Why are churches tax exempt?

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by Quantum Windbag, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    It seems I woke up in the mood to be a little less tolerant of idiocy than usual, so I am going to debunk all the idiots that think that churches being tax exempt is a bad thing.

    If the government taxed churches it would inevitably end up in a situation where it would violate the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment. Whenever a government exercises its power to tax it restricts peoples freedom. Directly taxing a church, or any other religious organization, restricts the freedom of religion. This can easily be seen when you look at the Johnson amendment of 1954.

    Can anyone explain why just 3 years ago a pastor of a fundamentalist church in California could have said that Romney is not a Christian because he believes that Jesus and Satan are brothers and the IRS would not have had a problem, but he cannot say the exact same thing today without the government coming in and declaring that, because he said that, they no longer consider the same group of people a church for tax purposes? Can anyone explain that?

    Taxes are an imposition from the government, and the simplest way to make sure that everyone has their right to free exercise of religion is to exempt all religious organizations from taxation. Anything less than that makes a farce of the Constitution.
     
  2. alan1
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    alan1 USMB Mod Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sam Walton should have called his little business endeavor "The Church of Walmart"
     
  3. Inthemiddle
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    Inthemiddle BANNED

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    So you woke up in a mood less tolerant of idiocy, so you decided to spew some on the internet?
     
  4. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    I notice you couldn't actually refute anything I said.
     
  5. PratchettFan
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    PratchettFan Gold Member

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    Yes. I can explain that. Churches are not tax free because they are churches. They are tax free because the are 501c non-profit corporations. A church which is not a 501c has to pay taxes. Which is why getting that mail order certificate saying you're a minister in the Church of the Grand Poobaa does not mean you don't pay taxes any more. In fact, ministers in 501c churches who get a salary, have to pay income tax like anyone else.

    In order for a 501c to maintain its status, it can't engage in political activity. Now, in the example you gave I doubt the pator would have any problem unless he used that as the basis for instructing his congregation - or the public at large - not to vote for Romney. The latter is a political activity, the former is just an expression of belief.

    Realistically, I doubt anything would happen to the pastor. The IRS seldom enforces this.
     
  6. Inthemiddle
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    Inthemiddle BANNED

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    And I noticed that you didn't bother to actually support anything you said. Not my job to refute unsubstantiated BS.
     

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