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View Diary: It's Time to Tax The Churches (72 comments)

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  •  Your first point is irrelevant... (0+ / 0-)

    because it implies churches deserve tax exempt status in the first place.  I see no reason that they do, so it would not really be a punishment, but treating them like any other business.

    As for your second point, it could be argued that because the primary function of a church is the inculcation of religious belief, providing tax exempt status violates the establishment clause.  I would also assume that since churches are given preferential tax treatment over secular non-profits, you consider this to be a plain violation of the First Amendment.

    •  Churches aren't "like any other business." (0+ / 0-)
      I see no reason that they do, so it would not really be a punishment, but treating them like any other business.
      Okay, if you think churches are "like any other business," then where do the profits go? Who are the shareholders in a church whose share value is increased, or who receive dividend checks, directly resulting from the church's revenues exceeding its expenses?
      As for your second point, it could be argued that because the primary function of a church is the inculcation of religious belief, providing tax exempt status violates the establishment clause.
      Only insofar as tax exempt status isn't also provided to organizations whose purpose is to inculcate other opinions, viewpoints, beliefs, or educational goals. If organizations that promote nonreligious viewpoints (whether secular or simply agnostic about the whole thing) or engage in nonreligious education receive tax exemptions, then to suggest that an organization engaging in religious viewpoints or education should be taxed is to suggest that the state actively discriminate against religious organizations.

      "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 Feb 11, 2013 at 11:11:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We don't necessarily know... (0+ / 0-)

        where church profits go because unlike businesses and secular non-profits, churches are not required to file financial disclosure statements.  I would expect church profits probably go into things like improvements, investments, bonuses, political advocacy, etc., just like other businesses.

        It is not me, but the First Amendment, which singles out religion.  That is why it is permissible to have speakers in the public school which promote anti-drug or anti-littering messages, but not speakers who promote religion.

        •  You seem to misunderstand "profit." (0+ / 0-)
          We don't necessarily know where church profits go because unlike businesses and secular non-profits, churches are not required to file financial disclosure statements.
          That's not my point; my point is that in a for-profit business, when revenues exceed expenses, those profits are either given to the business's owners in the form of a dividend or reinvested in the business in order to increase the value of the owners' stock in the business. The profits of a for-profit business go to its owners.

          Churches don't have stockholders seeking to increase their stock value from the church, but rather exist in and of themselves as entities. That makes them unlike for-profit businesses, and more like other nonprofit organizations.

          I would expect church profits probably go into things like improvements, investments, bonuses, political advocacy, etc., just like other businesses.
          In my 33+ years in churches of all denominations, I've never seen a church actually turn a "profit"; every church budgeting process I've been involved in has aimed for a net zero balance, where income and expenses come out even. On the occasions that more income comes in than budgeted, that's tended to go into rainy-day savings (for the years when we have less income than budgeted) or be spent on a worthy cause that we really wanted to fund but couldn't in the budget.

          "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 Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:56:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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