"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
Those are the establishment clause and free exercise clause of the US Constitution.
Now how does that mean we can't tax certain religious groups?
Let's take a mega church, any random one that has over 1500 attendees (there are about
1400 of them
). Let's say the pastor
is making a six figure salary, that is an untaxable salary because it comes from his religious duties.
Now, why is that?
Because we're insane.
By the logic of this sentiment, the luxurious expenditures of religious institutions go part in parcel with their exercise of religion.
Last time I checked, Evangelical Christianity didn't have a doctrinal requirement for high-paid ministers. Catholicism has no doctrinal requirement
for luxurious churches.
Now, I'm not saying tax all religious institutions, but I say they should be subject to the exact same scrutiny that business is, possibly with more
This shouldn't be a problem if they're performing primarily charitable acts with their income, or if they're hardly pulling in any profits, because
I'm not proposing to shut down smaller religious institutions, just the ones that spend frivolously and are clearly fleecing their flock.
I grew up in Missouri, there was a female minister (whose name I forget, another Missourian might be able to remember it) that had three mansions, a
dozen cars, and 7 figure annual income. How would taxing her prohibit the free exercise of her religion? If she's a Christian she just needs to talk
to the people at Gideon's and get a free Bible and stop at the vast majority of Churches that don't require tithing.
The same goes for Scientology, which is essentially a massive moneymaking scheme.
I'm not sure about the finances of most Islamic and Judaic religious centers, but I know that the Judaic ones that I grew up near had rabbis that
weren't paid very much.
Anyway, who supports this?