The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

The First Amendment and the Taxman

Posted by brightcoast on September 29, 2008

At first glance, this article seems to make sense. Why shouldn’t churches be able to express political preferences and support candidates? I mean everyone is entitled to exercise their freedom of speech. However, this is the bargain that they must except if they want to maintain their tax exempt status. You can’t have it both ways. A 501(c)(3) status means that the government, in effect, supports the good work that you are doing to the extent that they will not charge you taxes to encourage your behavior. Thus, allowing you to express/support certain political causes (beyond what’s allowed in the code/relevant statutes) would be akin to the government sanctioning your political speech. Or, if the preferences came out during the application process, it could raise the potential problems of groups only getting approved because of their political leaning. So you can’t have it both ways, you either get the privilege of not paying taxes while being able to simultaneously practice your religion (or other qualifying activity) or you get to exercise your freedom of speech while contributing to the bailout fund.

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One Response to “The First Amendment and the Taxman”

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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