Debate: Church Exemptions
Opp Choice: Should religious institutions or groups who endorse candidates or donate money to candidates or parties retain their tax exempt status?
- Legal Philosophy
- Asymmetry of power
- Government has responsibility to keep itself contained. As such, two values show
- Free Speech
- Money is speech
- Government incentivizing an institution not to speak violates the spirit of the freedom of speech
- Democratic government instead should remove barriers to constructive speech
- Social Contract
- We don't give up our right to religion, so the government doesn't have power to exercise power over religion, and by extension, religious institutes
- Religious observance should be cheap
- poor perversely affected by establishing a tax on religious institutions
- Church attendance gives people positive benefits that the gov't likes
- moral guidance that emphasizes things the government likes
- i.e. peace, order, etc.
- a)Separation of Church and State
- i)We maintain it when the two aren't mixing
- ii)Church violates this when it interferes with estate
- (1)no longer a special institution, no longer needs protecting
- b)Churches should not have a political component
- i)They can set up separate institutions committed to political action, which sets up their mission as religiously inspired, but not religious doctrine.
- c)People shouldn't be forced to support religion
- i)a certain amount of money is required. Money will come from members of society who have been taxed. If religious institutions aren't taxed, every member of society has to pay for stuff instead. If you pay for something and another person doesn't as a direct result, you are supporting them. Given that taxes are required, a person doesn't have the choice. Therefore atheists and nonbelievers, not to mention those not of each faith supported, are being forced to pay for religions they don't believe in.