One week ago, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver announced the official creation of his new mega-church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. Like Colbert Super PAC before it, the church was set up 100% legally in order to highlight the absurdity of a federal tax system that rewards religious organizations for essentially fleecing their congregants.
Oliver asked viewers to send in “seed” money to a P.O. Box in New York, and “to be honest,” he said last night, “slightly more of you responded than we were expecting.”
To acknowledge the “separation of church and show,” Oliver transitioned into his “Pastor” role before he revealed the massive “harvest” he had received from his new followers. After castigating those who sent in actual bags of seed, Oliver thanked people for sending in actual money, including one viewer who mailed a check for $65 billion, “which you may have sent in as a joke — but guess what? — we’re fucking cashing it, so who’s laughing now?”
“The more money you send in, the more blessings will be returned to you,” Pastor Oliver reminded his viewers. “And that is still something I’m amazingly, legally allowed to say.”
Oliver did not, in the end, reveal exactly how much tax-free money his “church” has collected in its first week of operation, but judging by the piles and piles of envelopes, it is likely far more than anyone could have predicted.
Watch video below, via HBO:
[Photo via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org