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  1. #1

    The Parish Exemption, unconstitutional. O_O

    Seems like a federal district judge in Wisconsin has ruled that this tax exemption which allows religious ministers to avoid paying taxes on the value of their housing granted to them by their religious employers, is no good because it violates the establishment clause in the Constitution.
    This is a victory over the 1954 law that costs the US something like 71 billion a year, could mean we might finally see the waning of political and economic power of extremist religion in our lifetime.
    What ya think about that? Bout time or Helllllll no!

    http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/i...ergy-privilege

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/186404063/...nage-Exemption
    "If you want to control people, if you want to feed them a pack of lies and dominate them, keep them ignorant. For me, literacy means freedom." - LaVar Burton.

  2. #2
    Sounds good to me. If they aren't paying taxes on property they should have a legitimate reason

  3. #3
    Religion should not be an excuse for tax evasion.

  4. #4
    Bloodsail Admiral Cuchulainn's Avatar
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    My pastor is a full time farmer who works 12 hours a day save for Sundays (obviously). I really hate it when I see these pastors driving BMWs with custom plates and living in big houses. Guess who's money that is? Gods money...from the tithe basket. I do interior plantscaping for a living and one of my accounts is a fairly large baptist church.

    The place is very bland, and they still have yet to fix a huge hole in the wall caused by a drunk driver (the irony, lol). Yet, the pastor has enough money to deck out his office, buy a brand new car with his name on the plates, and probably owns a very large house. As for the inside of the church? Nothing on the walls on the second floor, empty rooms everywhere, and the worship room uses metal fold-up chairs instead of legit pews (they don't even have to be expensive ones). I'm surprised that they can even afford plant care from me!

    It's just a shame, is all.

  5. #5
    I'm not sure why churches are tax-exempt to begin with. Much less adding other special exemptions on top of it.

  6. #6
    there's been a pretty huge mega church scam going on in north carolina for a while now. bout time someone benefited from these people.

  7. #7
    Mechagnome Tommys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulainn View Post
    My pastor is a full time farmer who works 12 hours a day save for Sundays (obviously). I really hate it when I see these pastors driving BMWs with custom plates and living in big houses. Guess who's money that is? Gods money...from the tithe basket. I do interior plantscaping for a living and one of my accounts is a fairly large baptist church.

    The place is very bland, and they still have yet to fix a huge hole in the wall caused by a drunk driver (the irony, lol). Yet, the pastor has enough money to deck out his office, buy a brand new car with his name on the plates, and probably owns a very large house. As for the inside of the church? Nothing on the walls on the second floor, empty rooms everywhere, and the worship room uses metal fold-up chairs instead of legit pews (they don't even have to be expensive ones). I'm surprised that they can even afford plant care from me!

    It's just a shame, is all.
    Probably not his fault. Every church I know of has "elders" who basically do everything when it comes to setting salaries and budgets. It's generally not hard to find a replacement pastor either.

  8. #8
    As a Christian I don't have an issue with taxes being levied on churches and such.

    Romans 13: 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

    Though I'm surprised that the Freedom From Religion Foundation used the Establishment clause, rather than the First Amendment, as their rationale for their argument. It would make more sense that they should argue that the law allowing for the tax benefit for building allowances for clergy would hurt other religions activities because of the greater tax burden. Eh, most of what the FFRF does perplexes me anyway. Seems like many of their cases are more about trying to purge religion from western culture rather than trying to engender an environment for free exercise of religion.

    To each their own I guess.

    On topic though, this situation in general is what happens when the government gets too cozy with a religion anyway. It is far better for people of faith to be completely separate from government institutions, beyond what an average citizen has access too. Throughout history repeatedly the same keeps happening: the leaders of a religion are given preferential treatment and in exchange they give moral credence to the governmental authorities. Better to pay your dues/taxes, give honor and grace to all, teach what your religion teaches, believe what your religion believes and let the rest sort itself out in eternity.

  9. #9
    Bloodsail Admiral Cuchulainn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommys View Post
    Probably not his fault. Every church I know of has "elders" who basically do everything when it comes to setting salaries and budgets. It's generally not hard to find a replacement pastor either.
    A holier man would place that money elsewhere, I could name a bunch of other things.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by derpkitteh View Post
    there's been a pretty huge mega church scam going on in north carolina for a while now. bout time someone benefited from these people.
    Where I live the hispanic community abuses this to the fullest.
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    Accessibility, ownership, availability; these are all essentially the same thing.

  11. #11
    Brewmaster The Riddler's Avatar
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    Seems like a federal district judge in Wisconsin has ruled that this tax exemption which allows religious ministers to avoid paying taxes on the value of their housing granted to them by their religious employers, is no good because it violates the establishment clause in the Constitution. This is a victory over the 1954 law that costs the US something like 71 billion a year
    It is economically impossible for the taxes on the value of housing granted to religious ministers by religious employers to value 71 billion a year. Clearly you are blending this very limited decision and applying it to the tax exempt status of churches & religions in general. Apples and oranges.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Raeph View Post
    Though I'm surprised that the Freedom From Religion Foundation used the Establishment clause, rather than the First Amendment, as their rationale for their argument. It would make more sense that they should argue that the law allowing for the tax benefit for building allowances for clergy would hurt other religions activities because of the greater tax burden. Eh, most of what the FFRF does perplexes me anyway. Seems like many of their cases are more about trying to purge religion from western culture rather than trying to engender an environment for free exercise of religion.

    To each their own I guess.
    The Establishment Clause is the first phrase in the First Amendment.

