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PostPosted: April 23 18, 9:28 pm 
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That is just Raging against the Steeple. Taxation of churches will never happen. Even in a sci fi novel of athiest liberal govt majority it wouldnt happen.

I do wish Missouri would stop giving tax credits for donations to religious- based charities. That seems wrong.


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PostPosted: April 23 18, 9:45 pm 
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Fat Strat wrote:
Ok, you don’t like the influence of Christians on government. So your solution is to legalize, affirm and empower religious institutions to directly and overtly influence the government.

Also, if you tax churches, then you will also have to start taxing all non-profits, because that’s the only real special status that churches hold. For tax purposes, a church isn’t really any different from any other non-profit, except we can’t apply to the government for funding... which would also have to change if churches are taxed. Go ahead and destroy the non-profit service community out of spite for some Christians. That’ll show ‘em.


The City of St Louis is looking into taxing the larger nonprofits as they are the largest employers in the city and we are near broke


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PostPosted: April 24 18, 6:21 am 
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lukethedrifter wrote:
Fat Strat wrote:
Ok, you don’t like the influence of Christians on government. So your solution is to legalize, affirm and empower religious institutions to directly and overtly influence the government.

Also, if you tax churches, then you will also have to start taxing all non-profits, because that’s the only real special status that churches hold. For tax purposes, a church isn’t really any different from any other non-profit, except we can’t apply to the government for funding... which would also have to change if churches are taxed. Go ahead and destroy the non-profit service community out of spite for some Christians. That’ll show ‘em.


The City of St Louis is looking into taxing the larger nonprofits as they are the largest employers in the city and we are near broke


Interesting. Will read up on that. I don’t know if that would be very effective, since most non profits - outside of religious circles - are grant funded. I don’t think a city will be able to tax state and federal grant funds awarded to a non-profit which are designated for very specific purposes. Donations are another thing, but after expenses, nonprofits typically aren’t making tons of money.

And technically, nonprofits donations and grants are already taxed because employees of nonprofits pay taxes on their income, just like everyone else. Just like a business, a large percentage of nonprofit expenditures is salaries. The city just doesn’t see that unless there is a city income tax.I am not sure if nonprofs pay property taxes. Churches don’t because of separation of church and state.


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PostPosted: April 24 18, 6:46 am 
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I don't know about taxing churches but I do think cracking down on their political activity is a good idea. Like I alluded to earlier, I'm aware of several churches in my area that for all intents and purposes have already been preaching politics for many years. If they are going to keep their tax exempt status, that crap has to end. For starters, they shouldn't be able to host political events at all. Zero. Even if they pretend to be nonpartisan events by inviting candidates from all sides. Beyond that it gets a bit trickier. But they have to at least fear losing their exempt status. Since there have been no consequences for so long, they have gotten bolder over the years.


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PostPosted: April 24 18, 8:11 am 
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Fat Strat wrote:
Not trying to address all your points here, but the “megachurch guys with mansions” represents a miniscule minority of pastors and church leaders. Not sure of the exact stats, but 80-90% of churches are running under 100 people in worship and their pastor is likely bi-vocational or their salaries a

Not really related to your points about taxes, but I was curious about this.

Some Googling tells me that it’s true that megachurches are a small fraction of churches, but they do draw a significant fraction of total church attendance. Churches that draw >2000 per weekend are around 10% of total Protestant Church attendance. And they are growing substantially in an overall Church attendance environment that is stagnant to declining.

I guess my conclusion would be that the role of megachurches may be overstated in some circles, but the impression that they represent much of the energy/dynamism* in modern Christianity seems correct.

*in the morally neutral sense — the sector is just highly successful.


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PostPosted: April 24 18, 8:12 am 
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pioneer98 wrote:
I don't know about taxing churches but I do think cracking down on their political activity is a good idea. Like I alluded to earlier, I'm aware of several churches in my area that for all intents and purposes have already been preaching politics for many years. If they are going to keep their tax exempt status, that crap has to end. For starters, they shouldn't be able to host political events at all. Zero. Even if they pretend to be nonpartisan events by inviting candidates from all sides. Beyond that it gets a bit trickier. But they have to at least fear losing their exempt status. Since there have been no consequences for so long, they have gotten bolder over the years.

Aren't there already laws on the books that just aren't being enforced?

I can understand not taxing income on churches; they need the revenue to worship freely. I'm a little surprised though there's no property tax; I know in Indy we use (unusually low) property taxes to pay for different pieces of infrastructure like filing potholes. If you're using the infrastructure in Indy, shouldn't your (large, prime location) property be taxed to contribute to it's upkeep?


