If Churches Paid Taxes…

February 27, 2014

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This just popped up on my Facebook page. I don’t know if the figures above are valid but they are rather sobering. Yes, the church should be taking care of all these things and obviously they are not.  But they could be if we forced them to do it via taxes.

What an interesting thought!!!

8 responses to If Churches Paid Taxes…

  1. 

    An interesting headline indeed! The figure cited above appears to be 100% of what Americans donate to religious organizations. It is, of course, entirely implausible they could be “taxed” at a rate that would approach 100% of their donations. In my area, contributions to churches, to the extent not used for personnel, utilities, etc., go substantially to providing for the homeless and hungry (and elderly and sick). So in my neighborhood, the concept illustrated above would simply rob Peter to pay Paul. And in that case, Peter would just go into hiding…

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    • 

      Thanks for the comment Steve. I just have a couple of things in response. You are only looking at taxing contributions but what about property taxes, real estate, and other types. I know the Catholic church alone probably has trillions of dollars in untaxed real estate in the U.S. I found an article that showed just one county in Maryland where churches had over $750 million in exempt properties.

      I am very glad that your church spends substantially in helping the poor but the statistics just don’t bear that out for the overall population. I don’t have the statistics at hand but I seem to remember a Barna study showing that less then 3% of church giving actually gets outside the church hierarchy.

      I also found that total charity giving for 2012 was about $320 billion and giving to the local church accounted for significantly more than half that amount.

      So, the figures shown in the graphic might not be that far off. Interesting indeed.

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  2. 

    I agree. That’s one hundred percent donations. It’s obviously that I am a big believer in helping the homeless. That said the churches should not be taking care of all these things, we as a nation should be doing that. yes, churches by faith have a mission and an obligation. but it is not the job of the churches to eliminate homelessness or hunger in the us.

    As to the fact that they are not doing it now, I personally do not know of any church that does not contribute to poverty and homelessness (and aids research and hospice and any one of another things)

    Having said, that, the primary purpose of a church is to worship God, period. And that is as it should be, according to the new testament, We are supposed to worship god alone and in private and in church as a group. We are also called to educate children in the bible and a host of other things. So taking away all of the contributions to church defeats the purpose. And I personally don’t believe that because someone is called to be a priest that they are called to live with their families in poverty

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    • 

      Thanks for the interesting reply Barb (edited). Of course you realize that there are many conservative evangelicals out there that take the opposite stand. They say that it IS the churches job and that we should get the government out of the business of helping the poor.

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  3. 

    That was “Barb”….not me (Jane). I’m staying out of this one. I don’t even start on my former church (Catholic) of which I am deeply unhappy.

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  4. 

    Our church operates a food bank and performs many other community services! if we paid taxes, the needy would never see the money. Long live separation of church and state!

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    • 

      Good for you guys Jane. It is heartening to see some of church’s contributions going for the poor. Keep it up….

      But then again many say that exempting churches from paying their share is anything but separation. To them separation means equal treatment no matter what your affiliation. Why should churches get special treatment?

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