Letters to the Editor

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RELIGION: Churches should stay out of politics

Letter by Veda A. Baldwin, Tacoma on June 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm with 17 Comments »
June 11, 2012 2:40 pm

Re: “Distinguishing religious freedom from religious privilege” (TNT, 6-8).

If organized churches are going to continue to do big-time political campaigns, they need to lose some of their abundant privileges.

Straightforward political groups do not have tax advantages as do churches. If you donate to any church, synagogue or temple, your donation is tax deductible. If you donate to either political party, to PACs or any other political group you do not get any tax advantage. So if the churches are going to formally support anti-gay marriage, anti-birth control or anti-choice issues, all clearly political campaigns, should they not receive the same treatment as any other political group?

Churches have many other tax advantages — special privileges — that no other group in America is afforded. Thy pay no property taxes on an church- owned property, not just where the church stands. This is only the tip of the iceberg; it doesn’t begin to inventory the many financial “perks” churches are granted by our government.

These privileges have nothing to do with “religious freedoms.” Do you really think that’s what the founding fathers meant by separation of church and state? I seriously doubt it.

It’s time for churches to remember they are “separate” from the state. If they don’t want the state to dabble in their church business, they should not dabble in affairs of the state. And if they do, they should be willing to give up their many unique privileges.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. Theefrinker says:

    Agreed. Furthermore, if they are going to continue tax-free status with regard to property ownership, I think there should be more restrictions. When you have church organizations owning five-acre parcels of land with 10,000 square-foot buildings, that’s really pushing it.

  2. Veda, If I understand you correctly churches that speek against gay marriage seeing it as against their religious beliefs should loose their tax exempt status. What about those that speek for gay marriage should they also have their status changed?
    My church believes that one should be married before they sleep together, does not believe in abortion and is appossed to excessive drinking. My pastors talks about not cussing as well. Which of these issues should be considerred as political rather than religious.
    Oh by the way he also wants us to feed the poor and help house the homeless could that loose us our tax exempt status or is it just the issues you don’t agree with? Just curious

  3. bobcat1a says:

    Oldman, there’s a difference between running an initiative campaign and preaching your views to your members. Let the preacher say whatever he wants from his pulpit, but let it stay there, within the confines of his venue.

  4. aislander says:

    So…churches have lost their First-Amendment rights because of an IRS rule. That is sad for organizations that were instrumental in building momentum for independence from England, a HIGHLY political movement…

  5. charliebucket says:

    nobody has lost their first amendment rights.

    but many churches and religious folks sure seem to want to get legislation in place to limit others rights while shoving their beliefs down our throats.

  6. yabetchya says:

    My opinion on this is……I do not want my place of faith preaching to me about politics. I will leave my place of Faith, as soon as they bring it on.

  7. lylelaws says:


    I think people should be willing to support their beliefs without being given special treatment.

    While I do not practice religion, I respect the rights of those who do, and I am while I am glad that it gives them hope and comfort in this uncertain world, I do not think that those of us who do not share their hopes and dreams should be taxed at a higher rate to pay for them.

  8. HistoryFan says:

    Churches have, for the most part, not spoke out against many social issues that could be seen as detrimental to society. Many in the secular world were happy for their silence as it didn’t challenge their social engineering plans and ideas. Now that churches have spoken up and taken a stand against what is seen as immoral, it is seen by the secular crowd as, “who do you think you are. We who know better want you to go back, sit down and remain quiet”.

    Verda, the founders did not speak of separation of church and state. They did not want a state religion but they strongly approved of and saw the need for religion. Also, you mentioned that the church should not dabble in the affairs of the state. If they did what you want, many a food bank, shelter, hospital, and other needed social programs would close.

  9. aislander – NO, Churches haven’t lost their 1st Amendment rights (again….how can a corporate organization have individual rights? That pretty much destroys one of the favorite gun rights arguments) – they are free to say or do anything they want politically IF they are willing to give up the PRIVILEGE of being a tax-free organization.

  10. conservative church – good

    progressive church – bad

  11. BlaineCGarver says:

    Naturally, the same ranting Libs would be for denying the same to churchs and perform Gay marriage and lobby for those rights? I didn’t think so…Hypocrits…

  12. BGC – yes we would. The law is not just the law it is THE LAW – as in one law for all.

  13. averageJoseph says:

    Yes Veda, and let’s set the example with Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

  14. aislander says:

    So…organizations that are specifically mentioned in the First Amendment don’t have First Amendment rights?

    As the philosopher averageJoseph might say: kooky!

  15. averageJoseph says:


  16. What is kooky is that
    1) you call aJ a philospher
    2) neither of you seem to remember the standard gun rights dismissal of the wording of the 2nd Amendment by claiming that all of the rights of the Constitution are individual so therefore what the Founders really meant with the words “being necessary to the security of a free State” being necessary for the security of each individual within the State.

  17. aislander says:

    So…can an individual “assemble” with himself? Maybe in San Francisco…

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