The Instigator
CosmoJarvis
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Peili
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Should religious institutions in America be exempt from taxes?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 757 times Debate No: 101345
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (0)

 

CosmoJarvis

Con

Do religions deserve a tax-exempt status in America?

Con will debate why religious institutions should pay their taxes, while pro will defend why these religious institutions should be exempt from taxes.

Rules:
1) Use proper grammar and sentence structure. Please look over your arguments before posting them to make sure that you didn't accidentally make a grammatical mistake or use malapropism.
2) Do not troll or use insults as your argument.
3) Support quantitative and qualitative data with valid sources.


Rounds:
R1: Acceptance

R2: Main Arguments (NO REBUTTALS)
R3: Rebuttals (NO NEW ARGUMENTS)
R4: Rebuttals (NO NEW ARGUMENTS)
Peili

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
CosmoJarvis

Con

Outline:
I. Introduction

II. Separation of Church and State?
III. Scientology
IV. Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption
V. Non-Profit Organizations
VI. Sources

I. Introduction

According to the IRS "Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations," churches, religious organizations, and
ministers, are exempt from taxes "in recognition of their unique status in American society and of their rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution... Churches and religious organizations are generally exempt from income tax and receive other favorable treatment under the tax law," [1].

All religious institutions legally recognized by the United States, such as Christianity and Islam, are exempt from taxation. Scientology, too, was exempt from taxes under the guise of the organization being a "religion."

II. Separation of Church and State?

One may argue that the principle of the "separation of church and state," should let religions be exempt from taxes. However, giving an exemption of taxes to religious institutions does not necessarily separate church affairs from the state. Instead, it imposes a greater burden on the state and taxpayers.

As writer Rich Barlow explains, "If the only thing keeping some churches open is a taxpayers’ subsidy, it would seem the wall between church and state has big cracks." As a result of churches not paying their own taxes, the burden falls upon taxpayers [2]. According to recent polls, approximately one in four Americans now claim no religious affiliation, and yet they are forced to pull the weight of churches. David Niose, writer of the Washing Post says "Government need not be hostile to religion, but neither should it bestow upon it special privileges. The nonreligious are now one of the largest categories of religious demographics and growing, and that means changes are on the horizon in the business of religion," [3].

As a result of tax subsidization, taxpayers are given the burden of approximately 82.5 billion dollars a year. The estimated annual government subsidy of religion per year is around 71 billion dollars [4].

Giving religious institutions the special privilege of tax exemptions, and other policies of favoritism, harms a great many of the American people, and breaks the supposed wall separating church affairs from the state.

III. Scientology

The Church of Scientology is a prime example of how religions being exempt from taxes is wrong, to the point where it is ridiculous. Like any other religion, the Church of Scientology promises "true spiritual enlightenment and freedom for all," and of course, happiness [5]. However, as we know, the Church of Scientology is synonymous with scandal and crime. Scientology has torn families and friendships apart, blackmailed those that spoke out against the church, and even harmed its members. Regardless, because it was recognized by the US as a religion, it was granted tax exemption on October 14, 1993. Writer Stephen Labaton estimates that this status will save the organization, and its extensive real estate which is estimated to be valued at over 30 billion dollars, at least tens of millions of dollars a year in taxes [6].

IV. Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption

Our Lady of Perpetual is another great example of how ridiculous religious tax exemptions are. Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption was a legally recognized church in the United States. It was organized by the comedian, John Oliver, in order to ridicule televangelists who use these tax exemptions to evade property and income tax. Oliver demonstrated how "disturbingly easy" it was to create a "religious organization" which could be tax exempt. Oliver gained thousands of dollars in untaxed donations to the church. Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption became an entertaining skit on the John Oliver show; he continuously criticized and mocked televangilists, and joked about how ridiculous and linient the tax laws were. The church dissolved after a few months after some rather odd and disturbing donations, and the money was donated to Doctors without Borders [7].

V. Non-Profit Organizations

One may argue that religions "earn" their tax exemption status through their public works and charities. However, unlike non-profit organizations, religions are solely tax-exempt because they are recognized by the government as a religion. There are virtually no standards which force or encourage churches to pursue charitable acts. It is clear that people such as Joel Osteen, a speaker of a religious talk show, profit off of these tax exemptions. He has an estimated $40 million net worth, and lives in a $10.5 million 17,000 square foot hom with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, three elevators, a guest house and a pool house [8]. Because his workplace, a gigantic building, and his occupation, are relevant to religion, he is not taxed by the government.


