The political left has renewed its calls to tax churches after a plumber at Pastor Joel Osteens church found hundreds of envelopes full of cash.
A plumber called a Houston radio station KILT-FM on Thursday, according to the city KPRC-TV. The caller said, “There was a loose toilet in the wall and we removed the tile. Went to remove the toilet and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall.”
“I was like ‘Oh wow’. I got my flashlight, shone in there,” the caller added.
The envelopes were filled with cash and checks, according to the caller, who said he reported the find to the maintenance manager.
“I went ahead and contacted the maintenance manager who was there and I handed it all over,” the caller said.
In March 2014, Lakewood Church reported that $ 200,000 in cash and $ 400,000 in checks had been stolen, in addition to some credit card information.
“Morning Bullpen” host George Lindsey told the TV station he was shocked by the caller.
“Good morning and good Friday to all who agree that leaders of dirty rich mega-churches like Joel Osteen, who fills the walls of their church with $ 350,000 in cash, should be taxed. In fact, ALL churches are taxed,” wrote one user by name. BrooklynDad_Defiant!
“Joel Osteen drags Jesus into the toilet,” wrote author John Pavlovitz.
“Will tell my kids this is Joel Osteen,” wrote one user who describes himself as “McNeil.” His tweet was added to a picture of the fictional meth dealer Walter White showing his hidden money to his son.
“Dear Joel Osteen. Dear ALL Churches. Who agrees?” wrote actress Angela Belcamino.
Lakewood Church said in a statement that cash and checks were discovered recently while working on the church, but did not add how much money was found and did not directly confirm what the plumber said.
“Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation. Lakewood has no further comment at this time,” the church said.
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Some members of Congress have proposed taxing churches, such as Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., Who tweeted: “If they want to politically arm religion by ‘reprimanding’ Democrats who support women’s reproductive choices, then a ‘reprimand’ of their tax exemption status may be in order.”
Fox News’ Adam Sabes and The Associated Press contributed to this report.