Most Americans comprehend that when two parties enter into a contract, they are legally bound and committed to its promises and must follow the terms explicitly, and if one side fails to meet their obligation, the agreement is broken. There are laws to ensure parties entering into an agreement with the U.S. government abide by the rules, and if they choose to break the agreement, it is breached and the government is obliged to collect damages and take punitive action against the offender if they are a congressional representative, president, or a religious organization. Four years ago, one of the richest religious organizations in the country broke their agreement with the Internal Revenue Service, and they deserve nothing less than revocation of their 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization, and the IRS is bound to collect taxes that were lost retroactively by virtue of Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Furthermore, the Department of Justice must investigate and prescribe a comprehensive audit to determine the amount of back taxes owed the United States by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; the Mormons.
In June 2008, the First Presidency of the Mormon church sent a letter to church leaders in California to be read to all congregations on 29 June 2008 regarding California and Same-Sex Marriage, instructing cult adherents to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.” The First Presidency said church teachings are unequivocal and that “local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.” The cause, Proposition 8, discriminates against LGBT couples, and in keeping with their belief that the U.S. Constitution is secondary to Mormon edicts, broke their agreement with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and should have lost their tax-exempt status immediately.
In June 2011, a member of the Mormon general authority used LDS Church email to solicit campaign contributions for Willard Romney’s run for president. W. Craig Zwick, who is a member of the church’s First Quorum of the Seventy and father of Romney’s finance chairman wrote, “How much can you contribute to the Romney for President Committee today? You can only give $2,500 max for you and your wife. Let me know — let’s take back America!” According to Revenue Ruling 2007-41 of the IRS, the law “prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
In 2004, the “IRS selected 110 cases for examination, issued 69 written advisories, revoked the tax-exempt status of five organizations and proposed revocation for two others,” and every election cycle sends out reminders to Charities and Churches of Political Activity Ban. The Mormons, like every listed 501(c)(3) religious organization, received the IRS reminder and they ignored the rules because they believe church law supersedes U.S. law and the Constitution. Interestingly, the Mormon hierarchy admonished “authorities and general officers of the church and their spouses and other ecclesiastical leaders serving full time should not personally participate in political campaigns, including promoting candidates, fundraising, speaking in behalf of or otherwise endorsing candidates, and making financial contributions.” Apparently, even though the church leadership sent out a letter stating its policy on political participation, it was only for show. These are egregious violations and typical of religious fanatics who have inserted their dogmata into legislation and political activism, and it is high time all churches lose their tax-exempt status. However, like the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and evangelical extremists, the Mormons are blatantly thumbing their collective noses at the letter of the law and they are profiting handsomely from their illegal activity.
Willard Romney gives a substantial amount of his investment earnings and large stock donations to the Mormon church from deals with Bain Capital, and there is nothing wrong with funneling money and stocks to the Mormon church. However, not only does the church avoid paying tax on the income, but Romney deducts charitable donations from his income tax returns and it is in part why he pays a lower tax rate than his secretaries and groundskeepers.
American taxpayers have given entitlements to churches for too long, and religious organizations are no better than any other American regardless if they are the Mormon cult, Catholic anti-contraception advocates, or evangelical homophobes. There are those who trumpet all the good work churches do in the communities, but their work is no better than teachers, firefighters, community volunteers, and police officers who pay their fair share in income and property taxes. Every church benefits from every other American’s fuel, sales, income and property taxes, and the entitlements must stop. States, cities, and rural communities are struggling in a slowly-recovering economy, and regardless if it was thriving, it is time to stop welfare to churches, the clergy, and religious-oriented PACs.
The majority of Americans believe the wealthy should pay their fair share in taxes, and churches are in the same league as the 1% who receives subsidies and entitlements from American taxpayers. Many of these so-called “non-profits” sit on expensive real estate and use the roads, police, schools, and fire protection that other Americans are funding with their tax dollars. Many people of faith complain that there are small congregations that are poor, but if they are poor, then they should pay the same rate as a poor family. Fair is fair, and the proselytizing entitlements have gone on long enough; especially in light of interference with women’s health and discriminatory legislation imposed upon the gay community by Mormons, Catholics, and evangelicals.
Republicans claim America is broke, and yet these mega-organizations are living off of government entitlements while they use the GOP to impose their religious dogmata on every American whether they adhere to their religion or not. The clergy “double-dips” on their earnings that drastically reduce their tax liability, and by paying next to nothing in taxes are robbing communities, states, and the federal government of much needed revenue while they support cutting social safety nets and giving the wealthy larger tax cuts.
The Mormon problem is especially egregious because they flaunt their total disregard for the law and their agreement with the IRS with impunity, and the public suffers loss of revenue as well as discrimination based solely on the First Presidency’s edicts gleaned from the Christian bible, golden tablets, seer stone revelations, and Book of Mormon. The IRS and DOJ must investigate, audit, and revoke the Mormon church’s tax-exempt status and end their entitlements that fund discrimination against gays, Willard’s plans to privatize education, Veteran’s Healthcare, and worst of all, increase taxes on the poor. If Romney thinks the poor’s taxes should be increased sixty percent, then it follows that the Mormon church’s tax increase 60% to repay Americans for the subsidies that has allowed them to amass considerable income and mammoth land holdings as tax-exempt, non-profit proselytizers.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.