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September 18, 2006

Comments

Douglas, Friend of Osho

I belong to a faith community and to be honest, I think churches should be taxed. Naturally, there's no reason why yours, Hugo, should be singled out, but I do believe the tax-exempt status is as big a violation of the seperation clause as any. Oddly enough ,the only church I've known to be publicly for taxation of religion is...the Church of Satan, which has never sought tax-exempt status.

Hugo

Douglas, do you favor taxing all non-profits? The SPCA? The Sierra Club? The Red Cross? If not, why hold churches to a different standard?

James

Hugo,

I thought of you as I was reading some of the morning press on the issue and wondered whether you'd be posting on it. Thanks for reading my mind!

Douglas,

I'm not a lawyer, less yet a constitutional lawyer, and am not prone to quoting from case law. But I think Chief Justice Marshall was correct in ruling on McCulloch v Maryland that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy."

Maintaining the separation of church & state seems to REQUIRE a tax-exempt status, lest the government get into the business of persecuting a church, or denomination through taxation.

John

Luckily the law isn't so strict here. But certainly, you are quite right to tell Caesar to mind his own business. Dissenting Ministers often preached election sermons in the 18th and 19th century-In Bristol, they went straight from church to the polling booth to vote for Edmund Burke.

Jonathan Versen("Hugo Zoom")

hey Hugo,
you might be interested to know that "Billmon" mentions your church's situation in his most recent post; he sees it as indicative of a larger trend.

Douglas, Friend of Osho

Hugo: Yup, I do, especially if it would result in a reduction in direct mail. FWIW, I also favor ending or at least severely curtailing limited personal liability conferred on shareholders in corporations. The free ride ought to be over for everyone or extended to everyone.

James: Individuals, housheolds and companies get persecuted through taxation. Why should churches miss out on the fun? Besides, I think it's more likely the threat of revoking tax-exempt status, rather than the actual taxes would be used to police churches, don't you? Not that I think it was right for the Mormons to refuse to ordain blacks, but I'm convinced they would still refuse today if the IRS hadn't hemmed and hawed about their tax-exempt status because of this practice in the 1980s.

JOHN: We wouldn't be having this argument if churches ponied up.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

Not that I think it was right for the Mormons to refuse to ordain blacks, but I'm convinced they would still refuse today if the IRS hadn't hemmed and hawed about their tax-exempt status because of this practice in the 1980s.

I wouldn't know about that. At the time the doctrine was changed, in 1978, the mission in Brazil was challenging the whole refusal to ordain blacks, as the church had a bunch of people eager to build a temple in a country where they couldn't figure out how to tell who was eligible for the priesthood under their old rules.

SamChevre

Well--it could be partisan. However, pro-life groups have also been warned/harassed, and Operation Rescue lost its tax exemption recently--so I do not think this is entirely a partisan issue.

Burton

Once again this demonstrates the evil nature of the IRS. It simply has too much power and there is no way to reform it.

There's only one solution: time to abolish the IRS!

Kathy

How did the aspects of the gospel Regus preached about become "liberal?" This is not a rhetorical question. When did we separate the whole gospel: belief in Jesus as Redeemer and Messiah + living out his culture of life as demonstrated in his ministry and resurrection? It makes me so sad that conservatives claim one half of the equation and liberals the other.

I find Regas' promotion of abortion baffling--but that's another issue--everything else Regas said pretty much squares with the Gospels. However, it's not about voting. That's where Regas crossed the line from pastor-ing to politic-ing.

I don't trust the Democrats to be any better at embodying kingdom priciples than Republicans and churches are deceived when they advocate partisanship.

One of our pastors gave a sermon at my church that was squarely opposite to everything Regas said about Jesus. And yet we claim to believe in the same Jesus. No wonder we don't seem to be making much of a difference in the world.

Anthony

Under the McCain-Feingold law, your minister's actions would be clearly illegal, as they occurred less than 60 days before the election, and it was quite obvious which candidate was being criticised.

Ian

Being a Preacher's kid, I'm always interested in the feud between the pulpit of the church and the dias of Capital Hill. I find it strange that the IRS is squeezing out the coffers of All Saints while Jerry Falwell can say on his broadcast that Hillary Clinton would lose against Satan himself in a vote determined by his congregation. To me, this is the same type of grand-standing the IRS is condemning. The difference? Party affiliation. My prayers are with you during this unjust fight. Keep the faith!

Marty

Hugo, I appreciate your academic perspective, however, we need to cut right to the chase about All Saints. They brought this on themselves and are involved in this political fight because they are in many ways a political entity. The leadership of the church - Bacon & Regas - thrive on this stuff and the public attention. As I experienced, from my perspective, when I was employed at All Saints the political distractions were overwhelming, with ministry and faith development often taking a back seat. Even though I grew up a liberal Kennedy democrat - and remain so to this day - I feared expressing my pragmatic opinions due to the oppressive environment and what I considered a lack of tolerance for any thought that deviated from those in power. I still stand with All Saints on many issues, but their methods and volatile approach at weaving faith and politics - while maintaining a separation of church and state - is highly susceptible to criticism. I hope this issue is resolved and All Saints is able to move forward with its ministry in the context of worship, personal faith formation, and social justice.

sharon p kelly

Falwell just compared Hillary to a devil yesterday, didn't he? Is that the kind of political stand we're NOT suppopsed to make? Will he be invistigated by the irs? I'd love to hear that smug coot take some heat.

Hugo

For the record, Marty was a former senior youth minister at All Saints, and he knows the church well. He and I have a different perspective, naturally, but I respect his contribution to our community. Marty, it's good to hear from you.

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