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PostPosted: April 24 18, 8:39 am 
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Arthur Dent wrote:
Fat Strat wrote:
Not trying to address all your points here, but the “megachurch guys with mansions” represents a miniscule minority of pastors and church leaders. Not sure of the exact stats, but 80-90% of churches are running under 100 people in worship and their pastor is likely bi-vocational or their salaries a

Not really related to your points about taxes, but I was curious about this.

Some Googling tells me that it’s true that megachurches are a small fraction of churches, but they do draw a significant fraction of total church attendance. Churches that draw >2000 per weekend are around 10% of total Protestant Church attendance. And they are growing substantially in an overall Church attendance environment that is stagnant to declining.

I guess my conclusion would be that the role of megachurches may be overstated in some circles, but the impression that they represent much of the energy/dynamism* in modern Christianity seems correct.

*in the morally neutral sense — the sector is just highly successful.


Your stats sound dead on to me from what I've heard/read/seen over the years as are your conclusions. At the same time, most megachurches are actually conglomerations of much smaller congregations. We call it "multi-site" or multi-campus". Lifechurch.tv, for example, is one of if not the largest protestant, evangelical church in the US. It has 20-30 locations spread out over the US and you can also "attend" online, so most of the congregations aren't the huge arena-style churches.

A lot of that is a product of culture. (Warning: generational stereotypes to follow) Greatest Gen and Boomers in particular had a "build it and they'll come" kind of approach to worship. Butts, buildings and bills (dollar bills) was the old saying. X'ers are happy with that, since the big megachurches provide such incredible activities and environments for their kids. I would, again, have to look at fresh stats, but the majority of your megachurch attendees are going to fit into those two categories. Millennials are, very generally, returning to more historical roots. They grew up seeing the lack of spiritual depth and entertaiment-orientation of their parents/grandparent's churches and they don't want anything to do with it. Some are returning to more mainline roots, with an emphasis on experiential and practiced spirituality (things like sacrament, mission projects, community service), all in a smaller church environment. That's also why many megachurches have transitioned to mult-campus environments or added experiential and sacramental worship elements... often to the annoyance of the Boomers and to a lesser extent X'ers who are still in leadership in those places.


Last edited by Fat Strat on April 24 18, 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: April 24 18, 8:40 am 
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Yep, property tax abatements are problem in St. Louis, not just for religious and non-profits , but for churches of capitalism :wink: (taxpayer subsidized developments.)

Non-profits in St. Louis include (I believe) Washington Univ, SLU, the big hospital complexes, to name a few - churches in conventional sense are not a big thig.. Hoot had a good explanation of this dilemna in other thread (on Alamo Drafthouse etal development in midtown).

I thought I saw that some of these institutuons were open to this proposal.

Anyway all these free rides put the squeeze on who and what they can tax in the city, to support schools, aging infrastructure etc.


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PostPosted: April 24 18, 8:52 am 
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pioneer98 wrote:
I don't know about taxing churches but I do think cracking down on their political activity is a good idea. Like I alluded to earlier, I'm aware of several churches in my area that for all intents and purposes have already been preaching politics for many years. If they are going to keep their tax exempt status, that crap has to end. For starters, they shouldn't be able to host political events at all. Zero. Even if they pretend to be nonpartisan events by inviting candidates from all sides. Beyond that it gets a bit trickier. But they have to at least fear losing their exempt status. Since there have been no consequences for so long, they have gotten bolder over the years.


I have no problem with cracking down on churches and their political activity. Let's do it! Those pastors shouldn't be doing that kind of thing. And I think there are probably laws already on the books that we would just need to enforce.

From a pastoral perspective, I refuse to use my platform and influence for overt political purposes, at least in terms of endorsing or sponsoring particular candidates. I also won't allow anyone in the church to use church property, resources, or time to endorse or sponsor candidates or parties. That's fairly standard practice for clergy, though it's not universally followed. At the same time, I'm very much opposed to the censoring of a clergy's (from any religion/denomination/orientation) right to preach/teach their doctrines. Politics, morality, and ethics overlap quite regularly.

It's also difficult to walk the line between engagement and endorsement when it comes to political figures and parties. We, for example, are trying to get more involved in community revitalization in the neighborhood around our church. That's going to involve working directly with City Councilors, State Reps and other elected officials. We are/will bring those officials to our church and have them speak to our people or host them in our building (or organize these kinds of events in the nearby park and rec center) so they can meet with neighborhood leaders, businesses, and service agencies. In sponsoring and organizing these efforts, aren't we to some extent endorsing the candidates? The difference, I guess, is that we would do that for all officials and not just one particular party or one particular candidate to the exclusion of others. Anyway... there's a line that we have to walk and it can get a little gray.


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PostPosted: April 24 18, 9:46 am 
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Hospitals and universities aren’t really grant funded


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