- Religion and Philosophy
Taxation / Non-Profit Charity and Churches Insight & Outlook
This is strictly MY TAKE, MY THOUGHTS & FEELINGS about something. This writing is not based on "facts" but it is geared at Government - in general. Anyone thinking that much of what is currently going on in Washington DC is new, are kidding themselves, our Government has been overspending, and spending foolishly for years. This writing is an attempt to show both "sides" of each issue - to try be fair, like journalism and news used to be in this country. Remember merely MY TAKE and MY perception based on things various people have said, surely not scientific or data based, neither part addressing politics, or the church.
*Our country is going ever deeper in debt and shows no signs of slowing down. No matter how you feel about "who" to blame it isn't a new problem. Eventually all this stuff has to be repaid, heres the gist of this writing, and yes, it is kind of personal. Certain possible outlets of Ministry need to be a 501C-3 (non-profit) (tax exempt). These are becoming harder to charter because of the abuse of tax exemption (how many "help" organizations do you hear of where 80% of income pays directors and such). Not only are they getting harder to come by, I honestly feel that they are going to go away. Churches (I feel) stand a good chance of losing there tax-exempt staus too, not just Charities. Why do I feel this way? Our Government needs a lot of money, they NEED to look within for a start, but it's become pretty clear, that, that isn't going to happen. Not with things like Congress, an entity who give themselves raises, in addition to being their own "watchdog". So, when Church & charity lose tax-exemption, and I believe it will, heres the big question - is it just? We all likely "want" to say no, but maybe...
*As I mentioned above you hear about these Charities that spend ridiculous money on things, be it salaries, trips, lavish offices etc. Man(kind) does not seem to handle money, power or prestige well - usually. So, what about Churches, is that different? Think about it, doesnt it seem like more and more Churches are run like a business? If so, is that really a bad thing? I mean the Bible tells us to be good stewards of our money, so good business practices might make sense - although there is that thing called Faith, you know, where you trust God with the situation. I've seen and heard from "outsiders" that many Churches feel more like "business" than a Church anymore. With many of them you can even "charge" your tithe now - I'm sorry but shouldn't the Church be detering people from running up credit card debt, not giving them the swiper?
Also in this age of the MegaChurches and TeleChurches some even have "gift shops" in the lobby. Kind of like, "So, you liked the "show", wanna get a souvenier?" Whats next, trading cards? Not so far fetched at this point, instead of teams it's Churches and instead of players it's Ministers, Deacons etc. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is wrong, it's not for me to judge - however, I'm relaying how some on the outside feel about it, and it isn't good. Flip side is these Churches are GROWING - hence the demand for "merchandise" (remember Jesus in the Temple).
*Another trend is well known Pastors, almost Rock Star like some have become, and VERY well paid, living pretty lavish lifestyles, mostly tax free and people know it. Including the Government, (who do about the same, but thats them). I've got to say, I've heard that the "gift shop" serves to better "grow" the Worshiper, after a particularly stunning service they may be so moved that they need "stuff", OK, perhaps a new attendee needs a Bible, being new they may not have one. So they can charge it on their credit card at the gift shop. Yet in most "little" Churches, the ones who have no money because it all goes to Ministry, usually a new person needing a Bible will be given one, yes - GIVEN.
Some of my thoughts are mixed in here, but most of what I'm relaying is the feedback from those that aren't saved or at least not currently involved in the Church. So many people right now, I don't feel, would be to upset or offended if the Gov't went after Churches for taxation and it's their perception from what they see. This can't be blamed on the media because they rarely cover anything having to do with "Church" so it's left to the perception of those "driving by". Or maybe it's the ad's on the sides of buses? or is it the billboards? Don't get me wrong, I'm a God fearing Christian through and through, I don't want to be part of the "cancer" in the body of the Church. When the taxation comes, and I believe it will, the Church(s) will be upset, many or most, rightly so. However the few culprits will be upset as well, yet, they will be the ones that can sustain the taxation, because of all the business ventures, it's all the little community Churches that will get wiped out. Or will they, I, if I were a Pastor at one would look for God to be glorified to no end, for Him to beat the system, thats the other problem with all the Church "business plans" they typically take God out and give man control.