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-The Coming Attack on Church Tax Exemption

by Dr. D ~ April 14th, 2014

Logo of the Internal Revenue Service

                             (IRS logo: Wikipedia)

In the last five years or so there have been more lawsuits over the American church tax exemption than ever before in the entire history of the republic. However I believe that this is just the beginning and soon we may see a rising storm of litigation challenging the traditional exemption for churches.

Progressive activists have been particularly encouraged by the example of how leftist officials working for the IRS were able to deny tax exempt non-profit status to conservative groups including Tea Party organizations. Now some are beginning to question why churches, particularly conservative ones, should continue to receive tax exemptions since they oppose a progressive agenda on so many different fronts. For years, atheist groups have been looking for ways to challenge the exemption without putting their own non-profit status at risk. I believe that soon they may have additional company and support in their efforts.

Look for gay activists to launch the first serious challenges to the exemption. LGBT groups in the near future may claim that conservative churches are violating their ‘civil rights’ in their refusal to allow same-sex marriages or the hiring of LGBT clergy. The rational will be this: there may be freedom of religion in America and Churches may be free to teach whatever they want and hire whoever but the government does not necessarily have to support those ‘archaic discriminatory views’ through tax exempt status.

Look also for the progressive media to launch a new supporting philosophical view that tax exempt non-profit status should be reserved only for ‘inclusive’ organizations that further the betterment of all members of society.

Meanwhile here’s an article identifying the reasons the exemption should continue to be supported from the Speak Up Movement:

So why should churches be tax exempt? There are very sound and valid reasons for church tax exemption. First, there is the “social benefit” theory of tax exemption. This recognizes the fact that churches provide great benefits to society by their good works. Churches minister to the poor and needy in the community, provide numerous social services for the downtrodden among us, and reach out to the “least of these” in thousands of different ways. The social benefit theory justifies tax exemption for churches as a kind of bargain – churches provide needed services, so they are entitled to tax exemption.

One corollary of the “social benefit” theory that is often overlooked is what I have termed the “intangible benefit” theory of tax exemption. This highlights the intangible and often unseen benefits provided by churches to the community. Things like reduced crime rates resulting from transformed lives, suicides prevented when people surrender to Christ, and people with destructive behavioral patterns that harm the community changing into hard-working and virtuous citizens who contribute to the well-being of the community. It is difficult to put a price tag on these types of intangible benefits provided by churches, but there is no question that they exist.

<Read the whole article>

Response: There was a day when churches were considered to be a valuable social asset in any community but that is quickly changing.  Increasingly churches across America, particularly in the more progressive coastal ‘blue’ states, are viewed as liabilities by city administrators and shunned by zoning laws to locations that are off the beaten path and undesirable from a business perspective.

Soon conservative churches in particular may be viewed as undesirable sources of discrimination and archaic beliefs that run counter to the larger secular progressive culture. At that point the litigation may escalate in order to minimalize the damage done to society by ‘throwback’ organizations like traditional churches which continue to honor ‘outdated’ ancient Biblical teaching. It is at that point when the church tax exemption will be at risk before liberal activist judges.

While the current makeup of SCOTUS may still give us some protection the recent New Mexico case that was rejected by the court demonstrates the potential danger ahead. The greatest hope that we have against the implementation of this scenario is the dawning of a new awakening and revival across America. Christians should continue to pray for a special blessing from God that would touch our entire land and the dominant culture.            *Top

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3 Responses to -The Coming Attack on Church Tax Exemption

  1. Brian

    “The power to tax is the power to destroy” McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 US 316 (1819), opinion of Chief Justice John Marshall.

  2. Dr. D

    Brian,
    That would be the point of course. However, there is a supernatural power in the Christian church that cannot be destroyed.

  3. Defending the Church from an Intolerant World - The Armed Lutheran

    […] while revoking a church’s tax exempt status may sway the mega-churches that enrich pastors like prosperity fraud Joel Osteen, smaller orthodox […]

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