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View Diary: Will We Ever See 'Political' Churches Pay Taxes? (Revised) (240 comments)

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  •  Depends on how it is presented (46+ / 0-)

    As a retired minister, I was aware when I presented something for thought and when I wandered into being coercive and thinking I was "the voice of God" demanding that the congregation act a certain way.

    When you say "Vote for _" and pass out literature and sign people up to volunteer or give money to a certain party or candidate ... that is definitely coercion.

    You can say "You need to think about the way you use your money and treat people" but you cannot say you will go to hell unless you vote and give your money for this party or candidate.

    I am wondering if taxing ALL churches or trying to weed out only the very blatant. It would pose a hardship for many of the small or the historical churches, on the other hand it would close all little churches on every corner that clutter up the landscape. Interesting conundrum.

    "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

    by CorinaR on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 03:53:12 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  You'd also see (10+ / 0-)

      a decline in donations if the tax-exempt status of churches went away.  and even if you went after the very worst of them -- the televangelists come to mind -- their books are so compartmentalized that it's unlikely you'd make a significant dent in the big players.  The only ones you might have a shot at are the small hate-mongering fundie congregations that are one small step away from being white supremacist groups.  Not that this isn't a worthwhile effort, mind you...

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 05:02:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You'll also catch a lot of black churches in this (5+ / 0-)

        net, and kick the feet out from under the religious left, without making a dent in the fundamentalist superchurches.

        An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

        by OllieGarkey on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 06:27:39 AM PDT

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        •  Easy False Equivalency But Black Churches Have (19+ / 0-)

          always been subject to greater scrutiny (by the FBI and the IRS) and they, for the most part, don't blatantly endorse or condemn specific candidates from the pulpit.

          •  Well, as long as that's true, I'd support it. (7+ / 0-)

            But some people in the comments here have been arguing for all churches to lose their nonprofit status.

            I've seen black churches, notably under the Bush administration, lose their nonprofit status for being left-wing.

            This has me worried, because I can see conservatives using it on poor and minority churches that are generally left wing, in order to stamp out any opposition to ascendant dominionism.

            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

            by OllieGarkey on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 07:09:34 AM PDT

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            •  They will anyway. (7+ / 0-)

              Hypocrisy is a basic operating principle for - hell, most politicians.  They'll screw over their "enemies" for doing exactly what they themselves are doing.  Better to level the playing field by eliminating the tax exemption.  That would also eliminate the (IMO, unconstitutional) restriction on free speech.

              I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

              by tle on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 07:19:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  which churches? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Adam B, Frederick Clarkson
              I've seen black churches, notably under the Bush administration, lose their nonprofit status for being left-wing.
              Name 'em.
              •  I was 14 and it was during the Bush Administration (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Notreadytobenice

                . I remember speaking with one of the pastors.

                It had to do with the Faith-Based Initiatives system.

                If you want me to send some e-mails, I can do that and get back to you.

                I do remember this happening to some friends of my family. If you can't trust my word on that, I can reach out to my parents and try to dig up the details for you.

                An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

                by OllieGarkey on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 01:18:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

              I've heard of very, very, very few churches ever being challenged, let alone losing their exemptions.

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 12:44:05 PM PDT

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            •  You support tax (0+ / 0-)

              exempt status simply because you like their political message?  Isn't that rather hypocritical?  Fair is fair.

          •  maj - don't I recall Gov Bill Clinton (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Notreadytobenice

            speaking from the pulpit in many black Baptist Churches when he was running for POTUS?

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 08:31:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes, you do (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Notreadytobenice

              and Obama did the same thing

              Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
              Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

              by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 09:00:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Guests Speakers, Even Political Ones, Often Appear (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dotdash2u, CorinaR, Leslie Salzillo

              to advise or educate about issues of the day.

              Unless there's a special occasion (e.g., anniversary of the Selma March), the smart ones (churches and pols) avoid politically sensitive speaking engagements too close to election day.

              IMO, black congregations don't seem to want or need the crude political red meat the Teahadist mega-churches prefer. We've got all our messages of love and justice covered in our liberation theology-based sermons and our gospel songs.

          •  and you know this how? (0+ / 0-)

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 08:59:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  There Is a Long and Valued Tradition ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyesbright, CorinaR

            of churches being community focal points and meeting places (e.g.,Congregationalist in New England, Baptist in the South, and others,) irrespective of the fact that the buildings are used for religious services. The churches deem it part of their responsibilities to the community at large to provide a forum for views relevant to the communities at large.

            All that said, I'm sure if the toes of the megachurch and televangelist money-changers got pinched by the IRS, pressure would be brought to bear on the Government to investigate all those "damned Democrat churches."

            "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

            by midnight lurker on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 09:40:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure, but that's a danger. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CorinaR

          Depends on the details.

          The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 07:37:30 AM PDT

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        •  this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OllieGarkey

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 08:59:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  No You Wouldn't (0+ / 0-)
          You'll also catch a lot of black churches in this net, and kick the feet out from under the religious left, without making a dent in the fundamentalist superchurches.
          If black churches and religious left churches don't violate the rule against partisan proselytizing - which is what the rule says - then no taxes.

          I don't know about the black church community, but I've not seen examples where liberal churches or synagogues violate this rule.

          YMMV...

