Should religions get tax exempt status?

Posted by: Charliecdubs

Technically it is not against the constitution nor is it persecution but it would piss people off....But then again it would pay for every food stamp in America.... IDK guys what do you think?

  • Yes, now pay up!

  • No, you're crazy!

56% 9 votes
44% 7 votes
  • YES

  • When the government interferes with something dear to people's hearts, it causes unrest. Taxing religion violates free speech and church-state separation.

  • Wow really? It figures a question like this would be raised. Yet, these churches are what provides ALL kinds of help to your local community.

  • Separation of Church and state would actually support them being taxed because Churches and the people that work there cannot be treated any differently than anyone else.

    Posted by: SNP1
  • The should be taxed, but not as much as other services. This supports the separation of church and state without creating large fines that would put the churches out of business.

  • Christians talk a lot about helping the poor. But if they didn't have tax exempt status, the United States would get $7 billion from churches every year and that money would actually go to the poor and not in the pockets of priests and other church officials who are corrupt and support misogynistic, homophobic systems.

    Posted by: JHB218
  • I don't hear about people taxing atheist organisations.

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SemperVI says2014-04-11T18:16:52.2620702-05:00
I am taxed when I make money and I am taxed when I spend money. I am taxed to live and I am taxed to die. I already paid my taxes for food stamps, why should I pay again when I want to tithe "My Money" to a non profit. At least there I know where it is going and who it is helping. If you really want to do away with one non profits tax exempt status, do away with all of them. Don't just cherry pick churches, hit the soup kitchens too for the donations they receive, and tax the non profit political action committees and special interest groups like Sierra Club and Move On. Tax them all until there is no more money too ta - is that your goal?.
MitchV says2014-04-11T19:52:08.9755883-05:00
I would say keep religion tax free as long as they stay separate of the state. Religion is treated much like their own country, as in they can offer sanctuary, don't pay taxes, and are not allowed to influence laws. Seeing that some religions or religious institutions have tried to influence laws they have tried to if not succeeded in violating the first amendment that separates church and state. If they wish to become part of the state, then they should be dissolved as a religion and pay taxes. If they wish to stay a religion then they should keep their hands out of politics.
Haroush says2014-04-11T19:58:00.8826441-05:00
Why tax the very places that will help you out if you need it?
Haroush says2014-04-11T19:59:56.0581824-05:00
Plus, if a politician is religious and they want to promote a change in law because of their religious views, there is nothing wrong with that. If there is , then there should be something wrong with people wanting to change laws in order to appease new social standards.
Jifpop09 says2014-04-11T20:24:09.2568424-05:00
SNP1, that makes no sense. Taxing religion is literally having the government interact with religion. Which is a clear violation.
SNP1 says2014-04-11T20:33:07.3007596-05:00
No, it is not a violation. It is only a violation if the State recognizes a religion or takes a religious position. Not taxing them is showing a favoritism towards religious institutes, which is a violation. If they treat them like everyone else, by taxing them, it does not violate the establishment clause.
Haroush says2014-04-11T20:37:22.1590910-05:00
Snip, with all do respect, you don't know what you are talking about. By your means, this would mean any private organization which runs off of donations would be taxed. This being said, you are clearly wrong.
SNP1 says2014-04-11T20:43:30.1086151-05:00
I am not saying tax the organization, but they own property. They should pay property tax. Some people actually work for the Church as a JOB. They should be taxed the same. Churches and religious institutes are not non-profits. Non-church groups receiving tax exemptions must annually file a detailed 990 statement itemizing where the money has gone. The IRS automatically waives the 990 requirement for churches.
Jifpop09 says2014-04-11T20:44:58.3674938-05:00
Churches only have to pay the people they bought the property from. Property taxes are still a government violation of church and state. That said, they still have to pay for the grounds they reside on.
SNP1 says2014-04-11T20:50:30.3909092-05:00
I am sorry, but this is one time I know you are wrong. Tax-exempt status is a privilege, not a right, and churches should be held to the same standards as other non-profits if not more (as they are not really non-profits as they are). To give them special privileges IS a violation of the Establishment Clause. By 1971, the amount of real and personal property owned by U.S. churches was approximately $110 billion. In 1989 in New York City the amount was $3 billion. A 1986 estimate showed religious income in that year of approximately $100 billion, or about five times the income of the five largest corporations in the U.S. All of it was tax free.
Haroush says2014-04-11T21:11:40.1922489-05:00
Those people who work at those churches are paid by donations. Also, many people volunteer, and don't work.
SNP1 says2014-04-11T21:16:10.8071300-05:00
So do other non-profits, but the churches still do not have to follow the same rules.
