Huckabee: Time For Churches To Give Up Tax-Exempt Status, Embrace Freedom

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On Monday, former Arkansas Governor and Presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee brought a huge white elephant to the Southern Baptist Convention. When he got up to address the pastors who’d converged on Houston for the annual event, he forced everyone’s attention on it, telling the group of conservative religious leaders that churches should unilaterally agree to start paying taxes — and stop letting the Federal government tell them what to do.

Then Huckabee got on Twitter the next day and offered a powerfully distilled version of his argument:

Huckabee, himself the President of the Arkansas State Baptist Convention, explained in Houston that churches are easy fodder for the same kind of scrutiny the Federal government, using the enforcement and bureaucratic power of the Internal Revenue Service, wielded against conservative and Tea Party nonprofit groups.

“You may not clap real loud for this, but at least hear me out and think about it and pray about it,” he told the Baptist ministers:

I think we need to recognize that it may be time to quit worrying so much about the tax code and start thinking more about the truth of the living God, and if it means that we give up tax-exempt status and tax deductions for charitable contributions, I choose freedom more than I choose a deduction that the government gives me permission to say what God wants me to say.

…The recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting people of faith — people who are conservative, people who are pro-Israel – and have been picking out the parts of belief and speech and faith that government seems to approve and that which it doesn’t approve has brought up a very important reality that I think, sooner or later, as believers, we need to confront.

Back in 2007, when Huckabee was still in the hunt for the Republican Presidential nomination, he garnered a lot of Christian support. The IRS was all over it, making sure that no church-affiliated nonprofit organization of any kind was endangering its nonprofit status by officially endorsing him.

So far, there hasn’t been enough reaction to measure how Huckabee’s message will be received. Twitter has lit up with mostly positive endorsements of the idea from private individuals, but it’s tough to envision some religious leaders — who often work for organizations that have massive real estate holdings, service programs, schools and medical facilities — embracing either the messenger or the message.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Harold Olsen

    I don’t usually agree with Huckabee, but this is one occasion when I do. Churches need to decide which is more important to them, money or their faith. The impression I get from many churches is that money is more important.

    • FreedomFighter

      The strings that come with a tax exempt status for a church render the church a co-conspirator with the government. No church can operate true to the faith and adhere to a tax exempt status — the church needs to be political to save itself and its members and cannot do this under the thumb of government.

      Laus Deo
      Semper FI

      • Charlie

        King Jesus Christ and the state god are 2 different “Jurisdictions”… Most “Churches” are in violation of the First Commandment ………………………….

  • laura merrone

    A church can give up tax exempt status for non-taxable status. I read a book about it: What On Earth Is The True Church? written by Dr. Charles Mainous which explains how a church can unincorporated and still not be taxed. After all, how can a spiritual entity called “the Body of Christ” really be taxed unless it is run as a business? Most churches today are run as a business, but this may have to change in the future. The book was written in 1997 and the future may be closer than ever now…

  • Mark

    The Church, which is the people, not the building and grounds, have to decide if they are serving the God of the bible or the god of oppressive government. The 18th century pastors were the stimulus behind the American revolution because they weren’t restricted in what they could preach about current events. It is time to get out from under the thumb of the IRS and take back our liberty,

  • Warrior

    Absolutely No Better Time than Now for the Fair Tax. Sorry huck, but you”re wrong about this.

  • richard

    I really can’t believe you Huckabee.. As an minister,,YOU of all people know how hard it is to operate a church in this country. Oh, not the Mega churches,,the Little churches…I see you are now siding with the Communist President of the United States,Obama..God will get you for this.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      In reality God may just bless those churches for depending on Him and not the State.
      It is a taxation issue, as to how much tax can be squeezed out of a dollar bill and how often as it is passed from one hand to another

    • Karolyn

      I’m sure smaller churches would end up no0t having to pay taxes, just like poor people. We need to hit the Benny Hinns of this country for their fair share.

      • Charlie

        Benny Hinns, IS NOT a True Christian per Acts 2;38……………..

