- How did BelieversStandUnited.com get started? What is its connection with Kenneth Copeland Ministries?
- What does Believers Stand United do and what does it stand for?
- What does it mean if I cast a vote in support of Believers Stand United? Will my vote be counted, and how will it be used?
- Why should I care about Senator Grassley’s investigation of these six churches and preachers?
- Why did Senator Grassley single out the six churches and their so- called “televangelist” leaders?
- Are Kenneth and Gloria Copeland “televangelists”?
- What is the “Word of Faith” message? Is Kenneth Copeland Ministries a Word of Faith ministry? Is the Word of Faith message a legitimate Christian doctrine and theology?
- Do Kenneth and Gloria Copeland preach a “prosperity gospel?”
- What specifically has Senator Grassley asked for that Kenneth Copeland Ministries finds objectionable? What is Kenneth Copeland Ministries objection?
- What does the Constitution say? What does the “wall of separation between church and state” mean?
- Has Kenneth Copeland Ministries answered Senator Grassley’s questions? Why doesn’t Kenneth Copeland Ministries just give him what he has asked for so he can see that Kenneth Copeland Ministries is not doing anything wrong?
- Why did Rev. John Copeland, on behalf of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, go to the IRS and agree to cooperate with an IRS church tax inquiry?
- Does Kenneth Copeland Ministries undergo an annual audit by an independent CPA firm? Does Kenneth Copeland Ministries make financial information available to the public?
- Who oversees Kenneth Copeland Ministries? If Kenneth Copeland Ministries has a board of directors, who serves on the board?
- Who sets the compensation for Kenneth Copeland Ministries employees, including Kenneth and Gloria Copeland? What are the rules about setting compensation?
- Much has been made of the home that Kenneth and Gloria live in. Who owns it? Is it a parsonage?
- Why does Kenneth Copeland Ministries own private aircraft? What types of aircraft are they? Why don’t Kenneth and Gloria fly on commercial airlines?
How did BelieversStandUnited.com get started? What is its connection with Kenneth Copeland Ministries?
On November 7, 2007, Kenneth Copeland Ministries/Eagle Mountain International Church (“KCM”) received a letter of inquiry from Iowa Senator Charles Grassley (the “Grassley letter”). Senator Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Kenneth Copeland Ministries was one of six churches that received a Grassley letter. The Grassley letters were sent only to churches that preach the Word of Faith message. The media widely reported the Senator’s investigation of the “Grassley 6.”
The names of the six churches that received a Grassley letter are:
Without Walls International Church (Revs. Paula and Randy White)
World Healing Center Church (Rev. Benny Hinn)
Joyce Meyer Ministry (Revs. Joyce and David Meyer)
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church (Bishop Eddie Long)
World Changers Church International (Dr. Creflo Dollar)
Eagle Mountain International Church (Revs. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland)
Following the reports of the Grassley inquiry, people from around the country and all quarters of Christianity expressed concerns about the impact of the investigation on the church and individual believers. Many question why the inquiry was directly targeted at six churches that preach the Word of Faith message. Others wonder about the implications of the Grassley inquiry on their denomination, church, minister and family.
BelieversStandUnited.com was created, in part, to try to answer the questions and address the concerns of the partners and friends of Kenneth Copeland Ministries and all believers around the country about these recent actions by Senator Grassley.
Believers Stand United.com is an educational website developed, hosted and sponsored by Kenneth Copeland Ministries/Eagle Mountain International Church (“KCM”) to help set the record straight about these important matters and to give the public a voice in protecting religious liberties.
What does it mean if I cast a vote in support of Believers Stand United? Will my vote be counted, and how will it be used?
BSU is asking you to join us in protecting religious freedoms by casting your vote on BSU. Please click VOTE YES! so we can do the work of protecting the rights of all churches and the whole Body of Christ.
By clicking VOTE YES! You are stating your belief that Senator Grassley’s inquiry interferes with the Church’s religious freedoms by demanding to see private church documents and information and amount to an inquiry into the very nature of a church’s religious beliefs and practices.
By clicking VOTE YES! You are stating your concern that Senator Grassley’s investigation could ultimately have as much impact on you and your ministry as it does on Kenneth Copeland Ministries or the other five ministries that received a letter from the Senator.
By clicking VOTE YES! You are stating your concern that if Christ’s followers fail to defend the legal rights of the six churches who received letters from Senator Grassley, then it may be you and your church or your neighbor’s church that will be targeted next.
By clicking VOTE YES! You are stating that all believers must now Stand United to protect and defend religious freedoms from this unprecedented challenge!
By clicking VOTE YES! You are stating that now is the time for the Church to come together to protect the religious freedoms that our forefathers worked so hard to provide and protect.
Once BSU receives your electronic ballot of VOTE YES!, we will gather them together at Kenneth Copeland Ministries, pray over them, count them, and then let the world know we are of one mind and spirit about this important matter.
