If you don't support the good. What would people be like with out them.
Lets look at two extremes.1- give $100 to the all volunteer soup
kitchen to help feed the poor and hungry2- give $100 to Lakewood church
(Joel Osteen) I think everyone would agree that a well run soup
kitchen is charitable in every sense of the word. I have not looked closely,
but not sure what "charity" Lakewood does.So, lets look in
between.Give a tithe to a church who pays the bills and tends to
their "flock". Charitable? Certainly Debatable.When that
church feeds and clothes the less fortunate, those $$ are certainly
"charitable"When that church sends out missionaries to help
rebuild an earthquake ravaged region, again, no brainer in most peoples book.But how about the money spent on missionaries to convert? Domestically?
Around the world?Does that benefit society? Is that worth a tax
deduction? Does society benefit from this activity? Questionable at best.
Most giving to churches goes to capital expenditures, such as buildings, or to
operations--such as paying giant salaries to mega-church pastors. While perhaps
laudable, those offerings are NOT charity and should not count as such.
Giving contributions to a church shows primarily one thing: that we believe in
religion as a force for good in the world. Yes, a church has expenses if it is
to operate. Should a church, which teaches us to be charitable to our neighbor,
not be allowed tax-exempt status when the government, which forces us to be
charitable via programs such as ObamaCare, is tax-exempt. Or do you think that
each department of government pays taxes on the revenue that it receives from
the private sector?Among those who begrudge charitable giving to
churches are those who give nothing to anyone without being forced. They are
those who demand that someone else, some "rich guy" be forced to pay the
welfare needs of their next-door neighbor so that they won't be bothered
with a request for help.Charity is the pure love of Christ. Those
who have it give freely. Those who don't have that charity are missing
life's greatest purpose - which is to help us to desire to be godlike in
Giving to a church to support its expenses or outreach may not seem charitable.
But there is a lot of good done not simply by the churches but by the individual
members - looking in on neighbors, taking food to them, visiting folks who are
sick, etc., etc. Plus participation in the churches' formal outreach
programs (which are myriad).I think that few of us would understand
the need for or have the support system to engage in outreach were it not for
our churches. Does that mean we would be more selfish, less likely to help
others. Yes, I think so. THAT is what churches teach – engagement with
those who are in need, and helping them where we can. Could we learn that
outside of churches? Sure. On average do we? Not so much.Of
course there are exceptions. But most of us need a little push to open our eyes
and move ourselves to act. As we try to understand God and live our covenants
with him, we are forced out of our natural comfort zones. And that is when we
begin truly helping others.
Obviously charitable giving to churches (and other charities) benefits society.
It benefits the giver (by teaching them to be giving and compassionate and act
on those good qualities) AND it benefits those who are assisted by that
charity.Nobody's saying Churches supplant Government. They
are totally separate, and they should not see each other as adversaries. IMO
the Left looks at Churches with suspicion, and the Right looks at Government
with suspicion. I think we should fully participate in both, and not let
either interfere with the other.Throughout history both governments
and churches have eventually been taken over by bad people and been abused to
oppress people. We need to do everything we can to make sure neither are used
for oppression. Government should not oppress religious views and practice of
ANY faith. And churches should not control the government. It think the
founding fathers shared that view.
Charitable giving is a great thing, no question, in all its many forms.But making it tax deductible shifts the tax burden to others who don't
write checks to churches, or to those who choose not to derive a benefit from
their giving.The true test of charity is giving without a
quid-pro-quo, ie, giving without the understanding that you'll receive a
tangible benefit in return.
Donations to churches should not be tax deductible (neither should donations to
other charities). Charity expects nothing in return (like a tax deduction).Missionary funds are definitely NOT charity and I'm hoping the IRS
will remove any deductions to missionary funds. Why should I have to subsidize
your missionary program by giving your members tax deductions for it?
