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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Violating the Spirit of the First Amendment

One of our contributors stumbled upon this piece while doing "research." It gives great clarity to this issue of demanding the recall of the religious institutions' tax exempt status.

Taking Away Churches Tax Exempt Status Would Violate
The Spirit Of The First Amendment


By Glen Dean

This post is a response to a post at Nashville Is Talking, which linked to a post from No Quarters.
Brittney wrote:

"The tax exempt status of churches has always baffled me. Does Two Rivers Baptist Church, with its bookstore and lattes, get coffee and songbooks tax free? Are all these giant megachurches with lavish accommodations getting all the stuff they purchase tax free?"

Taking away a churches tax exempt status would result in a violation of the spirit of the first amendment. The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect the citizens from government. The founders knew that only government could take away rights. As far as religion is concerned, they made a point not to set up a state church like the Church of England and they specifically wanted government to stay out of the affairs of churches. The whole purpose of the first amendment establishment clause was to protect religion and religious people from government.

Presently the federal government is much more powerful than the founders ever intended. Government uses the system of taxing and spending to control the behavior of the citizenry. The tax code is filled with all kinds of deductions designed to affect certain behaviors in Americans. The government especially controls our behavior when they redistribute our money in the form of government spending. Does anybody remember how the Carter administration withheld highway money from states that did not change the speed limit to 55? There are countless other examples, but the point is that government exerts power over us with the system of taxing and spending.

Imagine what would happen if government taxed churches? I have already written about what can happen when faith based groups take government money. Do you really want government controlling religion? Now do you see what I mean when I say that taxing churches would inevitably violate freedom of religion? Can you not see that if Congress made a law taxing churches, that they would eventually use the tax code to "prohibit the free exercise thereof"?

The day that churches lose their tax exempt status is the day that freedom of religion in this country dies. Sadly, that may very well be the aim of many secularists.

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