Why Not Tax Religions?

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posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984
Why? So they can use their funds for upkeep of their buildings and the excess for charity? Well forgive me but i think they do not need exempt status for the upkeep on their organisation. Corporations don't have this status so why should religion? If they can't make enough for upkeep then obviously people don't believe enough. More importantly i again state why do they need buildings in the first place, religiion is supposed to be in the individual, not the building of worship.


Food Co-Ops aren't Religious Organizations, yet they are Non-Profit/Not-For-Profit Organizations that enjoy Tax Exempt Status. They are allowed to use their Revenue for Cost of Operations and give the excess away to charitable organizations without paying a Federal (and in many cases, State and Municipal) Taxes. Same goes for Boy and Girl Scouts. The same is the case for Fraternal Organizations, such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks or the Old Fellows. Same goes Charities, like the Cancer Relief Fund, or M.A.D.D. Why should Religious Organizations be treated any less fairly than these?

The difference that you are failing to see comes down to Non-Profit/Not-For-Profit and Commercial Business. Companies, whether Private or Public, are self-serving for one purpose and one purpose only...to generate a profit, whether it is in the public's interest or not. Non-Profit/Not-For-Profit groups serve a Mission in the interests of the public (either a specific segment or at large). Rather than wrongfully subsidize these organizations with Tax Payer dollars, we allow them the benefit of operating Tax-Free so long as they remain Non-Profit/Not-For-Profit and serve the public interest. Basically, it is a Charter that allows them to operate with independence fulfilling public roles that in other countries would be a burden unto the government or Tax Payer.


Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984They monitor the revenue of corporations and individuals so why not?


Where were you last century?

Do you want to be rounded up because you are a Christian and a perceived threat to a Jewish controlled government? Would you want to be rounded up by a Christian controlled government because you are Atheist?

Don't think it could happen? Then how did it happen to the Jews during the Nazi regime in WW2 with the blessing of the Catholic Church?

Our Forefathers came to the Americas to flee Religious Persecution, at the hands of the Catholics and their 1300 years of one Inquisition after another, or the Church of England, or many other groups throughout history. They understood firsthand the importance of Religious Freedom (and even the right to not follow a Religion at all, if that is your choice).

When a government starts compiling lists of gun owners, gun owners rightfully panic for what will come next to threaten their 2nd Amendment rights. When a government starts compiling lists of a specific political party affiliation, people rightfully panic knowing that a repeat of the McCarthy Era is about to happen (ever wonder why "Independent" became the 3rd largest political party?). When a government starts compiling a list of protesters, then people rightfully panic knowing that 1st Amendment rights are being threatened. When a government starts compiling a list of who belongs to each Church, then it's pretty much the same deal. The government does not need to know this information. When they want to know that information, it is ultimately for a reason that is contrary to Religious Freedom, which is a Constitutional Right.

Thankfully, up to this point, the government has stayed out of the matter of running a roll-call of Religious Affiliation. They know it would be wrong to do so. (Too bad, they aren't as steadfast in upholding that for gun owners or protesters or bloggers, or so forth, who should be as equally protected.)


Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984But they do decide it. If they do not then i can start a religion right now, that includes only myself and be tax exempt now can't i. I'm not a US citizen but the same applies to every country in this case.


No, they don't.

Seriously, if you can find two other people who believe as you do and will meet with you on a regular basis, then you can found your own religion that is recognized by the Federal Government! Even if you say that Beer is your Eucharist, Football is your worship, the N.F.L. is your deity, and the T.V. is your sermon, it can be a recognized religion if you file the proper paperwork. The government doesn't tell you that you can't find spirituality in enjoying Monday Night Football. As such, they do not prevent anyone from founding the Church of the Sacred Pigskin, and enjoying Tax Exempt Status if you jump through the proper hoops and red-tape.

However, does having Tax Exempt Status for your Church of the Sacred Pigskin mean that you don't have to pay for taxes on the wages your employer pays you? Not at all. You still have to pay those. Does it mean that you can open a business and not pay Taxes. Nope! You still have to pay those. However, when your friends pitch in for the Holy Beer Fund, that is Tax Exempt. When you throw a fund-raiser to get a 55" Big-Screen HDTV to better watch the game on (I mean "have better sermons"), then that money from the fund-raiser is Tax Exempt.