Irony Guy,RE: "Most giving to churches goes to capital expenditures,
such as buildings, or to operations--such as paying giant salaries to
mega-church pastors"...If you're LDS you don't have to
worry about that. Tithing is used to build chapels, temples, pay utilities,
church's administrative costs, etc. But I don't consider that
"Charitable" giving. It's paying back to God some of the
blessings he's given me."Fast Offerings" are
"Charitable Giving" (give whatever you can, 100% goes to charity, 0% to
church buildings, church utilities, salaries, etc). 100% goes to charity.I think it's good that they keep them separate. Then you know
what you are participating in and what your contributions will be used for, and
can participate in one and not the other if you want too. I have many non-LDS
neighbors who contribute to Fast Offerings (but no Tithing). And that works for
them.No paid clergy in the LDS church... so you don't have to
worry about your contributions going there either.I see other
churches doing good charitable things as well... so at least SOME of what you
contribute goes to charity.
Is it disingenuous for a the mouthpiece of a religious organization to extol the
virtues of charitable giving to a church? Of course their opinion is going to
be on the side of making sure American keep giving to churches.
Contributing to churches benefits society only to the extent that that church
teaches people to be better people. Do they focus on teaching to treat others
with kindness and honesty, or are they more focused on their particular
doctrines, such as no birth control, or blood transfusions? etc. ...
I'm a little put off by the fact that a church-owned newspaper is running
an editorial telling people to donate to churches. I don't know, at the
very least there should be some statement on the matter put up front for the
reader about the conflict of interest. If even CNN (CNN!) is careful to state
when they're reporting on something that directly affects any company owned
by Time Warner, then it feels like it should be basic due diligence within
journalism. Let's be honest, CNN isn't exactly a high bar of
journalistic standards, but somehow this (and other articles like it)
consistently find a way to not clear it.
@JoeBlowMy response yes. Giving to a church is charitable and tax
deductible. What is questionable is donating money to a union and
getting tax deductions on that. That is not charitable.Do
missionaries from faiths contribute to a society when they proselyte? Yes.
Having been a missionary we served society sun up to sun down. It might shock
you, but, typically people aren't lined up to listen to you teach. But, I
would argue the times we talked to rape victims, assisted people with mental
issues, listening to one concern after another, lifting and uplifting
people....that was time well spend that benefits society as a whole. Government
cannot fill the void. But, people of faith can reach out and give that personal
unpaid time and attention to those who are in need.When is the last
time your local politician came to your door, new your whole family, and
listened to your concerns coming from the spectrum of life? I certainly
haven't seen one.But, I have missionaries that drop by
regularly, church leaders, people of faith that have offered help.So
yes any contribution to church is charitable.
OHBU makes a great point. There should be a disclaimer / notice of association
between the Deseret News relationship with the LDS Church, to keep everything
To "JoeBlow" that is a very myoptic view of what churches do.Lets look at it this way. With your donation to the soup kitchen you feed a
person for a day.With donation to the church accompanied with
attendance and activity you get much more than just food for a day.With churches you have networking opportunities for people to get employment,
or improve their employment.You also have communities that look at
for eachother and care for people when they are sick.The churches
also provide support for people that need help with their homes, cars, or other
things that require maintenance.What is better, feeding a person for
a day or helping them start a career?
Re: Joe BlowHow much of what is donated to non-church charities actually
goes to those in need? Every charitable organization has operation expenses,
yet the entire donation to those organizations is tax deductible.Re:
OHBC and 10CCThe article did give a disclaimer stating the relationship
between Deseret News and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Are
you maybe a little too quick to be "put off" regarding anything having
to do with the LDS Church?
OHBU & 10cc,In the article it stated that the LDS Church owns
the DNews. I would consider that a discloser. Go back and read the article
again.I believe all contributions to a church should be tax
deductible, except perhaps salaries for employees of the church, including
mega-pastors and televangelists.Pay taxes and what percentage of
that actually benefits an individual? I would propose that a large percentage
of the tax is wasted on duplicative administration, corruption, and political
programs. Only a small percentage actually benefits those in need.100% of LDS charitable giving goes toward the needy. I feel government should
be in the business of helping churches and charitable organizations be even more
efficient and proficient at helping others, rather than trying to change their
tax status.Predictably, the Democrats are always looking for more
ways to take more money, including from the mouths of the poor and needy.