          People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell

          by paz3 on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 03:02:14 PM PDT

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        •  You would catch almost no black churches (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CorinaR

          if this is about bankrolling ads. Because they don't. You definitely would no "kick he feet out" from under liberal churches, which are ultra-scrupulous about not endorsing candidates. he dean of my Episcopal church is unbelievably careful about this, even though most of us know where she stands.

          Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

          by anastasia p on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 03:07:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Isn't this the problem? (0+ / 0-)

            Their speech is thoroughly political insofar as we know exactly where they stand.  Reducing political speech to advocating for a particular candidate or party is just plain dishonest and is one of those slimy legal loopholes people use to get off the hook while still violating the spirit of the law.

      •  I think this would hit the megachurches and not (17+ / 0-)

        have much impact on the small ones.  The people who are giving to the small churches often don't have the income to benefit from tax deductions, and their giving is regardless of whether they'd get a deduction.  Their giving won't change.  

        Those who with higher incomes might decide to give to some actual charities rather than all to their church, and that I think would hurt the megachurches.

        I've long been offended by the exemption for churches.  I'm not religious.  Why should I have to pay higher taxes so that churches can be exempt?  I consider it a violation of the separation of church and state, since the government is subsidizing religion.  It might be subsidizing all religion equally, but it's doing it at the cost of those who are not religious.

        •  A perfect example: Mega church, Cornerstone (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dotdash2u, JosephK74

          right outside of Nashville TN. Maury Davis, the pastor, is a sociopathic, gay-hating, Muslim-hating, Obama-hating, GOP-loving convicted murderer. He brutally slaughtered a 55-year old woman, Jo Ella Liles, then charmed and manipulated his way out of prison in eight years, using 'God's mercy and redemption'. Davis is a dangerous man and is the closest thing to Jim Jones that I have seen. There are thousands in his congregation, and it continues to grow.

          Here is an excellent 2009 Nashville Scene article about the murder.

          A Grieving Son Finds No Justice On Rev. Maury Davis Path To Redemption

          I've been writing about him, and working on an extensive diary, which is way overdue. After exposing him to the FlushRush group during my radio ad monitoring days (yes Maury Davis/Cornerstone occasionally advertise on Limbaugh's show - no surprise) Proglegs did a a short diary about him, but there needs to be more. Maury Davis needs to be rampantly written about and exposed, not only to be examined for corruption and tax-exemption status, but to honor his victim, Jo Ella Liles.

          "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

          by Leslie Salzillo on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 12:56:22 PM PDT

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          •  There you are! (9+ / 0-)

            Please, please go check out Gary Norton's diary. It seems you've picked up some bad information - sort of like a factual virus - and your diary needs serious attention, if not removal.
            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

            by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 01:08:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Alas, I saw this message too late, Catte Nappe. I (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe

              do thank you for alerting me. Another lesson I learned is to do my best to read all the messages. It's hard to do sometimes, in the middle of the day.

              "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

              by Leslie Salzillo on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 11:07:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Lots of comments to read and react to (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Leslie Salzillo

                It's a price paid when a diary makes the rec list. Mixed blessing in that regard.

                “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                by Catte Nappe on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 08:11:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Leslie, could you clarify whether you (10+ / 0-)

            are ignoring the knowledgeable people who've pointed out that you are completely wrong because you think this?

            There are people here who use HR's as a form of (10+ / 0-)

            power and control. Many HR's are give by people who rarely write diaries, if at all -thus they never put themselves and their work out there to be scrutinized. It's easy to sit back, censor and criticize when you have nothing to lose.

            Because you also said this:
            And since when is this not a news site as well? We need the news from which to make our comments and analysis.

            I respect and truly adore Daily Kos. For the most part, we keep each other honest and grounded. The HR system is a mess. If a diarist is not there the whole time, and something is misconstrued, the HR's can add up before the diarist can defend themselves.

            Your comment
            No one has miscontrued what you said. Your source is wrong, and therefore your diary is wrong. You've had time to deal with it. You've neither corrected the diary nor refuted the commenters, several of whom have expertise in tax law. What's up?
            •  Comment history (7+ / 0-)

              Usually just a handful per day, even in her own diaries. We may have missed her for today, or she may be back briefly in a few hours. This is inherently the problem with not tending a diary, especially if it hits the rect list. If it's good info some don't mind the hit and run - if it's bad info a larger number of people get to see one's errors.

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 01:50:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Catte, I do a lot of writing, perhaps too much, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Catte Nappe

                And after today, I'm considering slowing down a bit. Plus it's often bad when I write late into the morning, and my head is not so clear.

                "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

                by Leslie Salzillo on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 11:17:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sounds like you blog in a few other places (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Leslie Salzillo

                  Each has it's own style and atmosphere. As you've seen in this instance, DKos is more interactive, and fast moving, than many others out there.

                  “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                  by Catte Nappe on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 08:25:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It's so hard to read these. Thanks for trying to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Villanova Rhodes

              give me a chance to respond. I didn't expect the diary to do so well and was unable to check in and read all the comments.

              "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

              by Leslie Salzillo on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 11:10:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Recc'd for sig line (n/t) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CorinaR, The Marti, Leslie Salzillo
    •  What would be wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie Salzillo

      with making them form 501(c)3's ?  If they can demonstrate that they are a charitable organization, follow the same rules - including no political activity - then they get their tax-exempt status.

      "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

      by La Gitane on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 12:14:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also, if it is about BANKROLLING (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CorinaR

      attack ads, you probably wouldn't be able to find a liberal church doing that. But certainly the Mormons did. (Prop 8).

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 03:05:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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