On the contrary, secular non-profit organizations earn their tax-exempt status. According to IRS Section 501(c)(3) of the Revenue Code, non-profit organizations "must be organized and operated exclusively for [charitable purposes], and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates... The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency," [9]. While churches may undertake charitable work, they are not required to do so. The tax exemption exists primarily for religious workship.

VI. Sources
[1] https://www.irs.gov......

[2] http://www.wbur.org......
[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com......
[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com......
[5] https://www.scientology.org......
[6] http://www.nytimes.com......
[7] https://en.wikipedia.org...;
[8] http://freedomoutpost.com......
[9] https://www.irs.gov......
Peili

Pro

I.Introduction
II.Separation of Church and State
III.Non-profit status
IV.Political Involvement
V.Conclusion

I. Introduction

The tax exempt status of religious institutions has been a part of America since before the beginning of the country. Nine of the thirteen original colonies gave some form of tax exemption to religious institutions prior to the formation of America.[1] In Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970) The US Supreme Court determined that taxing religious institutions would violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.[2] To tax religious institutions would violate the First Amendment and be destructive to American society.

II. Separation of Church and State

America's most significant contribution to modern politics is most likely the First Amendment to the Constitution. It established the modern doctrine of separation of church and state.[3]

If we tax religious institutions then we put an end to the separation of church and state. Church and state would no longer be separate. Instead, the church would be required to support the state. As things currently stand the church and state stand apart; neither one is required to support the other, and neither one can place demands on the other. Con's position would put an end to that separation. It would violate the First Amendment and eradicate the separation of church and state.

III. Non-profit status

A common mistake people make when arguing for taxing religious institutions is that they do not understand how non-profit organizations function in the American tax code. They seem to think a "non-profit" organization is defined by charitable work. It is not.

There are a variety of non-profit organizations which are not taxed. Trade associations and unions are non-profit organizations. So are veteran's organizations, agricultural or horticultural organizations, as well as a variety of fraternal organizations and social clubs. None of these non-profit organizations are taxed.[4]

Con's position would have us single out religious non-profit organizations for taxation while ignoring all other kinds of non-profit organizations. If we follow through with that plan then it would suggest that we are acting out of a dislike of religion and not out of any rational tax plan.

IV. Political Involvement

Currently churches are not allowed to participate directly in the political process. Churches cannot donate to a political campaign. Churches cannot support a specific political candidate. Churches cannot endorse a political candidate in a worship service. If they do, they can lose their tax exempt status.[5]

If we remove all religious institutions' tax exempt status, then we must allow them to participate in the political process. Churches could openly support specific candidates both financially and by campaigning for them. Candidates could appeal directly to church members in worship services, promising to promote a religious agenda at the expense of all others. Again we see how Con's position destroys the separation of church and state and harms the country.

Of course the other options is to tax religious institutions while still not allowing them to participate in the political process. In that case we would be saying that only religious institutions are both taxed and prevented from taking a political stance. Then we have entered the arena of outright persecution.

V. Conclusion

The highest estimates suggest that taxing religious institutions would bring in about 82.5 billion dollars to the federal government in the first years.[6] That number is likely inflated and would almost certainly go down after the first year. However, even if we assume that it is correct and will not change, then taxing religious institutions would increase the federal government's annual income by roughly 0.00002%.

The cost of doing this would be violating the First Amendment, ending separation of church and state, and at worst outright persecuting people for believing different things than us.

Clearly religious institutions should maintain their tax exempt status.

1.https://www.irs.gov...
2.https://www.law.cornell.edu...
3.http://americanhistory.oxfordre.com...
4.https://www.irs.gov...
5.https://www.irs.gov...
6.https://www.washingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 2
CosmoJarvis

Con

"Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970) The US Supreme Court determined that taxing religious institutions would violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. To tax religious institutions would violate the First Amendment and be destructive to American society."
Nowhere did the Supreme Court ruling declare that taxing religious property was an invasion of the principle of the separation of Church and State. The ruling only declared that grants of tax exemption to religious organizations do not violate the First Amendment, meaning that providing religious organizations with a tax exemption status would not violate the principle of restricting Congress from making a "law respecting an establishment of religion..." [1].