Democrats would begin taxing charitable organizations and churches, thus
depriving those funds from reaching the needy. Despicable. Our government, and
the Democratic party, is out of control.
@David"100% of LDS charitable giving goes toward the needy."Depends on what you're talking about. That definitely isn't
true for tithing money since, as is reasonably expected, a lot of it goes to the
building and upkeep of church buildings. The church states basically as much,
it's some of the other portions of the tithing slip like fast offerings and
the humanitarian aid section that are pure charity.As for the
humanitarian aid budget and things like that... that's much much closer but
technically not 100% since there is understandable overhead (like the costs of
transporting goods to the Philippines after Haiyan) that nobody would begrudge
the church for paying. I certainly have no problem with the LDS church being...
95% efficient or whatever it is with those funds."Pay taxes and
what percentage of that actually benefits an individual?"Medicare and food stamps have roughly 5% overhead costs so around 95% benefits
the individuals. One of the reasons the public option and medicare buy-in were
blocked from Obamacare (by Republicans and the blue-dogs) is the insurance lobby
wanted to stop those options since they are so efficient.
Why all the bitterness from some about tax incentives for charity, giving to
churches, etc?Taxes are not only used for fund raising. They are
also a tool the government uses for social-engineering (meaning encouraging the
population to do the things the government WANTS them to be doing). Ie, Buying
houses, saving, having children, educating their children, buying insurance,
etc...If you're gonna get all grumpy because somebody gets a
small tax break on what they donate to charity or their church (which the
government believes will bring more good/benefit to society than it costs them
in the tax break)... then should we also be grumpy about people getting tax
breaks to encourage them to buy a house, have kids, buy insurance, go into the
military, etc?The government gives tax breaks to incentivise
activities they want to encourage in the population. Charity just happens to
be one of them. It doesn't hurt you. It just means the Government is
using this incentive to encourage more people to do it... and the government
believes they get more benefit from people doing what they are encouraging than
it will cost in tax credits.
@ No Paid Clergy in the LDS church - not exactly accurate for purposes of this
discussion. The church's bureaucracy is vast and very much compensated.
The presiding bodies are rumored to be well compensated at least with respect to
specific positions, but that information is either secret or sacred we
aren't exactly sure. The most one can say is the church has a lay clergy
that is not compensated but then most churches do as well. Perhaps not on the
scale of the LDS faith but then most churches operate as individual ministries
rather all being financially dependent and tied to a central organization which
is the LDS model.
It's always easy to spend other people's money. If government was
able to confiscate all the wealth in the country, it would not be enough to
satisfy the spending needs of the out of control federal government.
David,I stand by my statement, though I do admit I overlooked the
"disclaimer." The very fact that I had to read the article twice to
notice it buried in the parentheses about charitable donation, means it
doesn't meet basic journalistic standards. It's better than I
initially thought, though not by much. A disclaimer is either stated up front,
or as a postscript. This is not a chance or tangential connection. The article
is arguing directly for tax-exempt status for its parent organization.
Many/most churches in the U.S. don't make public their financial records
regarding expenditures for charity. So, all we have are the claims made by
churches. Generally I don't give to charitable organizations until I can
look at their financial records and see how the money is spent. What percentage
of donations to religious organizations is used for charitable purposes--helping
the poor or needy meet temporal needs? We know tithing generally
doesn't go toward charitable purposes. But what about fast offerings? Why
doesn't the church at least make public the records involving fast
offerings, perpetual education funds and other charitable donations? When I've had to make calls within my local congregation to find people
to take a meal to someone I've noticed specific trends. Many people are
willing to help new moms, and favored/popular church members. It is much more
difficult to find help for others. Additionally, people are much more willing
to help in the rare occurrences of major disasters as opposed to the daily,
weekly, or monthly needs that people have.
