Welcome to Defenders Voice. This is Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Please send your questions to email@example.com. Visit our website www.doctorpaul.org for information about our ministry and the podcasts.
Some of you asked me not to mention your real name. So, I will just call you John for males and Jane for females. So, John asked this question, what is your response to RZIM board members not releasing their names?
Julie Roys and Carson Weitnauer did a podcast this week in which they talked about RZIM’s lack of transparency. I gave the link below. If you want to listen, just follow the link.
They started their conversation asking why RZIM has not released their IRS 990 forms for the last six years. Through Form 990, IRS is seeking information from tax-exempt organizations about their finances. IRS shares that information with the public so that we can know how a non-profit spends its financial resources. RZIM stopped filing IRS 990s for the last 6 years. Julie Roys questioned that veil of secrecy over the financial affairs inside RZIM. I think that is a legitimate question.
What is the purpose of Tax-exemption? A group of individuals come together to address the needs of individuals who need help. If there is hunger in your community, you sacrifice some of your money and donate to a non-profit to feed that person in starvation. If you work in a non-profit, it is reasonable that you make a salary of an average citizen in that community. But over the years that has changed. Nonprofits became fat cows to milk for many greedy people. We have a hospital in our town. Lot of people in our community lost their jobs and some of them got severely sick during Covid season and had to be hospitalized. Their hospital bills on average is around $20,000. The hospital is threatening them with lawsuits if they do not pay their hospital bills. These people live on minimum wage and they feel helpless. The hospital is a nonprofit. I asked them, what is the salary of your CEO? They said 6 million dollars.
That is the problem. When you are a nonprofit, enjoying tax exemption, you should be helping people who cannot pay their medical bills instead of paying your CEOs and board members millions of dollars in salaries. This same philosophy invaded into Christian ministries. Churches were given tax exemptions so that they can use most of their resources for people in need. Sadly, that is not what is happening.
When you raise the money using God’s name, you should show transparency. This is how much we raised and this is how much we spent. How much did the man of God make each year? People should know. How much each board member make in a year? People should know.
In medical field, we have Sunshine Act. If a drug representative buy a lunch for the doctor, that should be accounted for in financial records. Even a free lunch can impact the prescription habits of your physician. Even the secular world is upholding Sunshine Act. Why are Christian organizations behave that they are not accountable to anyone in the world?
Then Julie Roys played the audio of a RZIM board meeting. When they talked about publicizing their names, one board member says,
“Helen, can I just say something about the publicizing of the names? In particular, there have been a few board members, including myself, that have schizophrenic stalkers going after our family. But publicizing it out into the public world has a sense of fear for my family.”
To this Julie Roys says,
“And he’s talking about not wanting to release his name, because he is being stalked by somebody – a schizophrenic stalker. Obviously, there’s concerns there. But at the same time, is that a valid argument for not releasing the names of a nonprofit board, like RZIM that took in 10s of millions of dollars every year? Carson?”
CARSON WEITNAUER responds and says,
I believe Chris. I think he’s probably telling the truth there. And I understand the board’s desire for safety for themselves and their families. I condemn any threats of violence, and I especially condemn any violence. And so, I want to see every board member and their family be physically safe and have that be treated with a lot of respect. At the same time, to serve on the Board of a multi-million-dollar nonprofit with a global reach requires the courage to be public about it. And, you know, the speakers have to be publicly associated with the ministry. And so, I think it’s reasonable to ask for the board members to be publicly associated with the ministry too. And Julie, one of the really hard-won lessons I learned is that, in an abusive organization, a reasonable answer is often given as a pretext to hide an unethical posture.
RZIM board members do not want to release their names because they are concerned about their safety. Then, Julie Roys and Carson Weitnauer talked about how they met. Julie Roys moderated a debate between Nabeel Qureshi and Shabbir Ali at Wayne State University.
When Julie mentioned Nabeel Qureshi, I thought of a conversation I had with Nabeel. Nabeel went to medical school and was about to start his residency. Then one day, he went to preach gospel in a Muslim area with his friend David Wood. The police came and arrested him. I asked him, what happened to your residency program? He said, the residency program did not take me in because I had a police case on me.
Then I asked him, You were a Muslim who became a Christian. Now you are criticizing Islam. Are not you concerned about your safety? He looked at me, showed me his phone, and said, ‘I just received a death threat from a Muslim’.
As RZIM speaker Nabeel traveled all the world preaching the gospel at high risk to his own life. But RZIM board members don’t want to give out even their names because of safety issues. One day I was preaching in a gospel meeting in India. Hindu extremists came around and shouted at me: stop preaching about your Jesus here. I was concerned about my safety but I preached the gospel anyway. The Bible says,
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind
Thats from 2 Timothy 1:7
God has not given us a spirit of fear. So, RZIM board members should learn from the courage of Nabeel Qureshi. He preached the gospel to Muslims who were sending him death threats. Why are you afraid to release your names and your IRS filings? Let us hope and pray that they get some courage to do those things.