Fix the System

The poltical system of the USA is facing major issues of which the average citizen is unaware. The power to fix these issues lies solely in the hands of the public.

Location: Peabody, Massachusetts, United States

Friday, December 16, 2005

Keep your State outta my Church!

Why is it that so many politicians are so completely wrong when it comes to the separation of Church and State? Why do they think it is there to protect them? The concept of separating Church and State came about to protect religious freedom, not to protect the government.

I am disgusted with the current investigation of the IRS into the tax-exempt status of a Church because of the pastor making political comments. (See a Washington Post article) What the IRS is doing (surely by the nudging of someone higher up) strikes at the core of the first amendment.

It should be the burden of the IRS to prove that the primary function of the church in question is political and not religious before making such a threat.


Blogger Scott said...

I agree with your premise, but where in the first amendment does it say churches should never pay taxes?

IRS rules allow tax-exempt status from charitable organizations and then only on money used for charitable or educational purposes. IRS investigations into churches has nothing to do with the first amendment and everything to do with a church's use of tax-free money.

They would do the same thing to the United Way or to Habitat for Humanity if they engaged in activity outside the scope of tax-exempt guidelines.

In fact, that's why many organizations with part (but not all) charitable purposes create a subsidiery company that is 100% charitable, while the parent can spend money on non-charitable purposes (but not get tax-deductible donations).

6:20 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

You make a very valid point. The government does have a right to regulate when they give financial benefits (grants or tax breaks) to an organization. In some ways you could say the problem is that they decided to give churches tax-exempt status in the first place.

When the government regulates, they are essentially deciding what is appropriate behavior. The first ammendment more or less states that the government has no right to do that to churches.

So what we are left with is a situation where the government must either give the benefit to all churches equally, or to none. To give the benefit based on behavior is exerting undue influence.

10:41 PM  

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