There a several factors supporting and opposing the taxation of churches. They provide services to the poor in their communities and, arguably, influence their societies in a way that discourages crime. In addition to that community impact, keeping churches tax exempt is one of the easiest ways to maintain the separation of church and state. Taxing churches may tempt the government to become involved with the right to practice religion, which is guaranteed in the first amendment. Furthermore, the tax exemption can be traced back to ancient times, and has been in effect for centuries. However, as a result of the marriage equality debate and the Obergefell same-sex marriage ruling, the public has become skeptical of religious organizations. Many think that churches should be taxed, especially since churches already receive IRS privileges beyond what other nonprofits receive. This could be considered unconstitutional, once again bringing up the issue of separating church and state. If churches are receiving more benefits than non-religious charitable organizations, the tax exemption may be a way that the government is favoring religion over secular community aid. Whether or not churches should be exempt is a both a moral and financial question. Nonetheless, people will continue to have differing opinions on the purpose and functions of churches in the community.Photo by church_org
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