Published: Friday, Nov. 8 2013 12:00 a.m. MST
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.
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