The 55-year-old pastor of the Benny Hinn World Healing Centre Church, who conducts “faith healings” and prophesied the burning to death of all gays in America, refused to hand over financial documents to the inquiry, saying the church was accountable to God and would respond to the Senate by January 30.
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His refusal comes after the head of another investigated church, Creflo Dollar, said he would have to be subpoenaed before he testified before a committee. Dr Dollar’s program also has an Australian presence, spruiking religious books, CDs and tapes through a program aired on Channel Nine and Prime.
Channel Ten defended its early morning broadcast of the half-hour program, This Is Your Life With Benny Hinn, saying media reports were all they knew of Mr Hinn’s investigation.
“We have no specific information about this matter, aside from media reports,” a Channel Ten spokeswoman said.
“We will keep an eye on developments, and one would think any investigation should be allowed to run its course before passing judgment.”
The network would not say how much it was paid to air the program. “Program supply arrangements are commercial in confidence,” the broadcaster said.
Pastor Benny, as he calls himself on the church website, recently posted a letter thanking his supporters.
Mr Hinn has previously come under fire for “faith healings”, claiming to breathe the Holy Spirit on frenzied worshippers, and for predicting God would use fire to “destroy the homosexual community of America” by 1995.