By no means does the Walz v Tax Commission of the City of New York declare that imposing taxes on religious institutions violated the First Amendment. It instead declared that giving religious institutions tax exemptions were constitutional (although, I do deftly disagree with the court ruling because granting religions with a tax-exempt status is clearly a law in favor of religion).

"If we tax religious institutions then we put an end to the separation of church and state. Church and state would no longer be separate. Instead, the church would be required to support the state. As things currently stand the church and state stand apart; neither one is required to support the other, and neither one can place demands on the other."
The First Amendment states that: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Nowhere in the First Amendment does it clarify that the State has no right to intervene with religious institutions, aside from placing jurisdictions which restrict the freedom of speech, press or the right to peacefully assemble [2].


My opponent argues that taxing religious property would "violate the First Amendment and eradicate the separation of church and state." Yet, nothing in the First Amendment seems to indicate that the State cannot tax churches. Instead, it forbids the State from giving churches extra legal rights, thus leading to, as my opponent included in his argument, the Walz v tax Commission of the City of New York.

"Con's position would have us single out religious non-profit organizations for taxation while ignoring all other kinds of non-profit organizations. If we follow through with that plan then it would suggest that we are acting out of a dislike of religion and not out of any rational tax plan."
I simply believe that, unless religious institutions work to benefit the public and objectively try to carry out charitable work, they should not be granted a tax-exempt status. They should be put up to the same standards as non-profit organizations; earn their tax-exempt status through merit, and not by simply being legally recognized by the government as a religion. I say this because the tax-exempt status is easily exploitable, as I have explained with the Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, Scientology and Joel Osteen.

How judging organizations out of their merit is irrational and an act of intolerance and spite towards religion is beyond me.

"If we remove all religious institutions' tax exempt status, then we must allow them to participate in the political process. Churches could openly support specific candidates both financially and by campaigning for them. Candidates could appeal directly to church members in worship services, promising to promote a religious agenda at the expense of all others. Again we see how Con's position destroys the separation of church and state and harms the country."
I believe I have thoroughly explained and defined the clause of the "Separation of Church and State." Taxing religious institutions does not violate this nor any other part of the First Amendment.


"In that case we would be saying that only religious institutions are both taxed and prevented from taking a political stance. Then we have entered the arena of outright persecution."
My opponent defines taxing religious institutions as being "outright persecution." Perhaps "outright persecution" is somewhat exaggerated. Personally, I see taxing religious institutions as an act of fairness and justice. As I have said before, virtually 25% of Americans are not affiliated with a religion. To force these Americans to pull the weight of religions is unjust. Making religious institutions pay for their own property is, in my opinion, the more righteous option.


Sources:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] https://www.constituteproject.org...
Peili

Pro

I. Con"s Introduction

I am curious where Con got his opening statement from, since he seems to have the basic facts wrong right from the start. Con"s opening line is "According to the IRS "Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations," churches, religious organizations, and ministers, are exempt from taxes""

However, ministers are NOT exempt from taxes. They pay taxes on their income. Minsters do have a housing allowance, which allows money they spend on their homes to be partially tax exempt (they still pay self-employment tax on it). The blanket statement that ministers are exempt from taxes if false.

Con claims that his source is the IRS website. The specific page he linked to does not say anything like this. Churches and religious organizations are not taxed. Ministers are taxed. [1] It is a poor omen that Con got this basic fact incorrect right from the start.

II. separation of church and state

Con continues to misunderstand the American tax code in his point about separation of church and state. He quoted Rich Barlow as saying, "If the only thing keeping some churches open is a taxpayers" subsidy, it would seem the wall between church and state has big cracks."

Barlow"s statement has some merit. However, it does not apply to the American church or tax code. Religious institutions in America are tax exempt, but they do not receive taxpayers" subsidy. Con has confused the ides of tax exemption and tax subsidies.

Returning to Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970), the definitive Supreme Court case on this topic, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger wrote in his majority opinion, "The grant of a tax exemption is not sponsorship, since the government does not transfer part of its revenue to churches, but simply abstains from demanding that the church support the state."[2]

Con then suggests that the tax exemption on religious institutions "harms a great many of the American people" by increasing their tax burden. He claims "taxpayers are given the burden of approximately 82.5 billion dollars a year" from this exemption.

