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CCRW

Ssm And Byu Tax Exempt

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The Supreme Court precedent is the final word on such matters.  You seem to be the only human on the planet who doubts that the power to tax is the power to destroy.  That is why tax exempt status is granted to religious institutions, which is at the heart of the 1st amendment, tonie.

 

If you don't understand the concept, you might want to get out the Supreme Court Reporter and read McCullough v Maryland, the landmark case.  I read it and briefed it when I was a young pre-law student.  Got a perfect score.  Made a big impression on me and forever solidified my belief that John Marshall was our greatest Chief Justice.

 

As an aside on this, I'm curious as to your take on the Bob Jones case decision. Was it actually a decision targeted to a specific situation, or was it meant to be more broadly applied?

 

While I don't agree with the concept of racial segregation, was BJU imposing its beliefs on others, or was it being practiced within the confines of the religious organization itself by people who agreed to that religious restriction? If so, was the court wrong in infringing on religious belief in its ruling to remove the tax exempt status? Were there extenuating circumstances that justified the court in its ruling?

 

Again, just looking for input on this.

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I can see why you would object to the use of taxation as a tool to influence organizations and people (for example, extra taxation on cigarettes, no taxation on charities), but what religious freedom exactly is being effected? Especially since universities are not churches. Tax exempt status seems to be a privilege, not a right. 

 

Again, I see exemption from taxation as more of a right than a privilege. I come from the viewpoint that government needs to justify taxes rather than impose them. Since taxation has been so broadly applied in our society (it wasn't always so) we have come to view it as the norm, which shouldn't be the case. Perhaps the term "tax exempt" is a bit misleading, since government never had the right to tax religion in the first place. It also never had the right to tax a lot of other things and organizations in the first place, but that has changed over time.

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From the bottom of the article:

 

"Adam J. White is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a lawyer in Washington, D.C."

 

Links with additional information are here and here.

 

Looks pretty credible to me. Was pretty simple to Google him and get this information.

Haven't slept really for over a day so google isn't as simple as it usually is....

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I can see why you would object to the use of taxation as a tool to influence organizations and people (for example, extra taxation on cigarettes, no taxation on charities), but what religious freedom exactly is being effected? Especially since universities are not churches. Tax exempt status seems to be a privilege, not a right. 

 

I know that you think everyone is copping out and isn't giving you an answer because there isn't one, but the question you asking would require a dissertation to convince someone who cannot accept, see or understand that the power to tax is the power to compel/destroy/influence/dictate. It is directly related to religious liberty because of HOW taxes are used and WHAT they can be used for. Sure, BYU (and it doesn't end there), can say fine remove our tax exempt status and the government cannot force them, the LDS Church or its members to embrace SSM, BUT what if Notre Dame complies and embraces SSM to avoid the taxes? That is, in effect, making a law respecting religion (and a violation of the Establishment Clause and the Constitution) because it grants government approval of one religious tenant over another (SSM over non-SSM). 

 

Basically, there is more than one way to oppress religious freedom in this country. The most obvious way would be to outlaw certain religions or practices. That would be unconstitutional. That is not the only way. Another way would be creating a law or system of taxation that favored one religious practice over another (SSM over Non-SSM). Lawyers and judges can disagree on these points, and many do, but, to put it bluntly, they are wrong. 

 

Do you really think that giving the Government the ability to influence what a particular religious body believes and practices is a good thing? And make no mistake that is exactly what is going on here. How many religious groups or organizations can afford to pay these taxes? How many can afford to pay the taxes and still maintain the same level of education, health care, charitable giving and whatever else their organizations mission might be (including preaching and building places for congregations to meet)? How many will comply with with the taxes because the government says they must, because they know if they don't they won't survive (some may say that is a good thing, or even an intended benefit of this whole thing)?

 

Do you really want to give the government that kind of power and influence? If so, I truly weep for you and your embracing of tyranny of the masses. 

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That does not mean that once taxes are implemented that they can tax whomever they want or however they want.

