In a development that could challenge the Constitution’s prohibition of any law “respecting an establishment of religion,” the federal government will soon provide money directly to U.S. churches to help them pay pastor salaries and utility bills.
“The government cannot directly fund inherently religious activities,” argues Alison Gill, legal and policy vice president of American Atheists. “It can’t spend government tax dollars on prayer, on promoting religion [or] proselytization. That directly contradicts the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This is the most drastic attack on church-state separation we have ever seen.”
According to the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Advocates for government funding of religious institutions argue that denying them aid that is available to nonreligious institutions amounts to discrimination, and the U.S. Supreme Court has recently declined to challenge such support.
Separation of church and state has been up to debate in constitutional law just as the right to bear arms for years.
Churches don’t pay taxes and their donations are tax deductible therefore they do not have the right to an SBA loan. But do they?? The first amendment says the government shall make no law on the establishment of a religion or prohibiting free exercise of one.
Are they prohibiting the establishment of a religion? no. Are they are prohibiting fee exercise of one? No.
Every business has customers that pays the salaries of their employees through the provision of services and goods. A church or synagogue provides a service which is faith that serves and helps the community by giving hope, and a moral compass for the community.
These religious entities rely on donations to keep these houses of worship open. With the quarantine the donations are not coming in and like every small business out there it was not due to economic conditions but on a government mandate.
The SBA loans will help pay the pastors salaries to keep these churches open.
Alison Gil vice president of the American atheists contends that the government cannot spend tax dollars on prayer, promoting religion, or proselytization? But are they? The church is shut and there are no parishioners. This relief is just to keep them afloat until this government mandated shut down is over.
But this is not such a clear-cut case. Thinking outside of the context of the amendment, churches do not pay taxes, and their donations are tax free. A regular business entity pays taxes on their property, their equipment, and deducts taxes for their employees. When they sell a good or service there is also a tax on that as well.
There is also the church itself. Is it a small-town church? Or one in a poor community that really could use the funds? Is it a church that has millions of dollars such as the Catholic church or a church like Joel Osteen’s as well.
Would a church that is a mask for hate such as the Westboro Baptist church be eligible for the money?
Would these churches that get the money be politicly swayed if they receive the Money.
There is a lot to unpack here and we will do it this Tuesday the 14th on Davin’s Den 6:30-9:30 Est. go to davincomedy.com click live broadcast and you are there. Check us out on Facebook live as well.