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Is Tax Exemption Modern-day Baal Worship?

By Dr. Don Boys
©1997 Cornerstone Communications

Many people have confused the tax issue as it relates to churches. And there is no comparison with personal taxes. That is a different subject altogether. The issue relating to churches and taxes is two-fold: Should churches pay taxes and do churches have a right to demand that all gifts be deductible from a contributor's income tax? That is the issue before us today.

The Bible nor the Constitution speak to this issue of tax deduction. The fact that we have been permitted to deduct from our taxes what we give to the church is simply a benefit that we have had since the income tax was foisted upon us in 1913. I believe that benefit is coming to an end – and maybe it should!

Should churches be willing to bow to Baal in order to have the privilege of tax deduction by its members? Remember the principle that if you get a benefit from government, you willingly put yourself (or church) under its authority while at the same time losing some autonomy.

The Bob Jones decision (where the Supreme Court twisted the Constitution and reality like a pretzel) will haunt us for decades. If a church stands for anything contrary to "public policy" it will be said to be in violation of the Constitution. What is "public policy"? If you preach against perversion, abortion, welfare, etc. then you are going against "public policy" and may lose your tax exemption.

Should a church have tax exempt status especially when you realize the price that must be paid to keep it? The price? Obedience to Federal regulations. If a church did not have the benefits of tax exemption, there would be no "sword" over it. A pastor could preach about any moral issue and could support any political candidate without fear of losing that tax exempt status since the church would not have it to lose.

Another question: Suppose you knew a candidate for office were another Hitler who would do irreparable harm to our nation and wreak havoc with our churches. Under the law your church cannot help defeat him and help elect his opponent. Why? Because that is part of the "contract" you have with the government. Is it worth it? Is it now past time for churches to declare themselves totally independent of government coercion by surrendering their tax exempt status?

Frankly, I think the issue is moot because I believe the government will "cut the cord" between us in order to collect more personal taxes from each of us. Of course, concerned pastors will ask: Will church members continue to give the same amount if their gifts are not deductible from their tax returns? Wise pastors should start preparing their people NOW for that day.

We have bowed the knee to Baal for too long, and while government has its legitimate place, it is not at church! Maybe it is time to tell public officials to keep their grubby hands off the Church of Jesus Christ and keep them out of church coffers. And as for tax exemption, we will trade it for our freedom. Not a bad deal when you come to think about it, and I hope you will.

Copyright, 1997, Don Boys, Ph.D

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