This figure comes from Free Inquiry, and publication of the Council for Secular Humanism. It was cited in an opinion piece by Dylan Matthews in the Washington Post. Even Matthews recognized that the source was biased and this likely represents the highest estimation. Even if we assume it to be completely accurate, this increased "burden" would account for about .00002% of the federal government"s 3.8 trillion dollar annual budget. If Con wants to claim this "harms a great many of the American people" then he will have to demonstrate why this insignificant figure is somehow more detrimental then all the other exemption in the American tax code.

It is true that if religious organizations are taxed then it would increase the income brought into the government. However, this could be said of every exemption from every kind of tax. Con has not established how this one exemption "harms a great many of the American people" while every other exemption does not.

III. Scientology

Con"s point about the Church of Scientology essentially destroys his case. Con wrote that the Church of Scientology has "torn families and friendships apart, blackmailed those that spoke out against the church, and even harmed its members." However, instead of talking about prosecuting the members for blackmail, fraud and violence, Con instead wants to tax the institution. Con does not concern himself with specific crimes. Instead, he wants to increase taxes on a group he doesn"t like.

This is one of the fundamental problems with taxing religious organizations. It bases taxes on how popular or unpopular a group is. It legalizes persecution of unpopular groups or opinions and puts an end to the First Amendment.

It is true that every exemption in the American tax code can be abused. If Con"s genuine concern was with the abuse of certain exemptions then his focus would be prosecution for fraud. It is not. His focus on taxes instead of on prosecution for abuse revels that his central concern is with taxing groups he doesn"t like.

V. Non-profit organization

Here Con continues to misunderstand non-profit organizations. He continues reduce non-profits solely to charity, which is not how the American tax code functions.

Con brought up Joel Osteen and suggested that his wealth was due to the tax exempt status of his church. In reality, Osteen has not drawn any salary from his church since 2005. When Osteen did draw a salary, it was only 200,000$ annually. This is a large amount, but nothing like the millions that Con wrote about. It is relatively small when we consider that Osteen managed and led and organization with over 20,000 members. Osteen"s wealth actually came from 20 bestselling books he wrote, and he paid taxes on all of the income from them.[3] It has nothing to do with religious tax exemptions.

I do wish Con would give links to the actual sources he is quoting from. Instead, his links take us to the front page of the IRS website or the front page of the Washington Post, which do not include the information he quotes, and we are left to guess where Con is actually getting his information from.

1.https://www.irs.gov...
2.http://churchesandtaxes.procon.org...
3.https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
CosmoJarvis

Con

"I am curious where Con got his opening statement from, since he seems to have the basic facts wrong right from the start. Con"s opening line is 'According to the IRS "Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations,' churches, religious organizations, and ministers, are exempt from taxes"
I apologizewith my lax wording on this. What I meant to say was that ministers' incomes, in certain cases, can be untaxed since their salary comes directly from a religious organization, and in some cases, pastors and televangelists such as, as I have said before, Joel Osteen, have exploited this tax exemption to pay for expensive homes or utilities that are not actually intended for religious purposes.

"Con then suggests that the tax exemption on religious institutions 'harms a great many of the American people' by increasing their tax burden. He claims "taxpayers are given the burden of approximately 82.5 billion dollars a year" from this exemption."
If churches and religious organizations paid taxes, the money could be used to improve education, aid in the restoration of public facilities, and fund other important areas which would contribute to the public.
As of now, churches take away the potential, and sometimes even necessary, money that could be used to fund important utlitilies.