Yes, a religion has to be recognized by the Federal Government to gain Tax Exempt 501(c)(3) status. However, all it takes to be recognized is filling the proper paperwork. The government doesn't dictate what constitutes a religion other than 3 or more people meeting together on a regular basis with a common set of beliefs (whatever those may be) and a statement of what those beliefs are.




posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 12:46 PM
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Originally posted by fraterormus
Food Co-Ops aren't Religious Organizations, yet they are Non-Profit/Not-For-Profit Organizations that enjoy Tax Exempt Status. They are allowed to use their Revenue for Cost of Operations and give the excess away to charitable organizations without paying a Federal (and in many cases, State and Municipal) Taxes.


Because they exist solely for helping others without any self motive. Very simple. They push no personal beliefs.


Originally posted by fraterormus
Same goes for Boy and Girl Scouts. The same is the case for Fraternal Organizations, such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks or the Old Fellows. Same goes Charities, like the Cancer Relief Fund, or M.A.D.D. Why should Religious Organizations be treated any less fairly than these?


Read up, i mentioned charities. Charities again only try to help people. Religions don't just help, they actually have damaged some people you know. More importantly they are out for themselves. They influence politics, they condemn people and other such nonsense. Charities don't really do any of that bad stuff. They are there solely to raise money to help save peoples lives, get more research that will save lives or make peoples lives better.


Originally posted by fraterormus
The difference that you are failing to see comes down to Non-Profit/Not-For-Profit and Commercial Business. Companies, whether Private or Public, are self-serving for one purpose and one purpose only...to generate a profit, whether it is in the public's interest or not. Non-Profit/Not-For-Profit groups serve a Mission in the interests of the public (either a specific segment or at large). Rather than wrongfully subsidize these organizations with Tax Payer dollars, we allow them the benefit of operating Tax-Free so long as they remain Non-Profit/Not-For-Profit and serve the public interest. Basically, it is a Charter that allows them to operate with independence fulfilling public roles that in other countries would be a burden unto the government or Tax Payer.


On look up some religions, they make rather large profits that never go to the poor. The catholic church could pay off a decent chunk of the third world debt but they never do. They contribute oh yes but they never give all that excess away or even a large amount of it. Many religions are like this. Your idea of non profit is admirable, but it is virtually non existant within religious organisations. If they were non profit, truly so, i would be fine with them. Maybe you saw my anger as simple anti religion when in effect it is about the abuse of the non profit rules by religion and so i call for tax exempt status to be revoked due to abuse.


Originally posted by fraterormus

Where were you last century?

Do you want to be rounded up because you are a Christian and a perceived threat to a Jewish controlled government? Would you want to be rounded up by a Christian controlled government because you are Atheist?

Don't think it could happen? Then how did it happen to the Jews during the Nazi regime in WW2 with the blessing of the Catholic Church?


Rounded up?What in gods name are you talking about? Where did this all come from? I said government control, just like they control the taxes with every individual. I'm talking beurocracy not nazism. Well done on trying to create a strawman here.


Originally posted by fraterormus
Our Forefathers came to the Americas to flee Religious Persecution, at the hands of the Catholics and their 1300 years of one Inquisition after another, or the Church of England, or many other groups throughout history. They understood firsthand the importance of Religious Freedom (and even the right to not follow a Religion at all, if that is your choice).


Yes your forefathers did flee religious persecution. They didn't flee to pursue a religiosu tax haven.


Originally posted by fraterormus
When a government starts compiling lists of gun owners, gun owners rightfully panic for what will come next to threaten their 2nd Amendment rights. When a government starts compiling lists of a specific political party affiliation, people rightfully panic knowing that a repeat of the McCarthy Era is about to happen (ever wonder why "Independent" became the 3rd largest political party?). When a government starts compiling a list of protesters, then people rightfully panic knowing that 1st Amendment rights are being threatened. When a government starts compiling a list of who belongs to each Church, then it's pretty much the same deal. The government does not need to know this information. When they want to know that information, it is ultimately for a reason that is contrary to Religious Freedom, which is a Constitutional Right.


Completely and utterly off topic. I never said you couldn't have religious freedom, only you couldn't have tax exempt status. Please stick to the topic.


