Should churches be taxed?
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26-11-2013, 01:02 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
I am failing to understand why people are saying a private business, such as a church, could use tax money for its benefit if it were taxed.

Can anybody explain how a church could use tax money differently than any other private organization could if it were taxed?
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26-11-2013, 04:05 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
(26-11-2013 12:40 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  No churches should not be taxed. They already try to play pulpit politics, their tax exemption allows IRS to bust them for mixing politics and religion. Take that away and collectively they can act like the Koch brothers and pump politics with money.

I'd worry more long term if they were taxed the monopoly they could create. Iran and Saudi Arabia use public taxes to build there holy places.

It isn't a perfect system by any stretch, but like I said, if you tax them, they get to play politics. I want religion out of politics.

Brian, with all due respect, you are ridiculous. You say they shouldn't be taxed because they are a charity - I show you they are a booming business. Then you change you course and claim they are a business that too dangerous to tax because then they'd just influence the government in their favor if pushed to be taxed. I'm amazed at the arguments you are using to keep your religion from being taxed.

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26-11-2013, 04:10 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
(26-11-2013 12:39 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  No churches should not be taxed. They already try to play pulpit politics, their tax exemption allows IRS to bust them for mixing politics and religion. Take that away and collectively they can act like the Koch brothers and pump politics with money.

I'd worry more long term if they were taxed the monopoly they could create. Iran and Saudi Arabia use public taxes to build there holy places.

It isn't a perfect system by any stretch, but like I said, if you tax them, they get to play politics. I want religion out of politics.

Wow. So, by taxing an entity, then government becomes intertwined with said entity, and they work together to shape government policy. Since churches actually are corporations, then do you apply this "logic" to all types of corporations? Are you saying that by taxing big corporations, government and the corporation become so intertwined, the corporations end running the government, and therefore the solution is to not tax corporations. That's what you're saying, right? Did you actually think this through before you wrote it?
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26-11-2013, 04:15 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
(26-11-2013 04:10 PM)frankksj Wrote:  Are you saying that by taxing big corporations, government and the corporation become so intertwined, the corporations end running the government, and therefore the solution is to not tax corporations.
Haha, I've actually seen some people make this argument..
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26-11-2013, 04:44 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
(26-11-2013 04:10 PM)frankksj Wrote:  
(26-11-2013 12:39 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  No churches should not be taxed. They already try to play pulpit politics, their tax exemption allows IRS to bust them for mixing politics and religion. Take that away and collectively they can act like the Koch brothers and pump politics with money.

I'd worry more long term if they were taxed the monopoly they could create. Iran and Saudi Arabia use public taxes to build there holy places.

It isn't a perfect system by any stretch, but like I said, if you tax them, they get to play politics. I want religion out of politics.

Wow. So, by taxing an entity, then government becomes intertwined with said entity, and they work together to shape government policy. Since churches actually are corporations, then do you apply this "logic" to all types of corporations? Are you saying that by taxing big corporations, government and the corporation become so intertwined, the corporations end running the government, and therefore the solution is to not tax corporations. That's what you're saying, right? Did you actually think this through before you wrote it?

Well... corporations do have far more pull in politics than I think they should. But the same is true if churches with their current tax exempt status. The government doesn't crack down any church for what they preach. It occasionally cracks down on outright bribery of politicians by churches but only in extreme cases.

I agree it should depend on how much actual charitable good the church does. If 50% of your profit goes to charity, 50% of your income should be tax exempt.
Makes sense in my head anyways, but I'll admit I'm no expert.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it- not even if I have said it- unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
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26-11-2013, 05:25 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
(26-11-2013 04:05 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  
(26-11-2013 12:40 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  No churches should not be taxed. They already try to play pulpit politics, their tax exemption allows IRS to bust them for mixing politics and religion. Take that away and collectively they can act like the Koch brothers and pump politics with money.

I'd worry more long term if they were taxed the monopoly they could create. Iran and Saudi Arabia use public taxes to build there holy places.

It isn't a perfect system by any stretch, but like I said, if you tax them, they get to play politics. I want religion out of politics.

Brian, with all due respect, you are ridiculous. You say they shouldn't be taxed because they are a charity - I show you they are a booming business. Then you change you course and claim they are a business that too dangerous to tax because then they'd just influence the government in their favor if pushed to be taxed. I'm amazed at the arguments you are using to keep your religion from being taxed.

What? I am an atheist, I don't have a religion. Joel Olsteen himself should be taxed. As personal income. He hides behind religion to avoid it 40 million net worth. Nor am I talking about funding religious charities. I think if you can't get donations from the collection plate or doners without tax payer funding, you should not be in business.

I am talking about taking away our ability keep a religious monopoly of power through money creating a monopoly on our government. It depends on what we are talking about, in context whether it should be taxed or not.

