Joel Osteen recently reported the theft of $600,000 from the safe in his church, but the theft wasn’t the only information of interest revealed. After finding out that this large chunk of money was from just one weekend of Osteen’s collected church donations, jaws dropped around the nation.
According to News Max on March 18, it didn’t take long for folks on the outside to do the math. Based on Osteen’s reported amount of money in this theft, it appears his Lakewood Church takes in $32 million a year. Calculator keys were punched around the nation taking the $600,000 for Olsteen's weekend donation collection and timing this by the 52 weeks in a year.
Many consider this a conservative estimate of donations this church receives, as March is just an average month with no holidays for the church. The spirit of giving around the holidays has to net this church more than the average week. Then there’s Easter and other holidays.
ARGUMENTS FOR TAXING CHURCHES:
Tax exemptions for churches violate the separation of church and state enshrined in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. By providing a financial benefit to religious institutions, government is supporting religion. Associate Justice of the US Supreme court, William O. Douglas, in his dissenting opinion in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, decided May 4, 1970, stated: "If believers are entitled to public financial support, so are nonbelievers. A believer and nonbeliever under the present law are treated differently because of the articles of their faith… I conclude that this tax exemption is unconstitutional." 
A tax exemption is a privilege, not a right.Governments have traditionally granted this privilege to churches because of the positive contribution they are presumed to make to the community, but there is no such provision in the US Constitution. 
- Churches receive special treatment from the IRS beyond what other nonprofits receive, and such favoritism is unconstitutional. While secular charities are compelled to report their income and financial structure to the IRS using Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax), churches are granted automatic exemption from federal income tax without having to file a tax return. [1
ARGUMENTS AGAINST TAXING CHURCHES:
1.Exempting churches from taxation upholds the separation of church and state embodied by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The US Supreme Court, in a majority opinion written by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger inWalz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, decided May 4, 1970, stated: "The exemption creates only a minimal and remote involvement between church and state, and far less than taxation of churches. It restricts the fiscal relationship between church and state, and tends to complement and reinforce the desired separation insulating each from the other." . 2.Requiring churches to pay taxes would endanger the free expression of religion and violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.<
3. Churches earn their tax exemption by contributing to the public good.  Churches offer numerous social services to people in need, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, afterschool programs for poor families, assistance to victims of domestic violence.
What side of this argument do you fall on? Should churches be taxed? Why? Why not? How do you feel about the vast sums of money that churches like Osteen's generate, tax-free?
This post was modified from its original form on 23 Mar, 7:56
they should absolutely be,,,too many slipshod charities getting a huge benefit
I should turn myself into some cult like the church of animation,lol
But,good deeds are not limited to religion
I have given a ton to non denominational charities,they seem the most hands on
and give you a choice of beneficiiaries besides just adding a wing in your name for your ego!
Have you seen the Mormon church in l.a?,(rivals any castle) you could feed the state's homeless
and theey get a tax break,what's wrong with this pictur
Absoluteluy they should be taxed.
I will add that my Dad thought so too. And he spent most of my growing up years being the treasurer of the chruch, I guess he ought to know.
But allow tithing, donations, dues, etc. for the individual as a taxable charity donation.
What you both are suggesting makes sense to me, too. Imagine the revenue we lose each year by not taxing churches. And what really clinches it for me is that many of the churches are involved in political fund raising. Those churches definitely should not have tax exempt status.
This post was modified from its original form on 23 Mar, 9:59
Churches should be taxed. So often candidates campaign from the pulpit, which is against IRS laws. Churches should be taxed. We should have a petition for that.
I also believe Churches should be taxed according to their income and donations and the pastors need to pay taxes on their salaries. Too many believers sitting in churches that have tremendous needs, while the shephards keep getting fatther on the sheep of the congregations. And yes, the congregation should be able to get back some if not all that has contribute to fatten those shephards!
Ivonne, ministers do pay income tax on their incomes.
Well, thank God for that one then...
Bernadette, if you want to write a petition about that, we can post it here and share it here and on facebook. It;s a worthwhile thing to do.
I have a charity,I need it to house my artifacts,priceless but quite expensive for insurance purposes,irreplaceable and historical
if asked if I wanted tax exempt status as a native american church,i laughed
it's not religious I said it's cultural "the native american cultural foundation"
even if I qualified,have no income to write off,as it should be,we are free to all who want to come touch and feel the artifacts that lived in the west 200 or so years ago....
So, are you saying that some fancy bookkeeping could have been done to turn you and your artifacts into a tax-exempt church? That's creative. I think Native Americans should get tax - exempt status on everything.
yes,Angie,I could have taken the govt. for a ride,but it was a lot of bookeeping for no real reason
others do it,there is a museum not far in NH that does
I am NOT a church,and don't believe in them,so I give to charity as well,and I do not take a tax break,then the motivation for my charity gets confusing
You are that rare phenomenon - a truly honest person.
Huge respect, girlfriend!
Yes, all churches should be taxed. I see a lot of people saying they run a church but it's only a church when they want it to be. Otherwise, it's a lot of different things, mostly money making schemes.. Yes, all churches should be taxed. Is there a petition somewhere for this? ..Hugs, Bernadette
But admit, I even have to use the ONAC, (oglala native American church), so that the federal government will allow me to have my "sacraments"according to federal law, I need to belong to a church to keep eagle feathers, and other sacred items. ..but I WON'T be a church, I am forced to be a member of one.
Thanks Angelica, it is extremely humbling coming from you♥
No - 99.9% of the population would take advantage of that tax loophole.
KUDOS TO YOU, TASUNKA.