Make ‘em Pay: Taxing the Churches
It was the fervent hope of the founders of our great nation that its government would not trespass on the province of religion, and that religion would find neither refuge nor condemnation from a secular government. The founders' commitment to this idea was unequivocal. The very first words of the Bill of Rights read:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Regardless of how you interpret that statement , exempting religious organizations from paying taxes is a clear case of our government "respecting an establishment of religion," precisely what the framers intended to prohibit.
For one thing, any religious organization that lives up to its commitments
to its congregation and community would have nothing to fear from filing
a tax return, just like every other non-profit. For another, when these institutions pay taxes like every other non-profit, each citizen's tax burden
is significantly lessened and consequently he or she may better endow a worthy institution with the support that arises from individual choice. With our current income inequality, now could be the time to start to… make ‘em pay!
The case ‘for’ will be argued by
distinguished AoF members:
Joe Reinhardt & Frank Prahl