Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's Start Taxing the Church...

I keep hearing about the financial crisis in Europe. Several countries keep being mentioned, particularly Spain and Greece. I don’t think Italy is doing well at all either. In fact many countries have a huge debt these days…and you know what else they have a lot of? Catholic Churches. Churches that do not pay taxes, but have plenty of money and land and assets. Why shouldn’t they contribute to the economies of the countries that support them? They can well afford to pay and maybe it’s time their “free ride” stopped.

I learned that not only doesn’t the Catholic Church pay taxes, but their affiliated universities and hospitals also don’t pay taxes. They are considered non-profit. My daughter and I both attended a Catholic university and the tuition was just as high or higher than other private schools. How is it they don’t make a profit charging thousands of students $30,000 per year tuition? Why should religious institutions of any kind get special treatment? They are very vocal when it comes to politics and issues. They are protected by the military, the police, the fire department, just like everyone else. 

Small churches, that are actually non-profit, and do good with the money they collect, should maybe be exempt from taxes. But larger churches, that are most certainly a business and are clearly making a profit, should give some of that money back to the government that supports them. I have read time and time again how much money the Catholic Church has and yet, when it comes to special charitable causes, instead of using the money they have amassed, they do an extra collection for that cause. Why are they permitted to amass money if they are non-profit? Who does their accounting? Who are they accountable to?  Something is surely not right with this picture. 

Let’s not forget that everyone’s taxes, religious or not, pays for the services that the church is only to happy to benefit from. If there is a crime committed against the church, the police are involved, and who pays the police? Whose taxes pay to have a strong military to protect our whole country? We cannot pick and choose who our tax dollars go to help. The church doesn’t call in private investigators to solve their crimes. They have all the advantages that come from everyone’s tax dollars without having to contribute one thin dime. 

I don’t see the big churches doing much good for the community or anyone. I see them prosper while everyone around them is struggling. How can they continue to prosper when the world economy is so bad if their donations come from those who can ill afford to give? The good they are doing is not so much for others, as it is for themselves.

All churches benefiting from our tax dollars and operating as a business should pay their fair share of taxes; property tax, sales tax, income tax and any other tax.

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