Churches cost US taxpayers $71 billion each year

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If religious organizations (churches, mosques, etc) were taxed like other organizations, it would save us all a tremendous amount of money. But exactly how much? Well, a new analysis has revealed that US churches cost taxpayers 71 billion dollars each year. 

Completely defunding Planned Parenthood would save us about 2% of what taxing churches would save us. Yet, Republicans stridently fight for defunding Planned Parenthood while never daring to mention taxing churches. Even if churches just were held to the same standards as non-profits, it would save us almost 17 billion dollars. 

Of course our Congress is extremely religious so it makes sense they are not motivated to make religious institutions pay their fair share. But it really is unfortunately because if they cared about saving us all money, this would be an obvious decision.

Even if you defend religious organizations as charities, it’s a bit of a stretch. A recent report by the Secular Policy Institute found:

The researchers calculated the Mormon Church, for example, spends roughly .7% of its annual income on charity. Their study of 271 congregations found an average of 71% of revenues going to ‘operating expenses,’ while help to the poor is somewhere within the remaining 29%. Compare this to the American Red Cross, which uses 92.1% of revenues for physical assistance and just 7.9% on operating expenses. The authors also note that Wal-Mart, for instance, gives about $1.75 billion in food aid to charities each year, or twenty-eight times all of the money allotted for charity by the United Methodist Church and almost double what the LDS Church has given in the last twenty-five years.

Religious organizations should pay their fair share of taxes. This would save our country boatloads of money, but it also would make sure the churches had some sort of regulation with what they were doing with all the money they were receiving. This would prevent megachurches raising money so their pastors can have their own private jets. 

[Featured image via Wikipedia under GNU]

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