Hi Didymos Thomas. Your positiveness suggests you completely agree with the common belief that churches are entitled to the exemptions because they provide valuable extra-governmental services to the community. Please confirm whether that is so. It might also be helpfuI to find out where you stand on the issue of political activities by the churches. Thanks!
You bet, thanks for the question!
I do think that some churches do, and more importantly that churches can, provide valuable extra-governmental services. Most essentially, I think that Jefferson's "wall of separation" argument is convincing, and I also think that at least most people have spiritual needs, and the majority of those with spiritual needs prefer organized congregation to the lack thereof.
As for churches and political activism, I am honestly torn. I have never felt comfortable with political endorsements
from the pulpit, even when I agree with the endorsement. However, I also think that spiritual leaders have a responsibility to address relevant social conditions; for example, I cannot imagine criticizing ML King Jr.'s political activism.
But I can rest easily with any sort of political activism from a church or similar spiritual institution so long as that institution does not have a financial influence in politics, or the financial resources to influence politics. Instead of using church institutions as political action committees, spiritual leaders should form separate action organizations to collect and handle money for said organization. Most basically: The church, temple, ect should be financially impotent in all matters outside of non-partisan charity.