When conservative preacher Rick Warren raked in $2.4 million last December for his “Saddleback Church” (an archipelago of high-tech churches, gymnasium courts, restaurants and even a music school sitting on nine campuses of prime California real estate), the church didn’t pay a penny of tax on that income. Saddleback Church is tax-exempt despite its wealth.
Most years, about a third of Americans have an income too low to pay income tax (they do pay sales taxes, gas taxes, payroll taxes, state and local taxes, and so on…). But lately, more Americans are losing their jobs and sinking deep into poverty. When Rick Warren found out that half of Americans now are so poor that their income doesn’t meet the low minimum threshold for income tax, he vented his all-caps rage on Twitter. His rage wasn’t directed at the misfortune of poverty. No, preacher Warren directed his ire at those nervy jobless poor people who don’t pay income taxes:
100% of American churches pay no taxes. 100%. And Rick Warren’s church is the 8th largest church in America.
Within a few hours, someone pointed out to Warren that with his church’s untaxed millions and all, dumping on poor Americans might not look so good, and he deleted his tweet. But thanks to Karoli‘s screen capture, the expression is recorded. Another legacy by which Rick Warren’s sentiment lives on: retweets of the expression over and over again by his followers.