Today I visited the American Atheists on Facebook and discovered that the Secular Coalition of America is developing a media and lobbying strategy for challenging special tax exemptions given to churches.
Earlier today the coalition held a meeting to discuss church-state issues. The agenda for the meeting:
- "Politicking from the Pulpit"
- "Direct Tax Privileges"
- "Financial Disclosure Exemptions"
Tax exemptions for nonprofit organizations are a topic of interest because of the fiscal cliff negotiations between Congress and the President. Also, last week the Religious Policy Commission released its first report to Senator Grassley.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy,
Senator Grassley said that if Congress follows through with plans to overhaul the tax code, many of the issues raised in the reports compiled by his staff and the commission “will be ripe for review.”
If the Secular Coalition of America does continue with its plans to challenge the tax exempt status of churches, it could split apart President Obama's base. Many black churches will turn against Obama if he participates in the taxation of churches.
Although many religious freedom activists will fear the Secular Coalition's actions, whistleblowers opposing fraud in churches will welcome the idea of churches being required to file a 990 and disclose their income. Currently churches are not required by law to disclose their income. Unless a church's articles of incorporation or bylaws require financial disclose, the church can keep its finances secret.