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View Diary: Fed Court: Ministers now have to pay income tax on their "free housing" (323 comments)

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  •  Your brush is a wee bit broad... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnnygunn, CitizenJoe, Catte Nappe
    Today, however, too many Ministers are in it for the money and, to make the really big bucks, are tools for the 1% Koch Cabal.
    The average US church has 75 regular participants and a $90,000 budget.

    The average US attendee worships in a congregation of roughly 400 participants.

    Duke University's Pulpit and Pew Survey gave us data for average salaries relative to denomination and church size in 2000:

    Catholic (centralized salaries)
      Small (< 100) 10% $20,883
      Medium (101-350) 34% 24,170
      Large (351-1000) 35% 24,735
      Very large (1000+) 20% 26,633

    Connectional (mixed control of salaries)
      Small (< 100) 56% 36,000
      Medium (101-350) 38% 49,835
      Large (351-1000) 6% 66,003

    Congregational (decentralized salaries)
      Small (<100) 63% 22,300
      Medium (101-350) 32% 41,051
      Large (351-1000) 5% 59,315
      Very large (1000+) 0.5% 85,518

    So, even the largest churches in America in those denominations with local church control over salaries (e.g. Baptist, Pentecostal, UCC) paid an average salary of just under $86,000 in 2000 - and they were only the top 0.5% of churches in their denomination(s).

    There's aren't that many ministers "in it for the money."

    Please don't draw conclusions about many, many fine pastors based upon what you see on TV.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 08:01:41 PM PST

    •  That is fascinating. (0+ / 0-)

      I'd be interested in some of the non-salary benefits, too.
      I'm especially struck by how flat the curve is for Catholic priests (makes me kinda atavistically proud, too). What about nuns?
      Do you have some links? Duke/Pew, I think I can find.
      Joe

      "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

      by CitizenJoe on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 05:56:40 AM PST

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      •  Priests... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        have taken a vow of poverty. But the device there has been to build lavish facilities for those at the top (1000+?), and particularly bishops, etc. -- like the one in Germany who blew $20 million on his residence. Oh, wait, not "his." So he's still poor. Lotta cheering almost everywhere when Francis busted him on that. But it had been commonplace enough for a long time before.

        As to benefits that aren't salary...

        Some of those have included some health care benefits; typically partial payment of health insurance. Often only for the minister, not for family. But only some have included it at all. Very much church by church, and more likely at the larger ones.

        Most include some modest amount for professional expenses -- mileage for driving one's own vehicle all over, dues for any professional associations, and meetings one must/should attend. Capped by whatever the amount is. Spend more, and it's just like teachers buying supplies for kids.

        A very few -- and only relatively recently -- include an employer's donation towards retirement. Before that (and still, widely), clergy and their spouses depended entirely on savings and social security for survival in old age. Collections to help pay for urgent medical care, food, utility bills, etc., were commonplace. Still are.

        Salary
        Housing
        Insurance (maybe)
        Retirement (maybe)
        Professional expenses

        That's what's on my contract, and it's very, very typical. Mine includes insurance and retirement. The retirement will suffice to help support a very modest lifestyle.

        "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

        by ogre on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:31:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Insurance (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ogre, shanikka

          It has struck me in this thread that many who are cheering the taxation of clergy housing might want to think about a corollary concept - taxing the value of employer provided medical insurance. That has been proposed, and would be a logical extension of this line of thinking.

          “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 Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 02:07:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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