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CVA Weekly Newsletter
March 12, 2014

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Essay: Should Churches Be Tax-Exempt? part 3
  3. Comments from CVA Members
  4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback
Rick, who leafleted at Winter Jam in North Little Rock on February 28, writes:
I handed out 1400 CVA booklets to a receptive, young crowd. About 80% of the booklets went to teenagers and preteens. One girl, around 14, after initially declining a booklet, returned to me to say “I changed my heart!” and asked me for a booklet.  One adult spent some time with me to let me know that no one was interested, while I handed out about 100 booklets.  He quickly dropped the no one is interested line.  Then he asked me where I was coming from. “Good Christian stewardship,” I replied. Then he asked if it was primarily about the cruelty, and I replied, “Yes, primarily.” Someone else took a booklet and then told me he got it last year. I asked what he thought of it, and he said he is still eating meat. I replied, “Then it is good you got another one!”

2. Essay: Should Churches Be Tax-Exempt? part 3
In the last two weeks, I have questioned whether religious institutions, which may silence dissent on theological and social issues, should be tax-exempt. This week, I will offer my own conclusions, as well as some thoughts from other CVA members.
I have reservations about religious institutions having tax-exempt status, because it seems to violate the separation of church and state. The state can choose which institutions it regards as “religious,” thereby giving advantage to religious organizations it prefers. This does not seem to be a problem currently, but I am always wary of governmental power, which can easily be abused.
To the larger question about whether any institutions should be nonprofit, I think it boils down to whether or not they serve the public good, because nonprofit status is tantamount to public support. Do organizations that can and often do limit free speech within their organizations, benefit the public? I think they do, because they often provide valuable dissenting points of view.  While the voices from the government and corporations are very loud, giving nonprofit status to dissenting viewpoints helps to level the playing field in the public arena.
I often find that I disagree with dissenting views, particularly from the far left and far right, but I think that giving them ample opportunity to express their views broadens my horizons and serves the public good.

3. Comments from CVA Members

I believe that the tax-exemption on church property goes back to the time of monasteries, when those within them had renounced all worldly activities in order to avoid contamination by the un-Godly, so they had no money-producing activities. So it makes sense, especially since those who had thus renounced were considered to be in a better position to be granted, by God, inspiration for words and works far exceeding in benefit to society what any taxes could have provided! Yes, most "churches" don't live up to what we believe they should in terms of spiritual purity today. But if a bunch of CVA members, for example, decided to buy some land and start a self-sufficient community, it would certainly be nice if none of them had to be involved in "worldly activities" in order to pay property taxes, (including taxes that might be used for decidedly un-Christian purposes such as building football stadiums, or granting tax-breaks to slaughterhouses).

Gordon Lee Stelter
While it is true that the public pays for schools (unless private) and such, they, the public, does not pay for churches. The individuals who go to those churches pay. Churches should be tax free as they are not businesses and they help society to do good. The ministers and priests and other staff of churches, all pay taxes, so there is absolutely no need for the church as a whole to pay taxes.

4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Soul Searching Godliness: Living in God’s Heavenly Will

Your question and comments are welcome

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