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!
Warning: Potential spoilers ahead.
Ever since I watched Grave of the Fireflies for the first time, I can't get that ending out of my head.
An undoubtedly depressing story about a young boy taking care of his younger sister in the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Japan, the film offers a very stark picture of what society was like for those whose lives were upended only to later succumb to radiation sickness.
Did I mention that it's an anime? The artwork is incredible.
The film is well worth a watch... if you don't mind shedding a tear or two.
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor bartertownbeer asked the online community:
"What movie ending is horribly depressing?"
Stand by Me (1986)
"Stand by Me. Listening to narrator talk about how friends fade into obscurity and only memories remain becomes more relatable every time I watch it."
The ending hits even harder the older you get. Might be time to revisit it.
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
"The Fox and the Hound. It hurts my heart."
This is one Disney movie that goes for the more mature ending and it's truly so much better for it.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
"No Country for Old Men. Nobody wins, except maybe Anton."
Even that's debatable.
No Country for Old Men is a good commentary on how sometimes, despite effort, motivation, and ethical behavior, good people lose and terrible people face no consequences.
"Se7en. This is the one that popped into my head right away. That was horrible. Definitely no warm and fuzzy feels with that ending."
The final ten minutes are so disturbing and sad. It's an ending you can never forget.
American History X (1998)
"The ending of American History X hit me pretty hard the first time."
It continues to hit pretty hard. The acting in that film is incredible, especially from Edward Norton and Beverly D'Angelo.
The Mist (2007)
"The Mist. One of the only movies I can remember watching in theater that had me legit mad after walking out, because it was just so good, but so painful."
I adore this film. It's one of the best horror films to come out in the last 15 years and the ending is even better than the one in the novella, which is truly saying a lot.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
"Dancer in the Dark. I think it’s not just the ending. The whole movie is just hopeless. Terrible, beautiful, and hopeless."
This is such a devastating film and Bjork deservedly won the Cannes Best Actress award for her work on it!
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
"Requiem for a Dream. The best movie no one wants to see twice."
This whole movie is devastating. I've seen it more than once but it's been years since my last watch... should I be brave and see it again?
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
"In the 1990s, my parents found this movie for us because we loved Totoro. They put it on for us and then went out to dinner. They came back to utter chaos. 20+ years later I am still traumatized."
Nooo! Not surprised you haven't recovered!
The End of Evangelion (1997)
The End of Evangelion. All these traumatized and depressed kids are trying to prevent the apocalypse, and then it just happens anyway. The movie is incredible, but super depressing in an existential way."
Imagine doing the impossible, escaping the merging of consciousnesses, retaining your ego. Only to be reminded how disgusting (as Asuka said) existence is.
If you're looking for a good cry—or if you're okay with undergoing an existential crisis of some kind—it might be time to watch some of these.
And if you've seen some of these more than once, you are quite brave.
Have some suggestions of your own? Tell us more in the comments below!
Some people prefer being single. They don't have to answer to anybody, they can play by their own rules, and they can continue going about their day-to-day without accommodating the needs of a significant other.
But that status of perpetual independence can eventually hit a breaking point.
It makes one wonder while being single can be a convenience, are we meant to live alone forever?
Unfortunately, avidly seeking out a relationship is a hit or miss, so an individual's situation can be out of their control.
But for those who are apprehensive about giving up their freedom to share a life with someone, married people imparted their wisdom when Redditor Charming_Cash asked:
"Married people of reddit, What something you wish unmarried people knew?"
Redditors reminded that maintaining a sense of self in a marriage was of great importance.
Being Good To Yourself
"Being married shouldn’t take away from having a good relationship with yourself."
The Power Of Three
"My wife's uncle officiated for us, as he has for other family members and friends. Before the ceremony he told us his 'theory of love and marriage.'"
"He said many, if not most people look at marriage as two becoming one, but that's not accurate, healthy, or stable over any length of time. He said it's not two becoming one, it's two becoming three; there's each of us as separate individuals, and then us together as it's own creation. Each of those three needs love and care and attention."
"I've found it to be incredibly hopeful, helpful, healthy advice."
Working On Yourself
"Your single problems will be your married problems. Marriage and your spouse can't fix you. Work on yourself as much as you can before you get married. For yourself and for your spouse."
Here are tips that may come in handy in the bedroom.
You Can Still Sleep Well
"It’s okay to use two blankets. No one likes to wake up with cold a** cheeks because your spouse stole the blanket."
Sides Of The Bed
"This was a game changer for us! We're both cold creatures but we both also like our space in bed. We'll cuddle for a few minutes then separate to our respective sides of the bed to actually sleep. We each have our own duvet and it works out perfectly!"
