Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tax the Church!!!!

Although I am rather irascible in my old age, I have mostly avoided getting too upset by the trite and banal of social media.  Oh, I read some of them -- especially in the wake of the Roe decision overturning the law that found a right in the constitution to murder the unborn.  Some of them were creative barbs against conservative churches that have long labored against the poorly decided 1973 case.  But not most of them.  Most of them were the predictable and deceptive simplifications that offered no opportunity to respond.  I am talking about the ones that claimed it was not about babies but controlling women or the one that insisted men should not be making decisions about women's bodies or my body, my choice or a hundred others like these.  The people who promoted these are in love with the sound of their voices and throw words around as if that was all you had to do to debate.

I was impressed by those who said Tax the Churches -- if they are going to be in politics then they ought to pay the freight for it all...  How foolish!  These are people who do not know a church from a cult and who have never ever examined the books of a typical church opposed to any right to abort.  Who in the world do you think is buying all those disposable diapers and formula and offering baby clothes, toys, car seats, and the like to mothers who do not have them or cannot afford them?  I have yet to hear of a liberal congregation that supported the pregnant moms who decided to keep their babies.  But I know of plenty of conservative congregations that do.  My parish contributed to this cause over $5K in June alone!  Not to mention volunteers who work there.  If you tax the churches, you are taking away money that could be used for such worthy causes.  Most congregations (well, really, nearly every congregation) are not like Trinity, Wall Street, sitting on billions in endowment.  Most live from offering to offering and accumulate little as a cushion.  This is not because they are not prudent but because they believe the purpose of the offerings to do the work of the Kingdom.

Most congregations are like mine -- they take battered women to motels until there is room in the shelter and pay for medications and help with utility bills and give rides and help people sort through the maze of support agencies in town.  Pastors like me are not social workers but they do the work of loving the neighbor.  The folks in the pews make it possible with gifts of money, food items, and hours volunteering.  We work with Habitat for Humanity and give away washing machines and dryers and fridges and the like to families who are hurting.  We may not be counselors or therapists but we counsel anyone with the Word of God and listen to every complaint, excuse, hurt feeling, and chip on a shoulder -- not as sob stories that we must endure but as people who do care for and work on behalf of their neighbors.  We do not pay all our staff, the ones we do pay we do not pay well, and, last time I looked, our pastors were not getting rich on the backs of the offering plates either.  When our facilities need improving, volunteer labor and the less expensive materials option is usually chosen first. In our schools, ninety percent of the tuition goes for salaries and supplies for the students -- we are not making a killing on preschools, elementary schools, or the occasional high school.  So tax the churches and see what happens when the gifts and volunteers have to shift to survival mode in the congregation.  Who will stand up and stand for the many who look to churches for food, medical care, lodging, essentials, and a refuge in time of need?  Oh, that's right.  The government.  Yeah, and how has that worked so far???????

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