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Do Churches Deserve Tax Breaks?

 
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 12:48 pm
@Dewey phil,
Dewey - Human history indicates a preponderance of bad results, in religion and everything else imaginable.

Yes, losing the Falwells would be great, but losing the Dr. King's would be a far greater loss. We will always have the Falwells; even if we restricted ministers as you suggest, the Falwells of the world will still drag us down. We need the Dr. Kings to bring us back up and help us climb above. Imagine the civil rights movement of the 60's without King.
Mr Fight the Power
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 01:08 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Dewey - Human history indicates a preponderance of bad results, in religion and everything else imaginable.

Yes, losing the Falwells would be great, but losing the Dr. King's would be a far greater loss. We will always have the Falwells; even if we restricted ministers as you suggest, the Falwells of the world will still drag us down. We need the Dr. Kings to bring us back up and help us climb above. Imagine the civil rights movement of the 60's without King.



I get your point, but I would hate to think that the civil rights movement of the 60s would have not occurred without religious involvement in government. I think it more likely that it would have occurred earlier or not been necessary at all without religious involvement.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 04:43 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Quote:
I get your point, but I would hate to think that the civil rights movement of the 60s would have not occurred without religious involvement in government. I think it more likely that it would have occurred earlier or not been necessary at all without religious involvement.


Sorry, but you'll have to hate what you think or slip into delusion. Even if we take out Dr. King and the many other Christian religious leaders who played such a prominent role in the movement, the other half of the movement was led my Muslim leaders. Even the more radical and less blatantly religious civil rights leaders, like Malcom X, were heavily influenced by religious teaching.

I have no idea why you think the civil rights movement would have occurred earlier without religious leadership; doesn't make much sense to suggest that the movement would have occurred earlier if we remove all (well, most) of the movement's prominent leaders.

As a matter of history, the religious involvement is irreplaceable. This is not limited to the 60's movement. Abolition in the 1800's was motivated by religious ideas and spiritual leaders. Or we can look at Gandhi's movement in India; not blatantly religious, and Gandhi was certainly influenced by essentially secular thinkers like Jefferson and Thoreau (though, Thoreau took his ideas from Eastern religion, go figure), but Gandhi also drew a great deal from Hindu teaching and relied on his personal spiritual practice. Desmund Tutu in South Africa is another great example.
Mr Fight the Power
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 05:23 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Sorry, but you'll have to hate what you think or slip into delusion. Even if we take out Dr. King and the many other Christian religious leaders who played such a prominent role in the movement, the other half of the movement was led my Muslim leaders. Even the more radical and less blatantly religious civil rights leaders, like Malcom X, were heavily influenced by religious teaching.

I have no idea why you think the civil rights movement would have occurred earlier without religious leadership; doesn't make much sense to suggest that the movement would have occurred earlier if we remove all (well, most) of the movement's prominent leaders.

As a matter of history, the religious involvement is irreplaceable. This is not limited to the 60's movement. Abolition in the 1800's was motivated by religious ideas and spiritual leaders. Or we can look at Gandhi's movement in India; not blatantly religious, and Gandhi was certainly influenced by essentially secular thinkers like Jefferson and Thoreau (though, Thoreau took his ideas from Eastern religion, go figure), but Gandhi also drew a great deal from Hindu teaching and relied on his personal spiritual practice. Desmund Tutu in South Africa is another great example.


Can you point to any grand religious awakening that triggered these events? None of these religions underwent any major changes, yet the political climate shifted dramatically.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 08:42 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Quote:
Can you point to any grand religious awakening that triggered these events? None of these religions underwent any major changes, yet the political climate shifted dramatically.


"Grand religious awakening" is a broad term. I would call the Christian opposition to slavery a great religious awakening; these people looked at chattel slavery and then at their scripture and realized the institution was without any justification.

But something must be understood - you say the political climate shifted. And that's exactly right. These religious leaders were at the front of the changing political landscape - they lead the charge for change. That's the value of the politically active minister. Often times we see the spiritual leader become the political leader. The Buddha was very much like this; he lead a reform of Hinduism which was primarily a political response to the brutal caste system. That's why, in addition to his wisdom, the Buddha became such a figure with such a following. Jesus, by preaching a faith that appealed to slaves and the poor, also helped move along political unrest in those populations.
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2008 10:14 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Up to now, Didymos Thomas and I have not reconciled our views on the involvement of religious leaders in politics. I have deplored such involvement and pointed to the role of the leaders in religion-motivated wars, genocides, and terrorism. Didymos Thomas has supported the involvement and pointed to such leaders as King, Gandhi, Tutu, and other spiritual leaders who have greatly advanced the cause of mankind.