        • Karolyn

          Well,, we’re not actually talking about Christians but about churches.

          • Charlie

            Yeah ,,,that’s the building “Christians” avoid ,sunburn or hypothermia with……………………………

    • FreedomFighter

      The church cannot serve 2 masters…its GOD or government.
      Laus Deo
      Semper FI

    • Charlie

      Easy,,.,Huckabee , most likely is a Judeo Christian,,, which IS NOT a Christian per “Acts 2:38″… Let Huckabee tell us how he became a “Christian” PER The Scripture… Judge him by The King’s Words AND his own words … Meanwhile… Praise King Jesus for Salvation and Healing…
      Acts 2:38 is salvation…

  • Blank Reg

    As George Carlin used to say: “TAX ‘em. TAX those [expletive deleted]! You want to get involved in politics and government, pay the admission price, like everyone else!”

    • Justsomeguy151

      He was also a self embarrassing atheist who believed that Life could create itself so he was a victim of the very status quo he claimed to hate.

  • Prosinator

    Have we really come to the point where right is wrong, and the white is black? I could not disagree with Huckabee more. When they tax you, they control you!!! The reason for tax exemption was to keep the church separate from the state and give it the freedom to behave and speak without fear of government action against them. Paying taxes will not give this freedom but limit it even more. Instead the churches should challenge government’s limiting of their speech by preaching against the IRS over-reach, for Godly candidates, and for Biblical principles as each church understands it. Then go to court and fight for your constitutional freedom. We don’t need our churches to turn into Canadian churches with no freedom of speech.

    • graystroke

      You actually have this ALL WRONG….so for you and all readers learn about the history of how LBJ created the 501(c)3 to silence his religious critics go to http://www.hushmoney.org for a detailed history ……you so called Christian pastors are failing this nation and you rsheep over your own ignorance of history and failure to study to show yourselves approved .I will never ease up on you pastors…..like pharisees of past you are too close to the government teat justifying it all along by the mention of Jesus…..now back on topic only the AME black churches have openly defied the 501(c)3 and openly held political stances from the pulpit with impunity…..because white people are gutless and too afraid to lose the precious tax exempt status…..think about it who is your provider Jesus Christ or government…what did Peter tell the Pharisees???

      For Richard below the pastor please stop showing your own ignorance of the origin of the tax exempt status….stop your whining your supposed to be a leader who is your provider?? which Jesus you worship? Did Jesus ever follow the Roman gobmint? NO! grow up and grow a pair you metrosexual leaders need to man up! Stand on the ground and corner stone of Jesus Christ or quit your religious business God will raise up real leaders for his sheep …

      • Charlie

        Peter, said we must obey “God” rather than “Man”,,,see First Commandment ,,,BUT,,, King Jesus Christ , said, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s ,,,BUT,,, did God create all there IS ??? THEN what really does Caesar actually own??? When should ANY “True” per The Bible “Christian” , sacrifice “Truth” to get along with Man’s so called “Government” ??? NEVER!!!…
        Meanwhile,,, Praise King Jesus for Salvation and Healing… Acts 2:38 is salvation…

      • Chester

        You have a problem there, Greystroke. Not a church I am aware of operates as a 501(c)3. That is more for charitable groups and organizations such as the VFW or the American Legion, or the Moose clubs. These are all groups of people who come together for some common belief, yet operate as a charitable group as well. Very few of the people in these groups share a common religion. Incidentally, most churches do NOT operate businesses, and those that do generally manage to keep that money separate from church moneys. All too often, any income over and above what is needed to keep the business operating goes back into a related charity.

      • Prosinator

        Your statement is correct only if churches were granted tax-exempt status after LBJ’s revenge on churches for almost costing him another term as Senator. However; churches were granted first official tax-exempt status from the U.S. gov. in 1894. And prior to that churches were still unofficially tax-exempt since the founding of the country. LBJ’s act is precisely why churches should sue for their freedom of speech- back to wrong is right. There was a time when (probably before the advent of the income tax) the prevailing thought was a person’s money was his/her money, not the governments. You and I disagree people we see “whose money it is” differently. I’ll continue to maintain that every dime you earn is not automatically the governments to confiscate from you at the point of a gun.

