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September 27, 2008

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Director

Agreed.

Kerry Reid

Ah-yup.

And in related news, I just re-upped my membership in Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

freeman

Can't agree there. That logic would apply pretty quickly to, um, theaters. Should we lose our tax exempt status too? Are theater's charitable institutions?

They can say whatever they want from the pulpit because it's a ... PULPIT! That's the whole point.

We may not agree with all religious leaders, but treating religion like an opponent has gotten a whole lot of Republicans elected.

RVCBard

"Tax them!" - George Carlin

RVCBard

Matt said:

"Should we lose our tax exempt status too? Are theater's charitable institutions?"

In some cases, yes. Too often 501c3 status seems like a default rather than an actively and carefully considered decision.

RVCBard

BTW, I found something on Praxis Theatre that may relate to this discussion:

http://praxistheatre.blogspot.com/2008/09/10-questions-gordon-p-firemark.html

freeman

501(c)3 status is one of the few benefits that artistic institutions are granted in a marketplace that does very little for them. Churches are no more businesses than theaters are. They are for the public good, and "not-for-profit."

What's for the public good is entirely subjective. But the principle is a good one. I think squabbling about the tax status of churches is off-base when there are major for profit companies that receive more government aid and incentives than any local parish does.

Scott Walters

I'm assuming you'd also be in favor of revoking the tax exempt status for arts organizations that produced political work, right?

Ken

In the spirit of fairness and objectivity, we're bending over backwards to give churches the benefit of the doubt--a benefit the religious right would hardly give to artists. How many times has a clown like Bill Donoghue of the Catholic League protested a tax-payer funded art exhibit? Sure, he's an extremist, and in actuality speaks for a very small number of people (possibly only himself), but he's only doing what he's doing because there is the framework of the church upon which to hang his lunacy. Mega-churches around the country earn millions and millions of dollars each year, and influence local and national elections--and not in the way that most of the readers of the blog would want.
Is it asking so much that the mega-churches pay taxes on their mega-millions? Why is that a beyond-the-pale affront? Churches are not content any more just to be sanctuaries where people can pray and reflect, but now insist on being weapons in the culture wars, and--as I said before--players in national elections. If they're going to come down from their lofty perch and take on such a public role in our mainstream society, shouldn't they contribute to the welfare of that society by paying their own way?

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