Should tax-exempt churches pay “fees”?

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(RNS) When a community needs to rebuild crumbling roads, should houses of worship pay fees for the number of times their congregants drive on them? That’s the question behind a recent suit filed by churches in the small city of Mission, Kansas, who argue the city’s new “transportation utility fee” is a tax they should […]

  • ciao

    This isn’t the first time elected officials have tried to burden churches with taxes for something. It won’t be the last. As long as government spending is out of control, they will be searching for one more way to get money. Tax and spend. Separation of church and state!!

    Keep government out of religion. They have the constitutional right to be aloud to operate freely from big brother interference.

    Churches and other non-profits have been serving their communities without government assistance very well. They benefit the community by supplying needed money, food, clothing and services provided by the generosity of their followers and volunteers.
    If government buts in, then churches will have to cut their services to communities and government will have to provide for the common good, which means everyone will have to pay higher taxes to fill the gap left by the religious organizations who can not longer carry the burden. Don’t even give them an inch, or they’ll take all.

  • Gospa

    That has to be absolutely the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Are church people the only ones with vehicles? In today’s times we are in the minority. Yes, many people believe in God, but not enough attend churches, That would definitely be considered discrimination.

  • Bruce in Orlando

    AHA! The Aliance Defense Fund does not believe in the separation of church and state. They actively fight against it. But they invoke it here.

    “it does damage to the constitutional separation between church and state”, argues Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.

    Great quote.

  • The Alliance Defense League refers to the separation of church and state as “a myth” on its website, but now that it comes to taxing churches the exact same as everybody else and ending their special subsidies, NOW they’re in favor of the separation of church and state?” Don’t they know what the New Testament says about what the afterlife has in store for hypocrites?

  • ConservativeCatholic

    Well isn’t this just dandy. Fine, if they want to revoke tax exempt status, then let our priests finally feel free to state from the pulpit what our faith really says, and not the mamby-pamby drivel that fails to nourish our souls when issues arise where our faith needs to shape our politcal action (no communion for pro-choicers, voting for pro-choicers is anathema, etc.)

    If they’re doing this, then we should take the advantage to gain back our freedom of speech! Let this be a step toward the Social Kingship of Christ the King!

  • Terik Ororke

    What a laugh — a tragic one! Cities give all kinds of ridiculous salaries and pensions and when they find they are now in need, they go after real institutions that serve the public in a non-profit way. Throw the bums out of office and make the city responsible in how it actually spends money. Make sure that they account for every penny and trust no one in that particular government at this moment.

  • Emily Fortner

    Aren’t the members of the congregations already paying the various state/municipal taxes that are supposed to go towards maintaining these roads? Why should the churches have to pay a fee for their parishioners to drive to services? Sounds like the cities are just trying to get around the tax exempt status to me. Are they going to charge Goodwill or the Salvation Army for extra for the people who shop at their stores as well?

  • michael g. batcho

    it wowuld be a violation of The Constitution to tax Churches for road use by their congragations . . congregations are “citizens” excercizing their Constitutionally guaragteed right to freel worship . . . to make these citizens pay EXTRA taxes (through their church) would be an unfair taxatoion on them just becasue they use their right to worship “freely” . . this is a ruse by some fools in the government to encumber Churches . . one must NEVER lose sight of the fact that the churches are simply citizens congregating to worship, and that is a guaranteed right free of ANY state interfderence. . .

  • michael g.batcho

    and remember: these church members PAY TAXES . as do their clergy who are not tax exempt . . . why are they paying taxes if they are to then be taxed for using their constitutional right as tax paying citizens?

  • Ray w.

    It is good and proper that a church facility that attracts traffic should pay a reasonable fee for roads that bring people to that church. If people quit going to church so much, there would be less traffic and the roads wouldn’t suffer so much wear-and-tear. There is no need for massive church organizations anyway, and most operate like a business, so why not tax them like the businesses they are? Especially those churches that also run book stores and coffee counters inside their facilities. Those are BUSINESS activities, not religious.

  • Ray w.

    michael g.batcho — why should Kroger and WalMart and Jack in the Box pay taxes, since the people who shop there already pay taxes?