Or why churches should pay taxes.
In most countries that I am familiar with, charities, not-for-profit and churches can get a tax exemption status. This is widely known and generally accepted throughout society. Increasingly, the atheists of the variety that want the state to replace God; would like to see this status removed for churches and all religious organisations and groups. They naturally are all for retaining it for charities that are or have all but become secular such as World Vision and the Red Cross. These of course would only be the secular organisations that share their values as I’m sure any secular charity with a platform they didn’t like would soon be taken exception to.
I was for a long time against the idea of removing tax exempt status for churches as I thought it was (and it certainly is), an attack on the church. I didn’t think much past this as and opposed it for this reason alone. As is sometimes the case though, experience and observation has led me to rethink this position for a number of reasons.
The first and most important reason is the title of the post. Simply put, the church should render on to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Caesar isn’t into Christianity anymore and hasn’t been for longer than it has taken the law to catch up and Christians to realise. The West is now only nominally Christian at best and is more accurately described as post-Christian. So modern Christians, much like early Christians, are now under the rule of those hostile to their existence despite what they may say at election time. So Christians should devote to them the money which they worship and save our souls for God.
If this alone is not enough, I have more practical reasons. Having churches taxed like businesses and families has the positive effect of keeping them honest. A possible reason why the tax exempt status hasn’t already been removed is that it can be used to control religious organisations. I’m sure the outcry if they did have something to do it but our secular leaders tend to be pragmatic and have obviously seen the advantages that can be had by making it something to lose. This has already and is already, being done to religious organisations in the USA such as universities and hospitals as well as churches. And many of them seem to be siding with the money rather than mounting a defense against abortion, sodomy, pornography and many other assorted sins. There is also the additional problem of refugee resettlement which secular authorities have ulterior motives for (population replacement), but that churches are eager to involve themselves in for reasons that are a dangerous and confusing mix of charity and greed. Satan is no doubt very pleased with this confusion.
Moving on to one final but relevant benefit would be the large reduction in kooky churches that take advantage of this. Kooks and cults will no doubt remain with us but they will have a far harder time holding on to their money if they are prevented from defrauding the tax system doing it. State worshippers (atheists) may snarkily remark that all religion is doing just that but let them; it works to the churches advantage.
It would be much better from my perspective to have only a few churches that are honest than to have many that place the world before the word like we have now. This would have the benefit of keeping Churches honest and ensure as much as possible, that they are filled with people their to worship and serve Christ. If there are no cushy jobs as well as little power and prestige, the churches that remain will be far better for it. They will also grow more numerous with time.
I’m rarely on the side of atheists with anything but this is one of those issues where we should agree and amplify. This is also a teaching close to my heart as I can’t stand taxes even when used properly (so, never). I’m commanded quite explicitly to pay though and it’s time churches started doing it too. I’m not sure about a lot in the world but I am sure this would do a lot more good for the true church than may be at first apparent.