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Discussion Separation of Church and State

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zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
105,028
19,713
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I'm still waiting to see where the separation of church and State is mentioned in the Constitution.

If you have a church running a preschool and observing all the laws and regulations of a preschool, shouldn't they be paid for their work? If a church is providing homeless services and running a food bank, shouldn't they be entitled to the same payments other non-profits receive?
you're welcome to provide a supreme court decision that fails to establish, and perpetuate, this historical understanding of the constitution.

lol, whelp guess I spoke too soon in response to grenade boy. 250+ years of judicial precedent, chiseled away by bed-wetting, bronze-aged, idol-worshippers. (yes, Hobby Lobby is also part of this)
 
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Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
61,669
13,748
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These things happen every day in some churches. Unless you are making a claim that they don't provide food, shelter (in some cases emergency red cross shelters), education or child care?
I get all that. Not all churches provide childcare or foodbanks. They're also in a position to reach out to their parishioners in ways that ordinary businesses can't match. If I were tithing, for example, I'd send the money anyway.
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
28,659
8,789
136
I think what this ruling might do is inadvertently (or purposefully) remove the restriction between churches and politics.
 

Paratus

Lifer
Jun 4, 2004
14,552
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I think we should allow priests ministers and pastors to use the IRS to enforce tithing from their parishioners. G5’s don’t buy themselves after all.

That should end organized religion in this country and have people demanding separation of church and state in less than two years.
 

imported_tajmahal

Diamond Member
Jul 9, 2009
9,313
1,157
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What are you talking about. The taxes are related to the employees not the organization. You show again a woefully bad understanding of these items. Do they employees get a tax deduction for donating to the church? Of course they do. Try staying with the concept that churches cannot take from the community and then expect the community to pay them again for the things they do for the community to qualify as a non-profit.
He made the statement "they bear none of the costs" which is an inaccurate on it's face.

"taxes are related to employees not the organization" Again a factually inaccurate statement on it's face. The organization pays the taxes for it's employees. Just try to be honest and avoid making inaccurate blanket statements.

If you hate other people because of their religious beliefs and your own bigotry, that's fine. Knock yourself out.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,156
2,732
136
He made the statement "they bear none of the costs" which is an inaccurate on it's face.

"taxes are related to employees not the organization" Again a factually inaccurate statement on it's face. The organization pays the taxes for it's employees. Just try to be honest and avoid making inaccurate blanket statements.

If you hate other people because of their religious beliefs and your own bigotry, that's fine. Knock yourself out.
Except you are wrong. Churches are not required to withhold payroll tax from their employees, the employees of tax exempt religious organizations are required to pay it themselves as if they were self-employed. Churches are allowed to withhold them if they like to assist their employees, if they so wish, but not required to.
 

Grey_Beard

Golden Member
Sep 23, 2014
1,584
1,636
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He made the statement "they bear none of the costs" which is an inaccurate on it's face.
Actually, he was 100% accurate. They do not. The church spends money they receive from the community, so actually it is given to them for these causes. Can you tell how the church earns revenue? What do they “produce” and “sell?” Maybe television rights, but that is a small percentage of all churches across the nation.

“taxes are related to employees not the organization" Again a factually inaccurate statement on it's face. The organization pays the taxes for it's employees. Just try to be honest and avoid making inaccurate blanket statements.
Yes, they “pay” them but it is a reduction of the employee’s net pay. The taxes themselves are for the employee’s earnings. It is not from the “goods” or “services” the church “produces.” They do pay that employer portion of FICA, but FIT, Medicare and half the FICA are directly from the employee. Would they would pay their employees less if they did not have to pay even the 6.2% of the FICA taxes? The IRS mandates that employers with a certain number of employees and above to do this or face fines. If they are below that number, they do not “pay” them, as the employee is responsible for both segments as the “true” percentage of FICA is 15.3% for a self-employed individual which includes the 2.9% for Medicare. The 6.2% they do pay is a rather small amount of total taxes, since they employ few, not like a manufacturer or “jobs producing” entity does. Most have payroll in the thousands each month, thus saying that $7,500 dollars of taxes per year means they “pay” their fare share, especially when those taxes go directly to social security for the employee and not the community at large. That is not appropriate. Sorry for the realization that facts are what this is.

If you hate other people because of their religious beliefs and your own bigotry, that's fine. Knock yourself out.
I do not hate anyone. I have many in my sphere that are very committed to their religion. Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, etc. I have no issues with those who want to espouse to these acts for their faith. I have an issue with hypocrisy. Your prejudice seems rich here, as just because someone is not “religious” that they are a hater. You really do not need a church to be spiritual. You realize spirituality, faith and religion are all different concepts. You can one, two or all three. Just because you do or do not have one does not mean anything relating to the other.