 

I think they probably can. Not that I would support a punatively high tax rate on a school 

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Again, I see exemption from taxation as more of a right than a privilege. I come from the viewpoint that government needs to justify taxes rather than impose them. Since taxation has been so broadly applied in our society (it wasn't always so) we have come to view it as the norm, which shouldn't be the case. Perhaps the term "tax exempt" is a bit misleading, since government never had the right to tax religion in the first place. It also never had the right to tax a lot of other things and organizations in the first place, but that has changed over time.

 

Well, I don't see anything in the constitution that gives any particular group automatic exemption from taxation. But I appreciate that some people feel strongly about taxation and that it should be much more limited. I'm not really prepared to debate theories of taxation on that level. 

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This.  Why are people making this about religious freedom?  Do they think that after universities loose their tax-free status, it will also happen to the corporation of the church?  Maybe it's a slippery slope.

 

Yes. Definitely. Keep in mind, I was told all throughout law school that something like what the Solicitor General said, could never actually happen (I was called a fear monger for saying it could and would). Now we are seeing the first step to it happening and SSM proponents are actually lining up to defend it not. So you will understand, I hope, if I no longer believe the less than reassuring words of folks saying, "don't worry it will only effect BYU, not its parent Church."

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I think they probably can. Not that I would support a punatively high tax rate on a school 

 

No, they can't. There are plenty of ways taxes can be unconstitutional. 

 

Law school 101.

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As far as I'm aware the basis for tax exceptions rests entirely on IRS codes, not in the constitution or any interpretation of the constitution. I could be wrong

 

You are correct.

 

However, tax exempt status goes back to English law. Colonies, and then various States of the United States, granted tax exempt status. In the early 1900s the IRS was created (queue the IRS is an illegitament organization chorus) and tax exempt status was created under the IRS code/regulations.

 

In the 1970s the Supreme Court (exercising its duty as layed and Mabybury v. Madison) determine that racially discriminatory polices of a Bob Jones Univeristy violated tax exempt status guidelines. The Supreme Court upheld the descision of the IRS.

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Well, I don't see anything in the constitution that gives any particular group automatic exemption from taxation. But I appreciate that some people feel strongly about taxation and that it should be much more limited. I'm not really prepared to debate theories of taxation on that level. 

 

If you are not so prepared then you probably should not be in this thread. 

 

Word are not enough....

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Again, I see exemption from taxation as more of a right than a privilege. I come from the viewpoint that government needs to justify taxes rather than impose them. Since taxation has been so broadly applied in our society (it wasn't always so) we have come to view it as the norm, which shouldn't be the case. Perhaps the term "tax exempt" is a bit misleading, since government never had the right to tax religion in the first place. It also never had the right to tax a lot of other things and organizations in the first place, but that has changed over time.

 

This should get a lot of rep points.

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If you are not so prepared then you probably should not be in this thread. 

 

Word are not enough....

 

wow!

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No, they can't. There are plenty of ways taxes can be unconstitutional. 

 

Law school 101.

 

And from Law School 101, what was the Constitutional basis that tax exempt status for a religious organization is an absolute right?

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I know that you think everyone is copping out and isn't giving you an answer because there isn't one,

 

Not me, I believe that's Tonie

 

but the question you asking would require a dissertation to convince someone who cannot accept, see or understand that the power to tax is the power to compel/destroy/influence/dictate. It is directly related to religious liberty because of HOW taxes are used and WHAT they can be used for. Sure, BYU (and it doesn't end there), can say fine remove our tax exempt status and the government cannot force them, the LDS Church or its members to embrace SSM, BUT what if Notre Dame complies and embraces SSM to avoid the taxes? That is, in effect, making a law respecting religion (and a violation of the Establishment Clause and the Constitution) because it grants government approval of one religious tenant over another (SSM over non-SSM). 

 

Perhaps so, although again, universities are not churches. And religious freedom does not grant total exemption from existing laws.

 

Would you support the taxation of, say, a cheese manufacturer that has disguised itself as a religion in order to dodge taxes? 

 

 

Basically, there is more than one way to oppress religious freedom in this country. The most obvious way would be to outlaw certain religions or practices. That would be unconstitutional. That is not the only way. Another way would be creating a law or system of taxation that favored one religious practice over another (SSM over Non-SSM). Lawyers and judges can disagree on these points, and many do, but, to put it bluntly, they are wrong. 

