Taxing the Church to Feed the State
In what amounts to a free speech fine reminiscent of a scene out of Robin Hood, San Francisco City government is assessing a 15 million dollar tax on a tax exempt church. This thinly veiled retaliatory move for church involvement in the passing of proposition 8 is outrageous and clearly steps over the line in the separation of church and state.
Government has no say in church affairs, including what morality gets preached or how church officials and their parishioners vote. It doesn’t matter how unpopular the prop 8 vote was in San Francisco, government tax agencies can not be used as weapons to beat churches into submission, or cow them into silence.
Noam Chomsky said: “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favour of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favour of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”
Separation of church and state is just that, freedom for the church to speak and act independently from government authority, and free from reprisal. This action by San Francisco City to quash the free exercise of speech and religion smacks of intimidation and corruption at City Hall.
Is the economy so bad, are budget issues so dire that we have to raid the donation coffers of the local parish, Mayor?
San Francisco Set to Tax Catholic Church Millions in Suspected Prop 8 Retaliation
By Kathleen Gilbert
SAN FRANCISCO, January 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A San Francisco assessor has called for the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco to hand over $15 million in taxes because of an internal restructuring of the archdiocese, a move that some are describing as “retaliation” for the Church’s opposition to Proposition 8.
Assessor Phil Ting concluded that the Catholic Church owed the city taxes after the archdiocese was restructured and its property, which is almost all used by parish facilities, was consolidated seven months ago.
Ting claimed that because the restructuring involved “separate legal entities,” it was “not just a cosmetic” change and therefore liable to be taxed.
The archdiocese immediately filed legal action and questioned the precedent for Ting’s decision.
“San Francisco Recorder Phil Ting has taken a step that is unprecedented in the history of the state of California. He has determined that an internal reorganization of church property, within the family of corporations of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, constitutes a ‘sale’ and is subject to a property transfer tax,” archdiocese spokesman Maurice Healy told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“A tax on transfers of property, all owned by the Catholic Church, within the same family of Archdiocesan corporations, is unprecedented in the history of the state of California and the law is overwhelmingly in our favor on this subject,” said Healy.
Many are decrying the move as retaliation for the church’s support of California’s same-sex “marriage” ban, as pro-homosexual “marriage” San Francisco residents and politicians have made no secret of their ire at the Catholic Church and other religious groups for supporting Proposition 8.