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Why Do Churches Get Tax Exemption?

 
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2013 08:41 am
When i worked in the "charity industry," Catholic Social Services and Lutheran Social Services were the best, most effective religious charities, and gave the most. They also did not impose any religious obligation of the recipients of their largess. The Baptists were stingy and grudging as hell, and made people wait while they prayed over them, before feeding them. Different churches, different attitudes toward charity.

Churches get tax exemptions because at the beginning of our nation, many of the states had religious establishments. For example, Massachusetts and Connecticut had Congregationalist establishments (the former Puritans), and their state legislatures exempted them from taxation. When Thomas Jefferson wrote his "wall of separation" letter in 1802, it was in response to a letter he had received from the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Association, who were complaining about how they were treated by the state. Thoreau (the old faker) was not jailed at all, and he certainly wasn't threatened with jail for refusing to pay his tzxes to support the Mexican War--the usual propaganda bullshit. He was threatened with jail for not paying his church taxes, but was not jailed because the taxes were paid by a well-wisher.

At that time, there was no concept of incorporation, so the first amendment's no establishment and free exercise clauses were held only to apply to the Federal government, and not the states. The Federal government exempted churches from taxation, as the states did sooner or later, in large measure to offset the church taxes in some states, and to bolster the concept of free exercise. It's been with us ever since. No politician running for local or state office is going to want to be seen as favoring taxing churches. I don't think it ever comes up in Federal elections, but the same principle applies.
0 Replies
 
RexRed
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2013 12:28 pm
Beautifully written Set, got a thumbs up from me. I don't know enough about Thoreau to dispute your claims about his avoiding jail but it has inspired interest none the least, thanks!

Your assessment of the charities I find accurate from my own personal experience when I was doing the Jesus thing and living on the streets. Even the baptists (that I encountered) though they pushed their religion were hospitable and friendly to me. My sexual preference is not easily detected even by other gay people so I am sure I had it much easier than others. Being clergy also gave me an edge with which to survive in such an environment.

There are few really bad apples in religion and at times they are capable of spoiling the whole bunch.. I am sure even secular causes have their faults from time to time.

I think the problem with the catholic church is that it is too much of a male dominated institution. I would love to in my lifetime see a woman pope take the reigns of the church... Smile
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2013 03:55 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Tax policy is set by congress which is elected by their constituents (the American people). How else would you want it work?


Right, and the millions they raise and spend on campaigning doesn't have anything to do with it. Congress is owned by the big money contributors.

People are easily influenced by media.
0 Replies
 
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2013 03:57 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
I guess Atheism is the only religion worthy of tax breaks.


Is there and atheistic 'church' I can join that is tax exempt?
Setanta
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2013 04:16 pm
@RexRed,
Secular or religious, the charity industry is a big dodge.
RexRed
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Feb, 2013 09:16 am
http://www.reverbnation.com/rexredmusicartist/song/16067140-dreams-of-water I am donating 50% of sales to "charity water".... Smile
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Feb, 2013 09:54 am
@IRFRANK,
Of course there is, Frank

http://humanist-society.org/

(with apologies if it is rude to give a real answer to a rhetorical question.)
0 Replies
 
RexRed
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Feb, 2013 02:20 pm
@Setanta,
I think you are very accurate about that Set and with a great president like Barrack Obama this is the age where charities may actually get the real public scrutiny they require to actually make a big difference.

I was once told that countries keep certain portions of there populations in utter poverty so they can continue to bleed other countries for funds. It is not only the corruption with certain charities but also the corruption of governments who are also involved. Also certain charities that are only there to take advantage or people who are suffering.

I am so fortunate in Maine that my LGBT brother and sisters, and those transitioning between the two, that we can now marry and have the full support the of Maine state law.

I feel like a horse at the starting gate. I promised myself that once gay marriage was made available I would focus my energy on feeding the poor. Not only in this country but abroad. The thought that children are malnourished and in need of even basic medical treatment is utterly appalling!

I plan to dedicate the rest of my life to reversing this horrible blight upon humanity.

I have had many help me out in my life unselfishly and without strings attached. Charity really is the greatest service one can dedicate their life to...

If doesn't require any God or faith, it just requires love, selflessness and a recognition that we all have a duty to one another.
0 Replies
 
Cuterthanpaul
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2013 09:52 pm
@maxdancona,
Many Americans, myself included, would like religious bodies to be taxed. Ant politician that tried such an action would face political suicide, which is why it has not happened
0 Replies
 
RexRed
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Apr, 2013 09:15 am
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/536203_589892634356427_1062491766_n.jpg
0 Replies
 
 

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