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Should Christian Non-profits Consider Giving up their Tax Exempt 501(c)3 Status?

The keyword in the title is consider.

I don’t want anyone thinking that I believe in every case it would be desirable or necessary.  I do think, however, that accepting the status quo without persistent reflection is dangerous in general.  Just because it has ‘always’ been this way doesn’t mean it should continue to be that way.  After all, the whole notion of the 501(c)3 didn’t come until the 1950’s.  There were many centuries prior to that when things were not ‘always done this way.’

For the record, the ministry of this website, Athanatos Christian Ministries, is a registered non-profit but is not tax exempt.   I envision it always being that way but would not rule out obtaining that status in the future:  more evidence I am not categorically condemning tax exemption.

There are two general reasons why I think organizations should consider giving up their tax exemption.  The first is the most obvious.  Tax exemption currently comes with some strings attached.   Essentially, while you can speak about issues, your organization is supposed to refrain from overt endorsements of specific individuals.   Failure to abide by this means the lifting of your tax exemption status.

It is true that this is very rare, but that is only because many churches try to abide by the law on this point.  The Government helps by keeping the financial carrot close by;  the stick is rarely necessary.

The main question we need to ask is whether or not, and to what degree, should the Christian Church ever adjust its message for anything, let alone the Government.

But surely it will be pointed out that Jesus said “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  Yes, there is no question that God has appointed the government to handle certain duties (Romans 13) and there is no warrant anywhere for the Church to take those on.  Indeed, we Christians are to submit to these authorities.  It does not follow, however, that the Church can ever subvert its mission and message, even if the authorities say you must.  Moreover, Matthew 22 (the passage alluded to above) explicitly states that people of faith ought to pay taxes if Caesar so requires it.

So, one day Caesar gets the idea that he won’t require people of faith to pay taxes if only they will follow certain rules…

Christians went for it.

But surely the Church has no business messing with politics?  Surely one can believe anything they want on ‘spiritual’ matters and vote however they please on ‘political’ matters?  Surely the Christian is permitted to break his being up into little compartments and act differently depending on which compartment he is in?  I think not.

It is a dangerous fallacy to assert that the Gospel has no bearing on what happens in society.  At worst, it is a form of gnosticism, reducing the Gospel to ‘spiritual’ topics of esoteric importance as though the physical world is unreal and unimportant.  The Incarnation is proof otherwise.

It may be argued that the tax exemption limitations are not unreasonable, because it still allows Christian organizations to faithfully speak out on issues- there is no need to single out individuals or overtly align with ‘political’ platforms.

Maybe.  What if it was Hitler?  Does ‘Render unto Caesar’ still apply?

Some Christians will still say ‘yes.’  Citing Romans 13, they would insist that we should always submit to the Government- until the point ‘spiritual’ affairs are infringed, of course- and never resist.   One hopes that even if they wouldn’t physically oppose the likes of Hitler, they would at least preach out against him.  But even doing that shows that yes, indeed, there is a point where we can rightly single out individuals.

If an appeal to common morality weren’t enough, we do have the witness of Scriptures, where it is abundantly clear that ‘Render unto Caesar’ definitely does not mean ‘Never speak badly of individuals.’  For example, the prophet Nathan confronted David face to face.  In the New Testament, we see John the Baptist openly condemn Herod.

I’m asking, simply, for churches to consider if their mission is being dampened by Caesar’s restrictions.  If it was, I am convinced many churches would make changed… if they even bothered to examine that matter, which is all I’m proposing.

While I don’t know if tax exemption is even the main reason, I think that the Christian Church in America has definitely been soft for several generations at least.  It may be that the Gospel has been promoted without compromise, but only in the narrowest sense of the term.   Fear that the Church might lose substantial funds if they don’t ‘mind their own business’ I think is part of that, one way or the other.  That isn’t necessarily tied to tax exemption.  I think also Congregations have shied away from tough topics out of fear that people will walk away- with their dollars.

The second reason I think organizations should consider abandoning their tax exemption status relates to the ‘compartmentalization’/gnosticism issue.