But maybe these views can be reconciled. Professor Marc Gopin appears to have done it.

Gopin is a foremost expert on world religion and conflict resolution. From the little I have read of his books and essays, I gather that he sees a paradox in the current status of religion. On the one hand, he sees "patterns at work that indicate that religion is one of the most salient phenomena that will cause massive violence in this century." On the other hand, he sees "other indicators from our current experience that suggest that religion will play a critical role in constructing a global community of shared moral commitments and vision".

I would have to write a lot, lot more to more fully convey these ideas of Gopin. However, I believe he acknowledges the leadership dangers I see but nevertheless proposes a big role for the leaders in the constructive processes. He does stress the need to "include clerics as teachers only with no political or martial authority." He views this globalization effort as a peacemaking project bringing together the conflicting parties and involving the use of non-political forums, institutions, and funding mechanisms.

Peace!
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Oct, 2008 06:02 am
@Dewey phil,
This has bloomed into much more of a productive discussion than I feared it would; three-cheers for those who work for civility!

I'm wondering if I could toss in another aspect of rationale here. Is this a valid line of reasoning?

  • Assumption: It is in the best interest of any government to provide for consideration of all sects of their population (to one extent or another)


  • Premise: Many nations (not "goys") are comprised of multiple religious orientations


  • Assumption: Some of these orientations either don't work with any money or haven't sufficient infrastructure to warrant any tax-or-not consideration.


  • Conclusion: If such governments were to extend monetary consideration to any of those that do have an income, such a consideration could not be enjoyed by those that do not, thus violating premise 1.


  • Answer: It is therefore not in the best interest of governments that have a population of multiple religious orientations to give any tax-break indulgences to any religious sect.

I'm actually still deciding wherein best I fit in this issue (see my previous post), but this is one line of reasoning that I've seen used. I think it has some worth - but how much I submit for your consideration.

Thanks, I look forward to responses.
Mr Fight the Power
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Oct, 2008 06:09 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
"Grand religious awakening" is a broad term. I would call the Christian opposition to slavery a great religious awakening; these people looked at chattel slavery and then at their scripture and realized the institution was without any justification.


And of course a great many religious leaders pointed to the part of the bible that dealt with the ethical treatment of slaves and called slaveholding just.

My point is this, at what point did the scripture change?

If the scripture has not changed (which it obviously has not), then we can suppose interpretation of the scripture has changed, and this points to evolving moral norms manipulating how religion is practiced rather than how religion is practiced effecting moral norms.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Oct, 2008 12:51 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Quote:
My point is this, at what point did the scripture change?

If the scripture has not changed (which it obviously has not), then we can suppose interpretation of the scripture has changed, and this points to evolving moral norms manipulating how religion is practiced rather than how religion is practiced effecting moral norms.


What you've missed is that the religious arguments for and against slavery were being used at the same time. They evolve simultaneously.

But you do have a good point, moral norms influence the practice of religion, but we also have to understand that religion influences those moral norms. It's a two way street.
0 Replies
 
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Oct, 2008 06:12 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Answer: It is therefore not in the best interest of governments that have a population of multiple religious orientations to give any tax-break indulgences to any religious sect.




Hi Khethil,

It's a little hard for me to visualize a religious group so small as to escape all taxation but so powerful as to wield significent political influence. But your conclusion may be right.

This, indeed, would provide further reason to withhold the preferential treatment of religious entities.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 05:45 am
@Dewey phil,
Dewey wrote:
It's a little hard for me to visualize a religious group so small as to escape all taxation but so powerful as to wield significent political influence...


Me too. I'm not sure that's relevant to the basic question, although it most-certainly can play a part in many cases.
0 Replies
 
Marat phil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:37 am
@Dewey phil,
I consider that only the basic religions should not pay taxes. Sects and their leaders should pay taxes.
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2010 01:02 pm
@Marat phil,
Do Banks Deserve Tax Breaks ?

Why cannot churches pay taxes ?

