Some are already making jokes about Pastor Kong Hee’s wealth as Kong Hee Fatt Choy. He and his wife has 3 boutiques – Ed Hardy at Heeren, Skin at Great World City and Christian Audigier at Ion. And they didn’t need to draw an income from CHC since 2005 as these businesses are lucrative enough. So lucrative that they can supposedly support his Horizon Towers condo at Leonie Hill District 9 condominium, which costs from $2.8-6.5 million according to Property Guru, and his wife’s residence in Beverly Hills according to rumours.
Pastorpreneurship is one word I could use to describe this whole rich business pastor church, adjective in that order of priority apparently to Kong Hee if the rumours on him are true and the Youtube videos are to be believed. Pro-Kong Hee supporters, and I suppose not all CHC members are blindly devoted to Kong Hee’s personality cult, would argue that the Devil is making us envious of Kong Hee’s success. More than just faith in the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty, the Kong Hee devotees forget that their pastor is also human and probably exposed to temptation and days in the desert as well. Some have alarmingly insinuated a call to arms as their church is supposedly under siege by the Devil. To CHC’s credit still, a minority of CHC goers acted as the voices of reason, which we shouldn’t be surprised as this constructive introspection has happened before.
The business of religion
Sat, Jun 05, 2010
The New Paper
Or as Pastor Kong Hee, the founder of City Harvest Church, put it in one of his many sermons posted online: “Give until tears stream down your eyes.”
That tithe is collected in churches is not new. But how it is used may have changed over time and that is causing some concern.
In 2001, eyebrows were raised when New Creation Church bought East Coast Recreation Centre, through its business arm Rock Productions, for over $10 million. Some of the church members had questioned then the use of church funds for investment purposes.
The church argued then that the business arm is run as a separate entity and that the purchase was in line with the church’s constitution.
Fast forward to present day.
City Harvest’s investment in Suntec City – where New Creation Church runs its services – sparked a series of letters to the press.
Readers also wrote in to The New Paper pointing out that the investment was substantial – City Harvest had invested $310 million.
Once again, the use of donations, or tithe, for business became an issue among some church members.
The central issue appears to be the complexity of running a religion as a business. The church’s founder, Mr Kong, also declares that he is a businessman.