Ralph Reed, in a shocking statement from his Faith & Freedom Coalition, is suggesting that taxpayers should not have to fund churches “with untold billions in assets.” Reed is the scandal-plagued former head of the Christian Coalition and a religious right leader and political activist.
Reed is using his latest “non-profit,” the Faith & Freedom Coalition, to wage a religious war against the Episcopal Church, after the Washington National Cathedral‘s decision to invite same-sex couples to marry.
Reed, in a Faith & Freedom Coalition petition, demands Congress withdraw funding of the iconic National Cathedral:
In recent years, the National Cathedral has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants. The Episcopal Church is one of the richest denominations in the United States and the oldest. According to Richard Ostling of the Associated Press, “the 7,364 congregations of the Episcopal Church receive $2.14 billion in offerings a year: Their buildings and liquid assets are worth untold billions.” Why is a church with untold billions in assets and asking American taxpayers to fund their church? [sic]
While Reed is waging a war against a religion’s right to practice and worship as they see fit, which is wholly unacceptable, he is right in this one regard:
Why do churches with untold billions in assets ask American taxpayers to fund their church?
As a rule, religious organizations and many of their their employees — such as ministers, priests, rabbis, etc. — can be exempt from paying local, state, and federal taxes, income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, investment taxes, etc.
Religious tax-exemption costs the American taxpayers $71 billions annually.
Of course, it’s likely Reed does not want to revoke tax-exemption from America’s religious institutions, but clearly that is what the statement logically is advocating. Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition is likely too blinded by their anti-gay animus to realize what their statement really means.
Reed is wrong to try to use the Episcopal Church’s decision to support same-sex marriage as a means to deny their building, the National Cathedral, an American icon, federal funding, but he is absolutely right that tax exemption of billionaire religious institutions is morally and financially inappropriate, and is costing the American people their future.
Hat tip: Right Wing Watch
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