Pope Francis Calls for Ending Tax-Exempt Status of Churches That Don’t Help the Needy

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by steve knight, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. steve knight Suspended

    steve knight

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    #1
    This is such a good thing to say. but in reality the IRS does nothing against churches even when they brag about preaching politics from the pulpit and challenge the IRS to do something. I have seen megachurches spending 80 to 90% of their budget on church costs. we see preachers wanting jets and sometimes two of them.

    http://usuncut.com/world/pope-franc...-status-of-churches-that-dont-help-the-needy/
     
  2. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #2
    funny coming from a sect that has massive cathedrals.
     
  3. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    #3
    I'm certainly no Catholic but this Pope is just ... perfect. Really stamping out corruption and encouraging love and acceptance rather than fear of Hell and things like that.
     
  4. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #4
    wake me up when they turn in all the pedophiles they had a habit of just shuffling to the next set of victims.
     
  5. steve knight thread starter Suspended

    steve knight

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    #5
    true but the catholic church has been much better about helping the needy then other denominations.
     
  6. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    #6
    Well at the risk of being your alarm clock, you should read up more on what Pope Francis is doing. You can't turn a twisted, corrupt, morally bankrupt (though not financially bankrupt) cult around overnight.
     
  7. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    based on what? Lutherans & Mormons do a pretty good job at walking their talk there.
     
  8. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #8
    careful now, people with alarm clocks are starting to get arrested :eek:.

    he has a long way to go.
     
  9. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    #9
    Wouldn't disagree with you there - though again, the Catholic Church has been so bitterly corrupt and dishonest for hundreds of years, so it'll take more than one guy to change it all around. Rome wasn't built in a day.
     
  10. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    #10
    He does have a long way to go. But he does have the rest of his life and look at the high percentage of positive he's already accomplished. An organization this large and well-established is like turning a supertanker. And yet he's doing it.
     
  11. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #11
    Good for him. Add religious tax-exempt organizations to my list of "pet" peeves, ahead of why the @#$% the USA isn't on the metric system. This isn't my normal rant against religion (although I'm sure some open minded posters will just say I hate everything to do with religion), its simple: why should anybody fund the religion of another. And when churches or temples in my town don't pay property taxes, mine are higher to cover their share of the services, (police, firemen, etc), that they are using.
     
  12. Praxis91 macrumors regular

    Praxis91

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    #12
    The Catholic Church has done more to help the poor than any other religious organization. Once the government got entrenched in social welfare (beyond just temporary assistance), it all went downhill.. but that's the plan.. creating dependence just makes it easier to gain power. To the left, the state becomes their deity.
     
  13. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Here is the complete interview.

    Specifically this part

    Your Holiness, during the Sunday Angelus you made this very concrete challenge to welcome refugees. Have there been reactions? What do you expect, exactly?

    What I asked was that in each parish and each religious institute, every monastery, should take in one family. A family, not just one person. A family gives more guarantees of security and containment, so as to avoid infiltrations of another kind. When I say that a parish should welcome a family, I don’t mean that they should go and live in the priest’s house, in the rectory, but that each parish community should see if there is a place, a corner in the school which can be turned into a small apartment or, if necessary, that they may rent a small apartment for this family; but that they should be provided with a roof, welcomed and integrated into the community. I have had many, many reactions. There are convents which are almost empty…


    Two years ago you had already made this request, what answers did you get?

    Only four. One of them from the Jesuits [laughs]; well done, the Jesuits! But this is a serious subject, because there is also the temptation of the god money. Some religious orders say “no, now that the convent is empty we are going to make a hotel and we can have guests, and support ourselves that way, or make money”. Well, if that is what you want to do, then pay taxes! A religious school is tax-exempt because it is religious, but if it is functioning as a hotel, then it should pay taxes just like its neighbour. Otherwise it is not fair business.
    So Francis is pointing out a specific example of commercial interest (revenues derived from renting out rooms to non-destitute tourists) interfering with what should be the proper interest of the church-- in this instance, housing refugees-- but this will not be an isolated incident.
     