Originally posted by fraterormus
Thankfully, up to this point, the government has stayed out of the matter of running a roll-call of Religious Affiliation. They know it would be wrong to do so. (Too bad, they aren't as steadfast in upholding that for gun owners or protesters or bloggers, or so forth, who should be as equally protected.)


Again off topic, pleae try and stay on topic, this is diversion simply to ake it off topic and stop the discussion. I know the tactic well, as do you.


Originally posted by fraterormus

Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984But they do decide it. If they do not then i can start a religion right now, that includes only myself and be tax exempt now can't i. I'm not a US citizen but the same applies to every country in this case.


No, they don't.


Oh but it does.


Originally posted by fraterormus
Seriously, if you can find two other people who believe as you do and will meet with you on a regular basis, then you can found your own religion that is recognized by the Federal Government! Even if you say that Beer is your Eucharist, Football is your worship, the N.F.L. is your deity, and the T.V. is your sermon, it can be a recognized religion if you file the proper paperwork. The government doesn't tell you that you can't find spirituality in enjoying Monday Night Football. As such, they do not prevent anyone from founding the Church of the Sacred Pigskin, and enjoying Tax Exempt Status if you jump through the proper hoops and red-tape.


Three peopel is not enough in the UK, the minimum number is nearer a thousand before i can claim to be tax exempt. The USA has similar laws. Why do you think small cults cannot be tax exempt and get invaded by 3the IRS? Large religions are tax exempt, small religions are considered cults and are not tax exempt. Please quote the law to correct me.


Originally posted by fraterormus
However, does having Tax Exempt Status for your Church of the Sacred Pigskin mean that you don't have to pay for taxes on the wages your employer pays you? Not at all. You still have to pay those. Does it mean that you can open a business and not pay Taxes. Nope! You still have to pay those. However, when your friends pitch in for the Holy Beer Fund, that is Tax Exempt. When you throw a fund-raiser to get a 55" Big-Screen HDTV to better watch the game on (I mean "have better sermons"), then that money from the fund-raiser is Tax Exempt.


Do you have any idea how much the churches save by being tax exempt? We are talking hundreds of millions because they play the same tax dodging games as anyone can with such power. Claiming expenses and such isn't much in a small company, in a large church it is extroadinary.


Originally posted by fraterormus
Yes, a religion has to be recognized by the Federal Government to gain Tax Exempt 501(c)(3) status. However, all it takes to be recognized is filling the proper paperwork. The government doesn't dictate what constitutes a religion other than 3 or more people meeting together on a regular basis with a common set of beliefs (whatever those may be) and a statement of what those beliefs are.


So how are small cults taken down by the government? Small cults that cause no harm except claim they are tax exempt? Please provide the exact legal framework and laws you refer to so i can read them over. I am from the UK and i can tell you that here 3 people isn't enough. I know the law in the USA pretty well but maybe i've missed something. Please provide it.

If you can i will provide you with case studies of cults that contained less than 200 members who got in trouble for not paying taxes. They couldn't get tax exempt status.

Thanks.

[edit on 4-6-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:07 PM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


FYI


www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/26/501(c).html



(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:12 PM
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If you head down this road and start taking away the tax exemptions of Non-Profits like churches you are then bluring the lines of a separation of church and state standard that has been in existance from the very inception of our nation. And most churches dont have "stupid" amounts of money either.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:21 PM
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Originally posted by Rockstrongo37
If you head down this road and start taking away the tax exemptions of Non-Profits like churches you are then bluring the lines of a separation of church and state standard that has been in existance from the very inception of our nation. And most churches dont have "stupid" amounts of money either.


Churches are not non profit, that is the point. They claim they are whilst giving many of their leaders the best wines, foods and luxuries money can buy. As for seperation of church and sate, i'm all for it, so why does the state allow tax exempt status? That is part of the state lol. The rhuch is not a seperate entity that goes about it's own business you know, if you think it is then you don't listen to the news much.

It is easy to appear non profit whilst living in luxury.