What do we expect a "charitable" organization to do? Don't we
expect that it will relieve as much "suffering" as possible without
requiring anyone who doesn't wish to participate to "donate" funds
to that relief? When natural disasters hit, do we wait for an "invoice"
from some government agency before we respond or do we give of our money and of
our time to assist those who lives have been turned upside down?Government cannot do anything without first "taxing" someone in the
private sector to raise the revenue that it needs to pay for its
"charity". Forcing someone to pay taxes so that the government can
render personal welfare is not included in the Constitution; that is a duty left
to the States or to the People. What does it cost the government to
provide "charity"? How much of its budget is "eaten up" before
goods and services are provided to the people who need that "charity"?
Churches give 100% of the contributions to help others. Government "eats
up" as much as 80% of tax revenue before assisting those who need it.Why would anyone begrudge donations to churches?
I do not see proselytizing as something that should receive a tax deduction.Not in this country, but especially not in another country.Hard to see the wisdom in giving someone a tax break to persuade others to
change from one religion to another one. Or to join a religion.
2-bits:I'm not bitter about others contributing to charity.
This is a great thing.But part of the problem with our tax code is
that it has become so complicated with the social engineering and various tweaks
intended to affect desirable changes that optimizing one's tax bill has
become an industry in itself, with a large number of enormous corporations and
wealthy individuals paying no taxes at all.We hear from
conservatives that the US corporate tax rate is too high, and that we should
broaden the base while reducing the tax rate.I agree. We should
eliminate most if not all of the deductions, lower tax rates, and eliminate the
practice of tax avoidance, as this activity does not produce anything.Protecting only certain tax deductions is exactly how we got to have such a
convoluted tax code. For one group, charitable giving is holy, for another,
energy conservations measures is sacrosanct.Simplify the whole
thing, and allow people to be charitable with no strings attached. I would
certainly continue to donate to those charities I support now. I
don't need a benefit for me.
@ One of a Few,How much do you really know about the LDS Church?
Probably not as much as you would like us to think. The "Church's
bureaucracy" is paid from profits made from tax-paying businesses held by
the Corporation of the Presidency, not from "charitable donations" given
to the Church. You can easily find that information.Those
"general authorities" who receive a stipend, earn their keep by serving
on boards to direct the activities of Church owned businesses. Charitable
donations are used for the purposes intended, not for salaries. If you donate
to the "humanitarian fund", you can be certain that 100% of your
donation will go to humanitarian services, not to overhead nor to salaries.Some tithes are used to build the Kingdom of God, meaning chapels and
temples, seminaries and institutes, but salaries do not come from
"tithing". Would you tax God, who has given you life and
everything pertaining to life? That doesn't seem to be "an attitude of
gratitude" to me. Charity is not tempered by duty. Those who
are compelled to help, have no love for those who are being helped. Government
forces charity. Do you need compulsion?
"Take away religion from the picture and the United States would be less
charitable, less productive and less able to deal with social ills."Wow very strong statement. I bet atheists don't like that. I wonder
as to whom atheists take their charitable donations and how they claim on tax
States previously reported to lag behind the nation in charitable giving
actually have higher generosity levels than those indicated by a widely-touted
annual index, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Boston
College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. The report, titled
“Geography and Generosity” was conducted by Paul G. Schervish,
director of the Boston and John J. Havens.Geography and Generosity
analyzed the Generosity Index (based on income tax returns)and determined that
it is inaccurate partly because of a built-in bias against high-income states
and for low-income states. When Schervish and his team used the same formula
that was used by the Generosity Index, they determined that even if
Massachusetts residents had given 1,000 times the amount of money that was in
fact donated to charity in 2004, and held giving by all other states constant,
Massachusetts could not rise above number 23 on the Index. At the same time, the
calculation suggested that the state of Mississippi would not fall below 26th
place out of 50 even if residents of that state had given zero to charity in
cont'd:In addition to the methodological bias in the index,
Schervish and Havens cite what they believe to be critical errors in the Index
methodology:Average AGI is calculated for one group of people (all
who filed income tax forms), while the average charitable deduction is
calculated for a separate group—those who itemize their returns. Because
the two groups are not the same, no meaningful ratio of generosity can be
calculated using this data.Tax returns don't capture the total
income of all the residents of a state, and itemized tax returns don't
capture the total charitable contribution they make. The Index
doesn't take into account the significant differences in tax burdens in
different states, other differences in the cost of living, or the differences in
patterns in giving to secular and religious institutions and causes—all of
which differentiate regions of the country as well as specific states.(Boston College edu 2005)
Charity is one of the greatest financial scams in America. The truth of this is
in the fact that business corporations are the greatest contributors. Business
operations do not expend money without the expectation of return; and people
don’t give away money without expectation of return.