A church, like many organizations, exhibits many of the characteristics of ‘businesses.’   We often think of a non-profit as ‘not being about profit’ but in fact the only difference is that the profit goes to the furtherance of the mission rather than to shareholders.  Regardless, money comes in and money goes out, and as such obeys laws of economic reality.

However, by being exempted from taxes- an economic reality for most individuals and all businesses, the church is allowed (encouraged, even) to become distant from the impact of economic decisions in the real world.

To help make the point, consider the recent case of the government trying to force nurses in New York to get the swine flu vaccine.   Now, if the government was telling you that you had to get the vaccine or else, wouldn’t you be outraged?   You’d say something, I bet!  In fact, the people who made the most noise were the nurses.  Heck, I was outraged by it but you didn’t even hear it from me on this blog!  You see, until it affects you, just by human nature, you don’t tend to think about it.

By not paying taxes like everyone else, churches and charitable organizations don’t think about the impact of economic policies that are affecting other folks, in particular business owners, companies, and employers.  (The pressures related to rising costs in health care are a rare example where there was a shared understanding of the problem.)

Now, of course the impact is recognized at some level.  When giving is down, for example, churches notice.  Giving goes down when jobs are lost and wealthier individuals have less to share.  But what is missed is the righteous indignation that these people have when the Government considers the public as their personal bank account.  Since tax exempt non-profits do not pay taxes, they do not share in the righteous indignation.

At the same time, we recognize the intuitive right of the one affected- the tax payer- to complain about his tax burden (if he so desires).  He has a right to lay claim on policy makers as a ‘tax payer.’  Tax exempt non-profits do not have this inherent right, and, sensing that, they stay out of it.

In this way, so many churches that are so quick to jump on ‘injustices’ are unable- just by the nature of things- to recognize other forms of injustices that may be going on all around them.  And why not?  It isn’t like THEY have to pay taxes, right?

You see what I mean?

You might think of ‘tax exemption’ like a piece of technology.  All technology has an effect.  It always has an impact of some kind.  Likewise, paying taxes has an effect and impact.  We do not live in a compartmentalized world, but one effect of tax exemption is to perpetuate the idea that we do…

For these reasons and more, Christian non-profit tax exemptions should consider giving up their tax exempt status.  (I’d go into the more, but at 1300 words my readers are sure to complain if I did)


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    • Henry on December 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    The main objective of Secular Humanists is to stifle religion, and promote secular humanism with a helping hand from atheists, homosexuals, abortionists, radicals, and malcontents. There is no doubt that secular humanists have been working very diligently behind closed doors with members of the U.S. Congress, and the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in violation of the U.S. Constitution. And in 1954 Secular Humanists succeeded in establishing the United States National Church of Secular Humanism in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    It all began in 1947, with the violation of the U.S. Constitution by the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. The tyrants established a fictional wall of separation between Church and State in Everson v. Board of Education, as result many Americans including those who profess themselves Christians have regressed to the darkest pit of greed, immorality, and ignorance.

    Way before America’s declaration of independence, pastors educated, equipped, and mobilized Christians to be effective citizens, capable of influencing public policy, and in enacting legislation for the strengthening of the family, and for the protection, and dignity of life. Some of the clergy led Continental troops into battle against the British invaders. Clergyman Jonas Clark of Lexington, Massachusetts was a farmer as well as he was a clergyman, he cultivated about sixty acres of land.

    When asked whether the people would fight, Rev. Clark replied that he had trained them for this very hour; they would fight, and, if need be, die, too, under the shadow of the house of God. It was on April 19, 1775 that the first blood of the revolution was shed and the men that fell were his parishioners. When Rev. Clark saw their dead bodies he exclaimed, “From this day, will be dated the liberty of the world”

    Jesus said, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. And that’s exactly what Senator Lyndon B. Johnson did in 1954, later to become the ruthless 36th President of the United States of America. Johnson introduced in the U.S. Congress a devious amendment to the IRS 501c3 Tax-Exempt Code, and established the United States National Church of Secular Humanism, with the idea of binding, and gagging the Church of Jesus Christ, thus eliminating the significant influence it had up until that time in shaping sound public policy, in affecting legislation, and in addressing issues in opposition to irresponsible legislation, while the Christian Clergy of America looked the other way.