"However, instead of talking about prosecuting the members for blackmail, fraud and violence, Con instead wants to tax the institution. Con does not concern himself with specific crimes. Instead, he wants to increase taxes on a group he doesn"t like."
My opponent has misunderstood the general message of what I am trying to say; by using Scientology and Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, I am trying to illustrate how even the most blatantly malicious or fraudulent organizations can file for a tax exemption as a religious organization with little difficulty. And no, I am not a fan of blackmail, fraud, and violence, if that's what you're trying to suggest. :)


"This is one of the fundamental problems with taxing religious organizations. It bases taxes on how popular or unpopular a group is. It legalizes persecution of unpopular groups or opinions and puts an end to the First Amendment."
My opponent continues his point about Scientology by saying that tax laws are based on how popular or unpopular a group is, saying that it is blatant "persecution." By saying this, my opponent is trying to defend Scientology, even though he acknowledged all of the terrible and obviously illegal activity it committed, by saying that they deserve a tax exemption, regardless of how "unpopular it is," because otherwise, it would be flat-out "persecution." Again, describing the taxing of a religious organization, especially one that has mentally and physically tormented, stole money from, and traumatized its members, as "persecution" is overexaggerated.


"I do wish Con would give links to the actual sources he is quoting from."
Ah, this must be more of a technical issue than an issue regarding me trying to lie and say that what I'm saying is a fact, and direct you to the front page of the Washington post.
I'd prefer if you told me once you've actually read my argument so that I could look at my search history to find it.


I ask my opponent for the following round to:

A) Discuss in-depth about what you mean by "persecution" when describing that taxing churches will be an act of such
B) Explain what societal benefits churches provide that outweigh the massive amount of subsidy
Peili

Pro

First, I would like to apologize for a typo on my part. I wrote that the $82.5 billion dollars that would come from taxing churches is 0.00002% of the federal government"s annual budget. That is a mistake. It is actually 0.02% of the federal government annual budget. While both numbers are obviously exceedingly small, I want to give the correct number.

Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York went much farther than Con wants to admit. Chief Justice Burger delivered the opinion of the Court and wrote, "The legislative purpose of a property tax exemption is neither the advancement nor the inhibition of religion; it is neither sponsorship nor hostility."[1]

Burger pointed out that had the tax exemption been removed that would have been hostility towards religion, instead of the neutral ground taken by the court in maintaining the tax exemption for religious institutions.

Con then wrote that "nothing in the First Amendment seems to indicate that the State cannot tax churches." Con is correct in the sense that the specific wording about taxes is not found in the First Amendment. However, it was from this amendment that the doctrine of separation of church and state was developed. By requiring the church to financially support the state we would be putting an end to that separation.

Con then said that he believes religious institutions should carry out charitable work to "earn their tax-exempt status through merit." He has continued in his misunderstanding of how non-profit status is applies in the American tax code, and he did not attempt to address my description of how it does work.

Concerning my point about how removing the tax exemption would allow church to participate in the political process, Con wrote, "I believe I have thoroughly explained and defined the clause of the "Separation of Church and State." I do not understand how he believes this. At no point has Con made any effort to address the fact that removing tax exemptions would mean that religious institution could participate directly in the political process, actively campaigning for laws that support their religion.

Can then wrote, "My opponent defines taxing religious institutions as being "outright persecution."" In this case Con simply failed to read my post. I did not claim that taxing religious institutions on its own is "outright persecution." However, if the plan is to both tax religious intuitions AND prevent them from participating in political campaigns then that would be persecution. That would setting up a unique condition placed only religious intuitions.
I am not saying that Con was suggesting this. He never addressed the issue of churches taking part in politics. But there are only two options if we remove the tax exemption: we either let churches participate in the political process or we do not. The former tears down the separation of church and state and the latter is outright persecution.

Con continued with his example of Joel Osteen as someone who benefits from the churches tax exemption. He conveniently ignored how I pointed out that Osteen did not make his money from the church. He made his money from book royalties and speaking engagements, and all of it was taxed.

Con again brought up Scientology as an example of a fraudulent group that can file for tax exemption. I am not suggesting that Con is a fan of blackmail, fraud or violence. However, his example shows that he wants to tax and unpopular group because they are unpopular. If members of Scientology are guilt of blackmail (and they likely are), then they should be prosecuted. Changing the tax code to punish them for their behavior is an example of taxing based on our feelings about a group.

Finally, Con made two requests of me.

A) Discuss in-depth about what you mean by "persecution" when describing that taxing churches will be an act of such

I did not ever say that taxing churches is "persecution." I did say that if we tax churches and prevent them from participating in the political process then that is persecution. That would be placing a burden on churches that no other group bears, and we would be doing so specifically because they are churches. I also said that if we tax groups based on how popular or unpopular they are, as Con seemed to argue for in his discussion of Scientology, then we are persecuting them. However, taxation itself is not persecution.

