Letters to the Editor

Churches should pay taxes

We all pay taxes on sales, property, income, interest or dividends. These taxes provide police and fire protection, road maintenance and other services.

Churches, temples, synagogues and mosques receive these services for free because they don’t have to pay these taxes. Therefore, we have to pay higher taxes to cover for their free services.

Donations to religious institutions have an unusual tax deduction. Their donors are allowed to deduct their entire donations. Consequently their tax dodging becomes an additional burden for the rest of us.

We are financially supporting organized religion regardless of whether we use their “services” or not. Their members should bear the cost – not the taxpayers. The separation of church and state is grossly ignored. According to the Washington Post, religious subsidies cost taxpayers about $32 billion a year. This is a religion tax indeed.

These institutions acquire tremendous political power from their tax-free status. Consider the Church of Scientology, which was a small religious group until it achieved tax-free status. This tax law allowed Scientology to become a rich and worldwide empire. Could this tax-free bonanza facilitate other religious movements to become as powerful and as evil as ISIS?

Pierre-Paul Villafafila, Fresno