The United States Supreme Court has held that tax exemption for churches is constitutional under the Establishment Clause. Moreover, the Court has found that churches and religious organizations may be subject to a general sales and use tax; however, the Court has not addressed whether government may enact a specific "church tax."
The constitution of a number of countries such as the United States could be and have been interpreted as both supporting and prohibiting the levying of taxes unto churches; prohibiting church tax could separate church and state fiscally, but it could also be favorable treatment by the government.
When you consider that many churches have made unsavory headlines for engaging in political activity anyway, it's no wonder why the separation of church and state—and whether or not churches should be stripped of their tax-exempt status—remains such a hot topic.
To that end, the idea that churches are threatened by government overreach is also a hot topic, particularly on the more conservative side of the aisle. For example, in October 2021, Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn made the odd claim that President Joe Biden aimed to "close the churches" as soon as Democrats could pass a much-scrutinized infrastructure bill.
Blackburn's assertion that churches would be closed down as soon as the bill is approved appears to have materialized out of thin air. In fact, where the infrastructure bill does mention churches is quite positive. The bill, which the Senate ultimately passed, provides $50 million in grants to nonprofits, including religious congregations, so they can upgrade their buildings with new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.
We did tell you this is a hot-button issue. People were all too eager to share their thoughts with us after one Redditor asked the online community,
"Would you support taxing churches? Why or why not?"
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints..."
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) had over $130 billion in the stock market many years back. Yet they are tax exempt."
And did you know that news outlets reported in 2019 that the Mormon Church amassed a fund worth more than $100 billion so its members could prepare for the "Second Coming of Christ"?
Yeah, that was a thing.
"If churches were nothing more..."
"If churches were nothing more than local parishes who served the community, collected donations to keep the lights on, and the priests were working class folks who took the job as a "calling" rather than a business opportunity?"
"I'd be more than happy to let them slide. It would be like taxing a soup kitchen, and who wants to do that?"
"But if the local 'pastor' has a Gulfstream? Tax the sh** out of him. And if they even bring up politics from the pulpit? Tax the ever-loving sh** out of them."
Religious doctrine will always have political implications. Makes sense, right?
"I'm a Christian..."
"I'm a Christian and have served in church leadership, I'm in favor of taxing churches. Churches exist in society and should contribute to it. I do have some caveats."
"One: I think governments should use taxes for the betterment of communities. That includes physical infrastructure, but also caring for the poor, sick, elderly, etc. All of that is a part of the church's overall mission. I see no reason why the church shouldn't be in favor of the government doing those things, and paying taxes in support of that."
"Two: I think churches should be able to write off any charitable giving. That would obviously have to be well defined; however, I think it would incentivize churches actually helping people, rather than misusing funds (which tons of churches do. There are good churches out there that care a lot for their communities, but there are many that don't)."
The ability to write off charitable giving is the devil in the details. No matter how you word it. It will be worked around. There are tons of lawyers whose only job is to know the tax code and give rich people/corporations tax breaks.
Still, this is surely an improvement over a default charitable status that is only reviewed under an occasional audit.
"Churches that provide..."
"Churches that provide community social services should be tax exempt. Churches that have large holdings, or church leaders with lavish homes or engage in political activities should not."
It would be soooo easy for a rich pastor to claim he's compliant with the tax free requirements.
If a church is doing enough social service to actually qualify as a non-profit, then they can file as one. There is no reason to give them any special rules or exceptions.
"I do believe..."
"I do believe in separation of church and state. I feel if a church is donating more to the people than the church then no taxes. I'd rather have the money go to the people than the government."
As I recall, this is the original idea. Churches are not supposed to have influence on the political process and thus would be exempt from taxes because of that. But the church has not been keeping their end of the bargain.
"My aunt runs a church."
"My aunt runs a church. Over 90% of donations actually go towards charity work, such as healthcare and food for the homeless, clothes and school supplies for children. In many impoverished communities, churches are the only institutions truly keeping people housed and fed."
"Churches should be audited, as should any nonprofit. Saying they’re all bad is ignorant. Taxing them all would be robbing the poor."
If only things were this simple. Alas.
"Send your videos..."
"Well you can certainly get them in trouble by recording their sermon telling you who to vote for. It’s against the law for these religious institutions to influence anyone to vote for or against any political candidate."
"Send your videos and complaints to the IRS."
