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Time for the Religious to Pay Their Fair Share
Townhall ^ | 09/20/2012 | Benjamin Bull

Posted on 09/20/2012 8:31:12 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

There is a movement underway in Europe to remove the tax exemptions churches have enjoyed for centuries.

In Spain and Italy this attempt is being broadly pursued, while in Britain it is being done piecemeal.

For example, in Spain and Italy the special tax status of churches and their ministries are being openly targeted by political leaders who want to get their hands into church coffers.

Ricardo Rubio, a city councilman in Alcala de Henares, Spain, says he, and those who share his view, “want to make a statement that the costs of the [financial] crisis should be borne equally by every person and institution.” In other words, it’s time for the religious to pay their fair share.

And in Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti is calling “for a tax on church properties or on those portions of properties that have a commercial purpose.”

But there have already been conflicting explanations for the proposed taxation indicating that “about 100,000 properties, classed as non-commercial,” would be taxed as well. These properties include “8,779 schools, 26,300 ecclesiastical structures and 4,714 hospitals and clinics.”

In other words, even before the tax-emption has been fully lifted the government is already overreaching. Rubio and Monti are only two of many officials in cash-strapped European nations and cities who are beginning to view the Catholic Church as their ticket to solvency. Both Spain and Italy are reeling under the same financial duress that has been weighing down other European nations for some time, and these political leaders see no reason why churches shouldn’t share the burden.

Apparently Rubio and Monti have failed to consider that this not only violates the left’s heretofore inviolable separation of church and state, but actually makes the church one of the state’s purse holders.

Britain has been tiptoeing toward this same end for some time. Their approach, to date, has been to reduce expenditures by cutting funding that had previously been designated for transportation to faith-based schools.

All three of these countries are making a terrible, heart-wrenching mistake by putting the financial needs of bureaucrats above the spiritual needs of their people. For whether they realize it or not, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

The tax-exempt status has been in place for centuries because matters of faith have been held above and beyond secular matters for that same period of time. The push to change the tax structure, and the tradition that goes with it, stands as a sad testimony to the fact that many countries are ready to trade to their spiritual heritage for an opportunity to balance their national checkbooks.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fairness; religious; taxes

1 posted on 09/20/2012 8:31:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Soon it will be accepted that government owns the air.

Pay up or suffocate.

2 posted on 09/20/2012 8:32:45 AM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: SeekAndFind

Governments world wide are not leaving a stone unturned when it comes to revenue.


3 posted on 09/20/2012 8:38:11 AM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Idiocy.

I would contend the Churches do more service to those in need at a greater cost efficiency and to more per capita of dollars received than any government agency.

So let em be.


4 posted on 09/20/2012 8:44:08 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: SeekAndFind

It is all fun and games until you run out of other peoples money. Governments caused this mess with their spending - most logical people would stop spending politicians simply go after everyone else to destroy them all like they destroyed themselves.


5 posted on 09/20/2012 8:45:53 AM PDT by edcoil (It is not over until I win.)
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To: SeekAndFind

How about the governments reduce their spending so they don’t need more revenue?


6 posted on 09/20/2012 8:51:28 AM PDT by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: SeekAndFind

With tax exemptiions gone, Churches will start depending on the Lord for their needs and standing for truth.


7 posted on 09/20/2012 8:54:33 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!)
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To: Brett66
How about the governments reduce their spending so they don’t need more revenue?

BLASPHEME!!!!!
8 posted on 09/20/2012 8:56:10 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: stars & stripes forever

And the governments involved?


9 posted on 09/20/2012 8:56:22 AM PDT by John W (Viva Cristo Rey!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Over 60 years ago an old guy in town, who had been a station master at the railroad, told me that the way things were going they would put a meter around hour nick and charge you for the air you breathe.


10 posted on 09/20/2012 8:58:01 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: stars & stripes forever

Bingo!
The tax code is the government keeping their boots on the throat of the church.
The government gets to dictate what can and can not be said from the pulpit, because the church fears losing this tax exempt status.


11 posted on 09/20/2012 9:00:44 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: EGPWS

What do you think Cap and Trade is all about?


12 posted on 09/20/2012 9:05:41 AM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: stars & stripes forever

AMEN!

Tax exempt status is nothing but a muzzle on the Church. It insures a Politically Correct message from the pulpit.


13 posted on 09/20/2012 9:06:58 AM PDT by bimboeruption (Clinging to my Bible and my HK.)
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To: Vendome

“I would contend the Churches do more service to those in need at a greater cost efficiency and to more per capita of dollars received than any government agency.”

The Catholics might, but most churches are barely hanging on or too busy with building projects to help much in the community.

I don’t have much of a problem with churches paying taxes but to do it in this economy, like for anyone else, is not a good idea.


14 posted on 09/20/2012 9:22:20 AM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t want to see this, but if they did do such a thing than conservative churches would not be adverse to speaking out politically.


