Maybe churches shouldn't be tax-exempt
As a debate over clergy openly endorsing political candidates heats up, there's a simple solution.
As Amelia Thompson-Deveaux at The American Prospect points out, the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations wants to change a 1954 law that prevents tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political figures. The group includes Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, but it primarily comprises Christian CPAs and church financial advisers. It has drawn support from Republicans such as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Iowa Rep. Steve King, who want the group to take on the IRS directly.
Roughly two-thirds of Americans agree that churches should not be able to endorse political candidates. Still, since 2008, thousands of ministers who believe the prohibition on their speech is unconstitutional have participated in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," in which pastors openly endorse candidates from the pulpit and in some cases, transcribe their sermons and send them to the IRS, demanding an audit.
The IRS, however, hasn't audited a church on those grounds since 2009, when a federal judge threw out the IRS’s case against a Minnesota megachurch that had allegedly endorsed Michelle Bachmann. The judge said the IRS needed to clarify its internal regulations, but the IRS has shown little motivation to do so.
The problem is that the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, the Pulpit Freedom Sunday participants and a group set up by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, want the IRS to change its rules to allow political endorsements for all nonprofits – but don't want them to give up their tax-exempt status to do so.
Organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom from Religion Foundation don't like the sound of this one bit and have been pushing the IRS to prevent what they call "pulpit electioneering."
Slate's Matt Yglesias offered another approach: Make all houses of worship of all denominations pay taxes. Instead of discriminating against one religion over another or punishing a church for issuing a partisan statement on national policy rather than a nonpartisan one, tax all of them equally and allow all religious leaders to freely and openly endorse the political figures and ideology of their choosing.
Yglesias has some interesting company in this regard. Fox News analyst and former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee endorsed the same line of thinking earlier this summer.
"It may be time to quit worrying about the tax code and start thinking more about the truth of the living God," Huckabee told a group of Southern Baptist pastors. "We should stand more faithful with what God would have us say, and choose our freedom more than our financial benefit."
No more tax exempt Churches. Except the chapel.
No more tax exempt Foundations 501-C, etc.
No more tax exempt Corporations.
No more tax exempt Political Organizations.
No more business hand outs.
No more loopholes.
No more debt problems.
Tax them all.
YOU`RE GOING TO HELL"The church lost half it`s membership.
Churches should just stay out of politics altogether. If Christ were walking the earth today, I doubt he'd be giving stump speeches for Rick Santorum or picketing outside of Planned Parenthood.
I have heard several ministers/preachers give sermons on who to vote for in political elections and know a lot of people who attend other churches that dictate who their members should vote for. This is what the founding fathers were trying to guard against. There should be a huge separation of politics and religion. I, for one, do not want to live under an American religious Taliban-style of government. Churches want to dictate their beliefs and mandate everyone to follow their dictates, even if everyone do not support those dictates. Keep separation of church and state the law of the land!!! And, take away tax-exempt status from all those thousands of churches who refuse to obey the LAW.
Is there any wonder that church membership keeps shrinking?
Churches do not want government interference and no one really wants interference by the churches with government. There are many religions out there and in America, picking and practicing your religion is important. What is not needed, is a religion that takes over a government and forces its beliefs on all nonbelievers.
History shows, that when a religion rules a country, that democracy cannot stand. Take a look at Iran and other Muslim states and see how little democracy they have because being free to do what you want, believe what you want and think what you want goes against most established religions.
Religious institutions must be allowed to exist, if they can make it on their own dime.
If they can't, it wasn't a religion ready for sale to the general public, was it?
Any organiziation with a paid employee should be taxed. There is no sense is taxing the local gardening club but as soon as a "club" gets big enough to have to pay someone to do anything it should be taxed.
Goodwill, Nursing Homes, the list goes on of huge "nonprofit" organizations that directly compete with tax paying businesses.
The tax code should be simple enough for the average highschool graduate to understand. As it is now not even the IRS understands it!
Should the tax code be simplified? The last time they simplified it it became more complex.
So my question for the day is, Who is in charge?
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