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"Today's pastors are superstars, overseeing megachurches with mega-parishioners and wielding unparalleled influence and power. These pastors not only minister to congregations in the pews, but they've got mega-audiences on television and online."
That's the description of a new documentary dubbed Black Church Inc.: Prophets of Profit. Moguldom Studios and director Todd Williams promise to go behind the scenes of the "black church" and take a hard look at the inner workings of its congregations, its businesses and its leadership.
The documentary takes to task the likes of Taharka Robinson, Al Sharpton and Pastor Raphael Warnock, Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar and T.D. Jakes.
Does Williams go too far?
"To become a megachurch pastor you have to keep the majority of the money that you collect, and you have to convince them that they are to give 10 percent or more and they should be happy about it," one man said in the documentary.
The film compares the black church's origins to its modern day cultural relevance, focusing on modern megachurches and asking hard-hitting questions about "service versus the extravagant lifestyles of its multimillion-dollar ministers and ministries," according to a press release about the film.
"As the nation attempts to bounce back from a recession, megachurches continue to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fund their pastors' exorbitant lifestyles," a press statement says. "Through interviews with clergy members, politicians, community leaders and journalists, Black Church Inc. explores whether the preachers, parishioners or communities are the benefactors of the millions of tax-free revenue generated by religious organizations.
"Black Church Inc. attempts to justify the dichotomy of the profits of prophets," the release continues. "The documentary takes a deep dive into controversial issues clouding the church including 'love offerings' (cash payments given to ministers), financial abuse and the deification of the megachurch pastor all while asking... is prayer-for-profit moral?"
Watch the trailer for yourself. In the age of shows like Preachers of L.A., does Moguldom Studios go too far? Is this all-out slander or an accurate call-out of the prosperity gospel?
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