GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was recently criticized by political commentator Bill Maher for counting the 16.5 percent of the income he and his wife earned in recent years as charitable giving, because the bulk of the estimated $7 million either went to the Mormon Church in the form of tithes or to charities affiliated with the Church. This has begged the questions: is it “charitable giving” when the faithful donate or tithe to their churches; and should a church even be considered a “charity” if it is not directly aiding the poor or doing similar work?

“That’s the strict interpretation of the law, so from a legal standpoint, there’s nothing wrong with what he said – that 16 percent of his income went to charity, under the legal definition,” said Ole Anthony, president of watchdog ministry the Trinity Foundation, known for its investigations of popular evangelists like Benny Hinn and Eddie Long.


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