  14. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #14
    I think they just get more air time. I bet if you scroll through the phone book (they still make these?), call a random church, and ask what charitable activities they do, you will get a positive answer. You probably are not going to get much from the media on community church down the street (unless it is Westboro) compared to the Pope and the catholic church.

    Edit:
    Example the church down the street near me.
    1. Has shelter (apartment style) for the homeless where they try and teach them how to get off the streets, help with addictions, etc.
    2. Food pantry
    3. Place for people to come up and get clothing.
    4. Help fix houses for those who can't afford to have repairs done.
     
  15. juanm macrumors 65816

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    #15
    But it can burn in one night.
     
  16. TechGod macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Slightly off topic but it makes me wonder how Hinduism or other religions are in terms of helping needy people.
     
  17. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Indeed. Many churches do a lot to help the community. I doubt most people, even the anti-religion ones around here, would say otherwise.

    But, this doesn't necessarily mean they should be tax-exempt, unless they can prove that they are doing that much. That leaves the gates wide open of the Joel Osteens and Creflo Dollars of the world to exploit it for their own gain. If they are spending all of their income on charitable activities, then they won't have to worry about taxes much.
     
  18. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    #18
    I see both sides to this. Churches should have huge benefit of the doubt. But some churches have certainly abused this benefit. I expect Francis is seeing the bad press and wasted dollars from the abusers and wanting to reduce them. Which is certainly a worthy goal.

    The question is, do we want government agents auditing the books of churches to weed them out. I think it comes down to public interest: is their definite public harm when churches fund raise and then use the dollars for non public benefit?

    If change is needed, I would start by empowering the givers. Include in the tax exempt status, reporting requirements such that those paying the money can see where it will go. Much of the issue can perhaps take care of itself.
     
  19. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #19
    I have no problem at all with churches spending money on their own costs, even if it IS 90% of what they take in. Every church I've been to has been pretty transparent about how much money is coming in and where it gets spent. And all of them have been very forthcoming with their charitable work, and in asking members to contribute both financially and with their time.
     
  20. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #20
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think all non-profit organizations must still turn in their information to the IRS as well as make all financials public.

    Without tax exempt status some churches might not survive. Many have a hard time surviving not paying taxes. Since churches do so much on the charity side I would hate to see them go under due to a tax burden.

    Edit:
    Side note. Those who are for removing the tax exempt status for churches, are you also for removing that for all non profits?
     
  21. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #21
    We have way too many organizations abusing their tax exempt privileges. Some are religious organizations and many are political PACs. I'd like to see us tighten up the rules and pull exemptions from organizations who abuse it. Maybe we need to look at only providing tax exemptions for their charitable giving.
     
  22. Praxis91 macrumors regular

    Praxis91

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    #22
    If you remove tax exempt status for religious institutions, they will become even more political/vocal. I say bring it. :)
     
  23. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #23
    If the church is spending it on actual legitimate church operations or charity work, great. Write it off. Whatever. But if they're spending it on private jets, mansions, solid gold pulpits, and 1%-style salaries, it's time to take a look. There is no reason whatsoever they should get off scot free while abusing their status.

    If they are doing so much charity work, they would likely be able to write that amount off and eliminate their tax burden, making it a moot point. If they aren't, and instead are acting like the ones I described enough, then they can't go under fast enough.
     
  24. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #24
    Why are we worried about tax exemption? If they don't qualify as a c3, they would certainly make it under c4 or c6 (maybe c7?). To deny their tax exemption would require crippling many other organizations.

    What might be effective, in the case of the profit center churches (although, how do you prove profit inuring the the benefit of the individual vs rainy day conservativism?) is stripping them to the other c statuses. What that does is eliminate the tax deduction for donations, reducing the attraction for those who see the entity has a tax-liability reduction vehicle.
     
  25. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #25
    Is this a rampant issue? I mean factually - is this really going on at any kind of appreciable scale?
     

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