Monday, February 14, 2005

Tax Exempt Political Campaigning

It is currently illegal for a tax exempt organization to endorse a candidate for a national election. That sounds completely reasonable right? You wouldn't want the Red Cross the Salvation Army or your kid’s school, the Boys and Girls club, or your mother’s old-age home to tell them, or you, who they think you should vote for would you?
Neither would I, but apparently it's ok for your church to endorse a candidate and tell you who to vote for. Republican Congressman from NC Walter Jones has introduced a bill that would allow only churches the right to do such a thing and keep their tax exempt status. The bill is called the "House of Worship Free Speech Act" HR 235 IH. It brings what I was saying in my previous post, "free speech for Christians only" into new light doesn't it?
Does this make any sense other than it keeping fundamentalist Bible thumping southern republicans in office? This is about as hypocritical as you get, what he is saying is "lets let a conservative institution accept donations, campaign for me, and not pay any taxes, but we still won't let organizations like the Red Cross and other charities do the same, because they probably wouldn't vote for me or my colleagues."
I really have no problem with churches endorsing candidates for office, but I also have no problem making them pay taxes on the money they collect. Look at someone like Pat Robertson whose net worth is 200 million plus, where do you think that money came from? Contributions that were not taxed!
Call your Congressman and tell them you will track them down and hog tie them if they support the House of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act HR 235 IH.


Neemund said...

I don't think it should matter whether or not an organization is tax-exempt; they should be able to endorse a candidate if they wish. But since it is currently law that they cannot, then it should be enforced evenly. I didn't see Rev. Jesse Jackson get in trouble for endorsing Kerry from the pulpit. Or is this law just to squelch the free speech of the religious Right, while leaving the religious Left alone? Or if organizations have to buy their right from the government in the form of taxes to exercise their 1st Amendment rights guaranteed to all in the country we should extend that rule to all legal entities: organizations, businesses, and individuals. If you do not pay federal taxes for whatever reason (most likely because you don’t make enough money to have to pay them) then you shouldn’t be allowed to voice your opinion or vote in elections.

Toad734 said...

Just because Jesse Jackson happened to be a minister at one point doesn't mean his church is endorsing a candidate that he himself is personally endorsing. Jesse Jackson himself is not exempt from paying taxes.
And no it’s not a law to quiet the voice of the right, but they are trying to make a law that give extra privileges to the religious right, and that’s the problem. And I think all churches should have to pay taxes, look at how easy it is to abuse that policy. I can start a church that worships the Easter bunny or some other imaginary character, collect donations that I don't have to pay taxes on, and pay myself as much as I want out of these donations. Of course, I would have to pay personal income tax but, what's to stop me from setting up a fake church that is tax exempt and that marries illegal aliens to get their citizenship or some other shady operation like that? Or just do exactly what Jim and Tammy Baker did.
Why don't churches have to pay taxes anyway?

Joe Wiess said...

Churches don't have to pay taxes because they are set up as Charitble organizations under the Tax Code.

Like you, I believe that politics should be kept out of churches, synagogues, and mosques. I'll go futher and say it should be kept out of the work place as well.

The only place politics should be allowed is the cesspool of Washington D.C.