TIME Columnist Suggests Ending Tax Exempt Status for Churches

Carrie Dedrick | Tuesday, July 7, 2015

TIME Columnist Suggests Ending Tax Exempt Status for Churches

In the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide, TIME Magazine published a piece by columnist Mark Oppenheimer recommending that tax exempt status for churches and religious institutions should be put to an end. 

“Rather than try to rescue tax-exempt status for organizations that dissent from settled public policy on matters of race or sexuality, we need to take a more radical step. It’s time to abolish, or greatly diminish, their tax-exempt statuses,” Oppenheimer wrote. 

According to Oppenheimer, the IRS should not have to decide which institutions are religious in nature. He also argued that religious charities that help those in poverty would be unnecessary because the government would have the money to provide for the needy. 

He wrote, “Defenders of tax exemptions and deductions argue that if we got rid of them charitable giving would drop. It surely would, although how much, we can’t say. But of course government revenue would go up, and that money could be used to, say, house the homeless and feed the hungry. We’d have fewer church soup kitchens — but countries that truly care about poverty don’t rely on churches to run soup kitchens.”

Oppenheimer said that the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling could very well spark a reexamination of tax exemptions for churches, and when it happens, “it will be long overdue.” 

Publication date: July 7, 2015