It is unfair that other organizations have to pay taxes and religious organizations don't. Religion should have nothing to do with the government so they should be taxed just as every other organization is taxed.
If we do not tax religious institutions then we have combined church and state. If the religious institution wishes to donate their money to charity, which it should, then they should be able write off these contributions, just as everyone else is able to do.
Yes, I think that religious institutions should pay taxes. I do not see any reason why they shouldn't. They bring in money just like many other institutions, so I think that they should be required to give back to the government, as well. I think that these potential taxes could help the country a great deal.
So the prevailing trend has been to support a businesses legal right to enact company and employee policies which adhere to a specific set of religious beliefs. That means, employees who work at those companies, whether they share those beliefs or not, are subject to those employee rules, benefits limitations and consumers are being marketed to based on religious beliefs. Sounds a lot like evangelism. Now we can say that employees, if they don't like it, can just get another job, but IMHO this sets businesses up to be pseudo religious organizations who pay taxes, attract employees who are also "followers" and cater to believers. Now...I'm okay with this as a trend, but it makes me think that the non-profit religious organizations and private businesses are sounding more alike, and the lines are blurring.
It is unfair that high ranking officials in large religions are making tons of money by exploiting people's faith. It would be more fair for religious organizations to be given tax exemptions as a privilege because they gave back to their community by doing charitable work. Taxing them won't destroy them, If they are taxed fairly it would help many people from getting exploited.
Religious exemption rewards pandering, coercion, forced tithing, and many political purposes to strengthen the underground economy that has become religion in the 21st Century.
Freedom from religion is the only fair way for States, and the Government to stay out of religious politics of competing groups designed for self perpetuating power through group cohesion. Religions are the worst peer pressure groups around, and should not be rewarded with tax exemption that allows all manner of disgused activities and relationships, whether criminal, or not.
Religious ingenuity is the worst thing ever to happen to the human race to separate peoples, and prevent harmony and unity - all in the name of godly reverence. Free God from human flaws, and free humans to be managed by governments invented for the purpose of managing disparate peoples!
The idea behind not taxing religion is to keep it out of politics. This while a good idea and thought but doesn't work this is shown in how all most all if not all presidential candidates (especially Republicans) make a huge deal out of their religion mostly christen. Not only that but most churches or temples or other places of worship talk about different aspects of politics. This shows that the church is already in politics and therefore if it is included it should be included fully this means taxes to make a profit for the state. My prior point aside there is also the idea of thinking of a church as a business. Before the point is risen yes churches could be counted as charities but they are not a non profit as in the priests or other holy people make a living off of it and while they should no be taxed as much as a fully for profit they still should be taxed with a tax break to even the playing field. And finally I come to my point on the profits from these taxes. It is known that while the amount does differ source to source it is consistently a large number even for government. This could allow the county to have a surplus lowering our debt and making us more independent. There is also the point of it is not a un-heard of un-tried idea it happened many times before in history one example being at the beginning of the Tang dynasty in china Buddhism started to become taxed and it went well the religion obviously didn't die in fact it brought in new followers and persisted not only in the world but in the same area strongly till the rise of communism in china. These points and more add to the point that the church should be taxed vote pro.
As a non believer who pays tax, why should I contribute to religion, they own business, they employ followers who still claim unemployment, they encourage purchases from each other's business (tax free) keeping the money in their community, enough is enough, Mormons, brethren, Scientology for petes sake, the behaviour of the Catholic Church is reprehensible, child care and educational scams, seriously when are we going to wake up, being a good person to the living is more important than glorifying the dead. Pissed of at society stupidly and gullible behaviour and laws.
As long as religious organizations are still allowed freedom of religion, freedom of speech, then taxing them would be constitutional. The separation of church & state is to prevent a church run government (Theocracy), or a government mandated church. If the tax is fairly applied, so as to not favor any one church, or drive certain churches out of business, then religions should be taxed.
Churches use the same public resources as every other business, police, fire departments, roads, etc. The government should tax every religious organization, but allow tax credits or exemptions for their charitable work. A lot of legitimate religious organizations would likely break even & pay no taxes, for all the good work they do for the community.
Those few religious organizations that do not give back in charitable acts to earn the deduction, would pay more taxes. This small percent of churches would be have reason to change their practices towards more charitable acts, & not support the extravagant lifestyles of high ranking church members (Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker). Some churches generate millions of dollars in revenue and are not subject to the same disclosures that normal tax exempt organizations are. The taxing of churches would also provide oversight to the church members, as to where their money is going. I hope most would see this as a good thing; as it only takes one or two news stories about corrupt church officials to make entire religions seem bad, when in reality most churches provide a useful service to millions of people across the world. I would hope that this transparency & oversight would prevent church scams that fleece true believers out of their life savings. This provide a paper trail would help enable these con-men be prosecuted.
The argument that churches raise money from their members donations, & these people already paid income taxes, is laughable. How is that different from any other business, their customers are paying income taxes & paying sales tax on the products/services they purchase. The business is taxed on their income. The difference is that personal donations to the church can be written off on individual income taxes already, every cent up to 50% of personal income each year.
It seems that a lot of people that are against taxing churches either think that their church would be negatively affected or they themselves would be negatively affected. I believe that a fair tax on religious organizations would make a positive change for our country, & would not unfairly burden the churches whose goal is to provide for their followers. I believe that the taxes of churches would mainly hurt the churches that exist for the benefit of the church officials. The taxes would hopefully expose the few corrupt & deceitful (cult like) organizations, who exploit peoples faith to make money. I believe that if a fair tax forces a church out of business then perhaps that church wasn't really doing the lords work in the first place.