B) Explain what societal benefits churches provide that outweigh the massive amount of subsidy

Social benefits from the church have not been a part of my case. My case is about the separation of church and state. If we tax churches then we are removing that separation, and I believe that it is a bad idea.

1.http://churchesandtaxes.procon.org...
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 1 year ago
CosmoJarvis
Good debate.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 1 year ago
CosmoJarvis
You never classified what part of the First Amendment would be violated in the debate.
Posted by Peili 1 year ago
Peili
The debate over friend. If you want to know what part of the First Amendment would be violated by taxing churches, then read the debate. I cannot see any point in rehashing all again.

I know you really wanted my case to be about churches being important to society. But it simply doesn"t matter. If churches are valuable or not, taxing them destroys the separation of church and state.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 1 year ago
CosmoJarvis
"Even if you could show that the federal government would do better things with the money than churches would (a tough case to prove to say the least), it would not change the fact that taxing churches removes the separation of church and state. The devastating consequences of that act far outweigh any gain that would come from increased funds to the federal government."

What part of the First Amendment would be violated as a result of taxing the churches, and what "devastating consequences" would come from taxing churches?
Posted by CosmoJarvis 1 year ago
CosmoJarvis
"You freely admit that you want to tax the church because you are an atheist without considering how someone could use that same logic against you."
I freely admit that I, and 25% of Americans, are not affiliated to a church, so because I don't believe in a God nor feel an obligation to pray or organize in an area of worship, I do not recognize how important churches are, and you have failed to provide any reasoning towards why churches are important to society.
Posted by Peili 1 year ago
Peili
I have not suggested that you are an intolerant dictator. I have suggested, and will say outright, that you have not thought through the consequences of your position. You would toss aside the separation of church and state without consider how that would affect both the church and the state. You freely admit that you want to tax the church because you are an atheist without considering how someone could use that same logic against you.

I understand you want me to talk about social benefits. Perhaps you feel you have a stronger case in that area, whereas your case falls apart when we consider the separation of church and state. Even if you could show that the federal government would do better things with the money than churches would (a tough case to prove to say the least), it would not change the fact that taxing churches removes the separation of church and state. The devastating consequences of that act far outweigh any gain that would come from increased funds to the federal government.

I have at no point called taxing churches itself persecution, and have pointed out how this is false when you brought it up before.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 1 year ago
CosmoJarvis
My position goes as follows: I believe that churches should be responsible for the taxes that come with the property they own, and that they should have the ability to deduct taxes through charitable acts.

I'm not like an intolerant dictator, contrary to what you are clearly trying to suggest. I simply believe that giving religions a tax exemption status is blatant favoritism and prevents collecting taxes that could benefit the people more than a church could.

When I asked you about the societal benefits churches provide, you evaded the question, instead saying that "social benefits from the church have not been a part of my case." You're boasting about how terrible taxing churches will be, calling it utter "persecution," yet you fail to provide reasoning as to why exempting taxes from churches is beneficial to the American people.
Posted by Peili 1 year ago
Peili
"Yes, I would oppose that, but not because I see the church and state as separate, but because I am an atheist and I believe that giving churches money is blatant favoritism, and is not at all beneficial to myself or the public in a worthwhile way."

The First Amendment exists to protect Americans in case someone like you ever gained power. Are you genuinely oblivious to the fact that someone else could apply the same philosophy to you? Someone could declare that that they believe that atheism is not at all beneficial to them or the public in a worthwhile way, and then build a tax system on based on that. It is disheartening to see that you are so quick to deny protections to others that you appear to take for granted for yourself.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 1 year ago
CosmoJarvis
"The first amendment says that there will be neither an establishment of religion nor a prohibition of the free exercise of religion."

The First Amendment, in regards to religion, states that Congress can not pass legislation in favor of religion, or something that prevents the free exercise of faith.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 1 year ago
CosmoJarvis
"Think of it this way: I assume that you would oppose the government spending money to build churches or past preachers. And why? Because church and state are separate!"

Yes, I would oppose that, but not because I see the church and state as separate, but because I am an atheist and I believe that giving churches money is blatant favoritism, and is not at all beneficial to myself or the public in a worthwhile way.
No votes have been placed for this debate.