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Are Churches Making Atheists Bankrupt?

Hijinx

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This could have been posted in the religion section, but I think it may be considered too critical...so I put it here.

Taken from wearepeople2.com (follow link for full article): "The church exists as a singular entity within societies, that aren't subject to the limitations from our laws and government, but receive all the benefits. Churches exist as a parasite on society where we (atheists) supply most of their money, and they take all of it."

They receive tax-paid services like access to the police or fire department, yet they don't help fund either. We're then required to pick up the slack that churches don't pay... Well there is truth behind it but there is more to the story, right?

Do the communal services churches supply make up for the taxes they don't pay? Taxing them could be a viable solution, but would it get in the way of their day-to-day operations?

I'm likely missing something here, so if so please explain :)
 

rocket88

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I'd be hard pressed to say that atheists make more money than believers. Believers also pay taxes, and they want their churches (and synagogues, temples, mosques, meeting houses....whatever they call it) protected.
 

Cameron

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I think the logic is that churches (and other nonprofits) benefit the community in ways that for profit companies do not, justifying their different tax treatment.

Another way to put it might be that the goal of these organizations is generally to benefit the community and increase the total welfare of citizens, which is generally also the goal of the government. So in a way the government is declining to tax them because they are doing the government's job.

But the second paragraph gets a little tricky in the case of religious nonprofits, because with the separation of church and state it is problematic for the government to delegate its duties to religious organizations.
 

davidtaylorjr

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This could have been posted in the religion section, but I think it may be considered too critical...so I put it here.

Taken from wearepeople2.com (follow link for full article): "The church exists as a singular entity within societies, that aren't subject to the limitations from our laws and government, but receive all the benefits. Churches exist as a parasite on society where we (atheists) supply most of their money, and they take all of it."

They receive tax-paid services like access to the police or fire department, yet they don't help fund either. We're then required to pick up the slack that churches don't pay... Well there is truth behind it but there is more to the story, right?

Do the communal services churches supply make up for the taxes they don't pay? Taxing them could be a viable solution, but would it get in the way of their day-to-day operations?

I'm likely missing something here, so if so please explain :)
Churches provide a great service to society as a whole, and even help where government cannot. That being said, churches are not the only organizations that receive these kids of benefits, so why would you single them out?
 

clownboy

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This could have been posted in the religion section, but I think it may be considered too critical...so I put it here.

Taken from wearepeople2.com (follow link for full article): "The church exists as a singular entity within societies, that aren't subject to the limitations from our laws and government, but receive all the benefits. Churches exist as a parasite on society where we (atheists) supply most of their money, and they take all of it."

They receive tax-paid services like access to the police or fire department, yet they don't help fund either. We're then required to pick up the slack that churches don't pay... Well there is truth behind it but there is more to the story, right?

Do the communal services churches supply make up for the taxes they don't pay? Taxing them could be a viable solution, but would it get in the way of their day-to-day operations?

I'm likely missing something here, so if so please explain :)
You're missing that all the church members are taxed before they get to church. There is no link, but everything you quoted from wearepeople2.com is absolutely false.
 

davidtaylorjr

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I think the logic is that churches (and other nonprofits) benefit the community in ways that for profit companies do not, justifying their different tax treatment.

Another way to put it might be that the goal of these organizations is generally to benefit the community and increase the total welfare of citizens, which is generally also the goal of the government. So in a way the government is declining to tax them because they are doing the government's job.

But the second paragraph gets a little tricky in the case of religious nonprofits, because with the separation of church and state it is problematic for the government to delegate its duties to religious organizations.
The church and other non-profits aren't there to do the Government's job, they provide services the government either cannot, or does extremely poorly because government wasn't intended for it.
 

Knowledge=power

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I've always wondered this...

I've seen some churches that look like castles - extremely extravagant and large - costing huge sums of money to build and maintain.

Where does that money come from???? The offering plate??? Doubt it.
 

Hard Truth

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This could have been posted in the religion section, but I think it may be considered too critical...so I put it here.

Taken from wearepeople2.com (follow link for full article): "The church exists as a singular entity within societies, that aren't subject to the limitations from our laws and government, but receive all the benefits. Churches exist as a parasite on society where we (atheists) supply most of their money, and they take all of it."

They receive tax-paid services like access to the police or fire department, yet they don't help fund either. We're then required to pick up the slack that churches don't pay... Well there is truth behind it but there is more to the story, right?

Do the communal services churches supply make up for the taxes they don't pay? Taxing them could be a viable solution, but would it get in the way of their day-to-day operations?

I'm likely missing something here, so if so please explain :)
Many of the larger religions have already spun off their charitable functions so that they can get government grants and contracts and receive donations from people outside of their religion. Other religions can do the same for their legitimate charitable work. Otherwise religions should be taxed and treated legally the same as other private membership benefitting clubs such as country clubs, social groups etc. The first amendment doesn´t guarantee a tax break, and in fact, suggests that there shouldn´t be one.
 

clownboy

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I've always wondered this...

I've seen some churches that look like castles - extremely extravagant and large - costing huge sums of money to build and maintain.

Where does that money come from???? The offering plate??? Doubt it.
That's exactly where it comes from. Where do you think church funds come from? Btw, the plate they pass around is not the sum total of the donations churches receive. Some tithing and donation is done separately.
 

