What interests The Motley Monk is that it’s not only the Roman Catholic Church that’s wealthy. For example, consider the Mormon Church, otherwise known as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” In 2012, the Church’s net worth was estimated at $40B.
How has the Church amassed so much wealth?
A 2012 Bloomberg article provides a number of answers.
Since the 1960s, the not-for-profit Church’s financial arm has owned 3,483 acres of coal the federal government leases at Utah’s Deer Creek Mine. The Church has leased this federal acreage and has subleased it to PacifiCorp, an electric power producer owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy.
Okay. So the Church makes big-time $$$s by subleasing its leased acreage to a power company. That’s a whole lot better than earning it through indulgences, no?
But, oooppsss! Those who worship at the altar of environmentalism opine that those fossil fuel companies are generating millions of $$$s in sordid lucre annually by exploiting the nation’s natural resources and causing widespread and expensive environmental damage for which the American public is held responsible. Furthermore, the stormy petrels are also crying foul because those fuel companies also are said to emit 450B tons of carbon emissions annually!
Omigosh! This holding of the not-for-profit Church’s financial arm makes the Chruch one of the largest top federal leaseholders, entangling the Church and the nation’s “top dirty energy companies”—evil behemoths like Shell, ExonMobil, and Peabody Energy—because its tax-exempt sub-corporation extracts fossil fuel from the nation’s public lands, leaving the public on the hook for the damage caused to the environment.
That allows the Church to rake in $$$s from those evil capitalists, like Warren Buffet, whose businesses pilfer Mother Gaia. Those who worship at the altar of environmentalism think its leaders and membership should be ashamed of themselves! Perhaps they should atone by paying retribution to the not-for-profit Church of Environmentalism?
They’re outraged and demanded a meeting with President Obama that would include other labor and human rights organizations. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending upon one’s view of the environmentalist ideologues), they only got to meet with White House advisors, where they demanded an end to the federal leasing of publicly-owned carbon reserves to corporations.
But, guess what? It was Church leaders who got a face-to-fact meeting with President Obama in which they voiced support for public lands legislation proposed by one Church member, U.S. Representative Rob Bishop. If his bill becomes law, federal ownership of public lands would be ceded (what’s been called a “federal lands giveaway”), loosening restrictions for additional oil and gas development.
The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has published a report detailing the environmental destruction, corporate giveaway, and contributions to climate change these energy companies have made. According to the report’s co-author, Ruth Breech:
We are seeing energy companies making millions off the public land giveaway. These companies have well documented track records of environmental destruction, violations of Indigenous sacred sites, systematic evasions of royalty payments and then ducking and running, and passing on the massive clean up costs associated with their operations to the public. This is the worst of the worst.
It’s time for these companies to take responsibility. While the costs of coal and oil are low, energy companies could stop drilling and mining on public lands and use this as an opportunity to transition to sustainable and more lucrative energy sources.
According to the Newsweek article, a Church spokeswoman declined to comment.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Bloomberg article, click on the following link:http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2012-07-10/how-the-mormons-make-money
To read the Newsweek article, click on the following link:
To read the RAN report, click on the following link: