Time To Examine Tax Breaks For Churches - And Response (5)

Sunday, July 5, 2020
Churches are classified for tax purposes as 501(c)(3) organizations. This means contributions to them are generally tax deductible and they pay no property taxes on their real estate facilities. In return for this there are certain restrictions they must follow, the most important being:

"Specifically, 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from engaging in excessive political lobbying and any political campaigning. According to the IRS, Sec. 501(c) of the IRS Code requires that a tax-exempt religious organization “may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates.”

The recent letter from local clergy regarding Sheriff Jim Hammond would appear to be a blatant violation of this restriction. Some of the churches listed were Grace Episcopal, First Christian, First Baptist on 8th Street and Rivermont Presbyterian. All four of these buildings are located on valuable real estate that the city gets no tax revenue from.
If an organization wants to be a tax qualified 501(c)(3), then follow the guidelines.
If you want to be a political organization, then give up your tax-free status and be a political organization.

Douglas Jones


* * *

Douglas, it sounds more as if you're making a threat in an effort to silence opposing views. Taking a stand for justice and against human rights violations has nothing to do with politics.

"There's no greater honor one can bestow on a man than the attempt to silence him. For it means you recognize his superiority to your own." Can't remember who said that. But what is it really that you and like thinkers actually fear?

Do I believe Sheriff Hammond should be forced to resign? Not really. Over the years he's done pretty much what public citizens have asked for, demanded even by some in the black community as well. Many of us warned, or tried to, but we were immediately shut down and called all kinds of wicked names and had labels and found ourselves targets for harassment and all kinds of false accusations made against us. 

What guarantee is there a replacement will be different, better or have control over their subordinates? Absolutely none. That's the problem, no amount of training and retraining has had any impact. These cops and deputies pretty much get to make up their own rules once they're out on the street no matter what the training manuals say. They came to realize and expect GQ public and elected officials to always have their backs and all too often looked the other way. They were right. 

In the Civil Rights era, people from all walks of life who came together to effect change were informed and wise enough to know that getting rid of one person solved absolutely nothing. Their target instead was to confront generations and centuries ways of doing things and the laws that supported those ways of thinking and doing things. 

Dr. Woods, former president over the local NAACP, had that much right when she suggested by going after one person would and could lead to a worsening of the problems, bringing about more attacks on citizens, brutality and outright chaos. On that much I agreed with her. 

No, I'm not at all into church, but I know the difference between right and wrong, and what peeps like yourself''s goals are really about. 

Brenda Washington

* * *

Nice deflection of facts that that Mr. Jones merely pointed out.  Speaking of right, wrong and goals that you so eloquently speak of, Secoriea Turner was murdered in an area that was barricaded off by protesters.  Anger and frustration do not even come close to what I’m feeling right now as that innocent child never even had a chance to grow up. 


Her mom was merely trying to enter a parking lot before their car was riddled with bullets by a group of individuals who are protesting violence by police officers.  I guess eight-year-old children do not fall into the same category when it comes to civil rights and are just collateral damage when it comes to justice and change. 


Please remember change also has to come from within one's heart and, when this heart-less violence occurs, it really makes one question what is the true agenda amongst some of these groups of individuals. 


Secoriea’s name is what should be plastered on protesters signs across the country as she is truly the innocent victim in this chaos sweeping across our nation.  Atlanta Mayor Keisha Brooks now says “enough is enough” but she allowed this group to police themselves and we now have a similar outcome to Seattle in our backyard. Enough is enough.


Chris Morgan


* * *


Mr. Jones is exactly right with his opinion about churches and tax free status. 
The fact that Ms. Washington completely ignored the point and went off on another of her bad cop tirades is not the least bit surprising.

Dennis Wooden
* * *

I find it interesting that we object to pastors speaking about a community issue now, but we didn't have a problem when churches hosted political rallies or when pastors told their flocks how to vote in the last election.  

Darlene Kilgore


* * *

I am certain that those who took the position that churches who become involved in politics should lose their tax exemption viewed this with blinders on and likely more based on a race thing than the total picture. 

If churches lose their tax exemption, which I think a correct step, it would also mean that these churches who actively support Trump and Republicans would also lose their exemptions.  It is a bigger issue than Hamilton county and its sheriff. 

Sherman Gibbs 
La Fayette

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