I'm all for supporting free speech and separation of church and state but Westboro has very blatantly violated the very amendment that gives them tax-exempt status. The Johnson Amendment makes the condition that religious organizations are tax-exempt but this can be revoked if they endorse or oppose any political candidate or party. Westboro has opposed several candidates and thus has not been holding up their end of the deal.
It's some kind of joke that a hate group can have tax exempt status, just by calling itself a religion, while there are so many value-creating companies, start ups out there that have to pax taxes. Actually in my opinion every religious groups should be taxed! It would be fair like that, no exceptions! Come on, the separation of state and churches should happen finally! And I agree with the above guy: "Let them have their right to free speech, but they need to PAY TAXES LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!" The tax extempt status is the main reason that these kind of freak cults are created, and can work without financial problems, while so many useful businesses are bankrupted.
Most religions that get these tax exempts have lasted for hundreds to thousands of years, because they all at least had something that even atheists and agnostics, like myself, can see the moral wisdom and culture that came from them. These people just spend every waking moment spouting hatred, and twisting the US justice system they hate so much to get their way. If they didn't have their tax exempt, they'd have to get real jobs, and I'm sure they'll end up on the streets starving to death, before their idea of god strikes vengeance upon THEM for a change.
Is it as simple as stating "Hey, this group of mine, primarily my family & friends, believe in the same 'God' and enjoy speaking about it together. As a result of that, we should not have to pay any taxes."? Shouldn't most families then be able to file as tax exempt since they are also groups that tend to believe similar ideologies about 'God'? Whether you believe in their ideology or not is beside the point in this case. This is a very small group of people, most of whom are related, gaining tax exempt status simply because they claim to be a religious group. Saying "God" should not gain you an automatic exemption from paying taxes.
Any church you go to is meant to be a supporting hate free place. In theory if you are human then you are allowed in any church, Church acts like a safe haven where you can talk to someone you don't need to have faith to talk to someone about your problems. They are care workers as they work to care. If they bully and hate then they aren't a real church. They are meant to listen and give advice. That's it. They done picket, bully or shout. They shouldn't cause you to fear god, if you are being told to fear god then god isnt good he is a dictator. People deserve free speech but there should be consequences to what you say.
Yes, Westboro Baptist Church should be stripped of its tax exempt status because it regularly engages in political speech and activism. In the United States, there is a concept of the separation of church and state. Westboro Baptist Church routinely oversteps this boundary and engages in the world of politics.
If we continue to tolerate the unspeakable acts that this family religious gang repeatedly commit, then we are equating them with valid churches in terms of tax exemption and freedom to behave publicly in a way that otherwise would result in arrest or, at least, disbanding of protest. I believe their status as a church should be denied by the IRS and that back taxes and possible fraud citations should issued they than could be sanctioned as the hate group that they are. I find it hard to believe that anyone would hire them as a lawyer and shutting off that income source would be a boon.
There is nothing Christian or even remotely caring about this group. They even protest against those who are of their own denomination. The specifically go against gays and Jews, which last time I checked was against civil rights laws. There is no difference between this cult, that calls themselves Baptist, and the KKK, Aryan Nation, or any other hate group. Why are they still tax exempt?
The church does preach about religious freedom, but they advocate hate. They use their "church" status for a political standpoint, by protesting at military funerals and celebrity funerals. Most of the congregation is a part of the Phelps family's successful law firm. They don't use direct advocacy, but they are very well known for picketing and their stance what the government should do to homosexuals.
The Westboro Baptist Church should be stripped of its tax exempt status. Furthermore, it should be branded a hate group. They picket funerals of gays and soldiers, and even the children who died in the Sandy Hook shooting. They do not deserve to be a tax exempt institution as they are a hate group.
The WBC absolutely preaches hate. They do things that disgust us, like protest military funerals and threaten to protest at the CT vigil for those innocent children. They show us that freedom of speech, a right we fight so hard to keep, can be used in a way that really just reflects poorly on us, and is frankly outrageously hateful. However, if we take action against WBC because of the way they exercise their right to free speech, we are flirting with disaster. I mean, think about the situation in reverse...what if the hateful people of the WBC were allowed to make decisions about our rights? We would probably all be forced to tattoo "God hates fags" on our foreheads.
Why is is any church allowed to dodge their taxes? All churches preach hate and prejudice to various degrees, and many churches exist solely to make as much money as possible for their leaders. Actually, I am thinking of taking advantage of this tax avoidance scam by moving to America to found a church of my own. All I need to do is hire some unscrupulous salesmen who are familiar with the Christian doctrines, and who don’t take “no” for an answer, to target vulnerable and impressionable people and recruit them as members of my church. Naturally, members will be expected to make substantial donations in order to demonstrate their dedication to the Lord and to ensure their place in Heaven – and all those donations will go straight into my pocket – tax free! God bless America!
As demonstrated by Snyder v. Phelps, America CANNOT and SHOULD NOT discriminate against religious groups whom we disagree with. I support separation of church and state, and if we discriminate a certain group of people (SEVENTY PEOPLE), I fear that the majority religious group will do the same to other organizations.
Don't get me wrong. The church is hateful, horrible, and despicable. They dehumanize gays and claim that God wished for our noble soldiers to die. I am angry toward their terrible, malicious prejudice, but we cannot silence ideas we do not agree with.
The church is a non-profit institution, and is classified as such under 501(c)(3). As such, they are legally entitled to be tax exempt. I want them to pay more taxes as punishment for their hate. Don't get me wrong, I do. But we can't do that. And that's the simple truth.