For the past two years, there has been a fair amount of talk concerning shared sacrifice. In theory it is a reasonable concept, but in practice it is non-existent. Republicans think it is reasonable for 98% of the population to share the sacrifice so the wealthiest 2% can avoid sacrificing anything. However, there is another class of Americans who avoid sharing or sacrificing and it is high-time they start contributing to America and stop living off the government dole. As more Americans are telling the government to increase taxes on corporations and their wealthy owners to pay down the deficit, create jobs, and rebuild America’s struggling economy, a silent cult of welfare recipients escapes the public’s ire regarding shared sacrifice.
Americans are complaining that the wealthy and corporations pay too little in taxes, but at least they pay something. The religious community though, is paying nothing and it is time they start contributing to their community, state, and Federal governments for the resources they consume and damage they have wrought on this country. It is finally the time to eliminate the tax-exempt, non-profit status of every church in America whether it is the vile Southern Baptist Convention affiliates, Islamic Mosques, Jewish Tabernacles or Buddhist monasteries. At the same time, the tax code must be revised to eliminate the double-dipping statutes that allow the clergy to avoid paying the same rate of income tax as the rest of the American population. Religion has taken welfare from the American people long enough and with communities laying off fire fighters, police officers, and school teachers while struggling to make ends meet, churches of every denomination are enjoying government entitlements working Americans never receive.
There is absolutely no valid reason to give churches tax-exempt status; in fact it is unconstitutional. Religious fanatics and normal people alike give myriad reasons for why churches should not pay property tax or income tax, but they are all based on the belief that religious people are special and deserve taxpayers’ largesse. Many Americans say that churches and the clergy are doing god’s work and warrant special privileges. If they are doing god’s work, then let god give them welfare now or make them wait till they die and go wherever they think they’re going for their reward. There are other Americans who claim Christian churches deserve welfare because they are doing good work in their communities. Nurses, teachers, fire-fighters, and police officers really do good work in their communities but they are not exempt from paying their fair share in taxes.
In nearly every city in America, there are giant churches sitting on prime real-estate or agricultural land and they pay absolutely nothing in property tax even though they benefit from taxpayer-funded services like roads, law enforcement, schools, and fire protection. In most cities, when churches sponsor evangelical activities, they demand and receive police officer-assisted traffic control and often block off public streets for their events. Who pays for the police officer’s overtime pay for such events? Taxpayers foot the bill with property and sales tax dollars that they are not exempt from paying because they are not special and are not doing god’s work.
There are members of the clergy who argue that not all churches or preachers are wealthy and it is unfair to portray all churches as equal. That argument does not hold water because all taxpayers are not equal either and regardless if a family lives in a $50,000 home or a million dollar palace; they have to pay property tax based on the assessed value of their property. Some of the mega-church complexes are worth millions of dollars and they pay no taxes. Other members of the clergy argue that regardless the size of the church, they do not profit from their god-work and should be exempt from taxation. It is patently absurd that a preacher who gives one or two sermons a week, owns a home and drives a luxury car is not profiting from their work. Except for the extremely wealthy and drug dealers, there are very few Americans who have no job or visible sign of income and still own their own home or drive expensive cars. Someone is profiting from selling superstition and campaigning from the pulpit to elect conservatives who give welfare to the wealthy and religious groups. It is time to end the tax-exempt, non-profit status for these swindlers.
Any two-bit charlatan with a bible and a cross can sign a piece of paper and avoid paying taxes on the money they fleece from their congregations. The tithes and contributions from congregations are also tax-deductible because the government sees fit to give write-offs for religious contributions because churches are non-profit organizations. The clergy not only avoids paying tax on profits from their fear-mongering sermons, they get tax breaks on their income because they are…special and do god’s work? A while back, the wretched Southern Baptist Convention preacher, Rick Warren, complained that working Americans who pay no taxes want to raise taxes on 50% of Americans who do pay. Warren is a scumbag for his un-Christian hatred of the poor, plus the obscene preacher gets tax breaks working-class Americans never see, but Warren never mentioned that in his attack on the poor.
America has a revenue problem and it is unfair that churches and their clergy are not paying their share for the resources they use. In Sacramento California, the sheriff made public service announcements telling residents to arm themselves and pray if they were assaulted or robbed because the city and county had to lay-off officers because of budget cuts. Instead of revoking church’s tax-exempt status and making them pay their share of taxes, county officials issued firearm licenses so taxpayers could protect themselves. Many people claim that if churches and the clergy are not campaigning from the pulpit, they should not lose their tax-exempt status. That is nonsense because whether or not a nurse, teacher, fire-fighter, or police officer works for a political campaign, they still have to pay taxes.
Churches and the clergy have had enough welfare from taxpayers and it is time to cease the obscene non-profit, tax-exempt status. The ridiculously unconstitutional practice must stop immediately and churches should be audited and taxed retroactively from the time the church filed the non-profit form with the IRS. In communities and states, teachers, nurses, police officers, and fire fighters who actually perform a service and do good work are being laid-off while churches and the clergy get tax-exempt status and breaks for preaching fear and discrimination. The Constitution is quite clear that religion is not privileged and should not receive anything from the government; that includes exemption from paying taxes. However, as long as Americans revere the clergy and their obscene mega-churches for doing god’s work, nothing will change and that is the biggest outrage of all. It is time to correct this outrage by eliminating tax-exemption for all churches starting with Rick Warren and his mega-church for being an insensitive dirt-bag and deviant anti-tax crusader.