A televangelist who claimed the gay community would suffer God’s punishment is suffering the wrath of the Internal Revenue Service: The Texas offices of Pastor Benny Hinn were raided by IRS investigators on Wednesday, though Hinn himself was not present.
“We are primarily investigating Title 26, which is tax evasion and general fraud against the government,” an IRS agent told LGBTQ Nation.
In 1995, Hinn declared God would destroy the gay community (spoiler: it didn’t happen) and he has claimed homosexuality is caused by fathers who didn’t hug their sons. He linked being gay to “perversion” and criticized pastors who say that homosexuality is not a sin.
Hinn, who has been preaching since the 1970s, claims to have healing powers that can purportedly cure blindness, deafness, cancer, AIDS and other maladies. A 2004 CBC TV documentary examining Hinn’s miracle healings reported staffers routinely prevented audience members from taking the stage, preferring instead to use pre-screened candidates. “People who look like me are never allowed on stage,” wrote UK evangelist Justin Peters, who has cerebral palsy and walks with crutches. “It’s always somebody who has some disability or disease that cannot be readily seen.”
A congressional investigation into the ministry was begun in 2007, with Pastor Hinn asked to divulge his financial records to the Senate Finance Committee. It concluded in 2011 with no findings of wrongdoing, though a final report raised concerns about personal gain from donations—including use of the ministry’s Gulfstream G4SP jet for personal vacations—and the lack of financial oversight of the ministry’s board, which is comprised of Hinn’s family members and friends.
It’s believed Hinn is currently in France.