The Secret Service is preparing to issue a cease-and-desist order to stop a Christian ministry’s use of a gospel tract designed as a “million-dollar bill.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, the controversy began Friday when three agents visited the Great News Network in Denton, Texas, and threatened to arrest staffer Tim Crawford for hiding evidence in a counterfeiting investigation. The agents took 8,300 tracts and left their business cards and a receipt.
The Christian group has argued, however, that “million-dollar” bills can’t be counterfeited because they don’t exist, and the tracts – which include a “not legal tender” disclaimer on the front – present the Christian salvation message on the opposite side.
The Secret Service has not responded to WND’s request for comment, but the Christian group’s director, Darrel Rundus, told WND the government agency believes the tract does not meet the requirements of the U.S. code.
The Dallas office of the Secret Service says the code – title 18, section 504 – requires any novelty currency to be at least three-quarters smaller or one-and-a-half times larger than normal and to be printed in black and white on one side.
But the Great News Network’s attorney in the case, Brian Fahling of the American Family Association Center for Law and Policy, told WND he believes the tracts conform to the code and will ask a federal judge in Dallas to issue a declaration.
Fahling argues the section of the code cited by the Secret Service pertains only to exact copies of currency – the gospel tracts have numerous differences.
The tracts are produced by evangelist Ray Comfort, who told WND Monday his Living Waters Ministry in Southern California has no plans to stop selling them.
In fact, he said, since news of the seizure, his office has been inundated with requests – 500,000 were sold Monday, nearly exhausting the supply.
Rundus also says the demand for the tracts from his office has spiked.
Comfort told WND yesterday he received a message from the lead agent who made the seizure in Dallas, Roy Whatley. Fahling said he spoke briefly with the agent and emphasized there’s an honest disagreement, and the ministries just want to get it resolved.
On Friday, the agents explained to the Great News Network’s Crawford that someone in North Carolina had attempted to deposit one of the million-dollar bills in a bank account. The address of the Texas group was on the back, and the Secret Service went into action.
Rundus said he was not at the office at the time, but Crawford put him on the phone with Whatley, who “assured me they weren’t going to confiscate property.”
But Rundus said after he hung up, the agents threatened Crawford with arrest unless he turned over the gospel tracts.
Crawford asked what law he would be breaking if he didn’t turn them over and was told it would be withholding evidence in an ongoing investigation.
The tract includes this message: “The million dollar question: Will you go to Heaven? Here’s a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, “Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart.” Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell. That’s not God’s will. He sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. Jesus took your punishment upon Himself – ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ Then He rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn from sin) today and trust in Jesus, and God will grant you everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.”
A WND reader has pointed out retail giant Toys R Us has been selling “million-dollar bills,” printed on both front and back, for years. In fine print on the back, the bill says, “This instrument is NON negotiable.”
World Class Learning Materials sells a set of 100 bills of different denominations it calls “play money”
A website called Prank Place says its currency for sale “looks and feels real. Great conversation tool. Our funny money and fake million dollar bills look just like real U.S. Currency. These are very high quality, designed by an incredibly talented artist. Our fake money make great gifts, additions to greeting cards, or even sales promotions and sales tools.”