Why We Should Tax the Churches
My latest article has been posted on AlterNet, How We All Pay For the Huge Tax Privileges Granted to Religion — It’s Time to Tax the Church. In it, I discuss the enormous wealth owned by churches, financed in part through generous tax exemptions not available to any other organization; the shameless greed of “prosperity gospel” theology; and the bizarre rhetoric of resentment spreading among the American religious right which insists it’s a sin to call for higher taxes on the rich or greater social equality. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:
I bring this up because, thanks to the Occupy protests, inequality has come to dominate the American political conversation. Poverty and inequality are at their highest levels since the Great Depression, and there’s a growing clamor to raise taxes on the wealthy to provide more opportunity for the rest of us. I think this is an excellent idea, and I’d like to suggest that beside Wall Street bankers and stock traders, there’s another group of the mega-wealthy that’s often overlooked.
Why don’t we consider taxing the churches?
Not all churches or all ministers are rich, but some of them are very rich indeed. And that’s no surprise, because society subsidizes them through a constellation of generous tax breaks that aren’t available to any other institution, even non-profits.
Image: Wolfgang Sauber, released under CC BY-SA 1.0 license