The Tax Exempt Issue and What We Can Do About It

By August 1, 2012Religion

Religion’s income is – and always has been – exempt from tax. Sure, some of this money is directed towards schools, hospitals and welfare agencies, it’s true, but not all of it. Not by a long shot.

Churches own vast property empires, manage hundreds of millions of dollars in investments, and operate a wide range of profitable businesses throughout the world.

The most insidious use for this money, perhaps, is prosthelytizing – spending money on actively recruiting people for the church, through youth programs and missions, targeting the weak, vulnerable, young and uneducated.

There’s very little chance that any government around the world is going to take a stand and cancel a churches tax exempt status, and it’s perhaps for this reason, that religion is finding a political voice. More so now than any time in recent memory, churches have an opinion on how everyone should live their lives, whether you agree with their world view or not.

Humanity is treading a dangerous path. After years of essentially leaving it to it’s own devices, religion appears to have accumulated enough money and power to become a political force. And boy, do they have an agenda!

If you are a Christian, you probably don’t see the harm in having a Christian running your country – let church and state bleed together a little, right? Well, what happens when the next leader is from another faith? Christians, what if you were living in a country suddenly run by a Muslim? You’d want some separation of church and state then, wouldn’t you!?

That’s kind of how everyone who isn’t a Christian feels about living with a Christian leader… but I digress.

With revoking religion’s tax exempt status essentially off the table, how can we – as a secular society – make a dent in their bottom line?

The answer is actually pretty simple – don’t spend your money at a business that’s owned by a religious organisation, or donates money to a religious organisation.

By now, you probably all know about the Chick-fil-A incident. No one should begrudge Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy his right to describe his personal views on gay marriage. But he crossed a line when he said his company backs the traditional family unit.

What’s the big deal? When you spend money at Chick-fil-A, you are essentially supporting a company that promotes bigotry, a view that comes from the Christian belief that somehow homosexuality is wrong. The only way they are going to get the message that that’s unacceptable is for people to stop spending money there. And people are already doing that, in an unorganised kind of way.

What I want to do is organise this vague notion that we don’t want to support bigotry, that we don’t our children brainwashed, that we don’t want to see foreign cultures homogenised. If the governments won’t stand up to the churches, we need to! And the nothing makes an impact like money, or the loss of it.

So here’s where we start.

Everyone should educate ourselves about which companies are owned by a church or donate money to a church. We may not see a church’s tax exempt status revoked in our lifetime, but we can stop indirectly funding them by spending money with their supporters and subsidiaries.

I am building a list, and I need your help.

Comment below – let me know what companies in your country are owned, or support, a religious organisation. Send me as much information as you can about these companies, and together, we can start to make a dent in the church’s all-too-plush pockets.