Tax The Church: Mike Huckabee is warning conservative Christians that if they don’t vote for Trump their churches will be taxed and will eventually be forced to shut down.
Huckabee, speaking on Intercessors for America’s monthly prayer call last Friday, banged the drum of religious freedom while warning conservative Christians that if they don’t vote for Trump in the upcoming election their gifts to the church will no longer be tax-exempt and their churches will be taxed.
Speaking to the pro-Trump group Huckabee said:
The issue is policy. Whether or not we as a nation will embrace religious liberty or whether we will believe that the government can tell a church that it can’t sing, can’t pray, can’t worship, can’t meet unless it gets the government’s permission. This is very, very crazy kind of stuff we’re going through right now. And if people don’t recognize it—they may say, ‘Well, yeah, but it’s a pandemic’—but if the government will tell us what we can do during a pandemic, and we all follow along and march in line, then when and how long will it be before the government will tell us that we cannot continue to meet or sing or pray, and a pandemic has nothing to do with it? Please don’t think that this is an alarm that doesn’t have substance; it does.
So, there are many fundamental issues today that really matter more than they’ve ever mattered before because you’ve never had the policies that are directing these two parties, two candidates, that are so divergent. And if Christians sit this one out, and then one day they say, ‘Hey, how come my gifts to the church are not tax-exempt? Hey, how come the church is being taxed and we’re now going to have to pay property tax on the church? And we can’t afford that, so we’re going to go out of business.’ How many things like that start happening? And people will say, ‘Well, this is not right.’ And I’m going to say to them, ‘Yeah, and you didn’t vote. That’s why it happened.’
Huckabee is being dishonest. There is no indication that there is any political appetite to tax churches, even if doing so is actually a good idea.
In fact, taxing churches would be a welcome development, and is long overdue. A 2015 report from the Secular Policy Institute shows that tax exempt churches cost U.S. taxpayers $71 billion every year.
Among the report’s findings: Each year religious groups receive $35.3 billion in federal income tax subsidies and $26.2 billion property tax subsidies. In addition, religious organizations also enjoyed approximately $6.1 billion in state income tax subsidies, along with $1.2 billion of parsonage, and $2.2 billion in the faith-based initiatives subsidy.
As for Huckabee, it is no secret that he is a deplorable and deranged Christian extremist. In the past Huckabee promised that if elected president he would fight the “secular theocracy” that is supposedly destroying Christian liberty in America; made the false claim that pastors would face civil and criminal penalties if they refused to perform same-sex marriage; and said if elected president he would ignore the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality because the Supreme Court is not the “Supreme Being.”
Indeed, the man is a monster. In 2015 this radical Christian extremist suggested that poor people convicted of nonviolent crimes should be sold into slavery, arguing that Biblical slavery is preferable to the contemporary criminal justice system.
More recently, Huckabee made the ridiculous and mean-spirited claim that LGBTQ people are “the biggest threat” to American morality.
Bottom line: A dishonest Mike Huckabee is warning conservative Christians that if they don’t vote for Trump their churches will be taxed.