Repeal tax breaks for religions and church-goers
I read on Politico this morning that Pastor Rick Warren, author of a book my mom keeps wishing I'd read, Tweeted (but then deleted) the following: "HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero. So they’re happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay taxes.”
First off, let's start with the fact that this isn't true. Yes, many Americans don't pay income taxes, but they likely pay other taxes, such as payroll taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, property taxes, and somesuch. Whether the current tax burden is fairly shared is a legitimate debate, but let's please start with the truth.
In that debate, I'd like to raise this question: Why are churches tax-exempt? Why do churchgoers get to deduct the contributions to their churches? Why do pastors get tax breaks?
Here's something interesting: Google told me to read a New York Times article from 2006, which explains how Rick Warren fought for tax breaks for pastors.
I see the value in religion. I grew up attending Catholic schools my whole life, was once studying to be a priest, and still occasionally go to church. But I don't think non-church-going taxpayers should subsidize my religion.
Yes, many churches do good charitable work, which benefits society. Fine. Let them take a tax deduction for that work (with sufficient proof, of course), but not get a tax break for everything else they do and have.
I'm sure you have an opinion about this, perhaps even an article that estimates how much all these faith-based tax breaks costs America. I'm all ears. I might even pray about it.