Despite what everyone says about them not being exempt, it is a privilege not a right to be exempt. Furthermore, the exemption because it is a religious institution is a violation of the separation of church and state.
Also, saying they make no profit, some churches triple their size costing up to millions and they can't pay taxes? So strange a quarter million can be used for expansion and not taxes. They use our same services, and they have cost over 100 billion due to the exemption, because of the exemption taxes have been made higher on everyone else. Ministers are also allowed a break from their PERSONAL taxes which is completely unfair to other home owners. Either way not all churches are exempt and the argument of them not being allowed to be involved in politics if they wish to be exempt is completely fair, if you don't contribute financially then you shouldn't be able to majorly influence any political decisions made.
I think it's time to look at which parts of a churches income should be taxed. I totally get the need to have a place to worship, but how many churches do you walk into that have spent millions on the building to make it beautiful? That's a choice not a necessity. It's such a touchy topic, I'm personally not religious so I can't understand it from your perspective but from someone who is not religious...I don't get why a church isn't a normal business that writes off it's donations for charitable causes and pays taxes on the millions in donations they receive.
Like, look at it objectively...There is this business. It's purpose is for people to gather together to celebrate a common belief of their choice. This business gets donations from these people to make their establishment lavish. This business also gives back to the community a lot. Their main goal is to educate people about their common belief though. So most of their money goes towards that education and providing a large enough establishment to teach their choice belief in.
It is a public good for everyone to be able to freely organize to exercise their religious persuasion (or not, if they so chose), so all institutions established for the exercise thereof, like other non-profit for-public-good groups, should be exempt from taxes. Tax-exemption exists also to protect minority religious groups from state interference - back in the day it was to protect groups like the Quakers, now it serves to protect, say, Muslim groups from an audit assault. Furthermore, religious groups very often provide public charitable services. Like other non-profit groups, they can raise money and hire staff, but may not be organized for the purpose of the financial benefit of private interests, like a business. Non-profits also may not participate in partisan politics and lobbying. I agree that some particular churches should lose their tax-exempt status due to their political and capitalistic engagements, but it is unreasonable to say that all should - unreasonable and dangerous. Tax-exemption protects religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
The governed would then give consent to the government to dictate what is to be presented to the people. And they would have no say in matters of personal belief, how they should conduct there religious events. When you have to pay in order to exist as a freedom, you will slip slide away into other areas such as non profit club for children eg. Soccer, girl guides, cub scouts, ect. Then there is non profit organizations for adults, anyone meeting, spending money of their own to establish anything non profit base, would have to pay a tax to exsist. The problem here is in the fact that the people who support a religous institution with their means, aready pay income tax, and tax for everything they use. Thats like you supporting your mom or dad or children and on top of your income tax and property tax, we will also tax you on your supporting anything more than yourself. This is a road I don't wont to go down.
The separation of church and state is a critical component of the freedoms that this country is supposed to uphold. If religious institutions are taxed, then it would destroy one of the core ideals this nation was founded upon and so it is unjustifiable, even if the income is attractive. The founding fathers wanted a federal republic, not a theocracy. If we're to keep religion out of our government, then we cannot be using them as revenue.
Churches aren't like a business or organisation where they make money from what they do. They are a group of human beings who decide they want to pool their own resources to have somewhere to worship their God.
These are people who have jobs and families and usually get taxed for those reasons. So taxing a Church would mean taxing all the people involved in it twice over.
As it is many churches haven't been able to keep up with the exorbitant expenses of keeping a Church, and it is illegal to run a church service anywhere else. There are people out there who will think this is a good thing and this is probably why they want to tax Churches in the first place. But when a Church dies it doesn't just affect them, it affects the community that surrounds them.
As it is many churches are struggling to find the funds they need to properly maintain themselves. On top of that many of them run programs to provide free or heavily discounted childcare and counselling where the Government doesn't provide it. These programs are expensive ones, and the people in the church take money out of their own pockets to cover them. If anything, Governments should be providing subsidies and maybe even funds to Churches.
The argument that Churches should have no say in terms of Government policy if they want to get tax exemption is also ill founded. If an individual who happens to participate in a Church decides to get involved in politics that's their affair.
The policy in most countries is to allow people to vote once they are a certain age, regardless of whether they have a job and pay taxes or not. They are a citizen of the country they live in so they should have a say.
Democracy is founded on the notion that the people who participate in it will all have different ideas about how things should be run. To say "These people have an idea about the world that I find primitive and frightening." isn't sufficient cause to prevent them from participating, or attempt to dictate how they vote.
Despite what people think Churches aren't some secret society like the Freemasons where they are given tacit preference. They are human beings capable of thought and reason who have living expenses to pay just like everyone else.
Yes I agree that some religious organization really seek profit. But is that all of them seek profit? Many of them made use of their profit in public, for example mental support etc. This will be unfair to those organization which not really seek profit. I suggest the government can tax those religious organization which seek profit but not the one which not really seek profit.
The key reason churches are not taxed is that taxing them would present the possibility of government forcing a church 'out of business' with excessive taxes. As it is currently structured, this has no shot of happening - a Christian/Muslim/Jewish community can't prevent a new church of a different religion by taxing it out of business.
If they do, then they should pay taxes. However, most churches spend what they need to on building maintenance and use the rest for various charitable causes. Why should they pay for the government's wasteful spending with money that they could use to help people far more effectively than the government does?