This was a big deal in Kansas over the last few weeks, particularly ahead of a crucial campaign that secured a win for reproductive rights activists after citizens voted to enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution, the result of an effort to ensure the state—typically Republican and conservative—remains a safe haven for abortion in the Midwest.
"Yes, primarily because I think if churches or religions in general want to be playing a larger role in the politics of the world, as the various Christian denominations seem to desire in the U.S., then they should have to provide revenue and contribute to the nation or they should shut up."
Straight and to the point, I see!
"Churches should have to go by..."
"Churches should have to go by the same rules as any other non-religious tax-exempt charity. File taxes proving where your money came from and where it went to prove you're using it for charitable purposes."
"Preaching is not, in and of itself, a charitable activity IMHO, so church buildings/expenditures used solely for church services don't deserve tax exempt status. Want to have something not taxed? It had better be actually helping someone."
Now if only we could fund the IRS appropriately...
"I think any business..."
"I think any business that makes a profit should be taxed. If you truly are being charitable then you shouldn't be making profit, all that excess income should be going back into growing the business and helping more people with whatever service you provide. Religious affiliation should be irrelevant."
Reforms would be pretty simple, provided there is bipartisan support in Congress. Enforcing them, however? Another matter entirely, and that's why it's important to stay on top of this issue.
This is a complex issue that is not likely to be resolved soon, and the impact of religious lobbying in Congress is certainly felt more than ever.
Would stripping churches of their tax-exempt status solve quite a few problems—namely the polarization and shoddy campaign finance laws—that have metastisized in American politics?
Answering that is not so easy.
Have some opinions of your own? Tell us more in the comments below!
We love movies.
Movies and entertainment save the world.
But some movies can send you into a messy place.
Some topics are just a lot to handle.
That is why some films, when done right and authentically, are just too real to experience.
No need to watch that again.
Redditor Kilo_616 wanted to discuss the films that have left us... SHOOK!!
"What’s a good f**ked up movie?"
I don't really seek out these types of movies, but one that stands out for me is 'Monster.'
Charlize and Christina are BRILLIANT!
Hopelesscold war documentary GIF by Kino LorberGiphy
"Threads. Depiction of nuclear war that is unanimously loved over in r/horror. A year later it still bothers me"
"They showed this movie to us as kids in Elementary School. So yeah. Why have a childhood that contains hope anyway?"
"Wasn't popular and reception was mixed, but I always enjoyed Cube. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cube_(1997_film)"
"Cube 2 hypercube wasn't that great but I love the title so much. Whenever I heard of any sequel that's the original name + 2 I always have to add the hyper in my head. Saw 2 - Hypersaw. It cracks me up an embarrassing amount."
"CUBE IS AMAZING. Nobody can tell me otherwise. And that Cube-esque multiplayer game that was made too."
"Cube is a 10/10 for me. I love that movie."
Switch to Home Printone hour photo smile GIFGiphy
"One Hour Photo."
"I ran a one hour photo at CVS when that movie came out. There's a scene where Robin Williams is in full respirator PPE gear dumping out the chemicals. I was like 'I do that in my work clothes.'"
"That movie is crazy. First time I realized what a brilliant dramatic actor Robin Williams was."
The French One
"Martyrs (the original french). Weirdly beautiful in a very morbid way."
"That was my thought as well. This movie really just puts you in an uncomfortable place by the end. French horror is weird."
"I've not yet been able to watch Inside. Anytime I get close I just think of how I felt for weeks after Martyrs and put on a 10 hour animated video of the kittens in a marching band to soothe myself."
"I hadn't thought about Martyrs since I watched it ten years ago and just reading the title gave me anxiety. On my way to cat vids now!"
Mitch?pans labyrinth faun GIFGiphy
"Pan’s Labyrinth. I was not expecting that at all!!!"
"My favorite part is when the girl eats a grape and Mitch McConnell chases her."
That Pan's creature is for nightmares only! I mean, Lord. I can't with that movie.
"Requiem for a Dream. The movie starts 'effed up and goes into a complete whirlwind from then."
"You think it can't get worse and then it does. Again and again."
"I just watched this about a year ago for the first time, have watched it 2 more times and it's insane. The whole movie feels like you are actively doing drugs. Starts out with an amazing high and rush and then you just feel like trash. Loved it."
THAT MovieOh No Art GIF by Arrow VideoGiphy
"We Need To Talk About Kevin."
"Unbelievable that thus is so low. Tilda Swinton is phenomenal in it. She really nailed the part of 'person in close contact with Ezra Miller.'"
