Who is Running the New Church Militant?

Who is Running the New Church Militant? March 25, 2024

American 20 and 100 dollar bills, rolled up into tubes
image via Pixabay

It’s the Monday of Holy Week and I’m working on writing something prayerful and insightful that will be worth your while, I promise. But first, I just want to say a few words on the odd shenanigans that continue to happen surrounding the notorious and now defunct Catholic tabloid, Church Militant.

Because I thought Church Militant was finally done for this past week, but it’s risen again, and I’ve seen donors wondering where their money went.

If you read me regularly, you know that I’ve been writing about the slow-motion downfall of the notorious Catholic scandal rag known as Church Militant for quite awhile now. At the very beginning of March when it was announced that Church Militant would be gone by April, I expected that the saga was finally over, but of course it couldn’t be that simple. Things have taken yet another strange turn.

This month I wrote  about the latest bizarre developments and how the tabloid was claimed to have been taken over by Joe Gallagher’s extremely ridiculous, antisemitic and vaccine-denying conspiracy theory website over at Where Peter Is. And then, a week later, also at Where Peter Is, I wrote about the apparent failure of that venture and subsequent three million dollar lawsuit. I thought that would be the end of it.

Very shortly after that, Mike Lewis of Where Peter Is reported on the fact that Church Militant’s tabloid website disappeared from the internet entirely (it still gives you a “503 service unavailable” message if you search it right now), and the final farewell letter that Church Militant’s subscribers found in their inbox that day. That email had information on how to cancel your monthly payments.

Again, I thought the saga was finally over, but I was living in a fool’s paradise.

Mike had to update his story within ten minutes, because donors to Church Militant found a second, suspicious-looking email in the inbox less than ten minutes later. This email was on a different letterhead than the usual red Church Militant banner, and it omits the usual slogan “serving Catholics.” It hints that the material that used to be published on Church Militant may not be entirely gone, that they would be providing “new content worth your continued support,”  and that Church Militant is now a 501(c)(4) organization registered in Texas. There was a link to a donate button and also an address for anyone who preferred to send physical checks, but there was no signature or any indication of who owns the new Church Militant in Texas or who you’re sending money to.

The address was for a parking lot in Houston.

There’s a Brazilian Wax Center and an Amazing Lash Studio in that parking lot, but upon examination I realized that the address is actually for the UPS store.

On her recent podcast episode, Christine Harrington, formerly of Church Militant herself, provided evidence that that the UPS Store address is the selfsame address that Michael Voris has used as a return address in a court document for the recent defamation lawsuit brought by Father Georges De Laire. I have a screenshot of her photo of the envelope here:

So, Michael Voris owns a lockbox or something  at the UPS store that he uses for sending mail sometimes, and that’s where the checks for the new Church Militant are going.

Harrington also brought up some concerns, which I share, about where the donor money is going now and whether there are any tax shenanigans going on. I was also trying to work out what’s happening with Church Militant’s money all week. I’ve been corresponding with someone in the know who gave me some information about that. I am going to try to break down the situation as I understand it. Please be warned, this involves taxes and it’s going to be a bit dry and confusing. I’ll try my best.

There are two tax-exempt organizations that are run by the people who brought us Church Militant’s articles and videos, and there is also a website. Those are THREE separate things, two organizations and one website. That’s what you’ve got to keep track of. One of the organizations is what’s known by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) and the other is a 501(c)(4), and the website is just a website.

A 501(c)(3) is a type of tax-exempt organization that is a nonprofit group, such as a church or the Humane Society. They’re not supposed to exist to earn income for the people who run them, so they don’t have to pay taxes, but they’re not allowed to endorse specific political candidates or they lose their tax exempt status. If you donate money to those organizations, then your donations are deductible on your income taxes. A 501(c)(4) is another type of nonprofit, which “exists to promote social welfare,” such as a volunteer fire department, and which IS allowed to endorse political candidates as long as it’s not their primary activity. Donations to a 501(c)(4) are NOT deductible on a donor’s income taxes.

Gary Michael Voris has been running two tax exempt operations. According to ProPublica he’s had Saint Michael’s Media, Incorporated, since 2007. In 2021, he got an additional one that was called Church Militant. Saint Michael’s Media is a 501(c)(3) which can’t endorse political candidates, and if you’ve donated to that, your donations are tax deductible. The newer Church Militant organization is a 501(c)(4) organization, they ARE allowed to endorse candidates, and you can’t deduct donations to that one on your taxes. If you tried to you could get in trouble. Both have been run by Voris. Voris seems to have stepped down from running Saint Michael’s Media this past December, due to his violations of their morality clause. I don’t know who’s running it now.

