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Should Religion Be Taxed?

In today's society, religions don't pay any form of tax. Understanding a little history will show you how we got to this state. When you go back in time, you'll notice that state and religion were one. Governments and countries were created around a central religion. This ended up alienating others and most of them fled to North America to avoid this.

The idea back then was that religion and churches couldn't survive without the government. Soon separation between church and state was created in the United States after the revolution. We learned that religion could in fact survive without the state backing it.

It was still believed that religion was fragile and couldn't handle the burden of tax, so they don't pay it.

Religion Should Pay Taxes

This is my stance, even though I'm not a person that approves of taxes. I do believe that the government should treat everyone and everything as equals, so I don't see how it can view one entity as taxable and an other as no tax, depicted on the basis of a "religious" belief.

1. Religious Status is Vague/Unknown/Esoteric/Undefinable

My first argument for taxing religious institutions is on the very nature of how "religion" is recognized by a government. No one is really sure how it is done.

What makes Christianity more of a religion than a person that believes in the moons?

What separates a religion from a cult?

Can I form a religion?

Do I have to believe in God?

Do bureaucrats have to approve my "religion"?

Does the religion have to believe in mystic things or can it be based on reality?

Can my house be a religious temple and not be taxed?

There are no answers to these questions from a government. Since there isn't one, than it doesn't seem fair to allow a "religion" to not pay taxes since there isn't much on the subject of becoming a recognized religion.

2. It's a subsidy

Subsidy with a lack of taxes is very misunderstood. Lowering or even eliminating taxes is not a subsidy. Lowering or even eliminating taxes while others have to continue paying is a subsidy. There is no debate.

It's no different than living with your parents without paying rent. They're providing the house, food, warmth, electricity, etc and you're not paying. It's a subsidy.

Religion is granted protection with the police, national defense, fire fighters, roads, etc etc etc and it doesn't pay a cent.

3. Religious Agenda

The fact that people believe in a false reality with God(s), pixies, angels and any number of mystical beasts doesn't entitle them to a tax break. The real question is whether government should be promoting specific institutions with the attempt to persuade people. What the government is saying is that religion is important and that the government needs to help people find it by giving it an advantage in the marketplace of ideas?

If you want to "find" something, you do it yourself. We don't need a government promoting the concept of "religion" on the masses. We'd all be better off if the government would step out of the religion debate and stop trying to persuade people. If religion can't survive without a huge government tax break, than maybe religion needs to fail?


There are a lot of people that view religion as very charitable institutes and that is reason enough not to tax them. I'm questionable of altruistic intentions of "charity" since people are better off spending their money on themselves. Without creating a huge essay, I'll sum it up like this; Bill Gates as a cut throat greedy profitable business helped more people than philanthropist Bill Gates.

I'm off subject now. When you get down to it, religion isn't charity, but an irrational agenda. Charitable groups have gone to Katrina for example, but would only help you if you listened to their indoctrination. I suppose that prerogative comes with freedom, but that shouldn't warrant them a tax break.


Religion has also started to accumulate a lot of assets and real estate making them a very rich "religion". I have no problem with anyone or anything getting rich, but since these religions don't have to pay taxes, they invest their "earnings" and buy up real estate against competitors that have to pay them, this isn't fair. We're not talking about small assets, but hundreds of millions of dollars worth of it. Does it seem fair that competitors with the same balance sheet have to be taxed, while a "Preacher" does not? It isn't fair.


To conclude this post, religion doesn't deserve a subsidy in the tax code system. In the marketplace of ideas, you must compete and the government must not tilt the playing field in any one direction. Religion doesn't deserve to be tax free. There is no logical argument for it, unless every other person and business gets to go tax free as well.


Anonymous said…
I totally agree with your statements....
Anonymous said…
Thank you for your rational arguement. You have put into words my emotions about religion being tax exempt.


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