  • Dave

    Religions are social/political organizations and their actions should not be subsidized by my tax dollars. The Catholic Church is the wealthiest land owners in the world. The Mormons created these OZ-like palaces and stick their noses into the marriage debate as defined by the state. Religions exist to control other people and as a result people get into arguements over “my god is better than your god” and people die in the millions over this silliness.

    People need to wise up and dump religions and at the very least tax these organizations and finally get them to pay their share.

    Stop the madness. All religions are created by men and men are susceptable to greed, jealousy, desires for power and that is what religion is. Try a little independent thinking once in a while and stop allowing Amans, Rabbis, Preachers, Popes and other frauds to tell you which religion is the ‘correct” one. The world will be a better place.

    • CongressWorksForUs

      Dave, it is not the government’s money. It is the church’s money, and the government has no ability under our First Amendment to tax churches by force.

      It isn’t tax-payer subsidies in the slightest when it isn’t the government’s money in the first place.

      • Dave

        The money is ours and we give our money to the Gov to help run our society.

        The church does business…Religions are a business. Their business is “faith” and many people in many “faiths” make tons of money manipulating people’s faith. They are involved in politics and policy and give money to their respective causes. They need to be taxed like everyone else.

        Society takes money to run. That money is collected by the Gov. The Gov the uses that money to help build infrastructure, trade rules, environmental safety, defense, social safety nets and we vote in and out who we want to allocate that money.

        If people hate taxes, move to the mountains and never use a service that the gov helps bring to you and live off the land. You have sucess in this country, You have an obligation to help pay its bills.

        I did not agree with the 3T Iraq war so I voted for people who were against that war because I did not want my money or my countrypeople’s blood spilled for corp greed in the oil industry and defense business. Thats how you get the Gov to spend less money on things that have nothing to do with helping the people of this country.

        Religions need to cough up their part since they are part of this country.

        • Charlie

          Many are very ignorant of , who and what The Almighty God of The Holy Bible ARE,,, read Hosea 4:6 and it tells you what will happen to ignorant people,,,AND,,,IF? you “”Think”” you are “smarter” than The Almighty God,,.THEN,,,you are “extremely” , “brainwashed” and/or Mind programmed with many lies that you “Think” are “True” , but , are indeed lies… AND,,, you cannot prove them to be “True” with The Holy Bible,,,OR,,.,any other “Scientific” books…. Meanwhile,,, Praise King Jesus for Salvation and Healing… Acts 2:38 IS salvation…

          • Dave

            Charlie,

            Which re-write of the bible are you referring too? he first edition, the mean and nasty spiteful god? The second edition that is a somewhat nicer version? The King James version? The Mormon bible?

            But you know what they all have in common? All were written by men. What does god say about men? The Old and New Testiments were written decades and centuries after the supposed events occurred. But you believe that they are all the “word of god”. Do you realize that the story of a man being born of a virgin, healing the sick predates Jesus’s time? That story was copied from Egyptian pharrohs and pagan fables.
            But I get it, you are a “believer” which is fine. Believe in Jesus, Mohammad, Zeus, Jupiter, The Tree gods, the rock that you hold in your pocket. Its all good, just keep your belief out of my government and we don’t have an issue.

          • Charlie

            How many time do you think I and others have heard / read what you have written??? at least a 100 times,,,BUT,,,Zero of those hundred have yet to prove any part of the “”Normal” versions wrong… Geneva Bible, KJV 1611, NASB,,, are normal Bibles… Now ,,,IF,, one ,knows the original language , then read the original text and check these “other” Bibles for your self ,,, BECAUSE,,,NO one is going to prove The Bible to YOU, but YOU… I am a Acts 2:38 Christian , can you or any one you know prove Acts 2:38 wrong ???

          • Dave

            Hmmm… so when was the last time you lived in a whale? Do you believe seriously that all the animals in the world, including the dinosaurs boarded a boat for 40 days and 40 nights and none of them ever got hungry?

