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Re: Churches should pay taxes

Postby Sure Breeze » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:15 pm

The first half of your reply has no relevance on any tax issues.

Tax exemption of religious entities goes back to England. It's not like England taxed its churches in the colonial period and once the US became independent, we removed those taxes.

My points with you is that tax-exemption isn't part of SCS.
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Re: Churches should pay taxes

Postby jimwalton » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:16 pm

> The first half of your reply has no relevance on any tax issues.

Correct. Not specifically. It was only to show that the intent of SCS had everything to do with non-interference of the gov't in church life.

> Tax exemption of religious entities goes back to England. It's not like England taxed its churches in the colonial period and once the US became independent, we removed those taxes.

In England, churches were state-sponsored, run, and legislated. Our FF wanted specifically to remove any gov't entanglement with religious practice.

> My points with you is that tax-exemption isn't part of SCS.

Not specifically, but my point is that the FF saw fit, as an extension of their understanding of the relationship of Church and State, to give churches tax exemption.

You're right that the SCS says nothing about taxation. Article 1, Sec. 8, Cl. 1 of the Constitution gives the Federal Gov't the right to levy taxes on whom and how they wish. As far as I know, every court challenge to the notion of the tax-exemption of churches has failed, being deemed unconstitutional not in words but in principle. If you know any different, I'll be glad to look it over.

And I found that article from the Yale Law Journal interesting. I'm curious if you skimmed it, especially from p. 1304 for a few pages.
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Re: Churches should pay taxes

Postby Sure Breeze » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:53 am

> It was only to show that the intent of SCS had everything to do with non-interference of the gov't in church life.

This is mostly correct. I'd be nitpicky to point out that it goes both ways: interference between church and state. It's not a one-way street where government doesn't interfere in church life while church life can interfere with government. It's not a one-way wall.

> In England, churches were state-sponsored, run, and legislated.

Were they taxed? No? Then my point is correct.

> Our FF wanted specifically to remove any gov't entanglement with religious practice.

I agree.

> my point is that the FF saw fit, as an extension of their understanding of the relationship of Church and State, to give churches tax exemption

That's not the key point of this discussion. FF didn't give churches tax exemption, they continued the already existing tax exemptions and they expanded it to all religions as opposed to having a state religion like England.

> You're right that the SCS says nothing about taxation.

This is our only argument. Looks like we agree, /thread :]

> I found that article from the Yale Law Journal interesting. I'm curious if you skimmed it, especially from p. 1304 for a few pages

I didn't click on it because we're not arguing tax exemption on churches. We're arguing whether SCS requires churches to be tax exempt and I'm arguing that it does not because it doesn't say anything about it.
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Re: Churches should pay taxes

Postby jimwalton » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:58 am

> I didn't click on it because we're not arguing tax exemption on churches. We're arguing whether SCS requires churches to be tax exempt and I'm arguing that it does not because it doesn't say anything about it.

This seems to be an odd statement. You led off your first post with "What about the separation of Church and State requires the Church to gain all the benefits of the State without paying their share of it?" and "the separation isn't that religious entities pay not (sic) taxes as if they live on some religious reservations that are not really part of the US." That sounds like an argument against tax exemption, and why I continued to discuss that angle.

You are right that the SCS doesn't require churches to be tax exempt. As you said, it says nothing about it. I was not arguing that it does, but only that there are many ways that churches being exempt make sense in a SCS environment.
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Re: Churches should pay taxes

Postby Sure Breeze » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:51 am

> That sounds like an argument against tax exemption

I am not arguing against tax exemption. I'm saying the SCS statement says nothing about tax exemptions. Therefore, "What about the separation of Church and State requires the Church to gain all the benefits of the State without paying their share of it?" This means that something OTHER than SCS is talking about tax-exemption for churches.

My only goal for religious organizations and tax exemptions isn't to remove the tax exemption but to remove religious tax exemptions and fold them all in under regular tax exemptions for all non-profits. This would increase the threshold for applying to be a tax exempt institution and it would increase reporting requirements for transparency reasons. But that's not my argument at all.

> You are right that the SCS doesn't require churches to be tax exempt.

Excellent, we agree and we're done now :]


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