Pass the collection plate


Last week, President Obama announced he would be willing to at least consider keeping the Bush tax cuts in place, given those exemptions would still apply to the middle class.

His announcement comes as conservative lawmakers and their misguided constituents vye to keep tax cuts in place for individuals who make more than $250,000 per year. The basis of their fact-less argument: “the rich will give us jobs!”

Although it’s not clear whether the president is advocating to keep the tax cuts implemented in 2001 steady for the wealthiest Americans, there is no question something must be done to dig the federal government out of debt.

A start would be to take away existing tax cuts for some entities currently exempt from federal taxation, namely America’s churches. “But why churches, you sacrilegious parasites?…churches help people!” some of you may say upon reading this. Well, consider this.

The U.S. Congressional Life Survey, which seeks to identify the religious makeup of the country estimates there are roughly 300,000 churches in the U.S. – all of which are non-profit. In fact, these churches, the bulk of them Christian, usually keep their doors open through the collection of tithes, which in most cases is used to compensate clergymen and other niceties that keep churches functioning. Also, over the last decade, the number of churches has increased by some 50 percent; can anyone else spot the cash cow?

No matter how noble they claim their intentions to be, churches should be taxed. To exempt them is wholly unconstitutional and unfair to other non-profit “do-gooders” who are vehemently audited by the Internal Revenue Service to ensure they are using donations for a good cause. The difference is, they aren’t doing the “Lord’s work,” and in turn get no special treatment.

That doesn’t sound like the clear separation of church and state Thomas Jefferson stressed in his Letter to Danbury Baptists, which, by the way, is nowhere in the constitution.