[edit on 4-6-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:24 PM
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More information for those that want to start an exempt Church of Football or Holy Order of Beerlovers (where do I sign up?)

www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=136196,00.html


Organizations applying for tax-exempt status must submit two applications: First, if they have not previously received an Employer Number (EIN), they must apply for one, and second, an application for recognition of exemption.


www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=96210,00.html



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:35 PM
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reply to post by WickettheRabbit
 


Simple point. How many times do you hear religious people on the news commenting on politics? How many times did you see during Obamas election the religious people coming out and saying stuff? Not just followers but leaders. So if they are supposed to stay out of things to remain tax exempt, how are they still tax exempt?



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:49 PM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I honestly don't know how or why people who preach politics get away with it. It's probably something to do with "the comments suggested by person X do not necessarily represent the opinions of the organization X" or some other such thing.

I know I've seen it where official representatives of a church or other organization have totally stayed clear of politics, while other people "not representing the church" have handed out literature, etc.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:53 PM
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reply to post by WickettheRabbit
 


Lol don't you get it? They can preach what the religion really thinks, the religion then says they're not representative of the faith and yet the person remains on the payroll. That is standard practice to push their views whilst remaining tax exempt.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:57 PM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Do you have a problem with all tax exempt groups doing this or just the religous ones?



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:02 PM
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you should tax everybody than. but even when you tax only certain belivers than the money should go to the church itself. there are countries like that (some in Europe, Germany for example). it ends so that most people have resigned and the churhces are empty.

and if you would like to tax the church itself not the belivers than you should know that the costs are huge and without some other profits (like Banco Ambrosiano which pays taxes as any bank) and except the sects, most would be bankrupt already.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:04 PM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I totally get it. I understand where you're coming from, but everyone has an agenda. Everyone wants to promote something or another.

If you want to start ranting about all tax injustices, you better pack a lunch. It's a long trip.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:07 PM
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I agree with the premise of the original post. Don'forget that donations to churches are also tax deductible. Why should Joe Blow pay less income tax because he gives money to his church of the Pigskin(as an example) and I don't? I agree in giving tax deductions to those who operate charities. Religions are not charities. The cost of the charitable work they do should be tax-exempt though.

When it comes to taxes as a whole, you should only pay taxes on what you haven't spent at the end of the year and that should be taxed at a high rate.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:08 PM
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A Religious Organization, such as a church can be incorporated by filing Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State in which they reside in. Most states require at least three directors. Some allow less than three when there are less than three members, and other states require only one director. (The filing fee varies from State to State, but in most cases they vary between $35-$75.) To claim tax exemption, IRS form 1023 must be filed within 15 months from the date of filing the articles of incorporation.

Articles of Incorporation are simply a statement of the following items:

ARTICLE I - NAME OF CORPORATION (Name of Church)

ARTICLE II - LOCATION - Mailing Address where the Church can be contacted.

ARTICLE III - FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES - The US Government doesn't rightly care what these are, just that you have stated them formally (exception is with one particular judge in the State of Texas, but as you are from the UK, you'll probably state that this is "off topic" again).

ARTICLE IV - PURPOSES (This *IS* what the US Government since 1969 wants to hear...basically being a legally binding contractual agreement) "This church is a nonprofit ecclesiastical corporation organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c) (3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law) (the Code). The church shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Code or (b) by a corporation contributions to which are deductible under Section 170 (c) (2) of the Code. This church has not been formed for pecuniary profit or gain. No part of the assets, income, or profit of the church shall inure to the benefit of its members, council members, or officers. However, the church shall be authorized to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in this Article IV.
No substantial part of the activities of this church shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. This church shall not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office."

ARTICLE V - CHURCH GOVERNANCE - Who runs the Church, i.e., who is legally liable and accountable.

ARTICLE VI - PROPERTY - How does the Church handle it's real property and who has legal right to that property if the Church divides into two Churches, or the whole Church dies via Act of God, and so forth.

ARTICLE VII - POWERS - Who can do what in the Church's name? Basically, appointing who the legal representatives are who can open Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, make legal binding contracts, etc. on behalf of the Church.

ARTICLE VIII - AMENDMENTS - Under what terms can these Articles of Incorporation be changed while remaining the same Incorporated entity.

ARTICLE IX - TERM - How long is your Church going to remain in existence. Is this for just a weekend, a year, a decade, the lifetime of the Pastor/Prophet, or for perpetuity?

