Unlike most American’s, Churches do not pay taxes. This IRS guide quickly explains it, but it’s pretty simple: organizations that do good for our community get a tax exception.
Now, that tax exception is supposed to come with strings attached. That was the point when President Johnson created the law in 1954. He was tired of religious organizations shaping public policy, and offered them the option to apply to receive a tax break by offering a 501c3 status when it comes to their tax forms. In exchange, they would not be able to participate in politics.
According to the IRS, they aren’t supposed to.
But there are loops holes. Mass loops holes, and that’s exactly what churches have been using to influence voters, and get church-goers to donate to campaigns like those who supposed proposition 8 in California.
One of the biggest proponents of the anti-marriage amendment was the Mormon Church, properly known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Currently, they are estimated to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 billion dollars (according to estimates by Time magazine). The Catholic Church, also a huge supporter of bigotry in the political realm, is worth 423 billion dollars (according to a 2000 audit). They are considered, by some, the “the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence.”
Now, do not get me wrong, I have no problem with a charity organization having a huge sum of money to back them up. What I do have a problem with, is them not paying taxes. Imagine if some 500 billion dollars was taxed. What would our deficit look like?
Additionally, these churches used to do a heck of a lot more for their communities. They used to provide homeless shelters for those who had no place to go. They used to provide food banks for the hungry. In this economy, they have not created more, in fact, food banks are “still struggling ” according to this.
That’s a problem with me. If they are not going to provide more access to the needs of their communities, and instead find loop holes to participate in the politics, then that’s their decision, and they should have to pay for it.
Other iREADray.com posts to enjoy:
My Gay Love For Mormons. Growing up gay in Arizona I have experienced first hand the struggle Mormon’s face with fully accepting the gay community. I have had Mormon friends say they love me in the same sentence they said marriage should be a union between one man and one woman. Simply, when it comes to the issues important to the gay community, how Mormon’s incorporate it and feel about it is…READ MORE
The Mormon Influence Over Mitt Romney. While running for office in 2008, Governor Mitt Romney gave a speech on religion, and how his religion has steered his life, privately and politically. But folks are still unsure if they would vote for him, simply because he is a follower of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I have given lots of thought to Governor Romney’s religion, and what influence it would play if he were elected… READ MORE