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.