Here’s where it gets complicated: as far as I can tell, the WEBSITE known as “Church Militant dot com” was the website for Saint Michael’s Media. The website with all those awful videos and slanderous articles was named “Church Militant” but was being funded by “Saint Michael’s Media.” Saint Michael’s Media was cutting those gigantic checks to keep the Church Militant Dot Com up and running, according to the Patmos Vs. Truth Army lawsuit.

My understanding is that if you donated money to Saint Michael’s Media to run Church Militant Dot Com it was a tax deductible charitable donation. But if you subscribed monthly to access their premium videos, you were giving to the Church Militant nonprofit and it wasn’t tax deductible. You’ll have to double check that yourself. But both sets of donations went to the same people (headed by Voris). No, I don’t know how they kept the two money pots separate. I trust they had a system in place. Saint Michael’s Media made almost five million dollars in 2022 and Church Militant made three million, according to ProPublica.

When Joe Gallagher performed his stunt at the beginning of March, it’s alleged by that lawsuit that it was meant to snatch the donations that donors thought were going to Saint Michael’s Media, but actually they were going to go to Truth Army which meant that Saint Michael’s Media couldn’t pay their bill. Gallagher denies this. I don’t know if Gallagher even knew about the second organization, the one called “Church Militant.” That’s the fish that got away. Church Militant seems to have struck out on its own now.

And as for the email saying that Church Militant is “registered in Texas,” you should know that I can’t find a “Church Militant” 501(c)(4) registered in Texas; at this moment it doesn’t appear on the Texas comptroller website. The Church Militant that I can find is in Michigan as of December 2022. I assume that’s just because it’s been very newly registered in Texas. Maybe it will pop up on a search within a week or two. I’ll keep you updated.

I am bringing all this up because at the end of this week, the promised brand new Church Militant website appeared for everyone to admire. Take a gander at that page.

It’s not very good. It looks like a LiveJournal blog from 2006.

I can’t even tell if the name of the new Church Militant is “Church Militant” or “God and Country,” which sounds like the name of a three-month-old magazine from a waiting room.

It has exactly one blog post, a rant about “communism” where the anonymous author claims that communism is “the twisted notion that the state is the source and origin and deliverer of rights, not God” and dismisses the fact that communism is, in fact, and I’m getting this straight from Oxford here, “A theory of classless society with common ownership of property and wealth and centrally planned production and distribution based on the principle ‘from everyone according to their skills, to everyone according to their needs’.” The post further claims that the Democratic party and also a handful of Republicans are secretly communists. Just for your edification, Michael Voris has been ranting about communism in videos still available on YouTube for the past several months. Today I watched the most recent one, where he claims “Communism destroyed Detroit” and wandered around Detroit claiming that Democrats are communists. My favorite part is when he runs a stop sign on camera at about the two minute and fifty second mark.

The comments under this “God and Country” article are awash with angry former donors to to Saint Michael’s Media or subscribers to Church Militant, who cannot figure out where their money went or whether their monthly subscription has stopped now or what Joe Gallagher was on about. They all wanted to know who was running the new Church Militant.

So, I’m going to summarize my findings up to the present:

–Michael Voris is the founder of Saint Michel’s Media, which owned and ran Church Militant Dot Com.

–If you donated to Saint Michael’s Media, you donated to a charity that was headed by Michael Voris until he resigned last November for violating their morality clause.

–If you gave to Church Militant for their premium content, you were giving to a separate nonprofit founded in 2021 and run by Michael Voris.

–Joe Gallagher is a disgruntled former employee of Church Militant who now runs a for-profit business, Truth Army, which makes really weird movies spreading conspiracy theories.

–If you gave anything to Truth Army in the 24 hours that the Truth Army video was up on Church Militant’s X page, you gave the money to Joe Gallagher’s for-profit movie making business and you aren’t very bright.

–On the new Church Militant/God and Country blog website, there is a donation page which welcomes you to donate to Church Militant, a 501(c)(4), which up until at least 2022 was located in Ferndale, Michigan and owned by Michael Voris but is now said to be in Texas.

–On this website you are encouraged to send checks to a UPS store with a business suite in it, which has been used as the legal address of Michael Voris.

–There is exactly one post on the new Church Militant/God and Country website, and it’s a rant that sounds remarkably like a video made by Michael Voris.

–Who’s running the new Church Militant? I’ll let you decide. I know who I think it is.

–What will be done with your money, if you donate to Church Militant? I haven’t the slightest idea, and that’s a problem.

—If you give your money to me instead, I’ll probably use it to buy Easter chocolate.

I promise I’ll get on to much better Holy Week content now, but I just thought you should know where things stand with Church Militant.

 

 

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

 

 

 

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