            How about burning bushes… how many of them have you talked to?

            “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
            So Charlie, what if I live on an island and never heard of JC and I live my life in an honest and loving way. Do I not receive the “gift of the holy spirit”?
            Ot how about if I reject all religion (which I do) and I live my life being honest with people, take care of my family and teach my children to love and respect others (which I do)… I guess I don’t get any gifts from your god eh?
            There is little science in the bible, this is a story, just like the movie “Lincoln”. JC did exist but to say these exact words were said after they were written down decades after they were uttered is highly dubious. Unless you have died, came back and have an experience you can share when you met the magic man in the sky. You have no proof that the “gifts” do exist either. Sorry… There is a reason “fact” and “faith” have different meanings.

          • Charlie

            What does the word “fact” mean,,,what does the word “faith” mean??? Can faith be a fact ? Go to hell IF, you want to , God has told you in His Words how to avoid Judgement ,,,but,,it’s up to you to take “action” upon your belief… That’s what “Faith” means , it’s action upon belief, and, that’s a fact…. Next time you see “Jaws” ,get a measurement on his mouth ,,, a whole man will fit in Jaws easy… Are killer whales trainable ? … Figure it out heathen or go where The Book says you will go…………..

          • Dave

            Charlie,
            Fact:(noun)a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred

            (noun)a statement or assertion of verified information about something that is the case or has happened

            (noun)an event known to have happened or something known to have existed

            (noun)a concept whose truth can be proved.

            Now faith

            a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
            (1): fidelity to one’s promises (2): sincerity of intentions
            (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
            (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust

            —————-
            One of the definitions of faith is belief in something for which there is no proof. That is you in a nushell.

            And you have proven again the evils of religion, if i don’t believe EXACTLY the way you do… I get to go to H, E, Double hockeysticks.

            You ae a walking contradiction of the Christian faith.

          • Charlie

            Well,,,how about that ? your dictionary agrees with The Bible as a Dictionary… What did We say? Faith is ACTION upon belief…. Religion IS NOT “”Christianity””,,, Christianity is A WAY of Life as directed by The Holy Bible of The Almighty God… Religion is obedience to the lesser gods,,, Satan, Devil, etc…. What does The First Commandment say ? Why is the first Commandment first??? Does the First Commandment match up with The First 2 “Orders” of King Jesus Christ at Matthew 6:33???

          • Dave

            Christianity is a religion. You are a Christian. You are a believer in version of god. Nothing more.

          • Charlie

            It’s The Only Almighty God that exist ,,,your small g god is religion …………. Prove it with Scriptures………………

          • Dave

            Once again, a religious person assumes scripture is “fact”. Its not. Sorry.

          • Justsomeguy151

            How many times have you seen Life create itself? Can you name an example where Order(the Universe) can come from an explosion(the Big Bang)? Or how an explosion can create the most complex computer in the Universe(the human brain)? At what point does a reptile lay an egg w/ a mammal inside? Why do evos have to perpetrate frauds if evilution is a “fact”(Piltdown Man; Nebraska Man; Haeckel’s fraud; Ota Benga)? Christians freely admit they have a FAITH. Evilutionists have a faith too, but they bully people into thinking its a “fact” when its NEVER been observed.

          • Justsomeguy151

            So you believe that Life can create itself? Please give an example of this miracle happening.

        • Justsomeguy151

          Giving these vampires more money to piss away is NOT the answer. Huckabee is just trying to steal more money for the govt, which is whats not needed. People need faith, its inherent. We need to now what life is for. Govt only exists to rob the people and serve it itself and the true owners of the US, the Vatican/NWO.

    • WTS/JAY

      Dave: Stop the madness. All religions are created by men and men are susceptable to greed, jealousy, desires for power and that is what religion is.

