Why are certain entities exempt from paying federal income tax? Charities return donations to the needy, (at least some of it), so we can probably understand that. Many political organizations do not pay taxes; I don’t know why. Churches are not required to pay their fair share of support for the nation which allows them to freely practice their faith. However, in exchange for this privilege, they are not supposed to participate in politics and elections. That agreement has drastically changed; Churches must be taxed.
The United States was born because of the persecution of our founding fathers by the Anglican Church. They declared that our country will not have only a single religion, but will offer freedom of choice for all of its citizens. They also believed in the separation of Church and State. Contrary to the opinion of many politicians and Americans; religion and politics should not be mixed; but they are.
George W. Bush could not have been elected without the support of the ‘religious right.’ Republicans pander to them during every election year. Christian religions shape policy and donate money to candidates who support their views. In a very real sense they are a ‘Super PAC.’ So, why aren’t they taxed?
When church goers pay a tithing to support their religion that money has already been taxed; and that amount is an allowable deduction on their federal tax returns. But those who receive that tithing use much of the money for their own welfare, maintain ridiculously expensive edifices, and assist favorable candidates in the quest to attain public office and pay nothing.
Religions are affluent. The Catholic Church, and the Church of Latter Day Saints are worth billions of dollars. Protestants are merely wealthy.
The wealth of the Catholic Church cannot and will not be calculated. The Vatican itself has art treasures estimated to be worth billions. The Vatican is its own city; the real estate value is enormous. The Church has millions of dollars invested in the largest banks in the world such as Credit Suisse in London and Zurich, and Chase Manhattan in the United States, and many more. It has billions of shares in corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, IBM, etc, etc, etc. It also has billions of dollars in pure gold.
The financial industry considers the Catholic Church the ‘biggest financial power on earth.
The Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, receives over seven billion dollars a year from tithing and other donations, according to records required by other nations than the United States. It has temples and other buildings around the world worth an estimated 35 billion dollars. It is the largest rancher in the U.S. and has other ranches and farms in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and Great Britain. It owns media groups, investment firms, and is building a mall across from its Salt Lake City Headquarters.
That’s just the two wealthiest religious organizations in the world; there are many additional smaller ones, and many more millions of dollars.
There, we’ve solved it; churches must be taxed. Within just a few years the national debt would be erased. They hide behind religion although in recent years they have become political advocates. It’s time for them to pay their fair share for the privilege of operating a business in America.
By James Turnage