Sollution in France; government pays for the building.
0 Replies
 
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2010 06:13 pm
@Dewey phil,
Imo they should pay tax as any other organisation who recive money, specially that they take a zealous interest in reciveing money from naive and good hearted people.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2010 06:53 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;160659 wrote:
Imo they should pay tax as any other organisation who recive money, specially that they take a zealous interest in reciveing money from naive and good hearted people.



I never looked at that way but it does seem to be true. If a college should have to pay taxes to teach ethics should a church have to also. I could be wrong as I am not sure if a college pays taxes to teach ethics.Smile
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 04:02 am
@Dewey phil,
Churches and religious groups generally contribute billions of dollars of free services to the economy every year. Taxing them because you don't like religion is not a particularly good argument.

They deserve tax breaks only and because they are not selling anything. As soon as they start to charge for anything (with sensible exceptions for cost recovery) they should pay tax. So, of course, Scientology should be taxed. They hide behind the good faith of many other religious organizations so they can peddle their nonsense for big money with the endorsement of their tame hollywood stars.

But why tax St Vincent de Paul, or the Little Sisters of Charity? How do you justify taxing selfless people trying to serve humanity?
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 04:15 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;160751 wrote:
Churches and religious groups generally contribute billions of dollars of free services to the economy every year. Taxing them because you don't like religion is not a particularly good argument.
I don't care if the Union of Nose Pickers, House Wife Union ..or whatever group/union ..etc it is, I am not biased in that point.

jeeprs;160751 wrote:
They deserve tax breaks only and because they are not selling anything. As soon as they start to charge for anything (with sensible exceptions for cost recovery) they should pay tax. So, of course, Scientology should be taxed. They hide behind the good faith of many other religious organizations so they can peddle their nonsense for big money with the endorsement of their tame hollywood stars.
They do not deserve anything, just because they have a good PR that can sway people over other groups/unions, why do I see in very religious countries, that the deacons, preachers or sect leader drive around in very expensive cars, have massive expensive residens, private jet, when you actually look closer at their budgets, much of their donated money are in the wrong pockets.

jeeprs;160751 wrote:
But why tax St Vincent de Paul, or the Little Sisters of Charity? How do you justify taxing selfless people trying to serve humanity?
Least in Denmark, we don't belive the churches are filled with unselfish people who only wish to do good, it's filled with psycotic people and pedophiles, that's the general view.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 11:07 am
@Dewey phil,
The point about charity is well taken, but we would need less of it if the churches did not interfere so much with the workings of government...It is not fair that people in the name of God or for any other reason can put aside money that they alone essentially use, for their benefit, for the education/indoctrination of their children, for a social club, and for political organization, and not pay taxes... They should not even be allowed to exist, like corporations, which they are, unless they can show a purely good public purpose.. We have a lot of tax dodgers in this country; but the good thing is that national bankruptcy leads to revolution...
Who does freedom of religion serve??? Who does freedom of the press serve???The church was always part of the old English Constitution... The press and other media serves itself and its advertizers... None of them really question the system, and none of them are a source of good ideas...They just are, and there taking advantage of a privilage..We pay for those privilages...Every person who has ever laid his life on the line for his country has paid for those privilages -that not all of us enjoy to say the least... The freedom of religion allows the worst continual attack uon our civil rights imaginable... The churches, like the oligarchs, are the enemis of the people...
0 Replies
 
EmperorNero
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 01:42 pm
@Dewey phil,
Dewey;26947 wrote:
Churches don't pay taxes. They don't even have to file income tax returns. They don't pay for the services they receive from government. The citizens pay for those services in addition to paying for their own services.

Why do we exempt the churches? Mostly, we wish to avoid the appearance of overstepping the constitutionally-required boundary between government and church. Also, we assume that sll churches provide valuable services to the community, including the charitable services already generally exempt.

The exemption is conditional. The constitutional boundary also applies to the churches. They are barred from engaging in excessive political lobbying and any political campaigning. And, religious organizations are supposed to pay taxes on business activities unrelated to their ministry.

So, how does all that register with you? Is it all a good idea? Is it all working the way it's supposed to? What, if anything about it, bothers you?


Give me a break. Your religion doesn't just get tax breaks, it's fully financed by the government. It's the state religion.
There's no constitutional right to freedom from religion - indoctrination into the religion of atheism.
How about ACORN and the rest of those commie atheists pay taxes instead of getting them?

I'd chose a Islamic theocracy over a commie state religion.
0 Replies
 
 

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