      Cannot the same be said of politics? All politics/political-systems are created by men and men are susceptible to greed, jealousy, and lust for absolute-power, for that is what politics stimulates in men? So, If man is susceptible to greed, jealousy and power, how then, will making religion extinct, or making politics/government extinct, solve that which ails man? Which is, as you rightly stated, “susceptibility to greed, jealousy, and the lust for absolute-power”. And, if religion and politics be made extinct, will not man just create another system(s) by which and through which, his susceptibilities will come into play, yet again? Of course! For it is man that corrupts government, religion, or any other system. Yours is the classic, “throw the baby out with the bath water” argument. It fails to address the fundamental-issue. Which is; man is the problem, and not necessarily the system(s)!

      • Dave

        Absolutely Jay, there is not an institution that exists that is exempt. Religion is not needed. Governance is, that is the only way for a society to get anything done.
        Man creates religion, man uses “god” for his own purposes, therefore the system that is created becomes the problem. There are few motivators that rival eternal happiness or damnation to get the weak minded to go along.

  • jany38

    Huckabee is dead wrong on his idea. Liberals will never stop going after christians and their churches no matter how much you give into them. Liberals just hate Christians, plain and simple and they hate conservatives or anyone who doesn’t agree with them. They’re addicted to power and the need to control everything and everyone. When they fail, they become hostile and attack those
    they can’t control. That’s why liberalism is a mental illness.

    The churches should keep their 501c and just keep pissing off the liberals. I don’t ever see the liberals making any concessions. Onumbnuts creed is, ‘My way or the highway. Well, that crap goes both ways. No concession on church tax status…..not now, not ever.

    • Karolyn

      The above response was supposed to be you jany38. I thought I hit reply but guess I didn’t.

  • Karolyn

    Obama is really not a liberal. Here’s a chart done during the election that is very interesting. The whole site is interesting.

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2012
    I also take issue with your saying that liberals “hate” Christians and conservatives. I have known hundreds of liberals in my 66 years of life and can’t remember anyone who “hated” conservatives and/or Christians. It seems to me that, taking remarks on PLD into account, it is the other way around. Conservatives hate liberals. I was a liberal my whole life and still lean to the left; however, I have never really hated ANYONE. Can you say the same?

    • jany38

      Well, whoopie-friggin’-do for you. Maybe it’s time for you to stop leaning and stand up straight and tall where you can see what the hell is going on. You and your 66 years of liberal friends have put a fraud in our White House who is doing everything he can to destroy our country.

      I don’t believe for a minute that you never hated anyone but frankly, I don’t really care. I, on the other hand, hate lots of people like Obama who has a deep seated hatred for our country. I hate Holder, Hillary, Napolitano, Pelosi and Reid because they’re liars who share Obama’s agenda.

      I also hate radical muslims who want to kill us, and I hate race baiters like the ‘so called’ Revs Sharpton and Jackson who must have gotten their theological training from “The Church of What’s Happening Now.” I hate the abortion doctor from Philadelphia who murdered babies, some by cutting their spinal cords. And I hate people who abuse innocent animals and children. I could give you a list a mile long of people I hate.

      There’s nothing noble about being stupid. Why would I, or should I, love people who are liars, greedy, lust for power or will do whatever is necessary to advance their own agenda, even if it means killing innocents.

      Maybe you’re looking for a spot of the streets of gold in heaven. Well,
      it’s going to take alot more than ‘loving your neighbor’ to get there. Maybe having the guts to stand up for what’s right and moral, and
      speaking out against those who want to destroy Christianity will also get you to the streets of heaven.

      If you believe Obama and his minions don’t hate Christians then why is he conducting a war on Christianity? If you think he isn’t, then you need to get off your meds.

      • Karolyn

        Wow! I feel so sorry for you. So much hate! “As ye think, so shall ye be.” Hate only begets more hate. Hell of a way to make things better.

        • Charlie

          Did God love the people that were destroyed in Noah’s flood??? Did God say He loved Esau at Malachi 1:1–5??

          OH! my goodness ? God hates some people and some things?… Acts 2:38 is the “bail out” for hate… King Jesus Christ is The “Lawyer”, Judge, Jury… Obey, or stay in Your ignorance ……………………………………

  • Bob666

    I agree completely. Take all tax breaks and money out of politics.

