Should Places of Worship Be Tax Exempt?

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  #31  
Old 01-13-2015, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by njbchbum View Post
What justification can you offer for taxing the "ostentatious architectural palace" from the not ostentatious despite all structures being attached to a religious denomination?

Why is what is good for one not good for another?
I don't have to give you justification! The ostentatious architectural palaces are the ones that stick in one's mind. The 20' x 35' little box down some dirt road are the ones you don't remember.

What is good for one IS good for the other, however.

I have always been a believer that the real estate part (land and structure) of houses of worship should be taxed. These grand mausoleums which are constructed because of someone's ego (?) do not have to be built with the best of everything. To begin with, let's go back to the basic reason for their existence.
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Last edited by Bonanza; 01-13-2015 at 04:11 PM. Reason: punctuation
  #32  
Old 01-13-2015, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bonanza View Post
I don't have to give justification! The ostentatious architectural palaces are the ones that stick in one's mind. The 20' x 35' little box down some dirt road are the ones you don't remember.

What is good for one IS good for the other, however.

I have always been a believer that the real estate part (land and structure)of houses of worship should be taxed. These grand mausoleums which are constructed because of someone's ego (?) do not have to be built with the best of everything. To begin with, let's go back to their basic reason for being.
I agree with you. Tax them all. Except for the portion of their properties that are used for schools. And tax them all at the same rate as other structures. Let their pocketbooks then decide how big they can be.

Look at the Crystal Cathedral in LA, for example. Outrageous, and its church ultimately filed for bankruptcy, only to have this monstrosity bought by the Catholic Church, which has started renovations. Someone said the money the church makes is given to charity. I guess the"minus" the money used to pay for this edifice and its renovation.
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  #33  
Old 01-13-2015, 04:42 PM
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My opinion is that it would have been better to have created a Constitution which specified that all property be taxed. However that is not what we have. The SCOTUS has settled this issue. Church property is not taxable. It is the flip side of the wall of separation. The power to tax a church is the power to destroy a church.

Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Things get tricky when the church owns a hospital or a store. It gets tricky when I claim my house is a church for my religion of one person. It gets tricky when what some don't think is a church buys a big piece of their city.

Could an argument be made that the church gets fire protection, gets it's streets plowed and resurfaced, gets government subsidized electricity and gas. And that the cost of those and all the other government services is having to be picked up by taxpayers who may have far less (or more) ability to pay. Why should I be paying to supply fire protection to a church?
That is the argument rejected by the Court in Walz as the justices felt the entanglement of forcing citizens to support a church via their taxes was less problematic than allowing direct taxation of the churches. Justice Douglas dissented arguing the opposite.

Maybe we just should have an amenity fee and a bond applied to every structure built. Hmm
  #34  
Old 01-13-2015, 04:54 PM
onslowe onslowe is offline
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An awful lot of drum banging here today, as Gracie and I predicted. Some humble thoughts:

1. No one has talked about the 1st Amendment, even in the mistaken use given by the anti-churchers and anti-religionists.

2. That amendment also says that Congress may make no law 'impeding' the free exercise of religion. Maybe that's the hoped for result: churches will go bankrupt (especially with the curious statements about 'tax them all at the same rate' as other real estate. Hmm, maybe the church would close down or wither away, and some dark victory could be achieved.

3. The beautiful medieval cathedrals are one example of mankind expressing its adoration and worship of God. I think that most churches today, big or small, in many ways duplicate that feeling.

4. I think the word 'mausoleum' was used to refer to churches and church property. I'm sure that was an error.

5. I personally do not agree with the lack of good example, good sense, and good taste displayed by many bishops and other clergy. But, I thankfully can separate those comparatively few misdeeds from this thread's focussed attack on church tax exemption.

6. The stridency of some posts here, and an accompanying lack of coherence or plain and simple thought leads me to be assured that there are ulterior motives present far away from selfless 'civic' duty of American citizens still living under a battered but still strong Constitution.

