One of the great errors in America is that religions are respected as independent and non-political organizations. This is a falsehood which allows them to campaign for candidates who support their views without paying their fair share of taxes. They are corporations in the literal sense, and must be taxed accordingly.
The very subject of religion has become a political ploy. It’s gone to the extreme that if you’re not Christian, you’re not a good American. Although our founding fathers never literally added the words ‘separation of church and state’ to the Constitution, it was implied. What they did pen was a mandate that no single religion would be the religion of the nation; freedom of choice was their dominant stance.
If religions are no longer apolitical, why don’t they pay taxes like every other big business? The truth will not surprise you; the IRS screwed up.
This year the IRS admitted that religions are breaking the law by engaging in political ideologies, and that they have the mechanism in place to levy taxes, but they strangely took backward steps and nothing has been done.
Are religions untouchable; and if they are is it politically motivated? Maybe yes, and definitely yes.
A little history. In 1998 the IRS underwent a process of reorganization. The single employee who was designated to ascertain if religious organizations should be taxed was released. In 2008, a federal court ceased all investigations of religions until a ‘suitable’ agent could be selected.
Finally, in June of this year investigations resumed. However, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appears to be ‘dragging his feet’ on the issue. His motives are questionable.
The Republican Party is heavily supported by the religious right. Religions are among the most profitable businesses in the country. Is pressure being applied to conservatives encouraging them to reject any form of taxation on religious institutions?
Thomas Jefferson believed that a separation of church and state was mandatory. He believed an individual’s religious choices resulted from a ‘conviction to philosophy;’ they have nothing in common with governments which must adhere to the rules of law.
Taxing major religious institutions would mean millions of dollars towards deficit reduction. Most importantly, it would be fair. Religions have voided their contract which allowed them to be tax exempt. They are one of the largest lobbies in Washington, and heavily political in nature.
By James Turnage