I do not espouse to the concept of religion. It was originally designed to control the masses. Clearly it works. It treats a book written by men, many, many years ago as fact. This is not my concept of faith. It has some great examples of how one should live their lives and treat others. I do like reading it, as much as I like to read any book or article, which I do all the time as an avid reader.

Why are so many “evangelicals” so clearly against the actual teachings in the book? Many cherry-pick the events that suit them.

Check again. Your posts are clearly only part of the story and do not reflect the reality of the situation.
 

imported_tajmahal

Diamond Member
Jul 9, 2009
9,313
1,157
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Except you are wrong. Churches are not required to withhold payroll tax from their employees, the employees of tax exempt religious organizations are required to pay it themselves as if they were self-employed. Churches are allowed to withhold them if they like to assist their employees, if they so wish, but not required to.
Wrong. Yes they do.
.

"
Churches must still withhold payroll taxes from the wages of their employees even though the church is generally exempt from paying income tax. In addition, there are special rules regarding the payment of Social Security and Medicare taxes for clergy. "
 

imported_tajmahal

Diamond Member
Jul 9, 2009
9,313
1,157
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"my sphere"
It's obviously not one that adheres to facts. To make the statement that Churches bear none of the costs is akin to some redneck making the claim that people on welfare "pay no taxes".

Of course churches and their employees bear some costs.
 

brycejones

Lifer
Oct 18, 2005
20,013
11,339
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We got 5 male Catholic clerics pretending Supreme Court Justices, pushing taxpayer money to their church. What do you expect?
This case was a bit more nuanced. The law in question specifically exempted religious schools only and not all private schools. Other states have laws that exempt all private schools (secular or religious) and those laws appear to be still intact since the restriction does not depend on religious identity. Personally I think state funding should be withheld from all private schools through any funding mechanism (vouchers, "school choice", etc).
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
27,669
2,684
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This case was a bit more nuanced. The law in question specifically exempted religious schools only and not all private schools. Other states have laws that exempt all private schools (secular or religious) and those laws appear to be still intact since the restriction does not depend on religious identity. Personally I think state funding should be withheld from all private schools through any funding mechanism (vouchers, "school choice", etc).
Yeah this would be my thinking as well. Since the law specifically targeted private religious schools, that is unfair. If the vouchers are able to be used at private institutions, then that means all private institutions are eligible, even those that happen to be religiously affiliated.

I agree I think the vouchers should only be used for public schools, though.
 

imported_tajmahal

Diamond Member
Jul 9, 2009
9,313
1,157
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Churches have phones, do you really think they don't have to pay taxes and fees like everyone else? Sales taxes? etc. Blanket statements that "they bear no costs" are a joke.
 

Grey_Beard

Golden Member
Sep 23, 2014
1,584
1,636
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"my sphere"
It's obviously not one that adheres to facts. To make the statement that Churches bear none of the costs is akin to some redneck making the claim that people on welfare "pay no taxes".

Of course churches and their employees bear some costs.
Really?!?!? So if you pay some small percentage of the benefit you got, therefore you funded it yourself? Your comparison to welfare is one of nonequivalence.

Your assumption is that Church generates revenue or some cash from their activities. What activities generate cash? The food bank charges those that receive food? The soup kitchen charges those that eat there? The employees are paid through the sales of what (Mass cards, funeral Masses, clergy speaking engagements, etc)?

The point you are missing is that, yes they pay these taxes, however small they are, but they get much more from the community to support these efforts, which means that the donations allow for this, not the “church.”

Donations are usually made for certain things, like the soup kitchen, food bank, or maybe building a new school. If they are used for other purposes, there are fines and the donations will likely need to be paid back. Therefore, the church goes to the community with a list of things they want to do and ask them for funding. The donors give explicit consent for funding that activity through the church. If the dollars are invested, the income from that investment must be spent according to the donor’s stipulation. If it is not, the donor must authorize that or the additional funds are returned. The church has no money to fund these things. Some give dollars to “general” purposes, which allows the church to fund whatever they want. This is how it works. Actually all non-profits work this way. If they generate revenue for unrelated services, say a church manages a web site and gets paid for it, that revenue is taxed.
 

Grey_Beard

Golden Member
Sep 23, 2014
1,584
1,636
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Churches have phones, do you really think they don't have to pay taxes and fees like everyone else? Sales taxes? etc. Blanket statements that "they bear no costs" are a joke.
Actually, they provide a certificate that allows vendors to not charge them taxes. All sales taxes on anything they buy, all taxes on their phone bill, everything. Sorry, but you are wrong again.