Go read Jefferson's Virgina Religious Freedom act. It became the prototype Madison modeled the First Amendment off of.

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26-11-2013, 05:46 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
(25-11-2013 11:59 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Being a catholic, I don't' think anyone will be surprised at my position. In general I am against the taxation of churches. However, I have only ever really experienced Catholic Churches. My experience with mega churches is fairly limited so I may support some limitations on the tax exempt. Of course then the question becomes where does one draw the line.

Just in defense of the tax exemption status of the catholic churches I would like to add the following.
1. The majority of money that comes into the church via collections seems to go to charity. In Toronto the charitable branch is Share life which has a very low overhead. Even building fund collections tend to be saved for the second (and much smaller) collection.

2. The faculty costs are very low since priests are rarely paid that well. (Pay can vary dramatically from a few hundred a month to a thousand a month depending on what the diocese pays for). Which when you consider that every priest has a masters degree is a good deal.

3. Priests also serve a very important community role. They give a 20 minute lesson on the bible everyday. Plus they also do spiritual direction. Which is essentially free life counseling. And there is also the marriage prep and the performance of marriages and funerals which are all technically free.

4. A significant amount of money is in fact directed towards the churches building and maintenance. However, I think this is mostly good since charitable money can be spent in many places including, I think, the arts. The Catholic Church has been a patron of the arts for a long time. Churches are able to support local artists and have their works displayed for free. Also church halls are often used for community events.

That's just my opinion, but there you go.

In addition to Dark Light's lovely response (ouch) I'll throw this out:

1) Mega churches and smaller protestant churches don't do this. Of course it's nice that Catholics do it, but...(btw, I have no way of knowing if all Catholic churches do that.

2.) See #1

3.) Giving bible lessons cannot technically be considered a public service imo. It is information that is only useful to Christians.
Churches perform weddings, not marriages. The marriage prep is very nice, as is the funeral prep. But these services are only useful to longstanding Catholics. Baptists don't get married or have funerals at Catholic churches unless they are interested in the esthetics of a Catholic ceremony.

4.) It's nice that Catholic churches host community events. As long as money doesn't change hands in any way, that's very kind. But again, there are churches that do not provide this service. And I'd be willing to bet there are more that don't than do. (Especially the mega church just outside my own city limits. Don't get me started on those ass holes.)



Everything else I'm going to just sit back and let others keep discussing.

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26-11-2013, 05:58 PM (This post was last modified: 26-11-2013 06:07 PM by amyb.)
RE: Should churches be taxed?
Quote:

3. Priests also serve a very important community role. They give a 20 minute lesson on the bible everyday. Plus they also do spiritual direction. Which is essentially free life counseling. And there is also the marriage prep and the performance of marriages and funerals which are all technically free.

Weddings (again, churches don't perform marriages) and funerals are not free, they are "free;" you still have to make a "donation" to cover the time, the cleanup/prep, the candles and stuff, the thing they hand out that tells what they're doing and what songs they're singing, and so on. Being required to make a donation is far from being "free," even if it means you're technically not being charged outright for it. I seem to remember paying a couple hundred bucks for my dad's Catholic funeral service (which didn't last all that long, so it seems like a high hourly wage).

Also, as Ceph said, reading from/discussing the bible is not a general community service; it is of no benefit to nonchristians or even christians who don't attend and aren't making any "donations" to hear it.

Same with "spiritual direction." Only seems useful to people with the same "spirituality" as them who are already giving money to the church.
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26-11-2013, 06:06 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
(26-11-2013 05:25 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  
(26-11-2013 04:05 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  Brian, with all due respect, you are ridiculous. You say they shouldn't be taxed because they are a charity - I show you they are a booming business. Then you change you course and claim they are a business that too dangerous to tax because then they'd just influence the government in their favor if pushed to be taxed. I'm amazed at the arguments you are using to keep your religion from being taxed.

What? I am an atheist, I don't have a religion. Joel Olsteen himself should be taxed. As personal income. He hides behind religion to avoid it 40 million net worth. Nor am I talking about funding religious charities. I think if you can't get donations from the collection plate or doners without tax payer funding, you should not be in business.

I am talking about taking away our ability keep a religious monopoly of power through money creating a monopoly on our government. It depends on what we are talking about, in context whether it should be taxed or not.

Go read Jefferson's Virgina Religious Freedom act. It became the prototype Madison modeled the First Amendment off of.

My apologies, after glancing up I read your name instead of the person I intended to respond to, TarzanSmith.

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26-11-2013, 06:06 PM
RE: Should churches be taxed?
Actually, I always wondered how the priests who take a vow of poverty and a vow of celibacy can even help a married couple with counseling. Most marriage problems revolve around money or the sex getting stale.

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