It Doesn't Work For Everyone
"i wish my wife liked her own space in bed, i woke up the other night and she was sleeping on top of me..literally no part of her body was on the mattress, it was all on me....i had to yeet her across the bed just so i could breath."
Once Upon Two Mattresses
"Along with two separate blankets we also have two twin xl mattresses on a king size frame so there's no energy transfer to the other side of the bed when one of us is shifting around or whatever. Also makes moving the bed setup much much easier than dealing with a floppy two-ton king size mattress."
These are things to keep in mind when considering tying the knot.
It's Not A Bandaid
"Getting married WILL NOT help solve any issues in your relationship..."
The Thing About Having Kids
"Totally agree with this and the same with the kids point too. I’ve always thought marriage adds extra pressure in the legal confirmation of you being together and the vows you make to one another."
"Children just add an extra layer of pressure were you have less time to devote to one another so any cracks that were in the relationship before will get blown into massive fissures which can be fixed. However if the relationship needed saving before the kids it is not going to last when that kids comes along I don’t think."
Making Time For Each Other
"Pretty well written, my wife and I had minor problems that could all be managed by just chatting and hanging out together. We made each other happy enough just by being together that the minor stuff wouldn't even be an issue, so when we had a kid (which has been largely awesome) and our time together got turned into time for our daughter, we started to fight a lot more. Make time for mom and dad dates without the kid(s) for the good of you both, you need some time to just hangout and love each other."
The Day Of The Nuptials
"The wedding is just one day and does not fix any issues. It goes back to the exact same relationship afterwards. And if you're lucky, that's a good thing."
Some good points here were mentioned, and I can agree with all of them.
I knew a couple who was about to spend some time apart due to work opportunities. Fearing the guy might drift apart from his girlfriend while he was working abroad for six months, he proposed to her at the airport as she was sending him off.
They never got married when his contract was over. Turns out he cheated on his girlfriend on several occasions while he was away.
So much for that proposal as insurance his heart would be forever true and faithful.
Some horror films will never grow old. It's October! Get into the horror film spirit.
There are so many classics worth seeing. Last year, a friend of mine who had never seen too many horror films asked me if we could get together so they could enjoy some classics.
Of course we had to watch the original Halloween. They loved it. I wish I could once again experience what it was like to watch that movie for the first time. Living vicariously through their experience was well worth it, though. And there are plenty more horror films out there for you to enjoy!
People shared their favorite classic horror films with us after Redditor baylawna6 asked the online community:
"What older horror movie still holds up?"
"Alien. Too bad everybody saw a version of that by now, but watching the chest-bursting scene for the first time might possibly be the most impressive thing I saw in a movie, ever."
The first time I saw that as a kid I was utterly horrified. And I loved every single minute of it. It absolutely holds up!
The Changeling (1980)
"The Changeling. Everything but the wheelchair bit at the end, which is... unfortunate. Everything else is A+."
Probably one of the best classic haunted house stories. Excellent!
The Omen (1976)
"It’s got everything: amazing kills, investigative horror adventure, perfect actors, killer soundtrack, creepy kid, multilayered story, and more! I think it was Wes Craven who said he never figured out how they did that beheading scene so well."
This is absolutely one of my favorite horror films ever. Everything about it is a master class in filmmaking.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
"Rosemary’s Baby. It’s more of a psychological thriller than horror in some ways, but it’s a really disturbing movie if you can adjust to the pace and watch Rosemary be gaslit by everyone around her over control of her body. Really well written film that was executed just about perfectly."
This is a perfect film. Rosemary's loss of control has grown only more horrifying in a post-Roe world.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
"The Night of the Hunter. Nothing supernatural or extraterrestrial in this one. Just two vulnerable children fleeing from a very bad man. The cinematography makes it feel like you're watching an actual nightmare."
This is a perfect film and truly one of my favorites. The cinematography is out of this world.
The Shining (1980)
"The Shining. In fact, the older it gets, the creepier it feels. Those zero CGI horror flicks definitely have a different feel from some of the modern ones. The Overlook feels eerie even if nothing scary had happened."
The Shining is indeed incredible. The 1997 miniseries that more closely followed Stephen King's book unfortunately felt very campy.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I remember being f**king terrified as a kid when Donald Sutherland did his thing at the end."
I love the original film very much but the 1970s remake improves on it considerably. The 1993 take on the story—simply called Body Snatchers—is well worth a watch.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Terrifying because there's no jumps scares, no supernatural threats, just two horrible people being horrible to each other."
It's an unsettling film and the final few minutes are a master class.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
"Night of the Living Dead. I can't watch that at night. The whole film has such an unsettling mood, that I genuinely get creeped out."
I watch this movie at least once or twice a year. It's pretty much perfect.
