“Now’s the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.” That headline landed on the website of Time magazine only hours after the decision by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage landed. It was piece by the widely respected reporter Mark Oppenheimer. “In a real sense, you and I are subsidizing Mormon temples, Muslims mosques, Methodist churches,” he writes.
That’s a very important issue. He uses the word “subsidizing” and that is exactly what the tax exemption is not doing. The key statement on these issues was made by the Supreme Court in 1970 where Chief Justice Warren Burger made very clear that a tax exemption is not a subsidy. Rather, the tax exemption is granted with respect to institutions the government does not feel that it has the right to tax on the one hand and on the other hand, institutions that it believes are essential to the well-functioning of society. We knew this argument was coming.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213559086″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]