Churches to challenge tax exemption law - separation of church and state

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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...A prominent conservative legal-advocacy group, however, has an idea: conservative churches should ignore the law -- and in the process, test the law -- on purpose.

Declaring that clergy have a constitutional right to endorse political candidates from their pulpits, the socially conservative Alliance Defense Fund is recruiting several dozen pastors to do just that on Sept. 28, in defiance of Internal Revenue Service rules.The effort by the Arizona-based legal consortium is designed to trigger an IRS investigation that ADF lawyers would then challenge in federal court. The ultimate goal is to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a 54-year-old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship [continued]
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/08/politics/animal/main4424757.shtml
 

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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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Whoops, I forgot to make a statement. :biggrin:

To be blunt, I see people who promote such ideas as anti-American, by definition. Many extreme-right churches have already become defacto political organizations. It seems clear to me that the latest is a blatent attempt to further this cause.
 
  • #3
chemisttree
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Whoops, I forgot to make a statement. :biggrin:

To be blunt, I see people who promote such ideas as anti-American, by definition. Many extreme-right churches have already become defacto political organizations. It seems clear to me that the latest is a blatent attempt to further this cause.
You MUST be kidding!!!!

The Internal Revenue Service is investigating a California church for allegedly violating the tax code that prohibits tax-exempt groups from endorsing political candidates. Rev. J. Edwin Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., discusses the case, which stems from a sermon given at the church just before election day in 2004 criticizing President Bush's administration.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5000672

Yeah, this is all about extreme-right churches...
 
  • #4
Ivan Seeking
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You MUST be kidding!!!!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5000672

Yeah, this is all about extreme-right churches...
In that event, let the chips fall where they may, but I have been complaining about the extreme right churches in this regard for years. I also get sick of the Catholics, who are not extreme right, promoting illegal immigration.

But let's see who is really on the bandwagon. This is an extreme-right issue if there ever was one.
 
  • #5
castlegates
I'm not an IRS fan, but I hope they enter the pew of these churches, when the money gets collected, and take a piece of the action. Extreme right, or extreme left, and anything in between, god has no place in the politics of man.
 
  • #6
turbo
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I lived in a small city once (Waterville, ME, and it is geographically tiny compared to outlying towns) in which a huge proportion of the property was owned by churches and colleges, and was tax-exempt. My wife and I rented a small apartment there because it was convenient to stores, work, etc, and she did not yet have a driver's license. The property taxes are brutal in that city, and the population is aging rapidly because younger people cannot afford to buy homes there and pay the property taxes.

I would love to see the city be able to tax income-earning properties owned by private colleges and churches, but that won't happen in my life-time.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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I'm all for forcing a showdown on this law: I'll trade you some right wing churches for some left wing "environmentalist" groups any day. It's about time for PETA, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club to lose their tax exemptions.
 
  • #8
LowlyPion
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I'm not an IRS fan, but I hope they enter the pew of these churches, when the money gets collected, and take a piece of the action. Extreme right, or extreme left, and anything in between, god has no place in the politics of man.
Are you suggesting that politics are not part of some intelligent design?
 
  • #9
turbo
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I'm all for forcing a showdown on this law: I'll trade you some right wing churches for some left wing "environmentalist" groups any day. It's about time for PETA, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club to lose their tax exemptions.
I'm with you on this one, Russ. There are all kinds of organizations that are either religious, educational, and/or manage to incorporate under some kind of public advocacy mantle (left, right, I don't care) that funnel huge amounts of cash around and don't contribute to the welfare of the society that allows and protects their existence.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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I'm all for forcing a showdown on this law: I'll trade you some right wing churches for some left wing "environmentalist" groups any day. It's about time for PETA, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club to lose their tax exemptions.
Why? What have they done to violate their tax exempt status?

Churches are allowed to push social agendas.

You don't believe in the separation of Church and State?
 
  • #11
turbo
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Why? What have they done to violate their tax exempt status?

Churches are allowed to push social agendas.

You don't believe in the separation of Church and State?
I believe that churches should not be able to force their doctrines onto others. I also believe that churches benefit from the protections of our governments (national, regional, local) and should help pay for the maintenance of those governments. Cut it any way you will, churches are businesses, and they haul in a lot of money selling "salvation", "comfort", etc - all intangibles with no up-front costs. The best performances that I have ever seen from churches involved community activism, in which parishes banded together to help people survive being burned out of their home, or help revive a badly-needed local program that benefited locals. The "charity" outreaches of some churches are laughable. When I was a kid in the '50's and '60's, the Roman Catholic church sent a steady stream of missionary preachers through our town begging us (immigrant Catholic French-Canadian families) for money for poor South American and African churches. At the very same time, the church was sending fund-raising creeps through the heavily French-Canadian towns of New Haven, Hartford, East Hartford, etc, begging for money for our "poor" churches in Maine that couldn't afford to replace furnaces, repair roofs, etc. It was a real eye-opener for a young teen, and once I figured it out, I never went back.
 
  • #12
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I'm all for forcing a showdown on this law: I'll trade you some right wing churches for some left wing "environmentalist" groups any day. It's about time for PETA, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club to lose their tax exemptions.
Isn't the partisan political arms of those environmental groups non-tax exempt? I thought it was only the educational and cultural sections that are tax exempt. It is the same way with churches, they can endorse an issue (like anti-abortion) but not a candidate. I don't believe there is any real difference in the way a church is treated and how the Sierra Club is treated.

Russ, I don't think you want the political arms of Sierra Club to become tax exempt. That is what you are asking for if this is tested and the churches win.
 

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