The Exorcist (1973)
"The Exorcist still holds up to this day. Maybe it's the whole religious aspect but I still know people who refuse to watch it again even after seeing it years ago."
The Exorcist is a perfect movie. It works as both a horror film and as an upsetting family drama. Ellen Burstyn's acting alone is worth the price of admission.
It's spooky season everyone! Get into the spirit. These classics will never grow old.
Have some horror favorites of your own? Tell us about them in the comments below!
When you're just starting to get to know someone, there are number of typical "icebreaker" conversations people tend to use to get to know one another.
Favorite films, books and tv shows, recent travel, hobbies, all shared in the hope of finding common interests.
If things seem to be going well, people often begin to get comfortable enough to move past the generic questions and begin to get more personal.
Which can prove to be a risky endeavor, as some intimate information might end up being revealed, which the receiving party wasn't quite ready to hear.
"What's the most f**ked up thing someone has told you about themselves after barely getting to know them?"
Not At All The Same Thing!
"Visited a coffee shop for the first time on holiday."
"Barista commented on my tattoos."
"I said thank you."
"She told me she's not allowed to get tattoos but she cuts herself to enjoy the pain and that's nearly the same thing."
"I found a different coffee shop for the rest of the holiday."- kyridwen
You Meet All Kinds Of People
"Stuck driving a coworker out to a remote gas plant to do a system install."
"He was kinda f*cked up but assumed it was just socially awkward IT way."
"He starts telling me about him and his dad collecting nazi memorabilia and how proud he was of his German grandparents."
"Trying to make other small talk and he would just trail off answering questions and start singing to himself."
"Thought for sure I’d end up on the news and a manhunt would be conducted."
"Second best story, met the neighbor right after we moved in and she started telling me about them wanting another kid but doing the deed was hard because she was overweight and had bad knees and it just made it difficult."
"I’m a guy who never met her and have my kids playing mere feet away so I can’t call her batsh*t crazy." - Reddit
There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Coffee
"A customer explained to me the benefits of a coffee enema to heal everything from my acne to preventing cancer."
"I couldn't get her to leave me alone for an hour because it was dead and no one was there to help."
"I worked for a skincare counter in a department store."
"Like if you don't need my products because cleaning your butt with coffee fixes it, why are you here?"
"But she went on about how she started her kids on these and did their enemas until they could do theirs on their own."National Coffee Day GIFGiphy
"Then she also grabbed my hands and kept saying promise me you'll try it."
"She left after I promised."
"No, I didn't try it." - Reddit
Makes You Value What You Have
"Had to get my picture taken for a visa so went to a local photography shop that took the pictures and printed them out for you right there."
"I had been talking to the guy as he worked on other people's photos and when I finally got my picture taken he started opening up about his family."
"Apparently his son was killed 3 years ago in a car accident and he was telling me how much I reminded him of his son, going to school for engineering, 1st generation college student etc."
"The son was killed in his senior year so didn't even get to graduate, he even showed me pictures it was heartbreaking."
"To make things worse he said he had a degenerative muscular disease and doctors had given him about 2-3 years before he'd be bed ridden."
"He then went on to say his daughter was taking care of him and how she isn't married yet and deserves to live a young persons life and man, it really put into perspective how bad some people have it."
"I still think about that guy to this day and hope he's doing well."- EA721
Don't Be So Sure Of Who You Can Trust...
"I made the unfortunate mistake of inviting my old neighbor over when we were having a party."
"He had like five gins in my kitchen and confessed to an unsolved murder in Nunavut, Canada."
"He's in jail."- _HossBonaventureCEO_
It Takes Courage To Ask For Help
"Moved to a neighborhood not to long ago."
"First person I meet was an older woman in her 50s."
"She told me all about her drug use and how sometimes she ends up outside naked and asked if I would help her back inside and put clothes on her."
"This was all in 5 minutes of saying hello."- Horribleheadacheshomer simpson lawn GIFGiphy
An Unexpected Family
"Sat on an Amtrak across from a very sweet older man, who within twenty minutes was telling me about the purpose of his trip to Maryland."
"To meet his biological father, who he had discovered via 23andMe, to discuss changing his last name, which was the condition of becoming the sole inheritor of his father’s estate."
"And that he was feeling a little guilty about that because his three half sisters would be excluded from their father’s will because he 'finally had a legacy.'”
"He disembarked twenty minutes later, and I have thought about it constantly for the following four years."- mom_jean
No Better Truth Potion Than Alcohol...
"Bartender for awhile."
“'I’m here to meet a man to cheat on my husband with'.”- Oh_Archie
Some people just have that way about them, that leads all those who meet them to think they will be fast friends.
Often leading to a bit too much information on a first meeting.
And yet they wonder why you never want to hang out?