Government Will Help Churches Pay Pastor Salaries

jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)(9b)

This means the American people will be subsidizing religious organizations. Since churches pay no taxes, this will be coming right out of our pockets. I am not okay with this. I might be okay with it if churches started paying taxes like the businesses they are.


"Faith-based organizations are eligible to receive SBA loans regardless of whether they provide secular social services," the SBA said in a statement. "No otherwise eligible organization will be disqualified from receiving a loan because of the religious nature, religious identity, or religious speech of the organization."


The new SBA program, however, takes federal funding of religious institutions significantly further. Under the new Paycheck Protection Program, businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including faith-based organizations, are eligible to receive loans of up to $10 million, with at least 75% of the money going to cover payroll costs. The loans are in large part forgivable, so churches and other houses of worship won't have to worry about paying all the money back.




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Blanche Dubois

But they pay no federal taxes.

That's wrong.

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deegw

Do they pay payroll tax? I don't know. I'm sure there are plenty of businesses and individuals who pay little or no federal taxes that will benefit from the stimulus.

That being said, I do have a big problem with the blur of the supposed line between church and state.

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Blanche Dubois

Churches are not required by law to withhold income taxes from their ministers' pay, even if their ministers are employees for income tax purposes. ... Most churches are required to withhold income taxes from non-minister employees.

https://www.guidestoneretirement.org/FormsandFAQs/FAQs/Self-Employed-SS-Issues

If you're tax exempt you should exempt from monetary aid for the government.

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foodonastump

No withholding does not mean they don’t pay taxes just like the rest of us.

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)(9b)

Salaries aside, they are getting donations from people and do not have to pay taxes on those donations. Some of the bigger churches make a LOT of tax-free money.

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lionheart_gw (USDA Zone 5A, Eastern NY)

It's a simple premise: If you break it, you pay for it.

"But they pay no federal taxes."

That's patently untrue. If their religious organization does not deduct taxes, the employee still has to pay taxes, probably quarterly, depending on their income. They are treated like self-employed workers.

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Tilly Teabag

Other religions will ask for the same, including the spaghetti church and whatever that demon worshiping one was, that put up the monument outside some State Government building.

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foodonastump

If the ultimate goal is to take care of people who would otherwise lose their existing income, I don’t think we should be in the business of judging their jobs.

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lionheart_gw (USDA Zone 5A, Eastern NY)

"Salaries aside, they are getting donations from people and do not have to pay taxes on those donations. Some of the bigger churches make a LOT of tax-free money."

Some of those big charities like The American Red Cross and The American Cancer Society are not paying taxes on their donations either.

They probably rake in more money, and have a lot more influence via highly paid lobbyists and the like, than some unaffiliated church in East Podunk.

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)(9b)

What are your feelings on separation of church and state? Personally, I don't want my hard earned taxes to go to a religion that has beliefs that are antithetical to what I believe in.

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vgkg (Va Z-7)

Oh Boy, more blending of church & state. Ministers will be saying "Yes Sharia Mr trump".

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foodonastump

What are your feelings on separation of church and state?


I believe that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.


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dadoes

Churches should be required to pay property taxes and such like any other business. They are businesses.

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foodonastump

That’s a valid, debatable position. But unrelated to whether their tax paying employees should be discriminated against because they happen to work for a church.

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lionheart_gw (USDA Zone 5A, Eastern NY)

"If the ultimate goal is to take care of people who would otherwise lose their income, I don’t think we should be in the business of judging their jobs."

This, along with your previous post.

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maifleur03

In another discussion some churches except for the janitorial staff labels everyone a minister. My personal opinion is that the churches should be taking care of the ministerial staff. No taxes no unemployment no stimulus check. If they do not want to do that they need to be taxed as a regular business. I understand that some businesses do have ways to reduce or not pay taxes. I do not belong to a church but I understand that many of the churches have contributions/tithes taken directly from parishioners accounts.

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

Well I came here with one view and having read foodonastump’s eloquent argument I leave here with my opinion completely changed.

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

maifleur that was my original opinion too.

But after having read the thread I applied the principle to a different aspect of my life, the non-profit that I sit on the board of.

We pay no taxes.

Our employees do pay income taxes.

We will likely be applying for government help to make payroll.

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elvis

Tilly Teabag

Other religions will ask for the same, including the spaghetti church and whatever that demon worshiping one was, that put up the monument outside some State Government building.

"Other religions"? Other than what? No particular religion is specified in the OP. It sounds all-inclusive:

"Faith-based organizations are eligible to receive SBA loans regardless of whether they provide secular social services," the SBA said in a statement. "No otherwise eligible organization will be disqualified from receiving a loan because of the religious nature, religious identity, or religious speech of the organization."

There's probably some definition of "organization" in the fine print. i.e., if your FB group is called "The Spaghetti Worshipers", you may not qualify!

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)(9b)

I see both sides of the argument.

We do know that religious groups managed to exempt themselves when it came to contraceptive coverage under the ACA so they are not afraid to bail out of government programs they don't like.

We also know that religious groups run soup kitchens, meals for children and other wonderful programs that really help people. These programs deserve all the help they can get.

I guess the question to me is where do you draw the line? You have a small storefront church with 20 congregants. All they do is come to worship on Sunday but don't have an outreach program. Should we be paying the pastor's salary with government money when their outreach is limited to 20 worshipers.


Didn't we used to have a Hot Topics participant who belonged to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

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elvis

Should we be paying the pastor's salary with government money when their outreach is limited to 20 worshipers.

Well, that's probably not going to happen, hard to know what it's all about without details, which aren't presented in this thread, which is speculation and chatter, that's all.

