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View Diary: 71 Billion ? – Forget the Corporations, Tax the Churches (313 comments)

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  •  This is misguided on three levels (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fickle, jds1978

    1. Some churches spend money to influence politics, some do not. Some churches do great things for their communities, some do not. And so on. Saying churches do X is like saying blacks do X or Mexicans do X.

    2. There are certainly many examples of non-profits that abuse their status, just as there are churches that abuse their status. How many CEOs of non-profits are making huge amounts of money? Non-profits exert huge political influence. Take the NRA for example. If you made churches abide by the rules that non-profits must follow it wouldn't really make any difference. The worst churches would have no problem classifying huge salaries and their political activities as "legitimate" non-profit activities.

    3. Even if every dollar a church took in was considered table  gross income, the vast majority of individual churches would not pay a penny in corporate or income tax. Why? The vast majority of churches are barely, if at all, economically viable. No, it is not because they are spending so much money on mansions or politics. It is because they money they take in barely, if even that, pays for the the building and the modest staff salaries.

    This doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement and that abuses can't be curbed, but sweeping generalizations aren't going to help.

    •  Plus the tax exemption helps not hurts the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoGoGoEverton

      Seperation between church and state. The churches would be even more involved in politics if taxing churches was on the table.

      Ask top al Qaeda leaders about Obama's foreign policy. Wait, you can't. They're dead. -Paul Begala

      by Fickle on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:28:02 AM PDT

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    •  but they would be paying for the services (7+ / 0-)

      they use ( fire/police/armed forces...) instead of us providing them to the churches for free.  If the church couldn't make it fanacially, then they would have to go under, or get their adnherents to pay for the privilege of attending a fancy cathedral- let them meet in a park or rent a hall- why should we subsidize their frivolity?

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 06:10:14 AM PDT

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      •  meant to say paying with their property taxes. (0+ / 0-)

        As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

        by BPARTR on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 06:10:40 AM PDT

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      •  So you want religion to cater to the wealthy... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and serve their interests?

        Religion is a "frivolity," a luxury only for the rich—and must, therefore, cater to their interests and desires, rather than advocating for the needs of the poor?

        What makes you think that will make religion a more positive force in our society?

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 07:24:29 AM PDT

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        •  it's not so much a frivolity as it is a scam (0+ / 0-)

          To be a Republican, you have to believe that our economic problems are caused by the poor having too much money and the rich not having enough.

          by Tommy Jones the Band on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 08:53:19 AM PDT

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          •  Your opinion, or anyone else's, about religion... (0+ / 0-)

            ...is irrelevant to the question of whether or not they should remain tax-exempt.

            If you're suggesting otherwise—that your opinion about religion should factor into the way the law deals with it—what makes you any better than the religious people who want to enact their views on religion into law?

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 09:30:05 AM PDT

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            •  wrong (0+ / 0-)

              since it is a scam (my lack of belief is not relevant to this fact), it should not receive tax exemption

              did that clear it up for you?

              To be a Republican, you have to believe that our economic problems are caused by the poor having too much money and the rich not having enough.

              by Tommy Jones the Band on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 10:06:28 AM PDT

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              •  Your opinion is that it's a scam. (0+ / 0-)

                "Religion is a scam" is your opinion about religion; it is not, in any way, an established legal fact.

                So you're placed in a position where either (a) you want government to enact your opinion about religion into law, or (b) you want government to take your opinion about religion and establish it as a fact, and then operate on the basis of that established legal fact.

                Neither of those options gets you out of the conundrum you're in—that you want your opinion about the nature of religion, which is currently equally as irrelevant to the law's treatment of religious organizations as anyone else's opinion about the nature of religion, to have legal force.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 10:38:32 AM PDT

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                •  you redefined fact as opinion and based your whole (0+ / 0-)

                  case on that

                  so you started from a false premise to build your straw man upon

                  nice trick

                  To be a Republican, you have to believe that our economic problems are caused by the poor having too much money and the rich not having enough.

                  by Tommy Jones the Band on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:31:39 PM PDT

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    •  just tax their real estate holdings (6+ / 0-)

      not the land where their main church is, but any other real estate holding should be taxed.  There is nothing unfair or persecutory about that.

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 06:33:33 AM PDT

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    •  Sweeping generalizations.... (3+ / 0-)

      The tax exemption IS a sweeping generalization.  And it isn't helping.

      There's no reason to have the church exemption unless one believes the sweeping generalization that churches in general produce some kind of public good.  If SOME churches do good, why not instead provide exemptions only for those specific activities (most likley already covered by other existing charitable exemptions).

      •  the same canbe said for ALL tax exempt charities (0+ / 0-)

        Ask top al Qaeda leaders about Obama's foreign policy. Wait, you can't. They're dead. -Paul Begala

        by Fickle on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 08:49:56 AM PDT

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        •  And it is (0+ / 0-)

          All tax exempt charities are tax exempt because there is a general agreement that charity is good.  Would you disagree with the sweeping generalization that charity accomplished a public good?  

          When churches set up tax exempt charitable organizations, they get the same protection as non-religious tax exempt charitable organizations.  I fail to see though why religion itself should qualify as a tax exempt activity.

    •  well said (0+ / 0-)

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
      DEMAND CREATES JOBS

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 08:34:37 AM PDT

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