The Instigator
salve
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
zGodMode
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

That we should tax religions.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
salve
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/1/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,233 times Debate No: 13240
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (2)

 

salve

Pro

Today, I am proud to propose the topic 'That we should tax religions'. I wish to represent the PRO side. We will argue that religions should be taxed. I expect that my opponent on the CON side will argue that religions should continue to have a tax-exempt status.

==DEFINITIONS==

'We'- America

'Religions'- Organizations that preach about the role of deities [1].

'Tax'- A government placing a debt onto an individual or company to raise revenue [2].

My model will be as follows:

• Religions will be taxed in line with ordinary tax rates for businesses and

• Charitable work completed by religions will be tax-exempt.

I recognize that as instigator I hold the burden of proof. For this reason, I ask my opponent not to begin his argument until round two. This debate will have four rounds.

I thank my opponent in advance and look forward to this debate.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
zGodMode

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate and accept his definitions.

As was requested I will hold my arguments until round two.
Debate Round No. 1
salve

Pro

When we look at the religions of today, we see increasingly grand and decadent churches, mosques and synagogues, while at the same time we see secularism rising exponentially [1,2], and all of this begs the question: why should a purportedly secular government not be treating religions like the rest of us? Why are religions considered tax-exempt while businesses and individuals are taxed?

But firstly, what is our tax system and why are some organizations not taxed? A tax system in a Western Democracy is a simple on a principled level. The purpose of taxation is so that public services can be made available to all. But in our tax system we allow certain organizations to be let off the hook when it comes to taxation because we believe that these organizations operate to benefit the community as a whole. We can see this particularly clearly when we consider that the organizations that are tax-exempt are predominately charities, trade unions and art organizations [3]. The standard for tax-exemption is clearly the overall public benefit to everyone of the society. In the instance of religions, given that recent surveys suggested there were as many as 45 million people in the United States who were not religious, we think that religious organizations don't help the wider population, and for this reason they should be taxed.

Secondly, we believe in the separation of church and state and that allowing religions to be tax-exempt effectively violates this separation for two main reasons. Firstly, we think that not taxing religions gives them in-principle support, which a secular government should not do. Secondly, on a practical level, in the current situation we see a government that is forced to decide which religions are valid and which are not. Currently, our government must decide whether it should tax religions such as scientology [4] (which is currently untaxed by the United States but is by major nations such as France), which many consider to be criminal. Scientology has allegedly abused its members [5] and been involved in other criminal activity. I would ask my opponent: under his model, would religions like this be taxed, or would the government continue to allow a seemingly immoral organization off the hook?

Thirdly, we see that religions often have a negative effect on their community. I have already discussed scientology, which is an important example. But even more mainstream religions have a negative impact. Consider America's most widespread religion, Christianity [1]. We think it has a negative impact in twomain ways. Firstly, we say that the church has been accused of worldwide instances of abuse, and that it has even been threatened by legal action in a trial of war crimes in regard to this abuse [6]. Allegations of abuse of children to the highest levels, and the admission by the Pope that he personally has covered up these scandals [6] show the widespread nature of these practices. The government should not be treating these organizations as charitable, or as benefiting the whole community. Secondly, many Christian doctrines take part in inherently prejudiced practices; in some doctrines women are not allowed to become priests, and moreover the religion as a whole has moved against gay marriage [7]. Because religions have a net negative impact on society as a whole, we should tax them, as we do ordinary members of society.

I wish my opponent luck for the next round.

https://www.cia.gov...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://www.nytimes.com...

Robertson, Geoffrey, The Case of the Pope; Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse, 2009.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
zGodMode

Con

zGodMode forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
salve

Pro

As my opponent has forfeited the last round, my arguments extend to this round.
zGodMode

Con

zGodMode forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
salve

Pro

My arguments extend forward to this round. As my opponent has forfeited the last two rounds, meaning that I cannot rebut his arguments, please vote Pro. I thank my opponent and wish him luck.
zGodMode

Con

Well I forgot to take time to Debate, sorry for wasting Pro's time.

Sadly, I urge you to vote pro.
Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
salve, Indeed, Con forfeited so Pro deserves the win without question. I think Pro's arguments could have been overcome. For example, only the charitable activities of churches are tax exempt, it's questionable how many tax-exempt organization really benefit society, and criminality in tax-exempt churches is irrelevant to their tax exempt status. The law doesn't depend on tax status. However, Con made no arguments, so the debate goes to Pro. Forfeiting is a conduct violation.
Posted by salve 6 years ago
salve
Can someone vote on this? I can't because I'm not American.

Thanks for the debate.
Posted by zGodMode 6 years ago
zGodMode
I procrastinated wayyyy too much work, but all I have to do for tomorrow and Wednesday are some Calc problems, so I will post for this round.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Religions are like any other non-profit organization. Tax exempt status allows them to not file tax returns. If they did file, they would not show any profit, so they generally wouldn't pay any income taxes. Wikipedia notes, "The exemption does not apply to other Federal taxes such as employment taxes. Additionally, a tax-exempt organization must pay federal tax on income that is unrelated to their exempt purpose." For example, if a church or other non-profit earns interest on their cash reserves, they have to pay tax on it like everyone else.

The issue is real estate tax. Non-profits like museums and churches are usually exempt from paying real estate taxes. Hence, the resolution seems to me to be saying there should be two types of non-profit organization, with churches paying real estate taxes and other non-profits not paying.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Or you could always just argue that all non-profits should be tax exempt.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
That was actually one of my considerations. I was weighing that against the specific wording of the resolution.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
I don't think a libertarian tax-critique would work for this, since he is arguing that the tax rates should be the same for religious institutions as they are for businesses. So if you argue that there should be no taxes at all, it doesn't really contradict the resolution.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Me too. I'm weighing the legitimacy of writing up a libertarian critique of taxes.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
I might take this.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
Corporate taxes are on profits. Religious organizations are generally non-profit. How would your tax system work?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
salvezGodModeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
salvezGodModeTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60