For almost 200 years, our Government respected the sanctity of the Church. However, since the 1960s the government has demonstrated unprecedented willingness to strike down long-held expressions of our religious faith:
1962 Prayer in the public schools struck down
1963 Bible reading over the intercom struck down
1989 Nativity scene inside a government building struck down
1992 Prayer at public school graduations struck down
2000 Prayer at high school football games struck down
2005 Ten Commandments display in a Kentucky courthouse struck down
Senator Grassley’s investigation threatens to trespass upon all of our religious liberties and strike down the First Amendment rights of the Church — rights that are protected by long-standing IRS procedures that allow the IRS to obtain answers to the Senator’s questions while respecting the Church’s constitutional rights.
In statements to the press, Senator Grassley has indicated that his questions were based on reports from watchdog groups, whistleblowers, and the media. No substantiation has been provided related to these reports. Kenneth Copeland Ministries believes that the primary basis for Senator Grassley’s inquiry is information provided by Ole Anthony, the leader of the self-proclaimed religious watchdog group, The Trinity Foundation. Ole Anthony has a long-standing and personal animosity for ministries that spread the Word of Faith message and, in particular, for the six ministries targeted by Senator Grassley.
Kenneth and Gloria Copeland’s ministry was birthed out of love for people and a commitment to bring people the Word of God. It is understandable why people would consider them televangelists since they use television – among other media – to teach the Word. At the end of the day, everything they preach, every broadcast they come on, everywhere they minister, everything they say and do is prayed over, motivated, and designed to minister the Word to the people.
What is the “Word of Faith” message? Is Kenneth Copeland Ministries a Word of Faith ministry? Is the Word of Faith message a legitimate Christian doctrine and theology?What is the “Word of Faith” message? Is Kenneth Copeland Ministries a Word of Faith ministry? Is the Word of Faith message a legitimate Christian doctrine and theology?
The Word of Faith message is a long-standing Christian theology that holds the belief that God wants His children to be spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially blessed, and that prosperity in all areas of one’s life is an outward sign of the fulfillment of God’s promises contained in the Bible. Kenneth Copeland Ministries is a Word of Faith ministry.
The Copelands believe in the Word of God and that His Word declares His desire to bless His people. They do teach that God’s blessings and prosperity apply to the spiritual, physical, emotional and financial areas of one’s life. These blessings and prosperity are then to be used to bless others. But Kenneth and Gloria would not describe their ministry as teaching and preaching a “prosperity gospel,” especially if the term solely equates blessing to financial gain.
What specifically has Senator Grassley asked for that Kenneth Copeland Ministries finds objectionable? What is Kenneth Copeland Ministries objection?
Kenneth Copeland Ministries has stated its specific concerns to Senator Grassley’s questions in its responses to the Senator. A summary of Kenneth Copeland Ministries responses to each of the Senator’s questions can be found here: Kenneth Copeland Ministries Responds to Senate Finance Committee (Summary) – December 6, 2007.
The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The first clause of the Amendment is known as the “establishment clause,” and the second clause is known as the “free exercise clause.” With respect to religion, the First Amendment requires that the government be neutral, preferring no beliefs above others.
On January 1, 1802, in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson first used the phrase building a wall of separation between the church and state. Jefferson’s wall was designed not just to prevent the Church from interfering with the state, but also to prevent the state from interfering with the Church. The selective investigation only of Charismatic-Pentecostal churches that preach the “Word of Faith” message raises significant concerns as to whether the inquiry is aimed at publicly questioning the religious beliefs of the targeted churches, their preachers, and their members.
Has Kenneth Copeland Ministries answered Senator Grassley’s questions? Why doesn’t Kenneth Copeland Ministries just give him what he has asked for so he can see that Kenneth Copeland Ministries is not doing anything wrong?
Kenneth Copeland Ministries response reflected a sincere and good faith effort by the Church to provide answers to as many of the Senator’s questions as possible without compromising the protections afforded to the Church by the United States Constitution and the Internal Revenue Code. Kenneth Copeland Ministries provided responses to 17 of the 42 questions Senator Grassley posed. Kenneth Copeland Ministries response consisted of:
- A 3-page cover letter from our counsel
- A 23-page question-by-question response
- 291 pages of exhibits
Kenneth Copeland Ministries provided detailed responses to the Senator’s questions that did not seek information that was private or otherwise protected by federal law or the Constitution, but did not provide certain private information about the ministry and the operations and activities of the church. Where Kenneth Copeland Ministries provided a partial answer or response, or did not answer a question asked by Senator Grassley, the Church determined that the question raised constitutional and/or statutorily based privacy and confidentiality concerns.
In its response to the Senator, Kenneth Copeland Ministries clearly stated its position that the most timely and efficient manner for Senator Grassley to obtain the requested information, without compromising the rights of the Church and those persons associated with it, is to request the information from the IRS. Such a request would be subject to longstanding IRS church-inquiry procedures and confidentiality protections under the Internal Revenue Code. These procedures were enacted, at the suggestion of Senator Grassley himself, in recognition of the potential for government investigations into churches to infringe upon “the civil liberties of churches.”