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foodonastump

JZ - I believe the line should be the same as whatever qualifications any employer needs to meet, in order to get the benefit. Drawing a line, objective or subjective, would almost certainly result in preferential treatment under the First Amendment.

ETA - I also suspect we could find candidates within any line of business that we feel better about supporting, than others.

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shead

"But they pay no federal taxes.

That's wrong."


Lots and lots of people pay no federal income tax and actually get money back from the government every year in the form of Earned Income Credit. Should they be denied their stimulus money because of it?


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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)(9b)

FOAS: Here is an interesting take from a Baptist preacher why churches should not take government money. He's definitely a purist. Link


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shead

Whether they can apply for the funding is a different conversation from whether they should apply for it.

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patriciae_gw(07)

My opinion about churches and taxes is very simple. I think they should be taxed just like any business but should get unlimited deductions for charitable contributions. If they use their money as they should they wont owe any taxes. they should not get exempted from local fire and emergency services taxes because they are a drain on those resources just like other businesses. Employees are employees and a business cant leave out insurance provisions just because the Employer disagrees with them. As employees they would get the exact same protections and benefits of being a citizen as any other citizen.

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shead

^^^I think this would be far more complicated and nuanced than you think if churches and other charitable organizations started getting taxed. I don't disagree about property taxes, though. Plus, I don't think it's fair that a charitable organization who is raising funds for a large charitable purpose (church building, presidential library, research facility, etc.) should be taxed on the money they bring in and put in "savings" simply because it hasn't been spent yet which is the essence of an income tax.

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Iris GW

Is this simply a matter of the pastor being able to file for unemployment benefits like anyone else?

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

"Faith-based organizations are eligible to receive SBA loans regardless of whether they provide secular social services,"

Almost all mainline churches provide secular social services -- so I see few problems there.

However, some other "independents" might fail to do so. These organizations I have trouble with federal funding.

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maifleur03

What some do not know is that churches can and do pay for minister's living arrangements and expenses. I have little objection to this unless the minister has several houses, a plane, other toys all paid for by the church.

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blfenton

Well I guess with weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc all cancelled, the thrift stores, daycares, etc all closed I guess their revenues are down. And when they start paying taxes on all those revenues then they can be subsidized by the government.

But won't all the church members still pay their tithes, weekly offering, donations, whatever you want to call it.

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elvis

What some do not know is that churches can and do pay for minister's living arrangements and expenses. I have little objection to this unless the minister has several houses, a plane, other toys all paid for by the church.

Your objection is reasonable--if it's your church.

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bragu_DSM 5

uh, this bailout bill was supposed to be for ALL AMERICANS ...

does that only mean lay people and not clergy?

It's a two-month forgivable loan. You borrow two months of salary, utilities, expenses etc (3 page form with photocopies of recent expenses) from the bank and if you do NOT lay anyone off ... you don't have to pay it back. Big churches and small churches alike.

time to dust off my Moody card. lol

It's for secular biz too. This was a much larger portion of the bailout bill than the paltry 1,200 bucks for all ...

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linaria_gw(zone 7 (about))

how about to only accept claims from church communities that stick to the rules about social distancing


no actual services etc



(or is it only mega churches that insist on going on as ususal?)

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

Only MAGA churches.

Every church I know of has canceled services for weeks.

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elvis

miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

Only MAGA churches.

Your incredibly prejudiced opinion is flat-out wrong. Shame on you.

When deciding to close the doors of black churches, congregational leaders across the US wrestle with unique considerations. Paul J. James, pastor of CareView Community Church in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, noted in an interview with The Undefeated how closing is “counterintuitive to most churches, especially the black church… where we’re just glad to get together because of how hard life has been historically for us here in America. Church has been a safe place for us. It’s been a safe harbor. Now here we are faced with the inability to come together.”

A lot of things inform these responses to the coronavirus outbreak: culture, histories of discrimination, and marginalization, as well as faith-based values. People experience events like COVID-19 not only as individuals but also in communities and in the social locations we inhabit. As social scientists—Deidra as a black woman doing research on HPV and Elaine as a white woman who studies how religious organizations respond to science—we offer some observations based on our research for the past 10 years at the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University. We have been gathering upwards of 150 religious and civic leaders regularly to talk about how we can use social science research on religion to build common ground for the common good.

Among the congregations we have checked in with during the past two weeks, it seems to us that in our city of Houston, Texas, black churches, in particular, have continued to gather in person...

Public health scholars also offer the Health Belief Model to explain why some might continue to meet despite public health warnings. The model suggests that people engage in health-promoting behaviors, such as social distancing, when perceived threat of a disease is high (meaning preventive action is the product of one’s perceived susceptibility of contracting a disease as well as their beliefs about the severity of it). For some black Americans—and many other Americans—myths about immunity to COVID-19 coupled with WHO reports that 80 percent of the cases are “mild” might factor into the equation.

Another reason may be that some black Christians have more pressing problems. Poverty and race are deeply connected in cities like Houston. For example, black families are twice as likely as white and Asian families to be living in poverty.

...What can we do? Churches can play a role in alleviating this public health crisis by partnering with health experts to inform people of actions they can take to reduce risk. Practicing extensive hand washing, avoiding social gatherings, and staying home if we or others in our households are sick is the best way to love our neighbors. In this way, we can gracefully push back on the notion that science is at war with Christianity, a myth we’ve uncovered in our work interviewing scientists and congregants. To overcome COVID-19, we will need the best science has to offer made accessible and relevant to everyone.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/coronavirus-hard-to-close-black-churches-amid-covid-19.html

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