I would imagine that there will be furious cries of outrage and condemnation of Kevin Foley's recent column on active churches. I'd like to raise a voice in support.
Untold wealth has accrued to churches of all descriptions all over the world. And much of it sits in vaults. Or stock portfolios. But much of it is used to influence and control. To persuade. To coerce.
There is a reason why, looking back on 300 years of religious wars in Europe and Asia, that the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution drew back from the very idea of a state religion. The Mayflower was filled with Puritans fleeing persecution in England. Huguenots fled Holland. Lutherans fled Germany. Jews fled Europe. Catholics fled Ireland. The Crusades.
As Nelson Price noted in his column on the same page, less than half of all US citizens regularly attend worship and not many more believe in traditional concepts of God.
The minority of believers have no right to force their beliefs and ethos on those of us who do not share their conviction. Belief and faith are powerful, but they are personal. My belief is just as valid as yours, even if it is not the same as yours.
But to return to taxes, if a church is going to actively participate in the political life of the community, then it needs to participate in the economic life of the community. I know that many churches offer much needed charitable efforts. And I applaud those efforts, and indeed, we contribute to them. But: "Render unto Caesar. Render unto God." It may be time to enforce the existing IRS rule.