    And in 1963, in Abington v. Schempp, the tyrants of the U.S. Supreme Court legislated from the bench in violation of the U.S. Constitution, and declared the Bible, and Prayer Recitation unconstitutional, after being part of America’s public schools curriculum for over one hundred and fifty years, and immediately were removed from Public Schools all across America, and substituted by the Theory of Evolution, Sex Perversions disguised as Sex Education, and by the introduction of the Homosexual Agenda, and the Christian Clergy of America did not even twitch an eyelid.

    And in 1973, in Roe V. Wade the U.S. Supreme Court Justices, again, legislating from the bench in violation of the U.S. Constitution, and imposed on the Citizens of America, Abortion or legalized premeditated Murder on Demand. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a leading proponent of abortion on demand, claims that there have been more than 50 million abortions in the U.S. since Roe Vs. Wade, and as usual the Christian Clergy of America remained muted to this very day.

    And in 1998, U.S. President William J. Clinton signed executive order 13087, which is nothing more than the glorification, and affirmation of homosexuals, lesbians, and transgender into public education, and into America’s workforce, and once more as predictable as the sun, the Christian Clergy of America compelled by greed, played out their blind, and dumb act one more time.

    Once the Christians Leadership forsook the lordship of Jesus Christ by gagging themselves in submission to the illegitimate U.S. National Church of Secular Humanism under the IRS 501c3 Tax-Exempt Code, for a fistful of tax-exempt dollars, Christians began to withdraw from the Public Square, Public Education, the Entertainment and the News Media, and the Halls of Government, thus allowing the wicked to take over the culture by default, and legalize one abomination after another.

    In effect, Churches in America are like boxers agreeing to face their opponents in the ring with their arms tied behind their backs, they are only punching bags unable to defend themselves, let alone win. The 501c3 self-gagged pulpits of America are the springboards used by the wicked for the last sixty-two years to lunch, and legalize one godless abomination after another, such as Separation of Church and State, Affirmative Action, Forced Busing, Abortion, and Euthanasia or Legalized Premeditated Murder on Demand, Divorce, Sodomy and Same Sex Marriage.

    America is in an irrevocable path to perdition, at the present rate of moral decay the Wicked Fools soon will succeed in legalizing Pedophilia, the act of an adult engaging in sexual activities with a child or children, followed by Incest, the act of engaging in sexual activities between persons closely related, and Bestiality, the act of engaging in sexual relations with an animal or animals, and they may even manage to legalize Necrophilia, the act of engaging in sexual relations with a corpse. Now that the perverts have been emboldened for their success in legalizing Same Sex Marriage there is nothing to prevent them from marrying mere children as soon as they succeed in lowering the age of consent, through NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association

    For over two thousand years the Wicked-Fools refuse to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, who is the creator, master, and judge of the universe. Romans 13:1-2, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves”

    Which means, God has established both, the Civil Government, and the Church. Therefore the ruling authorities such as the U.S. President, the entire U.S Congress, Governors, Mayors, and the people must all be in submission to Jesus Christ under the authority of the Church. And the Church under the headship of Jesus Christ is the moral conscience, and the moral compass for the entire Nation.

    The Government on the other hand has the authority to enforce all civil laws, Romans 13:4 “For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer”

    That is why John Adams, founder and second President of United Sates said, “Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    Romans 13 teaches that a wall of Separation between Church and State can not, and does not exist, but only inside the minds of those being deceived, it is as phony as a three-dollar bill, and one of the biggest hoaxes perpetrated against the American people.
    And, it is obvious that if Church, and the State would work in unison as designed by God, the entire nation would become the shining city upon a hill, and the wicked would be immediately excluded from the culture, and driven underground having no wiggle room left to promulgate their evil agenda.

    Ezra Taft Benson, the thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ, said in a speech titled Freedom Is Our Heritage, “I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But this does not mean that we should divorce government from any formal recognition of God. To do so strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations — a throwback to the feudal system of the Dark Ages.”