At the end of a properly conducted church tax inquiry by the IRS, Senator Grassley could request the IRS to send him the information the IRS obtains through the church tax inquiry. By proceeding in this manner, Senator Grassley would have access to the information he is seeking, but would not be able to make that information public. Kenneth Copeland Ministries is not trying to keep anything secret, but like every other church in America, Kenneth Copeland Ministries has the right to keep certain things private.
Why did Rev. John Copeland, on behalf of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, go to the IRS and agree to cooperate with an IRS church tax inquiry? Is Kenneth Copeland Ministries willing to turn over the information sought by Senator Grassley to the IRS?
Yes. Kenneth Copeland Ministries is willing to turn over the information sought by Senator Grassley to the IRS. Kenneth Copeland Ministries reasons for approaching the IRS and pledging to cooperate with a properly conducted church-tax inquiry can be found in the April 8, 2008, Kenneth Copeland Ministries Press Release.
Does Kenneth Copeland Ministries undergo an annual audit by an independent CPA firm? Does Kenneth Copeland Ministries make financial information available to the public?
Kenneth Copeland Ministries strives to function with transparency, accountability and excellence. Financial information is available through our website: http://www.kcm.org/connect/index.php?p=financial_accountability.
The church voluntarily submits to an annual audit by an independent accounting firm.
Who oversees Kenneth Copeland Ministries? If Kenneth Copeland Ministries has a board of directors, who serves on the board?
Kenneth Copeland Ministries is overseen by its Board of Directors (the “Board”) who consist of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, and nine other members. None of the other Board members is related to the Copelands and none is employed by the Church. The occupations or callings of the members of Kenneth Copeland Ministries Board are as follows:
Husband and wife pastors from Minnesota,
Husband and wife pastors from Texas,
Louisiana evangelist, and
The Board members are mindful of their responsibility to act in the best interests of the Church as an entity, to not allow any person to use Church resources for personal inurement or benefit, to avoid conflicts of interest, and to exercise due diligence with respect to Church affairs.
Who sets the compensation for Kenneth Copeland Ministries employees, including Kenneth and Gloria Copeland? What are the rules about setting compensation?
The Church has an independent compensation committee, which approves the compensation of the top officers and employees of the Church based on data compiled by an independent consulting firm. None of the independent compensation committee members is related to the Copelands, and none is employed by the Church. In addition, they reflect a mix of persons with business and pastoral backgrounds. Accordingly, no independent compensation committee member has a conflict of interest with respect to the compensation arrangements approved by the committee. Finally, compensation is approved consistent with procedures established by the Internal Revenue Code for setting compensation for a tax-exempt organization.
The Church provides a parsonage to Kenneth and Gloria Copeland to reside in. In addition to being a residence for the church’s senior pastors, it is also used to host visiting ministers, Board members, and Church partners. The parsonage is owned by the Church; neither the Copelands nor any other individual has any ownership interest in the parsonage. The Church’s independent compensation committee counts the fair rental value of the parsonage provided to the Copelands as compensation when it determines whether the total compensation the Church pays to the Copelands is reasonable.
Why does Kenneth Copeland Ministries own private aircraft? What types of aircraft are they? Why don’t Kenneth and Gloria fly on commercial airlines?
The Church currently owns three aircraft. These aircraft are used for various tax-exempt religious purposes. Those purposes include: worldwide ministry conventions, church meetings and conferences, prison outreaches, military outreaches, television tapings, appearances and speaking, disaster relief ministry, and partner ministry.
The Church’s aircraft consist of: a 1962 Beech H-18 Twin, a 1998 Cessna 550 Citation Bravo, and a 2005 Cessna 750 Citation X.
The Beech H-18 has not been used to date, as it is still in the restoration process. It will be used for disaster relief upon completion of the required repair and maintenance.
The Citation Bravo was donated to Kenneth Copeland Ministries near the end of October 2007. The Church uses this plane for Church-related travel by various ministry team members. For short distances, this plane is less expensive to use than the Citation X, but it is too small to be used for international flights.
The Citation X is used by the Copelands and Church staff for domestic and international travel to and from Church events and worldwide ministry conventions.
The Church’s decision to purchase private aircraft was based on the practical demands that the Church’s intense global ministry places on its senior pastors and staff. A private plane in the context of a busy, global ministry is not a luxury, but a necessity given the strenuous travel demands the Church’s ministry places on the Copelands. Commercial travel, with its attendant delays, lost luggage, inferior security, and lack of privacy, is simply not an option for the Copelands given the high-profile nature of their ministry and their exhausting travel schedule. The need for this plane was clearly recognized by the Church’s members, who gave generously for the specific purpose of ensuring that these tools would be available to assist the Church in its global ministry