Clergy reacting to court ruling against housing tax break

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  • greggjanes The Woodlands, TX
    Dec. 2, 2013 4:49 p.m.

    I think charitable work should get a tax break. To this end, we have 501(c)(3) organizations (charities) that receive tax-favored status. As individuals, we receive tax deductions for contributions to these charitable organizations. But, anyone who works for one of these organizations does so in the same way that they would in any taxable organization. That is the way the clergy of a church should be treated -- at the very least. That is if, of course, the church in question can be shown as providing charitable works. I am not convinced that the primary function of churches is charitable work.

  • Daniel L. Murray, UT
    Dec. 2, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    As Charles Dickens once said "that what such people miscall their religion, is a vent for their bad humours and arrogance." People of the cloth or not, we all have our bad humours and arrogance. Such behavior is not isolated to the religiously affiliated, but is a curse of the entire human race.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Dec. 1, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    It would be a non issue if the ministers were living in average housing. But, when some of these "people of the cloth" live in tax exempt luxury, their greed and selfishness ruin it for everyone.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Nov. 30, 2013 5:21 p.m.

    Here says:

    "I am positive anti-religious people will not be satisfied until all income and assets of all formal religions are taxable and the churches are treated as any Wall Street corporation."


    If churches are going to act like mega-wall Street corporations, they should be treated like wall street corporations.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2013 12:28 p.m.

    @David - I believe you have misunderstood the nature of this case. This case has no bearing on LDS missionaries housing or the general tax exempt status of churches. Since LDS missionaries are not paid clergy this decision has no bearing on them or their housing.

    In faith traditions with paid clergy, clergy persons often receive two types of income - a salary and housing or a housing allowance. Many churches own parsonages, their ministers live in them rent free. If they don't own a parsonage, churches often pay a housing allowance. Both a rent free parsonage and a housing allowance are forms of income but the value of this housing or housing allowance has been tax exempt but the clergy person's salary was taxable.

    A comparable example is an employee who drives a company car. Personal miles driven on the company care are considered a form of taxable income and the employee must pay taxes on the value of that mileage (commuting from home to work is considered personal use). Should clergy persons receive a tax break no other employee receives?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Nov. 30, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    "I wonder if the LDS Church receives a tax exemption for the rental units used to house missionaries."

    Missionaries do some good humanitarian work. Feeding and clothing the poor is one thing. Tax breaks to spread a religion in the US and around the world is NOT grounds for tax exemption.

    Lets get rid of ALL tax breaks, religious or not.

  • Johnny Moser Thayne, WY
    Nov. 29, 2013 7:08 p.m.

    I find it interesting that the US is now trying to eliminate its basis and connection to religion while the current President of China has publicly indicated that many of the woes that impact China might be fixed by a greater focus on religious freedom in that country. Wonder which one is "right"?

  • uwishtoo MESA, AZ
    Nov. 29, 2013 4:49 p.m.

    Why should they be exempt? We aren't. As long as they are making an income, pay up

  • Here Sandy, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    I am positive anti-religious people will not be satisfied until all income and assets of all formal religions are taxable and the churches are treated as any Wall Street corporation.

    I am also certain they will not be happy till all people everywhere, religious or not, will be forced to do things that violate their conscience in the name of political correctness.

    I am also convinced they won't be happy till formal religion no longer exists. But then what kind of world would we have? That would be truly and utterly hopeless.

    But fortunately we live in the end of times, when the Savior's coming is near. His Church is moving forward at greater strides than ever.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    And how are the religious zealots going to continue to try and justify such religious favoritism as this unconstitutional tax exemption?

    The hegemony of religion MUST end in this world!

  • David Centerville, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    Government is actively, aggressively searching for ways to increase revenue to the treasury. More and more tax exemptions will be eliminated.

    I wonder if the LDS Church receives a tax exemption for the rental units used to house missionaries. If this tax exemption goes away its effects will be far-reaching.

    I hope the courts and the government will recognize the immeasurable good that religious groups and non-profits perform for others that government simply cannot match. It would be a mistake to begin taxing religious groups.