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Why Is There Religious Privilege in America's Tax Code? We can't think of any valid reasons. Can you?

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think it is because of the (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, nextstep, Loge, misslegalbeagle, VClib

    principle that the power to tax is the power to destroy (McCulloch v. Maryland) espoused by John Marshall. If religious institutions were taxed then they could be taxed into bankruptcy by a civil authority. Also, churches are (nominally) non-profit institutions which exempts them from taxation.

    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

    by yellowdog on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:39:34 AM PST

  •  Why should I care what you say if you can't be (5+ / 0-)

    bothered to provide a transcript?

    I can't think of any valid reasons.

    Can you?

  •  IRS Publication (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Includes interesting examples of what churches can and cannot do concerning political campaigns.

    Not sure where this preaching fits on the IRS rules:

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:53:58 AM PST

  •  The ability to tax means the taxing authority (3+ / 0-)

    Has the right to poke around in the church's books, which of course includes the roll of its members.

    The founders (and citizens today)  had very good reason to deny the government  knowldege of who does -- and perhaps more importantly, who does NOT -- attend specific houses of worship.

    We are all protected by this so-called "privilege."

    © grover

    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 02:22:35 PM PST

  •  If the IRS taxed all religious organizations (0+ / 0-)

    that get involved with politics, including the Catholic church, the mega-churches and the iffy religious organizations, it would go a long way toward fixing our money troubles. A long way.

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 02:23:33 PM PST

    •  Do you have any math to back that up? n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  rubyr - tax what? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Tax their net income? Churches, including the US RCC spend all or nearly all of the money they receive. The "profits" would be modest and if there was a tax they would make sure there wasn't a taxable profit. Tax their contributions, I don't think so. No serious, national, politician would ever propose taxing churches, it's of dubious constitutionality and the political backlash would be fierce.  

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:53:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't saying whether the IRS would or would (0+ / 0-)

        not do it. I was saying that if churches involve themselves in politics, which they are doing more and more, then they should lose their tax exempt status, according to the tax law and be taxed as if the tithings and donations they receive are income, just like the money the average American earns. These are multi-billion dollar industries and I may not know the math, but the tax revenue would be enormous.

        Alternatively, they should not be involved in influencing their congregations to vote one way or another, which some churches are most assuredly doing.    

        "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

        by rubyr on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:36:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  rubyr - there is no tax on revenues (0+ / 0-)

          Churches are corporations and if they lost their tax status they could only be taxed on their profits, which would be minimal. There is no large source of income tax revenue here.

          While there a likely some churches who have crossed the line, it is important to remember what the line is. Churches can, under current IRS rules, be as active as they choose to as long as they don't endorse candidates by name. The IRS has given churches a safe harbor as long as their direct political activity represents less than 20% of their total expenses. For the Mormon or the Catholics 20% of expenses is such a large number that it means they can spend an almost unlimited amount without any risk of being outside the safe harbor.

          I think many progressives forget the role that churches played in the civil rights movement. Black churches financed, led, managed, and implemented the cause of civil rights for black Americans. All legal, just like the Mormons and Catholics funding Prop 8.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 10:29:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It actually looks like you made this (0+ / 0-)

    video while under the influence of heavy "medication."  

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