15 posted on 09/20/2012 9:28:01 AM PDT by celmak
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To: DonaldC

—— I don’t have much of a problem with churches paying taxes but to do it in this economy, like for anyone else, is not a good idea. ——

Nothing will sober up the clergy faster, and, in turn, the flock. The church buildings are relatively unimportant. And in the long run, church property may face confiscation. Better to fight while we’re still on our feet.


16 posted on 09/20/2012 9:28:58 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: svcw
The government gets to dictate what can and can not be said from the pulpit, because the church fears losing this tax exempt status.

As far as I know, the only thing they aren't supposed to do is promote one candidate over another (although black churches sure have done a lot of that for Democrats in the past). If you are thinking of other things they are not permitted to do, can you share? I may be missing something.

17 posted on 09/20/2012 9:33:13 AM PDT by MEGoody (You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: SeekAndFind

What, precisely, would government tax?

What goods do churches produce that should be taxed?

Or are they just proposing that money donated to churches should be further taxed?


18 posted on 09/20/2012 9:34:58 AM PDT by Theo (May Christ be exalted above all.)
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To: DonaldC

And this represents the ultimate goal - the replacement of the Church with Government.

It’s the kingdom of the anti-Christ.


19 posted on 09/20/2012 9:37:08 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working fors)
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To: Theo

RE: Or are they just proposing that money donated to churches should be further taxed?

I think they’re thinking of money donated to churches NOT BEING TAX EXEMPT.


20 posted on 09/20/2012 9:50:48 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
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To: SeekAndFind

Property taxes would be a boon for government and I think a lot of church workers are 1099ers so there could be a gain for the gov there also.


21 posted on 09/20/2012 9:59:25 AM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Don’t forget the Secular Humanist churches like The Gates Foundation, Ford’s etc.


22 posted on 09/20/2012 10:15:23 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: SeekAndFind

One very important question is how much more revenue would be produced. How many of these operations like hospitals or schools would simply be closed, unable to pay the extra costs?


23 posted on 09/20/2012 10:16:15 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: MEGoody

Started in Europe, moved to Canada......churches are being bullied by the government to provide abortion and birth control, berated if they say homosexuality is a sin.
Do you really beleive that pastors don’t hold back?
Churches need to say what the Bible says, teach the truth without fear of the government.
Tax exempt status is a control mechanism.


24 posted on 09/20/2012 10:16:46 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: Theo

Churches would pay property tax, income tax, capitol gains, and donations which really should be tithes would not be a deduction.
That’s what would be taxed.


25 posted on 09/20/2012 10:19:42 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: Vendome

Here in Alabama, we had those big tornadoes April a year ago that hit and destroyed millions and millions of dollars in damages. Including churches. However, it was churches who were still out there assisting when the state and feds had packed up and gone home. One large church near my home had the men in their church rebuild something like 10 homes for people. Right, churches do nothing. Cause problems. Just don’t want to pay taxes. The coming one world church will own it all anyway, until the Lord comes back and settles the score.


26 posted on 09/20/2012 10:23:35 AM PDT by RetiredArmy (The Scriptures clearly tell us we are in the last days, the end times. Christ is the only answer!)
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To: count-your-change

They would be taxed on income, if they have none there would be no tax.
They may already pay property tax, if they don’t that would be required.


27 posted on 09/20/2012 10:23:54 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: SeekAndFind

A violent act of bankrupt (fiscally and spiritually) regimes.


28 posted on 09/20/2012 10:27:38 AM PDT by NeoCaveman ("If I had a son he'd look like B.O.'s lunch" - Rin Tin Tin)
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To: DonaldC
I don’t have much of a problem with churches paying taxes but to do it in this economy, like for anyone else, is not a good idea.

Regardless of the economy, I DO have a problem with it. Taxing churches creates an unfair scenario for those who choose to worship. It is in violation of the First Amendment, as it sets financial burdens on those wishing to exercise religious freedom.

More sinisterly, it allows the government to punish worshipers by increasing tax rates against their religious organization ever higher. Eventually, the power to tax becomes the power to destroy; one by one, churches will be strangled out of existence.

The government will say, "oh, we're not stopping you from worshipping...you're free to worship privately all you like. It's the BIG churches we're after..." they might say. But in my church, we worship as a community. Certainly, you can pray privately, but community worship is a central tenet of our faith. (Coming together as a community is also a free exercise of association, defined in the First Amendment.)

29 posted on 09/20/2012 10:36:22 AM PDT by Lou L (Health "insurance" is NOT the same as health "care")
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t have much of a problem with churches having to pay property taxes. Equal protection and all that. But how about there be no property taxes for anybody. Let me own it, and not pay rent to the king.


30 posted on 09/20/2012 11:16:31 AM PDT by T. P. Pole
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To: Lou L

Taxing the income and property of churches has NOTHING to do with worship.
Good grief the church is NOT a building it is the body of believers.
Church groups can met under a tree, in a movie theater , rent an office space or whatever.......good grief we are screwed if people really think a building is important to worship.


31 posted on 09/20/2012 11:27:07 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: DonaldC

If you look at a church as the edifice you are correct but, looked at through the members who regularly organize for causes they value then the church is still giving more and doing more accurately than the government.

