Taxing churches would amount to double-taxing believers

Feb 20, 2002

To those who don't think a church should be tax-exempt: (Click here for part 1)

A church is made up of taxpayers, individuals who meet to worship and minister cooperatively. It is not a separate profit-making business. but a fellowship of believers. To tax a church would be to double-tax individuals who make up the church.

Churches are not as rich as some people think. Gifts to churches are tithes that are commanded and offerings that are given to ministry the church is supposed to do. One church, Mountain View Baptist in Washington County, Va., just spent over $8,000 to clothe and feed 260 families in Harlan County, Ky.

It is a small fellowship of believers who are doing what they are supposed to do. Much was donated by others outside the fellowship who have already paid taxes on the money they gave. How can anyone want to double-tax that money?

As far as the Trinity (Click Here), one only has to read the Bible to see God in His three Persons. Whether some like it or not, God is God, and He is the BOSS!

Abingdon, VA.

Let's end the corrupt practice of making groups tax-exempt

March 19, 2002

To the editor:

I commend the Herald Courier for the editorial "It's a taxing subject" (2/24/02) and thanks to Ron Gilbert. (Herald Courier Feb. 20)

A tax-exemption (TE) is welfare often for the wealthy. According to the Urban Institute only 32 percent of taxpayers itemize totaling $123 billion in 1999.

If Mountain View Baptist Church lost its TE status, little would change. Few of their members itemize while $8000 in charity expenses, (like utilities) is deductible. Business investments and property would be taxable.

According to Washington County officials, TEs cost $1.9 million in property taxes alone. This includes a $4.1 million church whose pastor brags on the Internet about "$1.5 million in cash" (tithing) receiving a $23,737 handout while a local college gets $900,000.

According to the New York Times (3/17/02) non-profit's income is only 10 percent from donations; the rest is government handouts (36 percent) and business income. (54 percent)

According to the Herald Courier (12/22/01) 25% of the married couples in this area earn less than $15,000 (in reality unemployed) well below the 1999 poverty level of $16,895. Yet a tax-free local college got $175,000 in government grants and earned almost $10 million profit. Let them build a hiking trail or new library.

Finally, nobody said churches give to PACs but if they want to act as a PAC (Christian Coalition) treat them like one. Jesus clearly said don't pursue money, sleep with Caesar, or "brag" about $8000. (Matthew 6:1) Let's end this corrupt tax-exempt system. As for the Trinity, to quote Deuteronomy 6:4, HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE HaShem OUR GOD, THE HaShem IS ONE. (JPS 1917) and Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD. (KJV)

Lewis Loflin,
Bristol, VA.