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Church Subsidies

Recently a Catholic School in Colorado kicked out a student for having lesbian parents. But that is not what today’s blog is about. People have asked whether or not the Church has the right to have whatever rules they want since they are a private school. Most people including atheists say sure. It may not be right, but it is certainly legal. I disagree.

Normally, I would say let the market decide. If the people in the area think this is wrong they will pull their kids out of the Catholic School and put them into some other private school or perhaps public school. But the Catholic School has an unfair market advantage here since they are subsidized by the tax payers in the form of tax exceptions.

The fact is that all churches are essentially government subsidized. With that in mind, does this give the government (i.e. the people) a say in how these businesses conduct themselves. For example, there are laws against business discrimination and regulations pertaining to how businesses can conduct themselves.

Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor disagrees with me on this one. Before becoming a Supreme Court judge, she ruled on the case of Hankins v. Lyght. Hankins was a Methodist reverend who had reached retirement age but did not wish to retire. Under employment laws, he did not have to retire and an employer could not fire him for being over retirement age. But the Methodist Church did fire him for being over retirement age anyway. Sotomayor ruled that government laws dealing with employment do not need to be held by religious institutions. In other words, churches don’t need to follow the law.

As long as churches receive tax exempt subsidies, I think they should have to follow the laws of this country. In fact, as long as they are operating within the borders of this nation, they should have to abide by the laws of this nation. The fact that the churches not only can violate the law whenever they feel like it but can also get away with not paying their fair share of taxes makes no sense to me at all. The fact is that my taxes are higher because the churches don’t pay taxes.

Religion has been getting a government bailout ever since there was a government and it isn’t right. Every town has multiple churches and those churches are usually not small meek buildings either. Many are huge elaborate institutions sometimes with multiple buildings. They generally take up large tracts of land that if taxed would save most Americans quite a lot of money.

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