    The question remains: Why the Christian Clergy of America as the moral conscience of the nation failed to obey Romans 13, and also failed to demand the U.S. Congress to act in repudiation of such murderous, and unconstitutional rulings, and demand the impeachment of those directly responsible, such as Justices Hugo L. Black, Fred M. Vinson, Stanley F. Reed, William O. Douglas, and Frank Murphy, and U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, and Justices William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, Arthur Goldberg, John M. Harlan, Earl Warren, and Byron R. White, and Justices Harry Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Potter Stewart, John Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, and U.S. President William J Clinton, as prescribed in the U.S. Constitution?

    Even though Justices serve lifetime appointments under the U.S. Constitution, they can be removed from the Court by first being impeached, or charged by the people, or Congress, or both, and followed by a majority vote of the U.S. House of Representatives, and then convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. The consensus must be that removal should be for violating the oath each Supreme Court Justice takes according to Title 28, Chapter I, Part 453 of the United States Code, or for criminal or ethical violations which reads as follow, “I, (Name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as (Title) under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

    Americans can’t longer have the power, and the wisdom of God since they kicked Him out by establishing and illegal separation of Church and State, by trampling on the Ten Commandments, and by replacing the Bible with the theory of evolution in public education, now Americans can only have the same simple mindlessness of the Amoeba, which consists of a mass of protoplasm resembling its contemporary offsprings, the American people

    The whole world knows that America is a country made up mostly of money loving idiots, beginning with the idiots at the bottom, and going up, up, and up, to the very top. There are idiots everywhere, from the idiots teaching in schools, colleges, and universities, to the idiots of the mainstream news media, to the political idiot in DC. Only a country made up of idiots would elect crooks and liars as their leaders, and enlist the enemy in the arm forces, and tolerate the enemy preaching hate against America in colleges, and universities all across America, and only a country made up of idiots would prohibit a child to read her Bible in school in her own time. America went from the home of the free and the brave, to the home of the dumbed-down idiots lacking the common sense that God has bestowed upon geese.

    It is obvious that two major classes of people remain in America today. The Wicked-Fools, and the Dumbed-Down Sheep. The Wicked-Fools are the embodiment of those performing Euthanasia, Abortions, Sodomy, and Same Sex Marriage, being supported, and applauded by Christians, Darwinists, Communists, Socialists, Atheists, Globalists, and those that allow the U.S. Congress to reinforce the rights of Illegal Aliens ahead of Americans.

    The Wicked-Fools claim that the Founding Fathers were Deist, and they are the ones demanding to keep a false wall of separation between Church and State in order to stop the high moral standards afforded by the Ten Commandments, thus promoting instead their perverted agenda based on lies, fear, sexual perversions, violence, intimidation, the occult, ignorance, and falsehoods. The Dumbed-Down Sheep on the other hand, just listens to the Wicked-Fools and follow them. The Founding Fathers today would be morally bound to fight another revolution, this time to defeat the Wicked-Fools, and reeducate the Dumbed-Down Sheep in the fundamentals of Godliness.

    James Madison, founder, and the fourth President of the United States addressing the General Assembly of the State of Virginia said, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

    The sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams before the Inhabitants of the town of Newburyport, at their request, on the 61st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1837 delivered the following oration.

    Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? — And why is it that, among the swarming myriads of our population, thousands and tens of thousands among us, abstaining, under the dictate of religious principle, from the commemoration of that birth-day of Him, who brought life and immortality to light, yet unite with all their brethren of this community, year after year, in celebrating this the birth-day of the nation? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon the earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?


  1. […] 6.Should Christian Non-profits Consider Giving up their Tax Exempt 501 For the record, the ministry of this website, Athanatos Christian Ministries, is a registered non-profit but is not tax exempt.   I envision it always being that way but would not rule out obtaining that status in the future:  more evidence I am not categorically condemning tax exemption. http://sntjohnny.com/front/should-christian-non-profits-consider-giving-up-their-tax-exempt-501c3-status/709.html […]

  2. […] 9.Should Christian Non-profits Consider Giving up their Tax Exempt 501 At the same time, we recognize the intuitive right of the one affected- the tax payer- to complain about his tax burden (if he so desires).  He has a right to lay claim on policy makers as a ‘tax payer.’  Tax exempt non-profits do not have this inherent right, and, sensing that, they stay out of it. http://sntjohnny.com/front/should-christian-non-profits-consider-giving-up-their-tax-exempt-501c3-status/709.html […]

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