(RNS) Atheists challenge the tax exemption for religious groups

How much money does the U.S. government forgo by not taxing religious institutions? According to a University of Tampa professor, perhaps as much as $71 billion a year.

Ryan Cragun, an assistant professor of sociology, and two students examined U.S. tax laws to estimate the total cost of tax exemptions for religious institutions ”” on property, donations, business enterprises, capital gains and “parsonage allowances,” which permit clergy to deduct housing costs….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Atheism, Church/State Matters, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Taxes

5 comments on “(RNS) Atheists challenge the tax exemption for religious groups

  1. Fr. Dale says:

    [blockquote] But Cragun, who specializes in the sociological study of religion, said the article is not a call to completely revoke the tax-exempt status of religious organizations. Rather, he would suggest tax exemptions only for nonprofit organizations — religious or secular — whose services the government would have to supply if those organizations disappeared. [/blockquote] It would cost the taxpayers even more if the government had to provide the social safety net provided by the churches.

  2. Christopher Johnson says:

    Tell you what. Change the First Amendment and get back to me. Either that or stop pretending that Mr. Jefferson’s dictum about the “wall of separation” has any more legal meaning.

  3. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    I know I give out more from my little Rector’s Discretionary Fund to help poor people than that county does in a year.

  4. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    And I don’t have a lot of sympathy on this one. I know there is an Atheist Student’s House at a prominent University I used to work near, and they get the same tax exemption that the local churches get.

  5. Uh Clint says:

    This is patently stupid. Take away the religious organization exemption, and churches will simply file for exemption as non-profits. And the government (not even the current Congress) wouldn’t dare go after the non-profit exemption; that would shutter virtually every charitable organization amidst a hue and cry of monstrous proportions.