Why We Should Support the Tax Exemption for Houses of Worship

My Article in Christianity Today

Dear Friends,

I wanted you to see this article published today in response to this month’s cover story in Christianity Today arguing against the tax exemption for houses of worship.

I disagreed with the argument, to say the least, and CT graciously published my response and thoughts on the tax exemption today.

I hope you’ll read the whole article, but here’s an excerpt:

In the cover story of Christianity Today’s January/February issue, Paul Matzko makes a provocative argument that churches’ tax-exempt status comes at a cost, possibly even a detrimental cost, to both churches and the communities in which they are located. The argument is not necessarily new. Though the tax-exempt status for houses of worship has never been a leading political issue, it does make the news every now and then. It extends a “cultural privilege,” as Matzko calls it, that some cite as one more reason to resent religion. Matzko himself suggests the tax exemption leads to churches that live off “government largess” and accept the bribery of a tax benefit while forfeiting their religious freedom and their political voice.

I have a different view. Far from inhibiting religious freedom, tax exemption for houses of worship protects it. And in the highly unlikely event that churches lose their exempt status, the common good would suffer far more than it would benefit.

I hope your week has started off well.

-Michael

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