Should Churches Have To Stay Out of Politics to Remain Tax Exempt - Page 2
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Thread: Should Churches Have To Stay Out of Politics to Remain Tax Exempt

  1. #11
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    I was actually going to say that it seems like churches should be able to say whatever they want, although I do think it's hypocritical that churches want government to stay out of their business, but want to be involved in government business by influencing voting.

    However, I just read an interesting argument that makes more sense to me. What they said is that since churches are tax exempt, and you actually get tax credit for donating to them, in effect if churches are allowed to get involved in politics, that is a way that people could donate to political campaigns tax free and even receiving credit for doing so. From there, they speculated that politicians could in essence set up their own "churches" that are basically just a front for getting the biggest bang for their donation buck. The whole thing gets messy fast. So that makes sense to me. It's not fair that my political contributions are not tax deductible since I don't go to church, but other people's political contributions would be as long as they funneled it through a church. I know you can say that I could still donate to a church that backs my political choice, but it just seems weird and messy to put churches in the middle of that anyway, and I also don't necessarily want to give my money to a church that may use part of it towards the political campaign and part of it to fund activities that I may not agree with as a non-religious person just so I can get a tax write off.

    Also, can I just say that it seems like a bit of an abuse of power for a church leader to use their authority over people to try to influence who they will vote for. I'm not saying I think that should be against the law, but it does seem unethical to me. I stopped donating money to the ACLU (who I do think does a lot of good) because they called me to tell me who I should vote for in 2008. I agreed with everyone they said and already planned to vote that way, but it grossed me out that anyone felt like they could call me and tell me who I needed to vote for. I feel the same way about churches, only even more so because I feel like pastors probably have a lot more influence over their "flock" than the ACLU had over me.
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  2. #12
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    In my opinion, it is a separate debate if churches should be tax free or not. It does not and should not determine what a pastor can or can not preach about. There are many controversial topics that pastors preach about that could be limited if this precedent is set. Churches should have the right to preach anything at all without the worry that someone is going to come in and say they are going to close their doors.
    FTR, this precedent IS set, it has been the law since 1954. It's just that some preachers choose to ignore it, and most of the time the IRS looks the other way.
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    What about unions? My mother is a part of a union and they regularly send letters out saying what candidate is going to support their cause. If there is a candidate that is going to cut funding or not be in support of that union's policies, they tell there people who they want them to vote for all the time.

    It is the same thing. If there is a candidate that is going to limit freedom of religion, not be in support of the family, and be in support of killing babies, then I think it is only reasonable that a pastor should be able to tell the people of their church who is going to go against the church.
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    My understanding is that unions have to pay taxes on political contributions. Maybe that would be a good compromise - churches are tax exempt except for any political contributions?
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  5. #15
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    To me, it is one thing to say we do not support x, y, z in this church and another saying "HEY! I suggest you vote for Obama/Romney/Paul because I think they are the best candidate. Does not sit well with me.

    I don't like it when unions do it (my dad always ignores his whether he votes for that candidate or not) or any other organization. No one should be swaying your vote except the candidate.

  6. #16
    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    FTR, this precedent IS set, it has been the law since 1954. It's just that some preachers choose to ignore it, and most of the time the IRS looks the other way.
    The 1954 law was written so that no church could fund a campaign, not to inhibit pastors for making recommendations on candidates or issues.
    Last edited by mom3girls; 10-10-2012 at 03:47 PM. Reason: fixing weird wording
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  7. #17
    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    FTR, I would not ever attend a church that the pastor stood up and told me how to vote. I think they can remind us of the biblical references to issues, but then they need to stop. The only thing my pastor has ever done is to remind us to vote and speak to our youth group about the responsibility that comes with voting
    Lisa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    My understanding is that unions have to pay taxes on political contributions. Maybe that would be a good compromise - churches are tax exempt except for any political contributions?
    Political contributions? It is a different thing to say "These are the candidates that will support and back us and our values, these are the candidates that will be against us", then it is to give money to a campaign or be a part of a campaign.

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  9. #19
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    Political contributions? It is a different thing to say "These are the candidates that will support and back us and our values, these are the candidates that will be against us", then it is to give money to a campaign or be a part of a campaign.
    Yes. I agree. My thought on it is that if churches are doing political contributions, they should be taxed on those like anyone else would be. Otherwise, they should be able to say what they want from the pulpit.

    I will reiterate that I think it is unethical for pastors to use their position of authority to try to influence people's vote. But unethical or not, I'm willing to leave that up to the church goers themselves and whether they are willing to put up with that. I wouldn't, but that's not a big surprise is it? LOL
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by smsturner View Post
    I think churches should pay taxes unless they can prove with their financial records that their money is going to charitable works.
    Why should donated money be taxed? It has already been taxed once on the person who donated it why should it be double taxed?
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