In many cases, Religious Organizations automatically acquire 501(c)(3) status upon filing of proper organizational documents (e.g., articles of incorporation as a church), at least until annual income exceeds a statutory threshold. Others will not receive 501(c)(3) status until they file an application and supporting documentation to the IRS and have a certification letter issued. The 501(c)(3) application must be accompanied by a $300 application fee if annual income for 1st 4 years is $10,000 or less ($750 if annual income is more than that).

So, if you have $335 ($35 to file with your State and $300 to file with the I.R.S.) and 3 individuals (some States only require 1) who are willing to be legally liable for the Church, a physical address where the Church can be reached via mail, and can type up a simple Articles of Incorporation and fill out a IRS Form 1023, then you are recognized by the government of the United States as a Church.

For more information see IRS Publication 557 (PDF Format)

So, unlike you in the UK, those of us here in the U.S. can be recognized Churches and Religions of 3 people (or sometimes just 1). Every wacko with a couple of friends, and every cult, can be just as legitimate as the Catholic Church, or any other religion. That is what makes Freedom of Religion in the US truly "free". Any poor sod that can write/type and scrounge up $335 in loose pocket change can found their own religion that is equal to and just as protected as all other religions, big and small.

[edit on 4-6-2009 by fraterormus]



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by disgustedbyhumanity
 


You are making the blanket statement that all "charities" are better than all religions. That's bold.

Would you like to make a tax-free donation to the Human Fund? If you donate enough, you will get an invite to the Annual Human Fund Winter Banquet where we spend 75% of the donations to buy food and alcohol for the banquet attendees. After "administrative costs", the Human Fund donates almost 3% to local animal shelters.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:26 PM
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reply to post by fraterormus
 


Your USA law is interesting, i wonder why then more people haven't undergone this little change to avoid taxes? Maybe because they would be refused? I'm not sure, please give a good reason why they haven't. My original point however still stands. Why are religions tax exempt?



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:29 PM
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Originally posted by WickettheRabbit
You are making the blanket statement that all "charities" are better than all religions. That's bold.


Please quote where i stated this. I stated only that religions have other interests. Charities have the sole interest of either promoting health, research or other such things. Churches have these plus wanting their own needs met. I could go into how church led soup kitchens push the bible on people and refuse to serve those who don't attend religious meeting sbut hey you would'nt believe it.


Originally posted by WickettheRabbit
Would you like to make a tax-free donation to the Human Fund? If you donate enough, you will get an invite to the Annual Human Fund Winter Banquet where we spend 75% of the donations to buy food and alcohol for the banquet attendees. After "administrative costs", the Human Fund donates almost 3% to local animal shelters.


You know i'd prefer that to pushing a belief on people in return for food. You see that happens in Africa. You listen to a sermon and you eat, if you don't then screw you basically. That bothers me.

So again i state, religions are motivated by very different things, they should not be tax exempt.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:48 PM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I point you to the NAACP. A non profit, tax exempt program that has most definiatly publicily stated which politician they endorsed and have forced their political beliefs on others.

www.huffingtonpost.com...

www.foxnews.com...

I can name more that does the same thing that you feel the religous ones do. I think that it would fall on deaf ears though, as you are more intent on bashing religion rather then actually acknowledging the fact that very few non profits stay nuetral.

Have fun with your religion bashing.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:51 PM
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reply to post by jd140
 


Charities are often set up to comment on politics. Pro life and pro choice organisations are common place. Religion has other interests at it's heart. There is the differece. It is not religion bashing but i'm sure you wish to point to it as that. It is simple logic. Religion is set up to change peoples religious beliefs, the ones that are supposed to be separate from church and state. Charities commenting on religion are set up to do that and not change peoples religious beliefs. If they are trying to change religious beliefs then they should not get tax exempt status.

Church and state should be separate, so why allow tax exempt status.

You have yet to come up with a good reason they should have tax exempt status, please take a proper shot at it. This is not bashing religion, you can believe whatever you like.

[edit on 4-6-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984
reply to post by jd140
 


Any charity that promotes a political stand point should not have tax exempt status. So how are you doing on pigeon holing me? Not well it seems.


I'm just trying to get you to say what you said in your above post. You have done nothing but bash religion because of their tax exempt status. You are calling out one group and leaving the rest alone.

Its would be like starting a thread saying that dog crap smells bad when in fact all crap smells bad.

Discrimination takes many forms.





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