Should Churches Be Taxed? The Short Answer – No!
I’ve seen this picture popping up more and more in libertarian circles. The picture has bothered me ever since I first saw it on a far-left Facebook page a few years ago. The fact that so-called “libertarians” keep advocating for this kind of action to be taken gives me great cause for concern.
Now, it’s entirely possible that it’s just a few left-leaning (maybe secretly Marxist) individuals that continue to post this to libertarian pages to troll libertarians, but I thought I’d put into words what it is about the meme and its call to action that I dislike so much.
- The idea of trying to take someone’s money because they have more than you (tax churches because pastors are rich) is far more than un-libertarian. It holds the underpinnings of Marxist re-distribution.
It’s the idea that, because someone has more than you, they must give some of it to you; it doesn’t matter how many people they share their wealth with already, it needs to be shared with you (we will get to this soon). This is just pure envy and lust in its most basic form.
- Why is it ok for sports stars, singers, and actors to have multi-million dollar homes but not pastors?
Is it really because you think it’s wrong for them to be wealthy? Or is it because you don’t like the pastor’s beliefs, or how they got their wealth? Why is it ok for Ellen or Oprah to be multi-millionaires but not a pastor?
Obviously that pastor provides a service that people are willing to pay for (I’m quite happy with that pun BTW) in the same way that a sports star or entertainer would. One can argue from the religious sense that this particular pastor is not teaching the religion properly and you can argue from a secular sense that you think religion is dumb, that’s fine, but it doesn’t negate his role in building a platform that people want to take part in. If people are willing to pay for the service he provides, what is that to you?
- The pastor pays taxes. For those who are worried that someone is getting away with exactly what you wish you could get away with (or that someone is not paying into the system you are leaching from) don’t worry, the pastor pays income tax like everyone else.
It’s only the churches themselves that are tax exempt, like every other religious organization and charity.
The reason for tax exemption is not even religious, it’s because the donations are given towards a charitable cause. Charity should not be taxed, and whether you agree with the beliefs of the charity or not does not change that, which brings me to my next point…
- Punishing people because you don’t like their beliefs is wrong! (disclaimer: this paragraph is completely assumptive) I’d be willing to bet that the majority of those who want churches to pay taxes really don’t like Christians much. Otherwise, why is it always churches? Why not mosques or synagogues? Why are they not going after the Baha’i temples or Buddhist places of worship? Why not go after United Way or the Red Cross?
Did you know that trying to marginalize and punish people because they don’t believe what you do is what the Catholic Church did during the inquisition? Congratulations on being just as bad as the inquisition.
This idea is something that has been a thread in every totalitarian ideology (and regime) from ancient times to the modern day “regressive left.”
- As a last point here I am going to add a comment I saw once on a Facebook thread for this picture. It hit the nail on the head so poignantly that I had to keep it.
(I didn’t save the name of the original author, but if you read this and remember writing it please reach out to me and I will give you the credit you are due. For now however, I will attribute it to “anonymous”)
“About this meme…It’s bullshit!
95% of pastors and churches are not mega churches. This particular one is in Dallas. The pastor doesn’t take a salary anymore and paid back every cent he was ever paid in the past. He is wealthy because he has several best sellers. This church gives away millions of dollars each year to charities and to their own ministries that serve their community.
Who do you think is feeding the poor? Most food pantries and homeless shelters are completely supported by churches. Not to mention the time donated by church members as volunteers. I haven’t the time to mention all the homes built, orphans that are supported or adopted, families that get counseling, and kids that go to camp.
I know a church of 80 people, that meet every week to make sack dinners during sports seasons so that the student athletes have dinner at away games (inner city parents work a lot and have evening hours so they can’t always make sure their kids have dinner).
I know another that buys thousands of dollars of school uniforms each year (a lot of urban schools in our area require uniforms), and still another that donates 400 (or more) bags of school supplies to the neighborhood school district. I know a pastor that donates 100’s of hours a year teaching poor moms how to cook healthy meals.
No one forces anyone to be religious. Don’t go to church if you don’t want to, but stop spreading propaganda like this. Christians are some of the most charitable people in the world. In general they take their responsibility to the poor very seriously. I won’t deny that Christianity has its issues but this is one area where they are doing better than many. Isn’t this kind of personal responsibility Libertarians should be supporting?
It’s true that Church you see is the Summit/Compaq center where the Rockets use to play, and It is completely funded by Donations. Sorry if you don’t like the fact Christians are way more charitable than the rest if the country. My wife and I are heavily involved in a mega church in Dallas, we donate a large portion of our income and my wife volunteers at a food pantry.
Your solution is to steal money which was voluntarily donated to a cause that is important to someone and redistribute it as you see fit – by force.
That’s the definition of statism and progressivism.” – Anonymous
Finally I will leave you with this article from Philanthropy.com. I’m not adding this to in anyway disparage people who are not religious; rather it’s to show that this idea of redistribution – through force – of voluntarily donated money (which more often than not is used to help millions of people) is wrong! It’s anti-liberty, anti-charity, and most of all anti-individual.
Instead of envying someone who’s done well for themselves (and in the process helped improve the lives of millions emotionally, mentally, and physically) why don’t you turn your gaze inward, and see how you can provide so much value to people that you can also have all those things – and then have someone try to sick the government on you out of envy.