Response to Ray Standiford – In his letter to the Mail Bag regarding taxing churches, Mr. Standiford expressed his opinion about the “separation of church and state”. Unfortunately, his understanding is incorrect. The First Amendment is not about a theocratic democracy. It is about protecting the rights of individual citizens to worship as they choose. It is about preventing the government from interfering with churches in any fashion.
Not only would taxing churches violate that important right that people have, it wouldn’t raise any significant amount of money. A church isn’t an individual so it would have to be subject to business taxes. And businesses are only taxed on profit, not revenue. By the definition of profit of the taxing authorities, churches don’t make a profit. So the tax revenue would be pretty close to zero. If new tax laws were written to tax money from the churches, all it would do would be to take money that churches (ostensibly) use to help people and give it to politicians who don’t have quite that good of a record.