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Satirist John Oliver receives thousands in donations for his church

Oliver registered his church last week to raise awareness of the tax-free operations of thousands of churches

Published: Updated:

British satirist John Oliver has received thousands of dollars’ worth of donations for a church he has set up in a bid to highlight what he says is ‘little financial regulation’ of U.S. religious institutions.

Oliver registered his church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, last week to raise awareness of the tax-free operations of thousands of churches that operate in the U.S..

“And we asked you to send us money at this address,” Oliver said during the episode of “Last Week Tonight.”

“To be honest…slightly more of you responded than we were expecting,” he added.

In a 20-minute segment on Sunday’s show, Oliver criticized the methods televangelists - television preachers - pursue to get donations. One of the many preachers he points to is Pastor Creflo Dollar, who attempted to raise $65 million dollars from his followers to buy a private jet.

Dollar is one of several televangelists who rallied their following to raise funds for a private jet.

In that same episode, Oliver mocked the “seed faith” metaphor often used by television preachers in which they promise divine returns to their followers’ monetary contributions.

Among thousands of envelopes of donations, Oliver received actual packs of seeds.

“I think we made it clear that seed faith is metaphorical and we did not want your actual seeds,” Oliver said Sunday.

“Which is why it was so disappointing that someone sent this gigantic bag of seeds to us, through the mail,” he said as held up a bad of seeds.

Separately, upon the possible dissolution of the church, all its assets will be transferred to Doctors Without Borders.

“Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption may choose to wind down and dissolve in the near future,” a statement on the church’s donation page reads.

“Upon dissolution, any assets belonging to the Church at that time will be distributed to Doctors Without Borders,” it added.

The IRS, the U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement, conducted only three audits of churches between 2013 and 2014, Newsweek reported citing the Government Accountability Office.