In times past before I dropped out of organized religion, I contributed to
various commercial charities, gave to the food bank, paid tithing and accepted
my employer’s requirement to donate to the United Fund. Today
I contribute to the support of 4 family groups, ranging from 1 to 5 people.
These are people who made the “wrong” decisions about drugs and
employment. I consider it charity because the money given to them holds little
chance of providing any return. It’s not tax deductable because they are
part of my extended family and I am not a “organized” charity
source. The amount of tax deduction would not change my actions if
it were available. Yet tax deductions for contributions to
“organized” and religious entities are very vital to their
existence. If the tax deduction was removed many of these organizations would
disappear. The taxes that churches and charities do not pay are
made up by adding to the tax load of others with out their consent.
That’s not fair.
I have no problem giving to organizations who publish their financial
information, but I will not give a dime (and I recommend that others also not
give a dime) to any charitable organization who does not publish its financial
results. We will never get much needed disclosure by charitable orgs until we
demand it, and the only way we can encourage this good behavior is to channel
our contributions to above-board charities who publish.
@2bits "If you're LDS you don't have to worry about
that. Tithing is used to build chapels, temples, pay utilities, church's
administrative costs, etc. Fast Offerings are Charitable Giving (give whatever
you can, 100% goes to charity, 0% to church buildings, church utilities,
salaries, etc). 100% goes to charity."You can't
substantiate a single word of your above claim because the Church does not
publish in the USA. However, if you examine UK filings you will see that your
fast offering claim is false.
As you can see, one can argue both sides of this. I guess we can only relate
our own experiences. I can say that donating to my church has been a net
benefit for me. Beyond that, I couldn't say.
It does do good, but a lot of people do it simply for feel good righteousness.
There are plenty of charities out there that deliver good without the fabricated
god guilt trip.
Charitable giving has those who abuse the privilege, but in the final count
non-profits do many positive things that the government cannot do and cannot
afford. Ask St. Vincent's, the Salt Lake Rescue Mission, food banks, the
Humanitarian Aid Center, and many others if they want to depend on government
budgets for their support. None of the universities in Utah would be in favor of
giving up charitable donations.
Owl.The businessmen that you mention would never give up their
profitable enterprise willingly.
"The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is criticizing the House
Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan for cutting food stamps and other
assistance programs for the poor.In a letter sent to the House
Agriculture Committee on Monday, the bishops say the budget fails to meet
certain “moral criteria” by disproportionately cutting programs that
“serve poor and vulnerable people.”A second letter sent
Tuesday to the Ways and Means Committee criticizes a provision that makes it
more difficult for illegal immigrants to claim child tax credits. The bishops
called the credit “one of the most effective antipoverty programs in our
nation.” (The Hill 2012)
How much of a donation to the United Fund covers overhead costs, including
salaries, facilities, operating costs? Some years ago, I was informed it was
50%. Should, then, only 50% of a donation to the United fund be Tax-deductible?
And other charities have greater "overhead costs". Decide for yourself.
There is, arguably, a better return for contributions to churches which even
have a professional clergy, when you consider the personal and moral and
spiritual support given by these institutions (meaning the people, mostly, but
also the physical facilities involved).