bought by their former members back -- even though they don't really have a stake in it. They figure that anything the people bought belongs to the church and the people have no rights.

I have a better recourse: Take a chainsaw and cut the church buildings in half. Let the Anglicans take one half and the Episcopalians the other half -- a solution truly worthy of Solomon.

Byker Bob said...

WCG involvement does indicate that resources are being "invested" in the outcome of this suit. Obviously they want to set a precedent which would be favorable to their own situation, or perceived situation. Otherwise, they'd channel the funds and resources elsewhere. My question would be, can they even really afford to get involved in this fight, considering the dire financial reports we've all heard?

But, hey. This is a church group which has gradually found itself to be totally irrelevant in so many ways. Perhaps involvement in this fight makes them feel collectively as if they are a part of something big and grand.


Bamboo_bends said...

WCG amicus curiae brief excerpt:

"They got little hands
And little eyes
And they walk around
Tellin' great big lies
They got little noses
And tiny little teeth
They wear platform shoes
On their nasty little feet"

(with apologies to Randy Newman)...

The Third Witness said...

“Give that man a banana!”

Anonymous said...

WCG-HQ may be irrelevant, but not the local church up Bay Area. I see Fairfield has made strides...


Stan said...

Credit to Gavin on originating this story.

FYI, the WCG amici brief argues the Virginia Statute on Religious Division, Va. Code 57-9(A), is constitutionally violative of the First Amendment on two separate grounds.

Should anyone care to read it, I have placed a link to the full legal brief supported by the WCG at Ambassador Reports in today's entry.


Lussenheide said...


Let me say that I am very appreciative for the amount of time consuming research that you do in gathering facts and reading boring briefs and other legalize etc that you do for your posts on AW and on your own website.

A true investigative reporter and three cheers to you.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Lussenheide said...

WCG is not in financial straits.

Their local congregations operate independently of the corporate and have their own seperate financial models. Why these local groups send squat to HQ is beyond me, as HQ really provides NOTHING!

The assets that Tkach sold off are easily in excess of $100 million.
This includes two college campuses, jets, copyrights, cars, silverware, books, EVERYTHING!

Where did the money go?? It still must be in the coffers of the WCG, easily providing an investment cash flow of at least 4 to 6 million a year for the handful that are still the operating governors of the WCG.

The legal issue that at one time could have been raised is that such money was raised under a certain pretense, in effect earmarked for a specific cause, ie. "The Building Fund" or "Preaching the Sabbatarian Gospel". Money donated to a charity must follow the earmarked purpose of such funds.

Unfortunately, most money given to WCG were general purpose funds. As long as WCG "pretends" to be a church, it can retain these funds indefinitely and the few principles , Tkach and his gang, can generously compensate themselves as officers of the 501c-3 from its investment cash flow.

Remember back in the early 90s when local churches were promised (in written church materials no less) their own "mega center" church buildings after the sale of assets? I do, in fact there were even artist renderings of such facilities. Facilities built to date-- NONE!

Remember when Tkach promised to step down and have a democratic process to elect a Pastor General? (Again also stated in church literature). Election or discussion of such to date-- NONE!

Remember the discussions about establishing a Church pension fund, ala a real pension fund like a 457 or 401k style fund where folks had real ownership and didnt have to kiss Tkach's toes for a subjective $500 a month stipend? Pension fund objective achieved to date--- NONE!

Such codswallop is no more truthful than the Nazi sign at the front of several Nazi death camps, "Arbeit macht frei"... Work shall make you free.

Joey, quit worrying about legal issues at other non related churches and clean up your own house. Take the beam out of your own eye, before pointing out the speck in someone elses!

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Stan said...

Appreciate it, Bill. Check your email for further.


VonHowitzer said...

Why does Unaccountable Joe have a dog in this fight?

Why, to maintain his reputation as the world's premier church shrinker, that's why.


Anonymous said...

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA:

Great post! It needs a wider audience to expose the liars and frauds the WCG is.


Weinland Watch said...

I second everyone else's applause: Excellent post Bill! Too bad Junior is just as blind as Ronnie, and will never read it. Nor would he "get it" even if he did read it. In my opinion.

Anonymous said...

...and Worldwide Church of God Faifield Blog article was specifically mentions in a Los Angeles Times article. Loks like someone is getting attention..

An Iranian's vision of Jesus' life stirs debate - Los Angeles Times,0,5527080.story?track=rss