Should Churches Have To Pay Taxes?: Page 2 of 3

Should Churches Have To Pay Taxes?

That isn’t to say the churches perform zero charity work. They do, but not to the same capacity or standard as true non-profits. Most religious organizations do not function like these charities though; instead, they operate more like businesses providing a service to their patrons. And that’s a key point for me: churches and other religious institutions provide services to their patrons. Not for everyone, but for their patrons. We have a huge population asking why they need to pay higher insurance premiums to ensure medical health care coverage, but these same people often don’t see the problem with churches not paying taxes despite not helping everyone? Why should the non-religious subsidize religious superstitions?

Given, church employees do pay taxes on their salaries, but clergy get a number of write-offs that most people, including entrepreneurs, do not, like their physical living expenses. The pastor at my childhood church even had the cost of his car and gas covered because he sometimes used it to visit church members. Those tax exemptions never made much sense to me; if you’re receiving a salary and these tax write-offs, then things like praying for divine intervention in healing sick children is not charity- it’s your job. That’s what they are getting paid to do. And we haven’t even started tackling missionary trips yet.

There’s a difference in providing physical assistance, and spiritual assistance, and frankly, I’m tired of the two being equated to the same degree of charitable work. Prayers may make those praying feel good about themselves for momentarily thinking about others, but what do they do in helping to eradicate poverty or feed the hungry? I’m not sure why we continue to use the two interchangeably, because they’re not the same.