    • WTS/JAY

      Including, charitable-organizations? Careful what you wish for…

      • Bob666

        downside?

        • WTS/JAY

          Good question.

          • Bob666

            Been looking for an answer to that is bad & I can’t find one.

          • Charlie

            YO YO,,,
            We gave you the answers months ago,,, it’s been in The Books for thousands of years,,,and works ,,,WHEN applied PER The Book…………………………………..
            Stop playing with your yo-yo and figure it out!!!

          • Bob666

            And here we have nut case Charlie,
            As always, an answer that applies to a totally different question.

          • Charlie

            YO YO,,,
            The Bible has some applications to any question………

          • Bob666

            Good for you Charlie,
            now take your medications and watch TV-Cartoons are on.

  • WTS/JAY

    Are mosques included in the list, i wonder?

    • Dave

      Mosques are buildings, Islam is the religion and yes, yank their tax exemptions to. jews, Hindus, Taoists, Scientologists…Take them all.

      • WTS/JAY

        On this, we both agree! If they are run as businesses, which they are. In that, they generate revenue. Then let them pay the appropriate taxes. And because they are in essence businesses, they can claim lawful-deduction, or business-expenses. Of course, the back-lash will be immense, no doubt!

  • $36364326

    WOW! I never thought I would hear this radical thought expressed. You are so right governor! My own church has strayed so far from it’s founding principles I have stopped attending. It amazes me that all the apostles of Jesus stood up to EVERY attack against Christianity with nothing more than their faith in their Savior. Prosperity kills faith. There has never been a time throughout history where faith in Jesus grew during times of plenty! God is forgotten on a grand scale when money, and wealth cause our morality to become “unethical” if there is such a thing. Adversity and persecution are the only answer to our ailing Christian protestant principles. The 501c3 fiasco is great to talk about , but when it comes down to actually receiving donations without the tax shelter, well churches die for less than that. BUT, BUT! BUT!!! With faith in God all things are POSSIBLE! Many say “I have faith”, but who is that faith in? I know for a fact that those who accept 501c3 shelter ONLY have faith in money! IT IS SO SHAMEFUL TO SAY THIS. I can see God weeping over His creation who put all their chickens in one basket, and I can guaranty it is not God’s basket! BUT YET they want to call themselves by God’s Name, CHRISTIAN!

  • CarlyBGood

    I grew up in church and I saw all of the good that was, and is still being done to help people in so many different ways. Our preacher lives in a little bitty house and drives the same car he bought 12 years ago. It’s clean but old.

    It’s easy to pick out bad apples that do wrong, but if you think that all of the help that is given to people will go on if churches have to pay taxes just like any other organization, think again. A tax on churches means less food for the poor, less help for them. I know whereof I speak. It’s takes real planning to make every dollar stretch and sometimes I don’t know how we do it. But I keep thinking about the three loaves of bread and the little fishes, and that keeps me going strong.

    There is so much need in our country. Many people are under the false assumption that the government is taking care of everybody in need. That is so untrue….the needs are greater now, and just wait a few more years when our total collapse happens. You should follow me around for a week…I’d put you to work! I would put you in front of people that really need you!

    Oh how I wish I had the money thrown away on that crooked free cell phone program that has paid Obama’s buddy millions of dollars. The waste makes me so sick and I know Obama’s crookedness is a stench in God’s nostrils. Our people are in real trouble as he plans his $60Million dollar vacation to Africa. I am worried about getting enough shoes and coats for this coming winter while he works out the details of his lavish, taxpayer funded vacation.

    Instead of beating up on a mostly volunteer service group, everybody had better realize that we are headed for a very serious storm. We had all better be planning what we are going to do to help our selves AND our neighbors who are more worried about going on cruises and buying new shoes than having food in the house. We are no where near ready but God said “I will do nothing save I tell my servants, the prophets.” I am no prophet, but me and my people feel the storm coming, a cold wind that sends chill up my back. I sense what is coming, the way the birds sense a change in the weather. Get ready….we are all going to be needed in that terrible hour….

    Be very careful what you wish for….