Report: Samaritan’s Purse spent $150K on marriage discrimination amendment

(This story was written by our friend Greg Flynn and initially posted at Blue NC)

International Christian relief and evangelism charity organization Samaritan’s Purse run by Franklin Graham contributed $150,200 towards newspaper and TV advertising in support of the NC Marriage Amendment, according to an Independent Expenditure report filed with the NC State Board of Elections.

A total of $272,593.70 was reported spent by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on full page ads in NC newspapers featuring the image of Billy Graham and words attributed to him and, on TV ads with similar content all with the legend “Paid for by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association”. $190,200 was reported as contributions from other persons or entities leaving $82,393.70 as the assumed direct contribution of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Of the $190,200 contributed by others $150,200 came from Samaritan’s Purse based in Boone, NC. $20,000 came from Mark DeMoss of Duluth, GA, and another $20,000 came from Dick Furman of Boone, NC. Mark DeMoss is an evangelical who runs a Christian PR agency and serves as an advisor to Mitt Romney. Dick Furman is a doctor who founded World Medical Mission which is part of the Samaritan’s Purse organization, on whose board he sits.

In soliciting donations on its website Samaritan’s Purse states:

Your gift to “Where Most Needed” equips Samaritan’s Purse with the resources—including personnel, materials, supporting services, buildings, and equipment—to fulfill our mission of relief and evangelism worldwide.

Nowhere on the charity’s website does it state that funds will be used for political activity or to influence elections though Franklin Graham was very public in support of the Constitutional Amendment that calcified existing state marriage law and banned civil unions. The only references to marriage found on the site relate to abstinence and faithfulness programs. While the bills were directly paid by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association the major source of funds was Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse at 55% of the total while the Billy Graham group contributed at most 30%.

 

6 Comments

  1. david esmay

    June 8, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Remove their tax exempt status, if they want to dictate politics and laws, make churches and these pseudo-churches pay taxes like a business. Which is exactly what they are.

  2. Frank Burns

    June 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Nonsense. That’s not how free speech works. You can’t punish the organizations you don’t agree with. If you carry it all the way through, Sierra Club, Democracy NC, Progressive Pulse and many other non profits would have to be taxed as well.

  3. Jeff S

    June 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    They’re clearly within the law on this one. Many churches do routinely violate the restrictions on political campaign intervention, but no one seems eager to challenge them.

    That said, I think these religious groups deserve exactly as much tolerance as they are willing to extend to others.

  4. AdamL

    June 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    The issue isn’t violating tax rules. The problem is misrepresenting where your contributions go. It is quite surprising that an international relief agency would spend money supporting a state constitutional amendment.

  5. concerned Christian

    June 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I am outraged as a person who has supported Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child for years. I stopped giving $ when it was disclosed that Franklin Graham made over 500k from Samaritan’s Purse and 450K from another charity (whose name escapes me) . He dropped the lower salary when he felt the heat. All I can say is “forgive him Father, he knows not what he does”.
    And then the less generous side of me wants to say SHAME SHAME SHAME.

  6. george

    June 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    To Concerned Christian: Franklin Graham knows exactly what he’s done. He actually made more from leading the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association than he did from Samaritan’s Purse until people found out about his double dipping.