It will not be long before tax exemptions for churches are revoked, Damon Linker, of The Week, says in an opinion column.
“Once the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision declaring a constitutional right to same-sex marriage is combined with laws banning discrimination against homosexuals — which already exist in well over a dozen states and are coming soon at the federal level — the case for eliminating religious tax exemptions could be powerful,” he writes.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, churches are tax-exempt as non-profit enterprises. Churches do not have to pay federal income taxes and donors are able to deduct their donations from their taxable income.
“Churches were exempted because they were presumed to play the vitally important social role — a role essential to self-government — of inculcating moral virtue in citizens,” Linker says.
Linker argues that people should oppose revoking the tax exemptions because churches “benefit considerably” from the exemptions.
“The removal of these exemptions would be an enormously heavy burden for many, and a catastrophic burden for some,” he says.
Churches have been exempt from taxes since the beginning of the country. Federal income tax was imposed in 1913.
“The elimination of tax exemptions for churches should be opposed by all Americans, liberal and conservative alike,” Linker says.
Publication date: July 13, 2015