"This is the first movie that came to mind. It was Thanksgiving. A few friends laying around, enjoying our turkey hangover, smoking a little, not paying close attention. And then, 'Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?' Talk about a plot twist!"
"This was my thought too. There are a handful of films that are great but I've never successfully recommended to anybody because I can't describe them in a way that makes anybody want to watch them. Incendies is one of those films."
VisceralSnowtown Murders Horror GIF by ShudderGiphy
"Snowtown. It's a depiction of one of the most prolific serial killers in Australian history. It's very visceral. It all feels very real when you watch it."
"I just heard a podcast about the real story. I'm not sure I'm ready to watch that yet."
"Trainspotting. Make sure you also read the book."
"Trainspotting is a great movie, and I enjoyed the second one too. But in terms of f**ked-upness The Acid House is along similar lines but next level."
"The scene that really broke me was the 'toilet scene.' I'm really sensitive when it comes to human excrements so this disgusted me beyond belief. Absolute nightmare fuel. I will never watch that movie again, that's for sure."
"I saw Trainspotting years ago in the midst of my own drug addiction (clean now 7 yrs) and actually loved it. I’m ashamed to say I had no idea there was a book but I’m definitely gonna read it now."
I'm not sure about this list. But, I'll take a look. With the lights on. During the day.
When we're kids, being an adult and getting to do whatever we want often seems like the bestest, most awesome thing we could imagine.
But not everything is better as an adult.
Jobs, responsibilities, and that weird back pain you always seem to get when you sit at your desk too long are just part of getting older. A lot of things that were awesome as a kid just don't hit the same as an adult either.
Redditor Athompson9866 asked:
"What was f'king awesome as a kid, but sucks as an adult?"
"People coming to your house to visit and stay a few days."
"Losing a tooth"
"Oh yes! Can you imagine running around showing your family: 'Look! I lost a tooth! Doesn't it make me look adorable?'"
"And when you are a kid, a lost tooth makes you money. $ As an adult, it costs you way more than all the money the tooth fairy ever gave you."
It's All Junk
"Getting mail. I remember everyday begging my parents if I got mail. (I had pen pals). I got so excited when something came for me. Now I dread going to the mailbox because all that will be there are bills."
"Always bills 😞"
"And junk scams or advertisements"
Doughboys Cost How Much?!
"The State Fair. Especially now that I have to pay for everything."
"My parents took us to Disney World for a week as kids. I went for 4 days with my husband a few years ago and wanted to go home with how expensive everything was. I went home and thanked my parents for that trip."
"'2 slices of pizza and 2 sodas? That’ll be $35 please.' —The County Fair"
Get In, Get Out
"Going to the mall. I used to like browsing stores, but now I just want to get what I need and go."
"I mean, most malls are also depressing vistas of empty storefronts bookended by a department store on life support these days"
"There used to be fun things at the mall. An arcade, stores with stuff in them to look at... now it's empty except for maybe a drug store and a grocery store."
World Go Spinny
"Spinning in circles."
"I try to do that now while holding my little one and I do about two spins before I'm lightheaded and dizzy as a drunk."
"Turning my head too fast makes me dizzy and nauseated lol"
"I was soooo surprised by this as an adult! Spinning and rollercoasters are fun as a child. I tried that as an adult with my kids and felt like I was going to die. The dizziness takes so much longer to go away and you feel terrible the whole time."
"Staying awake till 2 in the morning as a teen/young adult: 'Yea baby!! the possibilities are ENDLESS!!'"
"Staying awake till 2 in the morning as a 40-something: 'This is gonna hurt in the morning'"
"My circadian rhythm is set so firmly that I know I'm still gonna wake up at 7 am no matter how late I try to stay up so I hate staying up past 1 am. I'm usually in bed by like 9:30pm these days just cause I'd rather get comfortable and play a game on my phone until I get sleepy."
"I'm 38 with the sleep schedule of a 4 year old but I don't care."
All Pain, All The Time
"No Pain! I could fall down, scrap my knee and cry for like 1 minute and then get back up and ride a bike, or play tag or whatever. Now, I fall down... I am staying down and may need Life Alert! I have to take advil, put my knee up with Ice, and complain to my wife how painful it is for the next week. That is if I am lucky and didn't break the whole thing."
"So I'm like into jogging now and I wished I got into it when I was younger. After a run, I felt this weird pain, like a bruise, on the back of my right foot. Long story short, it's Haglund's deformity. I googled it and it said, 'it's a common injury that occurs to middle aged people who runs.'"
