Thanks for that.<quoted text>
As a former christian, church deacon and youth minister, I can vouch for this. Some of the elders of the church, and certainly some of those in high leadership positions demand respect based on their status as a christian and their position in the church. Even when it's not deserved.
That needs to be among the first things to change. Not only do churches need to be taxed like any other business, they need to be subject to frequent random audits with hefty, zero-tolerance prison terms for clergy caught defrauding the American public, including having the offenders frog marched out of their churches by police for the evening news.Religion already gets special treatment from the US government, is that not enough for them?
Wouldn't you just love to see the results of the forensic audits of about a hundred churches chosen at random to see how little gets past those jackals pockets? I sure would. I'll bet less than fifty percent of the dollars collected are recorded, and that less than ten cents on the dollar is spent charitably, meaning that at most, ten percent of their gate should go untaxed. I'd bet quite a bit that that is the case.
When people that don't feel like giving churches a pass just for saying "Jesus! Jesus!" a lot have attained majority status, we might see some fairness there.
If you have any interest in the matter of church tax exemptions, and the unfairness in the way that the tax law is applied today, you might check out these emails on the subject I passed along at http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/atheism/T...
And here's an article from The Guardian from this week entitled, "How US churches exploit tax exemption to promote faith-based politics - With the IRS turning a blind eye, the Christian right is getting its political advertising subsidized by American taxpayers" at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/...
I resent that, especially in light of the fact that unlike secular charities, churches are automatically granted 501(c)(3) status, the IRS has no will to enforce the law with churches (it is assumed that if FFRF politicked, that they would lose their tax exempt status), and that there is zero oversight of the fraud committed by churches. Whereas you and I can be randomly audited, a church must be caught in flagrante delicto before the IRS will get involved.
"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." -Thomas Jefferson