For instance, I just took on a $4,000 fund raising project for a girls hockey team outside of the church.

In fact, I raise as much as $20,000 in a year that has nothing to with the church for various causes.

Another thing I do is I give away ski’s for walkers to anyone I see who is using a standard walker. Gave one away last night.

These ski’s help the walker glide over the many surfaces one encounters as they go through their day.

Using a walker is hard and I’d like to make it a little easier.

None of this is to impress you but, to impress upon you the many things we do as individuals and we rely on our friends to help in these goals, many of whom are part of the same we attend.

Yo Dos Centavos....


32 posted on 09/20/2012 11:48:04 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Vendome

Ok, and would you suddenly be prevented from doing that if churches paid property taxes or income tax.
I do not see the connection.


33 posted on 09/20/2012 11:52:30 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: svcw
Do you really beleive that pastors don’t hold back?

Well, I can't speak for all churches, but the church I currently attend does not. Pastor always preaches based on what the bible says is right, and doesn't address it from a political issue standpoint. (Which is what he should do.)

34 posted on 09/20/2012 11:58:29 AM PDT by MEGoody (You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: SeekAndFind
If you want less of a particular behavior (e.g. institution, industry, religion etc.), you tax it. If you want more of a particular behavior, you subsidize it.

Well EU, it's your soul, and your society's survival. May you choose wisely.

5.56mm

35 posted on 09/20/2012 12:18:56 PM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: svcw
Taxing the income and property of churches has NOTHING to do with worship.

On the contrary, taxing church property most certainly has to do with worship. Churches were not built with taxpayer funds--they were built on the backs and contributions from their parishioners and congregations as a way to have some common place in which to meet, pray, and do whatever compliments their worship. While in a pinch, church services have been held in all sorts of odd places, your proposal for meeting is ludicrous.

Requiring churches to pay a special tax in order to worship will eventually kill off churches and organized worship. And yes, the POOR will be hit the hardest!

36 posted on 09/20/2012 12:55:25 PM PDT by Lou L (Health "insurance" is NOT the same as health "care")
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To: Lou L

Maybe this will make it simpler for you -
the church IS NOT a building IT IS people
If the church group you attend needs brink and mortar to worship, my spirit breaks for you and them.


37 posted on 09/20/2012 1:31:10 PM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: svcw

Obviously not. The point being that I can leverage those contacts that I would not have without the church who are of a like mind and spirit.

The church leaders may have select and scheduled charities they serve but I and the members have more freedom to choose in an instant whatImay do without asking the members or councils.

Are you advocating churches pay taxes?


38 posted on 09/20/2012 5:56:33 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Vendome

I am advocating the church get out from under the control of the government, if that meaning losing their tax exempt status - yes.


39 posted on 09/20/2012 7:53:11 PM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: svcw
I am not seeking simplicity; I'm not having any difficulty with this. Some churches are built to glorify God, and the worship inside is enhanced by their existence. Spiritually, their presence gives comfort and a place for worshippers to call their own. Churches have a historic place in worship, and are universally recognized. If your religion does not, then peace be with you-worship as you wish. For many others, the elimination of churches would be a mortal wound.

If you can't appreciate that, then consider this. The construction of churches is a natural extension of the freedom to worship, and a natural extension of property rights.

40 posted on 09/20/2012 8:01:50 PM PDT by Lou L (Health "insurance" is NOT the same as health "care")
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To: Lou L

No church building ARE NOT built to the Glory of God.
For reasons known only to you, you appear to equate a brick and mortar building NOT people.
The church is people, NOT a building.
I will say it again, my spirit weeps for you.


41 posted on 09/20/2012 8:12:26 PM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: Lou L

Building a building and paying taxes does not infringe on your freedom.


42 posted on 09/20/2012 8:13:40 PM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Tax the same money twice.

Is Obama in charge over there?


43 posted on 09/20/2012 8:15:11 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: svcw

In what way are they under the government?

Honest question. I may be a bit impaired due to the whackadin and other pharmaceuticals I’m on due to a recent surgery.


44 posted on 09/20/2012 9:11:37 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Vendome

If a church has tax exempt status the government can dictate what can or can not be said from the pulpit under the guise that status will be revoked.
Prayers for your up coming surgery, and healing.


45 posted on 09/20/2012 9:34:08 PM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: svcw

No, no... i already had the surgery now I’m working through recovery.

I had thought you would bring up the tax exempt issue and I agree.

I have an alternative but it escapes me right now so I’ll have to agree with yours for now.


46 posted on 09/20/2012 10:28:24 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Vendome

Missed that about already having surgery, still prayers offered for a speedy recovery.
I love with \in a drug induced state you agree with me, ;-).
When you are not don’t let me know, I’ll be sad if you don’t agree. ;-)


47 posted on 09/20/2012 10:35:28 PM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: svcw

I do agree and dang it if I can’t recall my alternative right now.


48 posted on 09/20/2012 11:03:44 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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