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Should Churches and Religious Institutions pay taxes.

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  • Should Churches and Religious Institutions pay taxes.


  • #2
    Currently chruches are tax exempt. On the face of it, that seems to be the correct status since, as we all learned in Political Science 101 during our first semester of college, the power to tax is the power to destroy and there are some significant Church and State issues limiting the state's power over religion.

    However, HOWEVER, HOWEVER there are many churches, both liberal and conservative, which are preaching political issues from their Sunday pulpits and attempting to influence elections, affect public policies and otherwise tilt governance in favor of their beliefs.

    The IRS already is moving in on some of them. But, where is the line? How does one meaningfully separate spiritual guidance from political action? Doesn't one's religious or spiritual beliefs behoove one to attempt to influence elections and so forth--how could one be expected to separate one's preachings from that, if one were a minister?

    Some are wealthy and wield great political clout while enjoying a tax free status, is that right?

    Is the answer to acknowledge that religion and politics cannot be seaparated and that it is then ridiculous to provide tax exemptions to those chruches which engage in politcal activity and to establish a flat percentage of taxation for churches?

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    • #3
      The choice to not tax is also an intrusion into the freedom of religion. By allowing a tax exemption to an organization on religious grounds, we are empowering the government to determine what is and is not a church and what behaviors a church may and may not engage in.

      On egalitarian grounds I'd argue that churches should be treated under the law the same as any other non-profit organization. But in practice I'd hate to see them lose their exemption from property and other taxes - I suppose the devil's bargain for the churches is to accept some intrusion in exchange for their exemption.

      By the way, did you know that the Supreme Court has ruled in Seeger that any strongly held belief system can be considered a religion?

      I know lots of people who consider nudism a strongly held belief system.

      Boy, could we ever make a mess of things.

      -Mark

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      • #4
        The judiciary is not exactly the best institution to comment on the nature of a religion, especially given the fact that "religions" themselves aren't easy to describe.

        I do feel however that religious organizations serve the public like alot of normal business. For example, one could technically argue that the Catholic church is a non-profit organization. However, if one were to view in person the rediculously decadent properties and other fixed assets the church owns (ie: St. Peter's Bascilica), they might wonder if the technial description of "profit" should apply.

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        • #5
          I have no problem with religious organizations being tax-exempt. That tax-exempt status, however, should be stripped from ANY organization that participates in political activism. This means that Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and - to use a local example - Jerry Johnston should ALL be taxed heavily for promoting political activism.

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          • #6
            I firmly believe that church and state should be seperate. Taxes being a state matter should not be put on religious organizations. At the same time churches that act more like a p.a.c. should lose their tax exempt status in a heartbeat. There are a lot of violators and the I.R.S. should nail about 1000 to make an example.

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            • #7
              Hi..I didn't vote because a religion should not get taxed if it doesn't get involved in politics. And there was no pick for that. But since 99% of them do get involved then all should be taxed. They use public roads, utilities and other services so why not get taxed. But then again like the situation with illegal immigrants that are going to get a free ride into America and get benefits that you and I can't get and have everything given to them why do anything about religion? They are just as bad as the rest, maybe worse as they are suppose to know right from wrong but work the system as much as they can. Yes they should be taxed but change the wording from TAXES to TITHING...Cheers..NoodJuggler

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              • #8
                Guys, participation in politics is not the only reason businesses get taxed......

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                • #9

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                  • #10
                    quote:
                    Originally posted by namedun:
                    Guys, participation in politics is not the only reason businesses get taxed......


                    Most know that..But here is the problem..Religion is not suppose to be a business. It is suppose to be a way of life...Cheers...NoodJuggler

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                    • #11
                      No, religions should not be taxed. The benifits they give to individuals and society are far too great and the state has no right to intrude on churches.

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                      • #12
                        ALL CHURCHES SHOULD BE TAXED AND TAXED HEAVILY WITH FINES AND PENALITIES FOR YEARS OF BACK TAXES OWED TO THE PEOPLE!

                        Either that or total remittence of all monies and goods stolen by fraud and/or out and out theft from the people over the millenia.

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                        • #13
                          quote:
                          Originally posted by NoodJuggler:
                          Hi..I didn't vote because a religion should not get taxed if it doesn't get involved in politics. And there was no pick for that.


                          That's what the middle choice is supposed to mean.

                          -Mark

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                          • #14
                            quote:
                            That's what the middle choice is supposed to mean..

                            -Mark

                            OK..So I had to vote. I voted to tax them. If they keep their noses out of other people's business and just take care of their own flock then I can see giving them a break of no tax. What good do they produce? Wars, hatred toward others, pedophiles, false teachings and more. Yes they produce real good fruits to pass on to their next generation. Cheers..NoodJuggler

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                            • #15
                              quote:
                              Originally posted by Revolutionary:
                              No, religions should not be taxed. The benifits they give to individuals and society are far too great and the state has no right to intrude on churches.


                              Maybe, but what about when the churches "intrude" on the state?

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