    Bergtau's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability that somebody will mention Godwin's Law approaches 1.
    Hitler wasn't all bad, I mean, he DID kill Hitler.
    An accident is something that you did not mean to do at all. A mistake is something that you regret doing.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulainn View Post
    My pastor is a full time farmer who works 12 hours a day save for Sundays (obviously). I really hate it when I see these pastors driving BMWs with custom plates and living in big houses. Guess who's money that is? Gods money...from the tithe basket. I do interior plantscaping for a living and one of my accounts is a fairly large baptist church.

    The place is very bland, and they still have yet to fix a huge hole in the wall caused by a drunk driver (the irony, lol). Yet, the pastor has enough money to deck out his office, buy a brand new car with his name on the plates, and probably owns a very large house. As for the inside of the church? Nothing on the walls on the second floor, empty rooms everywhere, and the worship room uses metal fold-up chairs instead of legit pews (they don't even have to be expensive ones). I'm surprised that they can even afford plant care from me!

    It's just a shame, is all.
    Sounds like my Pastor. He and his family run a fairly large hog farm. He doesn't take a salary from the church, though we give him an appreciation offering several times a year, birthday and wedding anniversary and the like.

    Was kinda funny actually. He took some flack a few years ago for building himself and his wife, and two kids at the time(both are now grown and married), a 4500 sq foot home, until in a minor news article it was revealed that he didn't take a salary from the church.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by The Riddler View Post
    It is economically impossible for the taxes on the value of housing granted to religious ministers by religious employers to value 71 billion a year. Clearly you are blending this very limited decision and applying it to the tax exempt status of churches & religions in general. Apples and oranges.
    Then how much is it valued at? Or are you just making shit up?

    Bergtau's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability that somebody will mention Godwin's Law approaches 1.
    Hitler wasn't all bad, I mean, he DID kill Hitler.
    An accident is something that you did not mean to do at all. A mistake is something that you regret doing.

  15. #15
    So it is...my mind is a bit slow at the moment. Too much coffee, or not enough...not sure yet.

  16. #16
    Brewmaster The Riddler's Avatar
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    Then how much is it valued at? Or are you just making &$@ up?
    I am The Riddler. I never 'make stuff up'. Take a look at the original article referenced by the OP...

    "The benefit to clergy is huge — saving an estimated $2.3 billion in taxes in the years 2002-2007 alone"
    Now - using even basic mathematics you should easily be able to determine that if the entirety of the benefit of the law in question totaled only 2.3 billion in taxes over the five year period of 2002 to 2007 (an average of $460 million a year), that it would be absolutely impossible for the same benefit to equal "71 billion a year" for just a single year in 2013. That would be an increase of 16,421.7%. As I said ... impossible.

    No need to thank me - citizen. I'm merely doing my part in the battle against ignorance.
    Last edited by The Riddler; 2013-11-22 at 11:21 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by s_bushido View Post
    I'm not sure why churches are tax-exempt to begin with. Much less adding other special exemptions on top of it.
    cuz bible and god and shit. How dare you question the divine ?!

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by The Riddler View Post
    I am The Riddler. I never 'make stuff up'. Take a look at the original article referenced by the OP...



    Now - using even basic mathematics you should easily be able to determine that if the entirety of the benefit of the law in question totaled only 2.3 billion in taxes over the five year period of 2002 to 2007 (an average of $460 million a year), that it would be absolutely impossible for the same benefit to equal "71 billion a year" for just a single year in 2013. That would be an increase of 16,421.7%. As I said ... impossible.

    No need to thank me - citizen. I'm merely doing my part in the battle against ignorance.
    Fair enough, though I do think you misinterpreted the OP.

    I think he was suggesting that the exemption on churches entirely has cost $71 billion and that this is a victory over that law, not a total victory.

    Bergtau's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability that somebody will mention Godwin's Law approaches 1.
    Hitler wasn't all bad, I mean, he DID kill Hitler.
    An accident is something that you did not mean to do at all. A mistake is something that you regret doing.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Molestron View Post
    cuz bible and god and shit. How dare you question the divine ?!
    Well, historically, before the New Deal anyway, the community Church was the main point for local community social work. Nowadays it varies. Some churches are heavily involved into community helps, others are barely involved.

    Speaking for my church, this is from memory, but last year we had a 360k budget: about 35-40% of it was staffing and office needs, the rest went to community helps.

    We have a food pantry active once a week.
    Transient ministries (if someone is coming through town and is stuck we'll help them get to where they need to go, or help them stay in a apt overnight)
    Disaster Relief(clothing bank and we are a registered Red Cross shelter)
    We bought a washer a dryer for a couple of the fire departments in our area
    gave a way a few cars a well

  20. #20
    Brewmaster The Riddler's Avatar
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    Fair enough, though I do think you misinterpreted the OP.
    If I misinterpreted the OP, then it was due to the OP's poor communication skills. In the second sentence the OP claims that "the 1954 law costs the US something like 71 billion a year". The 1954 law referenced is 26 U.S. C. § 107(2): "Rental value of Parsonages". This law in no way at any point in time ever totaled anything even remotely close to 71 billion a year in tax revenue. Therefore the OP's 2nd sentence is so fundamentally incorrect that it cannot be said that I 'misinterpreted' it.

    Remember, you have to keep 71 billion in scale and perspective. That's a HUGE amount of money, and there is no way that the value of church parsonages could possibly touch that figure. The value of the ENTIRE Cosmetics & Toiletries industry in the United States is something on the order of one third of that value (about 24 billion). That is the total value of the entire C&T industry too - not just net profits. And we're supposed to believe that the value of just the TAXES on church parsonages is 3X as much as the entire value of the whole C&T industry - lock stock and barrel? Such a claim would be farcical on its face.
    Last edited by The Riddler; 2013-11-22 at 11:41 PM.

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