"I don't know what hurts more, my foot or my self esteem when I realize now I'm middle-aged."
🎶 Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel ... Blah
"Summer. When you’re a kid, it's three months of freedom from school. When you’re an adult, you still have to go to work, but now it’s sweltering hot and you’re sweating your balls off all day, every day."
"This is the answer I was looking for. It’s even harder if you are a working parent - trying to give your kid that super awesome summer while trying to keep your job. That balance between 'I want to come play at the park with you' and 'I really don’t want to lose my job' is hard."
"Staying home on a sick day."
"As a kid it was a huge victory, got to stay in bed all day, watch TV, and having a parent tend to your every need. Then as an adult you're just thinking about the work you're gonna have to make up for and how you hope you don't need to go to a doctor."
"Hehe, now there's WFH so you can be sick AND still work! Got COVID? Well, we have to get this proposal out today and you have a laptop, right?"
Adulthood definitely isn't the sunshine and roses most of us thought it was going to be when we were little, that's for sure.
Life is full of mysteries. And while we seem to be cognizant of many of life's miracles, it's obvious there is still much to discover within the vastness of our existence.
Much of the world's known facts are fascinating–some even inspiring.
But there are some facts that are just downright ominous and unsettling to an extent where ignorance is bliss.
Curious to explore what these might be, Redditor Vacancier1807 asked:
"What are some VERY creepy facts?"
These medical anomalies are very unsettling.
The Right Match
"If you get a blood transfusion and get the wrong type of blood (A, B, O, AB) one of the symptoms is 'a sense of impending doom.'"
Don't Underestimate Beauty
"There's a tiny little jellyfish which can induce the same sensation of impending doom... Along with some serious pain and likely hospitalization. It's only tiny as well, about the size of a fingernail, although the tentacles are much longer, maybe about a meter long."
"It's called the Irukandji jellyfish."
"There is a genetic disease called fibrodisplaysia ossificans progresiva. When tissue is damaged, it is replaced with bone."
"Growths form underneath their skin and their joints lock solid. So over time, those affected slowly become encased in a prison of bone just beneath their own skin."
"They usually have to choose between sitting or standing up for the rest of their life. By the end of their life they have to drink every meal through a straw and can barely move"
Invincible Micro Killers
"Bacteria and viruses can be frozen for millions of years and still be viably infectious, and having never encountered humanity before, could have no end of catastrophic results should they be uncovered and manage to infect a person or animal."
"Not to worry though, it’s not like millions of ancient pathogens are currently trapped in permafrost which is now melting bit by bit each and every day..."
The unpredictable things people do are confounding.
Monster Among Us
"The Colombian serial killer Pedro Alonso Lopez, who is known as the Monster of the Andes, murdered over 300 girls from Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. However, after he was caught and imprisoned for 18 years, he was put in a psychiatric hospital. There he was reviewed, declared to be sane and was set free, in spite of his blatant avowal that he fully intends to kill again. Since he was released in 1998, nobody knows where he is or what he’s doing. ( He is supposed to be 71 years old at present).He is known for being the most prolific killer ever."
"Over 90% of Serial Killers choose their victims through sexual desire. In fact, many serial killers have been caught because they returned to the body of their victims to pleasure themselves."
"Rosemary Kennedy was JFK’s sister. She suffered from oxygen deprivation at birth and that unfortunately stunted her mental growth. She had a pretty decent childhood, but as she grew older she began to act out. Afraid that her behavior would risk his political career, her father, Joseph, agreed to have her lobotomized. Her mother, Rose, was against it and forbade him from doing it. So he did it behind her back when she went on a trip."
"After the operation, Rosemary’s already low IQ was lowered even further, to the point she could no longer walk or communicate. Her family had her locked up in an institution and basically disowned her. They never visited and never publicly acknowledged her anymore. Rosemary died at the age of 86. Her mother never forgave her husband for what he had done."
Preference For Flesh
"Remember that bath salts cannibal guy from a couple years back?"
"He wasn't high on bath salts when he did that. That was just media speculation and bullsh*t. They only found pot in his system during the autopsy."
"We still have no idea why he flipped out."
Consider this perspective.
What Separates Us From The Animals
"Humans eyes dont reflect light at night like animals do. I like to say this fact to my wife at a camp fire."
"Your eyes have a separate immune system from the rest of your body. If they get damaged in such a way that it affects anything other than your eyes, your regular immune system can attack the damage and will not recognise them, meaning your own body can permanently blind you."