 

I suppose so, but then again even churches must obey the law. A church that strongly believed in armed robbery to support its activities would find its religious freedom curtailed, and I think justly. 

 

Do you really think that giving the Government the ability to influence what a particular religious body believes and practices is a good thing? And make no mistake that is exactly what is going on here. How many religious groups or organizations can afford to pay these taxes? How many can afford to pay the taxes and still maintain the same level of education, health care, charitable giving and whatever else their organizations mission might be (including preaching and building places for congregations to meet)? How many will comply with with the taxes because the government says they must, because they know if they don't they won't survive (some may say that is a good thing, or even an intended benefit of this whole thing)?

 

Well again, this is not applying to a church directly, but to non-church organizations operated by churches. But what if Catholic hospitals started operating outside of medical practice guidelines based on a new edict from the Pope? Would taking them to task on that be a violation of religious freedom?

 

Do you really want to give the government that kind of power and influence? If so, I truly weep for you and your embracing of tyranny of the masses.

 

Honestly, it doesn't really concern me in this case. I don't see it as an abuse, but I could imagine other scenarios I would object to and would find to be a genuine threat to religious freedom.  

 

My responses in blue, thanks

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Again, I see exemption from taxation as more of a right than a privilege. I come from the viewpoint that government needs to justify taxes rather than impose them. Since taxation has been so broadly applied in our society (it wasn't always so) we have come to view it as the norm, which shouldn't be the case. Perhaps the term "tax exempt" is a bit misleading, since government never had the right to tax religion in the first place. It also never had the right to tax a lot of other things and organizations in the first place, but that has changed over time.

 

Now we might be able are get somewhere.  It is your viewpoint, or otherwise your opinion, that tax exempt status is a religous right.

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No, they can't. There are plenty of ways taxes can be unconstitutional. 

 

Law school 101.

 

I didn't go to law school - but can you elaborate?

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If you are not so prepared then you probably should not be in this thread. 

 

Word are not enough....

 

What I mean is I'm not prepared to argue about the idea that taxes in general are unconstitutional, tax protestation, etc. I don't see that as applicable here - this is about tax exemption for religious schools and maybe religions, not libertarian politics. 

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An interesting aspect to discriminatory policies of Universities and tax exempt status, is that Rex Lee (a Mormon) was appointed as Solicator General of the United States, just prior to the Bob Jones case.  Lee, is reported to have recused himself from the case, due a conflict of interest. The conflict being that some time prior to his appointment, he argued before the IRS on behalf of the LDS Church concerning the tax exempt status of the Church.

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Now we might be able are get somewhere.  It is your viewpoint, or otherwise your opinion, that tax exempt status is a religous right.

 

Nope. Freedom of religion is a right, and taxing religion infringes on that right.

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And from Law School 101, what was the Constitutional basis that tax exempt status for a religious organization is an absolute right?

 

The Establishment Clause.

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I didn't go to law school - but can you elaborate?

 

Quick example: I can't tax a religious organization and not another because of one religious's organization's belief. For example, you can't tax non-Christian Church's because they are non-Christian.

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Nope. Freedom of religion is a right, and taxing religion infringes on that right.

 

The Establishment Clause.

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Quick example: I can't tax a religious organization and not another because of one religious's organization's belief. For example, you can't tax non-Christian Church's because they are non-Christian.

 

I think that's a good example. However, if you the government wanted to tax all religions at 15%, I don't think there is anything legally prohibiting that, assuming IRS codes were legally altered. They could probably also choose to tax one church at a higher rate if it were involved in illegal activities, or for other reasons not strictly related to theological concerns. 

 

It's already been established that you can tax universities that discriminate based on a protected class. 

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The Establishment Clause.

 

How does the establishment clause prohibit the taxation of religions? 

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I think that's a good example. However, if you the government wanted to tax all religions at 15%, I don't think there is anything legally prohibiting that, assuming IRS codes were legally altered. They could probably also choose to tax one church at a higher rate if it were involved in illegal activities, or for other reasons not strictly related to theological concerns. 

 

It's already been established that you can tax universities that discriminate based on a protected class. 

 

I think your 15% example would also be illegal. It would destroy organized religion.

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