The Instigator
Zwatt
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Zarroette
Con (against)
Winning
36 Points

Should Churches Pay Taxes

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Zarroette
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 977 times Debate No: 67636
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (7)

 

Zwatt

Pro

Yes, of course all churches should pay taxes, there is no legitimate reason why churches should be exempt from taxes, just because you claim religious belief does not mean you are exempt from taxes so why should a church be exempt. Religion in general is a multi billion dollar business the only difference between a corporation and a church is we tax a church.
Zarroette

Con

I thank Zwatt for the opportunity to debate this topic. Since my opponent has made opening round arguments, this gives me licence to open with arguments, too.


I am going, at least initially, to use the United States as an example of why churches should not pay taxes.

Negation Case


A1: The First Amendment


In the United States, “the First Amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances” [1].


It would violate the U.S constitution to infringe upon the free exercise of religion. It would also violate the right to freedom of expression (freedom of speech) in that the government could shut down or reprimand a church that defaults on their payments, which would not allow them freedom to expression. In McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), the US Supreme Court found this very conclusion to be the just one: “the power to tax involves the power to destroy” [3].


Violating the constitution strips humans of their basic human rights, which are natural and require good arguments to explain why they should be infringed upon.


A2: Churches are not-for-profit


Not-for-profit organisations are not taxed because they are not charging for a service. You can attend your local church, receive a service and not pay a dime. Yes, there are collection bowls, but you are not required to give anything, unlike a business wherein you will not be served if you do not pay.


So, my opponent’s claims of “religion in general is a multi-billion dollar business” is incorrect, for religion does not register as a business. Religion meets the ‘tax-exemption’ requirements of 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and hence classifies as a not-for-profit organisation [2]. Therefore, taxing churches would violate this religious legislation which exists to protect not-for-profit organisations since not-for-profit organisations contribute to the public’s wellbeing without charging a price. What my opponent is suggesting is equivalent to taxing charities which also fall under the tax exemption of 501 (c)(3).


A3: Disadvantaged and poor people rely on assistance from churches


If churches were to be taxed, churches would suffer according to Vincent Becker (Monignor at the Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville, “[his church] base[s] all the things that we do on the fact that we do not have to pay taxes on the buildings” [4]. In effect, what this will mean is that the once charitable services performed by the churches would now be eliminated or delegated to local governments.


A4: Church members who donate will be taxed twice

First, there will be an initial income taxing for the members, Then, the money that is donated will be taxed again the church is taxed. Why is it fair to tax these institutions twice?

A5: Small churches will suffer greatly

A survey, undertaken in 2010, found that “congregations facing financial strain more than doubled to almost 20% in the past decade, with 5% of congregations unlikely to recover” [5]. If churches were forced to pay taxes on top of that, a lot of church’s existences would be threatened [7].

Counter-Arguments


“Yes, of course all churches should pay taxes, there is no legitimate reason why churches should be exempt from taxes”

Here, my opponent has committed a Negative Proof Fallacy, in which he shifts the burden of proof onto the people who should be negating [6]. Seeing that he is to affirm, he is the one to give reasons why “churches should pay taxes” (i.e. the resolution).

To put this into perspective, it would be like him asking me to disprove that pink unicorns exist (his effective words: show why churches should not be taxed), and if I cannot, then pink unicorns exist (his words: “there is no legitimate reason”).

“…just because you claim religious belief does not mean you are exempt from taxes so why should a church be exempt.”

As shown earlier, churches are exempt due to not-for-profit status, not due to “claim[ing] religious belief”.

“Religion in general is a multi billion dollar business the only difference between a corporation and a church is we tax a church.

As shown earlier, religions are not businesses.

References


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://www.irs.gov...

[3] John Marshall, US Supreme Court opinion, McCulloch v. Maryland, supreme.justia.com, 1819

[4] Brian Quinn, "Should Churches Pay Property Taxes?," www.wellsvilledaily.com, Mar. 1, 2011

[5] Nicole Neroulias, "Study: Churches Inching Back from Recession," www.usatoday.com, Apr. 20, 2011

[6] http://rationalwiki.org...

[7] Scott Tibbs, "Should Churches Pay Taxes?" ConservaTibbs.com, June 24, 2009

Debate Round No. 1
Zwatt

Pro

Zwatt forfeited this round.
Zarroette

Con

Extend my counter-arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
Zwatt

Pro

Zwatt forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Zwatt

Pro

Zwatt forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
@Zaradi

Yeah, because I'm not debating Bluesteel at the moment.
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
Zaradi
You filthy, horrible noobsniper.
Posted by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
@DraftyBasilisk

Very true. Although, I don't mind the freelo :)
Posted by DraftyBasilisk 2 years ago
DraftyBasilisk
It happens so often on this site that someone thinks they have easily won a debate with two sentences, then somebody with a brain comes along, beats them into the ground with a happy slap of coherent arguments, and they crawl back into the hole in which they came either to learn about how to make a real debate, or to concede that they completely underestimated the capabilities of the people that don't agree with them.

I don't expect a reply from Pro.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Con. Pro forfeited multiple rounds which is rarely acceptable conduct in any debate setting. S&G - Tie. Both had adequate spelling and grammar. Arguments - Con. Pro had the burden to show why churches should be taxed and failed to do so. Con presented multiple contentions which served to negate the resolution and the case that Pro was attempting to present. Since Con's challenges went unanswered by Pro, Con wins arguments. Sources - Con. Pro failed to utilize sources whereas Con did. This is a clear win for Con.
Vote Placed by Geographia 2 years ago
Geographia
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
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Reasons for voting decision: Con is prettier
Vote Placed by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 2 years ago
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
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Reasons for voting decision: This is Zarroette: http://www.debate.org/Envisage/photos/album/3882/29581/
Vote Placed by darthebearnc 2 years ago
darthebearnc
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Danielle 2 years ago
Danielle
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Reasons for voting decision: Because I disagree with all taxes, I inherently agree with Con. However under the current status quo, I absolutely side with Pro. I would be interested in debating this topic as Pro.