When Is a Church Not a Church?

Apr 17, 2018

By Katherine Stewart

Now that tax day is upon us, consider that through the miracle of tax breaks some of your tax dollars will effectively be going to support groups that finance campaigns against same-sex marriage and gun safety. A number of these groups are also entitled to raise money from other sources for political purposes, without filing the disclosures that are required of other individuals and entities. Why? They’ve got God on their side.

Last fall, for example, according to forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization that promotes socially conservative views on matters of public and family policy, declared itself a church.

Focus on the Family doesn’t have a congregation, doesn’t host weddings or funerals and doesn’t hold services. What it does do, with its nearly $90 million annual budget, is deliver radio and other programming that is often political to an estimated audience of 38 million listeners in the United States and beyond. It has funded ads against state legislators who support bills intended to prevent discrimination against L.G.B.T. people and it leads programs to combat what it calls “gay activism” in public schools.

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2 comments on “When Is a Church Not a Church?

  • I sometimes watch the religious channels on Sky. A few of them, those near the top of the programme, are blatant, avid supporters of Israel, all tied up with mumbo jumbo about the end of the world. I have often wondered about their funding and their tax returns.



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  • eejit #1
    Apr 18, 2018 at 6:15 am

    I sometimes watch the religious channels on Sky.

    I sometimes look for a minute or two, when scanning channels for repeats of valuable programmes I have missed.

    Apart from the obviously psychotic pacing, repetitive stumbling over words, and gesticulating, I think there could be the basis for a “delusion scale” based on the number of repetitions of the word “god”/”Jesus”, per minute!



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