The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 16, 2012

Your View: Why must we allow churches to be exempt?

Leland C. McCormick, Mankato

— Here is an idea for savings that true Constitution-loving conservatives should be able to get behind: Eliminate the tax deductions that churches receive.

While no one knows for sure just how many churches there are in America, recent estimates range from 300,000 (Grounds for Giving) to 320,000 (Beyond Megachurch Myths).

The annual cost in lost revenue? About $71 billion a year according to the Friendly Atheist and $71.1 billion according to a recent study by Professor Ryan T. Cragun of the University of Tampa.

Why should churches receive this exemption?

If you want to argue that churches are non-profits, then they should be subject to the same requirements for reporting their income and assets as are all other non-profits.

That they are not seems to me to be evidence of a clear violation of the establishment clause.