First, I’m going to define a business. Economically, a business operates either as a service, provides a product, or does both. Supply and demand are what drives the business to produce its product and/or services. People spend their money wisely (most of the time) on a quality product and/or quality service. A business must meet the demands for its product and/or service in order to make money and pay employees. The cycle of economics perpetuates itself with the employee spending his or her money on quality products that they need or want. A business improves their product in order to attract more customers so that they can afford employees, necessities to run the business, and contribute taxes to government on what they make.

Secondly, the average Christian church requires 10% of a monthly income to serve as tithes. Someone who makes $26,000 a year pays $2,600 in tithes per year or about $216 per month. Christian megachurches, who are not required to report their income, could easily make more than that as they ask for pledges while the television show continues. Mosques require 2% of the yearly income to be paid for the community, though not directly to the Imam. Other denominations require more and sometimes less. The Church of Scientology requires payment for auditing services in order to move up the Bridge To Total Freedom and to purchase books from RTC (Religious Technology Center) written by guru L. Ron Hubbard (LRH). The total cost for The Bridge can top out at $500,000, sometimes more.

Finally, the average Christian church provides its congregation with services every Sunday morning, Sunday evening and later that week by having bible study classes and/or teen and/or youth groups and provides product in the form of the bible and handouts. The mosque provides the adherent the services of daily prayer and weekly services as well as providing them with a product, the Qur’an. The Church of Scientology provides a service in the form of auditing, Dianetics study groups for a weekend, daily study services and classes for LRH recordings, training on tech used by the CoS, and provides a variety of products to its adherents for a price not a suggested donation.

All of the above qualifies as services, no matter which denomination or religion, the temple/church/mosque can be identified economically as a business and operates as such because a central figure is supported by this income and lives his or her life as a beneficiary of the tithes, pledges, and costs associated with the services and products. If a church has 150 members which all pay $2600 a year, as a loose estimate, is $390,000 per year for income. Business expenses such as electric bills, gas bills for heat, travel for the beneficiary, method of travel such as a car, and purchasing materials to manufacture the products, and the like can easily be afforded by the church adherents. That $2,600 per year can be multiplied by the thousands for megachurches and the $500,000 income for one person can be multiplied by the thousands for the Church of Scientology, benefiting leader David Miscavige. This income is completely tax free for religions, even though most of them (most especially the Church of Scientology) operate as a business by definition.

Now enter in the amounts of money separately donated by churches to religious organizations that partake in political influence, lobbying for religious influence with current lawmakers, advertisements to influence votes on legislature up for public vote (the LDS fronted millions of dollars to defeat Prop 8 that makes same-sex marriage legal which was later overruled), actively influencing school curriculum changes that suit them (as happened in Texas schools), opening a religious-themed park with tax breaks (as recently occurred in reference to a “Noah’s Ark” park in Kentucky), the purchase of private investigators to harass people who speak out against them (Church of Scientology), lawyers’ fees and court costs for enacting “Fair Game” (Church of Scientology) and the expenses associated with renting space for people to live in order to make someone’s life “a living hell” including purchases for meals and means of transportation. If they wish to manipulate the world around them using funds that are gained tax free, their status should reflect that they are in fact a business not a not-for-profit; as they have forfeited their status by political and legal activity.

The average person who wishes to define laws, legislation and other government influence does not have the resources that churches have, making them an influence to be reckoned with. The average person is at their mercy, unable to affect outcomes that are political and governmental in nature because church/temple/megachurches resources outweigh their own. If church organizations or religious non-profits want to blur the line separating church and state, they should lose their tax exempt status without question.

Just sayin’.

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