"What's worse, your body cannot tell the difference between either eye. If one of them gets infected or damaged, your immune system can attack your healthy eye and take away your sight entirely."
I know for a fact that the creepiest thing in existence is the Island of the Dolls located in the channels of Xochimilco, Mexico.
It's an island where people have unceremonisouly hung dolls from the tree on the island.
No one really knows who and when it started. Legend has it the island's former occupant believed the dolls warded off spirits–including that of a girl who drowned in the waters near the island.
I won't be making a stop there on a river cruise anytime soon. Creepy.
People are often impressed by those who are multilingual–mainly because they can't imagine having the ability to communicate with others in different languages themselves.
Equally respected individuals are those who can play multiple musical instruments. Sure, playing the piano alone is impressive. But if a pianist can also play the bass and drums–essentially being their own one-person band–that is also a major wow factor.
So if you had the option to have the capacity for one or the other, which would it be?
That is the query Redditor MrJoelDude posed online, asking:
"Would you rather be the best at speaking every language or be the best at playing every instrument? Why?"
Things kicked off with wisecracks.
"does either skill require upkeep of any kind?"
"will these skills diminish if I don't keep them sharp?"
As In "Be Flat"
"No they will Bb."
"Pack it up folks the comment section has been won."
The Hits Keep Coming
"He's A natural."
"I C what you did there."
But, seriously, folks.
Here's what music lovers had to say.
An Introvert Responds
"Ooh, that's tough. Speaking every language would be so amazing, because you could communicate with literally anyone. You could talk to anyone on the whole planet, and I bet you could also get a fantastic, well-paid job with that skill."
"But I don't like people all that much. I'd find it much more personally satisfying to be able to be able to play any instrument. How amazing it would be, to be able to express myself with any instrument that exists. You could also be a musician and that would be way better for me than being an interpreter. So I'd have to go with that."
"As a professional translator with musical aspirations, this is one of the hardest questions for me. Obviously, the languages would make me the most useful person in the office and I'd be set for life, but being able to play every instrument has been a dream of mine since I was a kid and it would allow me to make all the music I've always wanted to but didn't know anyone with the right skills and interests."
"Instrument. I am scared of social interaction."
What Legends Are Made Of
"Also great to learn if you're highly social and want fans the world over. I don't think people realize the significance of this premise. You'd be the very best in the world at every musical instrument. Better than Hendrix, Page, Clapton, SRV, Chuck Berry, David Gilmour, Van Halen, Prince, Mark Knopfler etc. at the guitar."
"Better than Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Thelonious Monk, Kieth Jarrett, Duke, Art Tatum, and every 9 year old prodigy ever at piano. Better than Miles at the trumpet and Coltrane at the sax. Better than Gene Krupa, Stewart Copeland, John Bonham, Danny Carey, Neil Peart, Buddy Rich, etc. at the drums. Better than Les Claypool, Jaco Pastorius, Mingus, Bootsy Collins, Wooten, Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee at the bass. All at the same time."
"You could easily make it as a studio or live session musician but if that musical ability came with a bit of songwriting/compositional talent/luck than you could release some of the greatest music ever. Nobody who has a legitimate discography of some of the greatest music ever remains a nobody for long—especially in the age of the internet."
"Obviously one could make an argument that songwriting ability matters far more than raw musicianship and that person would probably point to artists like The Beatles and Kurt Cobain who were far from the greatest musicians of their respective ages—or any age—but still managed to write timeless, classic, hit music, but raw musicianship can still go a long way in allowing one to manifest one's creativity."
The art of language spoke to these Redditors.
Hear Me Roar
"Speak every language. I’ve always wanted to speak T-Rex."
"Language. If it's every language, it means I could speak dead languages and translate some of the oldest texts in the world. That would be super cool."
"I am a world traveling professional musician. I can play a handful of instruments but I can only speak one language. To have access to a foreign language while abroad in say ,India where there many. Would be a super power. To sing to people in there own tounges everywhere I go would be a treasure to myself and my audience. The absolute hardest and most dangerous part about traveling the world is not knowing the language."
Would Be Outta This World
"Every language because I would dress like C-3PO and mess with people."
Because I love to travel, I would prefer the ability to speak multiple languages.
But either way, the ability to speak different languages or play different instruments are great options.
Since communication has the powerful potential to bring people from different backgrounds together–whether through the universal appeal of music or through common language–it could greatly benefit much of humanity.