Would Religious participation (or lack of participation) shift in people's views and
expectations if it were to pay tax?
I really do think it depends on the organization. Curtailing free speech in order to qualify for tax exempt status is just dead wrong.
But allowing the mega churches the same tax exempt status as the neighborhood church that runs a soup kitchen, food pantry has a missionary group, sponsors a Boy Scout troop and a community beautification volunteer group is equally dead wrong.
We must remember that the salaries of those getting paid to work for a church are taxed and usually any land is taxed same as any other.
I give some money to a missionary church for immigrant Vietnamese. That money I give is taxed when I earn it.
Seems to me that a tax on the Roman Catholic church just might be appropriate because of their enormous wealth. Maybe.
And we have that pesky problem of church and state. We all know that when the IRS gets it's fingers in a pie -- regulations and tit for tat is soon to follow.
I don't think it would effect attendance at all.
In general, atheism tends to correlate with liberalism. Faith challenges the state as a source of power and influence. Without a religious faith, too many liberals then go on to worship the state - and see using the state to implement their version of a better world on others as a moral act, and paying taxes as a type of tithe.
That's how they can be OK with demanding others give more in taxes, akin to demanding others donate to your faith, and redistribute as they see fit - it is their version of religious do-gooding, and why liberals give less in charity as a percentage of their income - they see the taxes as such.
Yes ... if by "religious participation" you are referring people in the institution of the church. This would mean a traditional tax-exempt organization would be taking in less money, and therefore would have to do more (fundraising) to get the equivalent amount of income. Religious institutions would shift people's views because they would operate more like businesses. And, if people were giving more they would also expect more.
Would expecting more be better? In what ways could they improve?
It would be better if an institution was not "feeding the flock" and raising up those mature in the faith (Eph. 4). Notably, the Biblical definition of what a church is supposed to do is often divergent from what Americans tend to want/expect.
I guess it depends on the person, and the religion they were beginning to participate in/stop participating in.
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