My post is edited to reflect fact that it was posted after Blueash's post above and its reference to the 1st Amendment.
  #35  
Old 01-13-2015, 07:36 PM
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Thank you blueash and onslowe! Could not agree with you each more!
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  #36  
Old 01-13-2015, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by DougB View Post
All the NFL team owners and players pay taxes. The NFL League Office doesn't because it is classified as a Trade Organization.
All of the congregation and pastors and other employees of the church pay taxes as well. I rest my case.
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  #37  
Old 01-13-2015, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DougB View Post
All the NFL team owners and players pay taxes. The NFL League Office doesn't because it is classified as a Trade Organization.
All of the congregation and pastors and other employees of the church pay taxes as well. Looks like a wash to thoughts above. I rest my case.
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  #38  
Old 01-13-2015, 08:12 PM
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When the early immigrants arrived in the USA they built plain churches in New England and in the cities they built beautiful cathedrals with gorgeous stained glass windows. My wife and I love to visit churches around the world and are awed by the beautiful architecture, statues, and paintings that all have a religious and spiritual theme. Such beauty! Today when churches are built they often are much plainer and less costly. We just had a large church built to house the huge number of parishioners that have joined the church, and this church is beautiful in its simplicity and has no costly stained glass windows. I, personally, wish they could have gotten some from a closed, inner city church, but that is not to be. Those early immigrants who pitched in to fund and build those inner city churches loved their congregations and sacrificed financially because they believed and had faith in their chosen religion.

I think we should continue to allow non profits such as churches and 501 3c organizations to remain tax exempt. I love that we have these organizations. They help so many people and without their work our government would have to step in and fund some of their work and this would be very expensive.
  #39  
Old 01-13-2015, 09:17 PM
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Quite an inspiring thread.

One thread just to attack certain or all religions, while of course excluding from attack professional sports.

One thread to attack the wisdom of our founding fathers, the Supreme Court, and many other government offices.

One thread to talk about so many cliches about certain religions.

And of course a thread to attack other posters.

Inspiring for sure.
  #40  
Old 01-14-2015, 11:16 AM
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Disagree that it is a first amendment issue. Taxing the business of religion, and as I see it, it is most certainly a business, is the correct thing to do. Our tax laws are a joke. I work weekly at a church, I see the constant cries for money. Some times up to 3 separate collections. Just does not seem right to me. Like everyone else, pay your taxes and live within your means.
  #41  
Old 01-14-2015, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Rags123 View Post
Quite an inspiring thread.

One thread just to attack certain or all religions, while of course excluding from attack professional sports.

One thread to attack the wisdom of our founding fathers, the Supreme Court, and many other government offices.

One thread to talk about so many cliches about certain religions.

And of course a thread to attack other posters.

Inspiring for sure.


Thank you Rags. This thread has been enlightening in many depressing ways.
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  #42  
Old 01-14-2015, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happydaz View Post
When the early immigrants arrived in the USA they built plain churches in New England and in the cities they built beautiful cathedrals with gorgeous stained glass windows. My wife and I love to visit churches around the world and are awed by the beautiful architecture, statues, and paintings that all have a religious and spiritual theme. Such beauty! Today when churches are built they often are much plainer and less costly. We just had a large church built to house the huge number of parishioners that have joined the church, and this church is beautiful in its simplicity and has no costly stained glass windows. I, personally, wish they could have gotten some from a closed, inner city church, but that is not to be. Those early immigrants who pitched in to fund and build those inner city churches loved their congregations and sacrificed financially because they believed and had faith in their chosen religion.

I think we should continue to allow non profits such as churches and 501 3c organizations to remain tax exempt. I love that we have these organizations. They help so many people and without their work our government would have to step in and fund some of their work and this would be very expensive.
The Church I grew up in Philadelphia is closed, was beautiful. Maybe we should ask Father Peter if we can try to get some of the old stain glassed windows from closed churches. Wouldn't need the blinds to block the sunlight at the 8.
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  #43  
Old 01-14-2015, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Bavarian View Post
The Church I grew up in Philadelphia is closed, was beautiful. Maybe we should ask Father Peter if we can try to get some of the old stain glassed windows from closed churches. Wouldn't need the blinds to block the sunlight at the 8.
I have a cousin who is a professor at Holy Cross and is a stained glass expert. One interesting fact is that she has gone out West in the US to study stained glass. During the 1800's European churches that closed sold their stained glass to American churches. Maybe we could recycle some of those beautiful windows. I think it is great idea!
  #44  
Old 01-14-2015, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by janmcn View Post
The same can be said for all of downtown Clearwater which is owned by the Scientologists.
My bet is that the Jacksonville First Baptist gives more to the community of Jacksonville than it would pay in property taxes----if that was the law.
And I am not a Baptist---for what it's worth.
Further, the same could be said about many many churches.
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  #45  
Old 01-14-2015, 04:55 PM
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No entity, company, or person should be tax exempt.
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