Churches are classified as 501(c)(3) organizations, exempting them from taxes while also completely preventing them from engaging in any partisan action. The pulpit cannot be used as a stump for any particular candidate or party.
But Wise seems to think that the congregation is what defines the church itself. That the church is not an entity in its own right, not something bigger than any individual congregant. Therefore, the taxes worshippers pay on their own income should also cover the donations and tithing the church receives.
Yeah, bullshit. If that was the case corporations could avoid paying any and all taxes by saying “Hey, we’re made up of taxpayers! We shouldn’t have to pay any taxes on our revenue as long as our employees pay their own income tax.” But no one makes that argument. Why? Because it’s a bullshit argument! Corporations and other for-profit organizations are entities unto themselves, and thus they have to pay taxes on their revenue. Churches are entities themselves, not vaguely defined collections of individual attendees. Therefore they have rules they need to follow. One of which being “tax exemption is conditional on non-partisanship.”
Frankly I’d love to see churches have their tax exempt status revoked, even if the payoff is preachers and pastors becoming unpaid campaign workers. Shit, it’s not like there aren’t already a bunch of religiously-motivated groups focusing on abortion, gay marriage, or any other political issues. It’s not like we haven’t had Catholic clergy using their office to make political statements, like refusing to give communion to pro-choice candidates. As long as there are so many obviously partisan church leaders and churches, let’s tear the flimsy wall down and make them pay their fair share.
If they can afford it. Doing some quick research for this post I found out the Catholic Church is currently operating at a loss. But it doesn’t say if that’s a result of payoffs to molestation victims or if they’re just fiscally incompetent.