FAITH COMMENTARY

FAITH ROUNDTABLE: Robison

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Well, yes, I can. Drive down any major street in Austin, or any town in The Bible Belt, and you will see huge churches. In fact, church is big business. And it is supported by your taxes based on the idea that churches promote good citizenship and espouse better moral behavior.

Is that a valid assumption? Well, many of the right-wing terrorist attacks in America have been committed by people who identified themselves with evangelical causes. Many of these evangelical churches are led by preachers who are calling for bloodshed if the current president is challenged in the courts. Many of these churches sponsor and produce right-wing programs calling for revolution and destruction of the government.

In the 'olden days', church tax exemptions were predicated on the assumption that churches would stay out of politics and would not preach political issues from the pulpit. This would allow them to preach good morals and support positive causes without fear of government intervention.

Today, Senior Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church in Dallas leads a huge tax-exempt organization that is all up in right-wing politics with frequent visits to the president at the White House and public pronouncements on any number of political issues, as if he is an expert. He also lives in a tax-free home, drives a tax-free car and fully enjoys the tax benefits of his position.

Do you have the same benefits? Is your voice as valuable as his? Do you deserve a tax break today? Would you like the reduction in your property taxes that would result from the churches paying their fair share in local property taxes? Is your tax-free donation to your church a big benefit to your tax obligation?

These are all valid questions for a discussion that is without meaning. The churches are not going to be taxed. Not now, not ever. They are now too politically powerful and too big to fail!

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