Haroush says2014-04-11T21:33:17.4653647-05:00
What do you mean Snip? All private non-profit organizations are all treated the same.
Haroush says2014-04-11T21:36:34.3230266-05:00
And if you want to go after people with money, why not go after Oprah Winfrey? She does less for people than what all religious institutions have done combined. Despite the fact, she has more money than most religious institutions combined.
Haroush says2014-04-11T21:44:11.3903565-05:00
Exempting churches from taxation upholds the separation of church and state embodied by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The US Supreme Court, in a majority opinion written by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, decided May 4, 1970, stated: "The exemption creates only a minimal and remote involvement between church and state, and far less than taxation of churches. It restricts the fiscal relationship between church and state, and tends to complement and reinforce the desired separation insulating each from the other." [5] Requiring churches to pay taxes would endanger the free expression of religion and violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. By taxing churches, the government would be empowered to penalize or shut them down if they default on their payments. [12] The US Supreme Court confirmed this in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) when it stated: "the power to tax involves the power to destroy." [13] Churches earn their tax exemption by contributing to the public good. [14] Churches offer numerous social services to people in need, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, afterschool programs for poor families, assistance to victims of domestic violence, etc. [15] These efforts relieve government of doing work it would otherwise be obliged to undertake. Taxing churches would place government above religion. The Biblical book of Judges says that those who rule society are appointed directly by God. [2] Evangelist and former USA Today columnist Don Boys, PhD, asked "will any Bible believer maintain that government is over the Church of the Living God? I thought Christ was preeminent over all." [16] A tax exemption for churches is not a subsidy to religion, and is therefore constitutional. As stated by US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in his majority opinion in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970), "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. No one has ever suggested that tax exemption has converted libraries, art galleries, or hospitals into arms of the state or put employees 'on the public payroll.' There is no genuine nexus between tax exemption and establishment of religion." [5] Poor and disadvantaged people relying on assistance from their local churches would suffer if churches were to lose their tax-exempt status. According to Vincent Becker, Monsignor of the Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville, NY, the food and clothing programs his church offers would be threatened by a tax burden: "All of a sudden, we would be hit with something we haven't had to face in the past… We base all the things that we do on the fact that we do not have to pay taxes on the buildings." [17] Crucial services would either be eliminated or relegated to cash-strapped local governments if churches were to lose their tax exemptions. US churches have been tax-exempt for over 200 years, yet there are no signs that America has become a theocracy. If the tax exemption were a serious threat to the separation of church and state, the US government would have succumbed to religious rule long ago. As the Supreme Court ruled in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970), "freedom from taxation for two centuries has not led to an established church or religion, and, on the contrary, has helped to guarantee the free exercise of all forms of religious belief." [18] Taxing churches when their members receive no monetary gain would amount to double taxation. The late Rev. Dean M. Kelley, a leading proponent of religious freedom, explained that church members are already taxed on their individual incomes, so "to tax them again for participation in voluntary organizations from which they derive no monetary gain would be 'double taxation' indeed, and would effectively serve to discourage them from devoting time, money, and energy to organizations which contribute to the up building of the fabric of democracy." [19] The only constitutionally valid way of taxing churches would be to tax all nonprofits, which would place undue financial pressure on the 960,000 public charities that aid and enrich US society. If only churches were taxed, government would be treating churches differently, purely because of their religious nature. [20] [21] Small churches, already struggling to survive, would be further endangered by a new tax burden. A 2010 survey by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research found that congregations facing financial strain more than doubled to almost 20% in the past decade, with 5% of congregations unlikely to recover. [22] If these churches were obliged to pay taxes, their existence would be threatened and government would thus be impeding religious expression. [20] http://churchesandtaxes.Procon.Org/
Jifpop09 says2014-04-12T00:33:01.1483386-05:00
Yes, now pay up makes it seem like the tax exemption should be eliminated :/
SemperVI says2014-04-12T18:54:27.9783503-05:00
@jifpop: That was deliberate to obfuscate the answer with the question. Policy makers do it all the time now in order to get a predetermined outcome they want.

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