 

blackangst1

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
20,494
724
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I love this argument as religion benefits from all the exemptions that other businesses that worship money do not have. They do have an imaginary friend, though, maybe that’s the difference. I thought churches were not to be political, but many on Sunday hear a rant that boarders on a political rally and not the lessons on living a good life within a book written by men about a person (??) who may have lived over 2,000 years ago. Interesting that they think a guy who lived 2,000 years ago in the Middle East is white.



They are. Like all non-profits, they get money from donors called donations. The church tells parishioners to give 10% of their income to the church, as well as the services the give to them. Corporations send them donations of goods, services and money. The donations are tax-exempt. The income they make on investments are tax-exempt. They do not pay property taxes. They do not pay sales taxes. They support the community by doing these things after the community supports them through the reduction of their tax burden.

Will they except all children, even those of other faiths? Will they teach the State approved curriculum and not a faith-based one? Will they feed the homeless and do the food bank without any religious propaganda in the services they provide?

Cannot have it both ways and then ask the community to support it twice.

If they did pay taxes and did not take donations that are tax-exempt, you have an argument. Without that your point is misinformed.
Churches that have schools are private, therefore can teach whatever, to whomever, they want. With that said, all private schools must be accredited by the state, thus ensuring appropriate courses are taught in accordance with state guidelines. And all private schools are audited. Curriculum aside, there no other accreditation requirements.

In regards to the OP, I disagree with bailing out churches with federal money.
 

Grey_Beard

Golden Member
Sep 23, 2014
1,584
1,636
136
Churches that have schools are private, therefore can teach whatever, to whomever, they want. With that said, all private schools must be accredited by the state, thus ensuring appropriate courses are taught in accordance with state guidelines. And all private schools are audited. Curriculum aside, there no other accreditation requirements.

In regards to the OP, I disagree with bailing out churches with federal money.
Agreed they are private. The State requirements are somewhat vague and are meant to be that way. They set the minimum standard. To give the students a “certificate” of completion or Diploma, this is necessary.
 

ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
32,009
10,789
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Agreed they are private. The State requirements are somewhat vague and are meant to be that way. They set the minimum standard. To give the students a “certificate” of completion or Diploma, this is necessary.
As a product of private Christian school, I fully support state mandated and controlled standardized testing. This was not in place back in the day, and my education reflects it.

If that can happen in a state like MA, just imagine what the states full of fundie whack jobs are getting away with.
 

BlueWeasel

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
15,834
235
106
Actually, they provide a certificate that allows vendors to not charge them taxes. All sales taxes on anything they buy, all taxes on their phone bill, everything. Sorry, but you are wrong again.

That's not true. It varies by location but in my state (MS), churches are not exempt from sales and use taxes but for a handful of items. We still have to pay sales tax on pretty much everything. I'm involved with my church's finances and I've seen it.

Sure, the church organizations pay no state or federal income taxes, but to claim they pay NO taxes on anything is a gross mischaracterization.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,677
985
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Somehow in the last couple days, I was thinking about the news and imagined a screed I could write about a broader issue and misconception I thought people had about secular government. As I remember, my thoughts were triggered by some letter-to-editor or similar communication invoking the language of the Declaration of Independence. I'm clear so far in my thinking about it, but I'll save it for later.

Didn't hear about the afore-cited Supremes decision until now. The discussion seems interesting and I will continue to watch it before adding comment.

However, if religions employ people, and the monies cited in the OP are both stimulus and aid payments to cushion the impact of the Pandemic shutdown, then I'm not so sure it's the wrong thing to do, despite the usual "separated" relationship between religious organizations and the government. An argument hinges on the tax-exempt status of churches, but in this unusual case of nation-wide upheaval, I'm not sure the tax status of the organization -- corporate, private non-profit or religious non-profit -- is an essential distinction in the emergency aid issue.
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
61,669
13,748
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And just like that, publicly traded corporations can also now be “religious” or deny contraceptive and abortion coverage for any claimed moral reason (or to just save money and have government foot the bill!)


Supreme Court Undercuts Birth Control Access Under Obamacare - https://www.npr.org/2020/07/08/884104509/supreme-court-undercuts-access-to-birth-control-under-obamacare
I suspect that group plans w/o birth control coverage actually cost more. Birth control is cheap & delays or prevents the expense of maternity care, birthing & infant care. Plan participants pay more to satisfy the superstitions of the owners. Because Jesus.
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
105,028
19,713
136
I suspect that group plans w/o birth control coverage actually cost more. Birth control is cheap & delays or prevents the expense of maternity care, birthing & infant care. Plan participants pay more to satisfy the superstitions of the owners. Because Jesus.
Don't worry, it will be "Obamacare's" fault in the end.
 

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