“Right now, churches are tax-exempt because they’re supposed to be non-profit organizations. And if you aren’t laughing hysterically at that notion, I have a few business deals I’d like to discuss with you…”
By Rachel Birdsell
A federal judge in Wisconsin recently ruled that the Freedom from Religion Foundation could sue the IRS for failing to enforce the ban on partisan politicking by non-profit organizations, namely churches. The IRS has never enforced it that I know of, and there has most definitely been preachers standing at the pulpit telling their congregations who they should vote for.
So, if the IRS isn’t going to enforce it, they should just start taxing the churches. Right now, churches are tax-exempt because they’re supposed to be non-profit organizations. And if you aren’t laughing hysterically at that notion, I have a few business deals I’d like to discuss with you. All you have to do is look at the million dollar churches that are being built, and the preachers who are flying around in private jets. That seems pretty profitable to me.
If churches lost their tax-exempt status, it would mean $71 billion in taxes every year, and that’s a pretty decent chunk of change. In fact, it could go directly to food stamps or healthcare. That would make churches a little less like Six Flags Over Jesus and more like Jesus’ Health Clinic and Food Kitchen.
Churches have become businesses, so we should treat them as such. They’re all selling the promise of an afterlife and some even sell the idea that the more you give to the church, the more you’ll be blessed in this life. Guess what? There isn’t proof for either of those things. When other businesses sell non-tangible products with no proof of any benefits, we call them rip-offs. But when churches do it in the name of God, people keep shoveling money into the offering plates.
Some people argue that if the government starts taxing churches, it will interfere with people’s right to freely practice their religion of choice. When I hear this, my BS detector goes into overtime. Not one time has Target being taxed ever interfered with my ability to freely enjoy shopping there. Does a ballpark being taxed interfere with you freely enjoying a ball game? Taxes won’t give the government the right to tell church members what they can and can’t believe. It won’t stop the parishioners from going to church as much as they want. In fact, church goers, you know what? You don’t even need a church to practice your religion. Crazy, isn’t it? The only thing that having churches pay taxes will do is to end the free ride they’ve had since the inception of this country.
Do you want to know who else would be in favor of churches being taxed? Jesus Christ. When asked about paying taxes he replied, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” So, before you fire off that scathing email to me telling me what an idiot I am for thinking that churches should pay taxes, just keep in mind that Jesus has my back on this one.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org