Archive for October 25th, 2010

Tax the Churches

Monday, October 25th, 2010

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Do these words sound familiar?  They should – they’re the first words of our Bill of Rights.  Most Americans feel the separation of Church and State should be without question.  But lately, some large Christian organizations (and the usual fringe nuts) want to take a more active role in government.  They want to participate in political processes like Supreme Court Rulings and endorse candidates they favor.

I think that’s fine.  But as soon as you slip out of the “exclusively God -saving souls” business, you become just one more political action committee that should be taxed.  That’s right.  Property taxes (the Catholic Church is one of the largest land owners in Manhattan – tax free, of course), income taxes, school taxes, and tax on all those bingo games.

“Respecting an establishment of religion” is precisely what the Constitution intended to prohibit.  And “free exercise thereof” does not mean “free to skate” on the taxpayers’ dime.  Don’t Churches use the same services other corporation use – like fire and police departments and snow plowing?

Churches – if you want to play in the game, you’ve got to share the costs.  If you don’t, fine – but you shouldn’t have it both ways.  And if you want to get out, please start with all of those religious lobbyists who are cluttering the halls of Congress.