Fresh from their latest win in the Supreme Court over same-sex “marriage,” the Left has launched a new attack on traditional values, centuries of precedent and institutions they don’t agree with – revoking the tax-exempt status of churches, faith-based schools and religious organizations.
To some, it is more than an idea. It is an effort to end tax-exempt status for religious organizations, make the issue part of the national debate and establish the goal as a centerpiece of the far Left secular legislative agenda.
And they are following the play book – the one that enabled them, over a period of years, to sweep aside popular opposition to legalized gay marriage, eliminate prayer in school and achieve other victories against the traditional values in our nation’s state and federal courts.
In fact, immediately following the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states – ballot measures, state law and popular opinion against it not withstanding – Mark Oppenheimer declared in Time magazine that that churches should be stripped of their tax-exempt status because they serve no “reliable” function to help the poor and that government should not be “subsidizing” them anymore.
Oppenheimer is free to limit the function of churches to “helping the poor” in his view and ignore other institutions like faith based schools and charities altogether, but critics say he is clearly wrong. Aside from “helping the poor”, churches conduct weddings, help the sick and infirm, provide comfort to congregations, pass on religious doctrine to young people and so much more.
Oppenheimer also fails to explain how taxing churches would comport with the Left’s so-called “separation of church and state” argument – a term not found in the U.S. Constitution that was made up by the Left decades ago to shut religious institutions out of the public debate on morality, the proper role of government and the role played by faith in American history.
How could government tax religious institutions and then bar them from participating in government and politics? He doesn’t say.
Efforts to repeal tax-exempt status for religious institutions received fresh support this past weekend when HBO’s John Oliver (in the style of Jon Stewart) mocked the tax-exempt status of televangelists preaching the gospel and commenting on moral issues that inspire the individuals who give money to such organizations.
National Review’s Ian Tuttle issued his critique of John Oliver writing:
“Oliver is not content to let the Almighty right this wrong. He eagerly invokes a different deity: the federal government.”