I expect this topic to be a little touchy, but stay with me here.
Why do churches get a pass on paying taxes?
Churches do lots of good work. I get that, but lots of people and organizations do good work and STILL pay tax.
I hate to pick on the Scientologists here, but….why not? A very good science fiction writer just MADE UP Scientology, and now it is a religion? Complete with tax-preferred (exempt?) status?? Shouldn’t I start my own religion?
Precious little else is tax-exempt anymore, so why are churches?
I can’t even think up a logical reason for this. I suppose it all comes down to this: Every elected official on the planet is afraid to raise this idea. It would be political suicide. Certainly large numbers of church-goers from many faiths would align to destroy the “anti-God” candidates.
Occasionally the best ideas have to be proposed by those with the least to lose, politicians who are not running for re-election. It is still a brave move, but you see it sometimes, a retiring congressman will speak up and say the most logical things, knowing they can refuse to answer questions the rest of their lives if they so choose.
Reporter: “Congressman, you ran on an anti-gay platform your whole life. Why do you now support lifting the ban on gay marriage?”
Congressman: “Cuz (1) the ban never made any sense, (2) preventing two gays from getting married doesn’t really ‘protect’ my marriage in any way, and (3) I ain’t running for office anymore, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
So how to tax the churches? We will have to get a coalition of retiring curmudgeons, who don’t give a damn what YOU think. Even then they won’t get it passed, but at least they can get the idea under discussion. This is long-long overdue.
What is the drawback? Would this stop people from going to church? Why?
Churches provide excellent support to those who go to the church, but are donations to a church the most cost-effective way to help the needy? Really? Wouldn’t a direct contribution to the American Lung Association (or any legit charitable organization) be the most effective?
Please, please don’t wish me dead (some churches DO that). I am not talking about closing churches, and I am not saying ‘there is no God.’ This is just a tax issue.
Maybe we can prevent every man, woman and child from declaring themselves to be churches….