Hard Truth

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Churches provide a great service to society as a whole, and even help where government cannot. That being said, churches are not the only organizations that receive these kids of benefits, so why would you single them out?
Some religions benefit society, others don´t, and some are harmful. Religions have a special tax status that is different from other non-profits. Other types of non-profits have to prove that they provide a benefit to the community.
 

brothern

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I've always wondered this...

I've seen some churches that look like castles - extremely extravagant and large - costing huge sums of money to build and maintain.

Where does that money come from???? The offering plate??? Doubt it.
Actually, yes. Most all of those megachurches have megadonors. When I was a Christian, I attended a nondenominational church at one point. There were several times when during a fundraising drive, the pastor would announce he found five and six figure checks on his desk. It's considered "godly".
 

LowDown

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Churches provide a great service to society as a whole, and even help where government cannot. That being said, churches are not the only organizations that receive these kids of benefits, so why would you single them out?
There are a lot of tax exempt organizations that I have to pay more taxes to "take up the slack" for that I don't necessariy value or appreciate. But we have agreed to extend this status to organizations that can be said to benefit the community in some way.

Most of us contribute to at least some tax free organizations, and we'd prefer to see our contributions going toward whatever it is we'd like to see done rather than to the government. If there's no value in what they proport to do I assume they wouldn't be getting contributions.
 

davidtaylorjr

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Some religions benefit society, others don´t, and some are harmful. Religions have a special tax status that is different from other non-profits. Other types of non-profits have to prove that they provide a benefit to the community.
Religious organizations provide benefit by default.
 

lizzie

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Actually, yes. Most all of those megachurches have megadonors. When I was a Christian, I attended a nondenominational church at one point. There were several times when during a fundraising drive, the pastor would announce he found five and six figure checks on his desk. It's considered "godly".
Well, it's also a tax write-off for the person who gives it, and I suspect that the "big money" donors do it, at least in part, for that reason. I'm not even religious in a dogmatic sense, and I've considered giving decent sums of money to churches, just so that the government doesn't get it. At least churches tend to provide humanitarian services with their income, rather than wasting it on 25 thousand dollar toilets, and "losing" it in bureaucracy.
 
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I'd be hard pressed to say that atheists make more money than believers. Believers also pay taxes, and they want their churches (and synagogues, temples, mosques, meeting houses....whatever they call it) protected.
What is the rationale for this tax exemption? Simply because churches are nonprofit?
 

brothern

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That's exactly where it comes from. Where do you think church funds come from? Btw, the plate they pass around is not the sum total of the donations churches receive. Some tithing and donation is done separately.
I would also make note that when it comes to fraud and shady money practices, nonprofits are 10x worse than for profit organizations. Churches included. You only need to take a gander at that Preacher of LA tv show or the 700 Club to get that they "fundraise" on almost a daily basis. Or that, for example, Cardinal Timothy Dolan tried to hide $57 million in Church funds in Milwaukee in 2007 from the child sex abuse victims that were suing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Never equate Christian religiousity with morality, it's a terrible mistake.
 

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Well, it's also a tax write-off for the person who gives it, and I suspect that the "big money" donors do it, at least in part, for that reason. I'm not even religious in a dogmatic sense, and I've considered giving decent sums of money to churches, just so that the government doesn't get it. At least churches tend to provide humanitarian services with their income, rather than wasting it on 25 thousand dollar toilets, and "losing" it in bureaucracy.
No they just build $4.7 million aquariums.
Be Ye Fishers of Men…. And Build Aquariums? | Parallax Perspective

That cost doesn't include the two full time marine biologists, and six certified dietrists.
 

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I would also make note that when it comes to fraud and shady money practices, nonprofits are 10x worse than for profit organizations. Churches included. You only need to take a gander at that Preacher of LA tv show or the 700 Club to get that they "fundraise" on almost a daily basis. Or that, for example, Cardinal Timothy Dolan tried to hide $57 million in Church funds in Milwaukee in 2007 from the child sex abuse victims that were suing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Never equate Christian religiousity with morality, it's a terrible mistake.
And what does any of that have to do with the answer I gave in the post you quoted?
 

Hard Truth

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Religious organizations provide benefit by default.
No, they provide entertainment, just like a nightclub. The only difference is religious people are conned into thinking that it gets them a ticket to heaven.
 

LowDown

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Hog wash groups like the American Family Association are a detriment and a drag on society.
In your opinion.

Not that I support AFA. There are a ton of tax exempt organizations that I don't appreciate. But we've agreed to extend tax exempt status to organizations if at least some people see what they do as valuable to the community.
 

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Ah, so this is just another simplistic and stupid dump on christianity thread - lame.
 

davidtaylorjr

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No, they provide entertainment, just like a nightclub. The only difference is religious people are conned into thinking that it gets them a ticket to heaven.
That is your incorrect assumption, by that I am assuming you are also an Athiest and therefore can't really speak on the matter of religion.
 

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No, they provide entertainment, just like a nightclub. The only difference is religious people are conned into thinking that it gets them a ticket to heaven.
People freely choose to join religious organizations. Presumably they see them as valuable. Your opinion of them in that context is completely irrelevant. I see no value at all and quite a lot of potential harm in atheistic organizations (a bunch of puerile libertines, basically) but my opinion should not prevent them from getting this sort of privilege if they can demonstate benefit to the community.
 
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