Trying To Shut Down Government Subsidy Of Religion Is Tough

A  case is making its way through the courts that involves a subsidy clergy receive for their housing. Joel Osteen owns million dollar homes. He can deduct their cost from his income tax. Jimmy Swaggart lists almost no net worth on net worth sites except for three expensive homes. I assume his church gives him an allowance to maintain these homes and he pays no income tax on this money. Later he can pocket the profit. We all chip in to cover these lost taxes.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation co-presidents filed for the same tax break for their home. They do not agree with the tax break but filed to make their point. They were denied. If they had been given the break most anyone anywhere would be eligible. Paraphrasing, the denial said, “If you don’t believe in any God of any kind you have to pay higher taxes.” Churches can pay their preachers less because of the tax break.

The Freedom From Religion appealed and won. The decision is yet to be implemented. Some religious groups are doing a full court press explaining the benefit does not discriminate because it is available to all religions. It has not been available to no religion.

Even if FFRF continues to win in court, I am not optimistic preachers will ever pay their fair share of income taxes. The strong arm of religion holds the levers of power.

Conservative appointees to Internal Revenue may be able to continue the tax break because the IRS has some of its own powers.

6 Responses

  1. Randall Wehler

    Too many sociopaths in the ministry! Not all are, for sure. As psychologist consultant to a Clinical Pastoral Education site at a state hospital in Minnesota (now retired), I saw the cross-section of personalities including MMPI 4-9’ers (sociopaths) and sincere, well-adjusted ministers seeking a reorientation of their careers, but it was surprising the number of sociopathic-leaning pastors there were.

    On the money matter, there needs to be asset limitations established to get around “sanctified” tax avoidance. And that goes for property at large in the big, big denominations where tax avoidance seems to be treated as a protection from God.

    1. Randall 9:22 You had an interesting career.

      The church building and property do not for local government services including education and the minister gets a tax free housing income stream. Sweetheart deal for those who benefit. Higher taxes for the rest of us.

    2. mark anthony

      Hey, how about sociopaths in politics and academia. In business, too. BTW, how do you define the term sociopath?

    3. “Not all are, for sure.” Well, since you think the majority of those in the ministry (religious) are sociopaths, you must have some study to back up your bug-eyed assertion. Can you provide it for us? Surely, you wouldn’t make the claim solely on the basis of a 30+ year career at the Willmar, MN State Hospital.

  2. Juan Ruiz

    The current governor of North Dakota and his cronies have made a bundle on property tax abatements…to the tune o billions. While everyone else has to make up the difference. Get rid of that welfare too.

  3. Anyone who has filled out a 1040 form has had deductions for kids, mortgage interest, EIC, and other items.

    BTW, alot of gospel churches in Democrat neighborhoods need the tax-exempt status more than others in Republican neighborhoods. But again, why should anyone pay taxes on the same thing twice. If Democrats had their way, you’d be taxed driving in the church parking lot, driving out of the church parking lot and walking to church (in case you didn’t drive).

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