Saturday, February 23, 2008

Let's tax the Church!

Should we tax the Church? Why not? It’s high time!

Church officials—bishops, ulamas, pastors, priests—based on their rhetorics, are always holier than thou, especially when it comes to failure of government to provide economic opportunities for the poor. But does the Church really do something about it besides prayers and few charities? If they want to help the country, the poor, the best thing they could do is pay taxes for the Church properties, lands, and universities to generate resources for economic and social development. Church-owned schools charge the highest tuitions fees in the land, thus accumulating so much money. Since they don’t pay taxes, they hardly give anything in return to society.

The premise about separation of Church and State, about religion and politics, has always been fiction. The Church—be it the Catholic Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, El Shaddai—has always been a very active political animal in the country. When told not to meddle in politics, the Church authorities would say, they can’t help it because the realm of politics has moral dimensions, which the Church has a lot to say. Well, every thing has moral dimension.

11 comments:

Lester Cavestany said...

Hear! Hear! Grabe na talaga ang panghihimasok ng ating simbahan sa ating pamahalaan. They even tried to block the Quezon City council from passing Councilor Joseph Juico's resolution to teach sex education in QC public schools. Good thing the QC council saw the light and approved the proposal. I personally believe that QC students will benefit from their lessons in sex education.

Dave Llorito said...

i actually welcome their participation in the debates on social and political issues. but i find the church's bully pulpit a bit hypocritical. so if it wants to contribute, it should also contribute to society in a more positive way, and paying taxes is one of them.

Gabby said...

what about taxation based on activity? activities that benefits society can be tax free (i.e. charity), while other activities are taxed?

Paul said...

We have to avoid the trap to generalize. Usually when we do that, we dont really know the issues any better than, well, a sidewalk vendor. Or we are too lazy to learn and re-learn history. so we take refuge in rhetoric, generalizations, and tired cliches. For example, we can start the discussions by asking ourselves, why is the Church (Catholic, non-Catholic, non-Christian) not taxed?

Dave Llorito said...

paul: you are not contributing to the discussion. tell me, what's your recommendation? what's your point. mine is clear: we should tax the church, its real estate properties, its schools and universities so it could contribute to economic development.

why its not taxed? because of the stupid notion about "separation of church and state" which is fiction.

Gabby said...

does the taxation of the church come from the separation concept? isn't separation about non-establishment; and freedom of religion, a ban on religious tests, etc?

doesn't the non-taxation come from the non-profit nature of the church's activities? [in theory at least]

Dave Llorito said...

gabby: the state is not supposed to discourage or support religion. but exclusion from taxes means that the state is actually subsidizing the church, in the same way that the state subsidizes a company that is given "fiscal incentives."

Lester Cavestany said...

I also welcome their participation in the debates on social and political issues. What I am afraid of is that sometimes, they tend to impose their teachings and beliefs on everyone. My favorite example is the issue of population control. They want everyone to follow "natural methods." And I find it sad that the present administration has implemented the church's beliefs in our national population policy.

Hindi naman lahat ng tao sa pilipinas katoliko e, bakit kailangang ang mga batas at tuntunin natin ay naaayon sa mga turo ng katolisismo? Paano naman yung mga may ibang paniniwala?

Salamat,
Lester

Dave Llorito said...

lester: i share your views on this matter. the church really has no credibility on this issue since the ones preaching on these matters are priests who dont really understand the reality of marriage and married life, except of course for those priests who have families in secrets. heheh! they should preach in church but not impose its perspective on the state.

Anonymous said...

sometimes i wonder if ignorant filipinos know that more than half the donations they give during mass is given to the priests, not so much the poor.

Anonymous said...

I think taxing the charitable aspect of the church is a no-no although, I believe that puting tax on investments made by the church should be done. I read that the Church is the 4th largest investor of BPI and they are not being taxed on their gains.

Schools, university and land shouldn't be taxed as this is more of a non-profit activity. Ateneo, La Salle may ask the highest tuition in the country but they also give one of the best education. Just see how much is the government subsidy for UP and you will know that it is fairly the same with how much the tuition of Ateneo and La Salle asks.