I won't hold my breath waiting for this to happen any time soon, but Bill Maher's exactly right. These institutions should have to pay taxes like the rest of us.
The Real Time host expressed his anger over churches and their tax-exempt status during his New Rules segment this Friday evening and asked why non-believers should be forced to subsidize "their Sunday morning hobby."
Bill Maher Breaks Down Why All Religious Institutions Should Be Properly Taxed:
“Now that it’s April 15,” he said, “all U.S. taxpayers must call out all the deadbeats who ride for free — which includes giant corporations like GM and United Airlines, which this year are going to pay no taxes.”
As photographs of temples and churches appeared on the screen beside him, he added, “But the list should also include this place, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one….”
#NewRule: Now that it’s April 15th, taxpayers must call out all the deadbeats who ride for free, including this one: pic.twitter.com/FVsHmHKBAv
— Real Time (@RealTimers) April 16, 2016
The comedian said there are 300,000 religious congregations in the country that pay “no tax, no federal, state, or local, no income, sales or property tax,” yet they own $600 billion in property.
Maher cited a quote from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, that the only way to make any real money in this world was to start a religion, before asking, “if we levy taxes, sin taxes they call them on things that are bad to get people to stop doing them, why in heaven’s name don’t we tax religion?”
He called religion “a senseless homophobic magic act that’s been used to justify everything from genital mutilation to genocide.”
And after pointing out that 22 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, Maher asked exactly why “almost a quarter of us are being forced to subsidize a myth that we’re not buying into. Why am I subsidizing their Sunday morning hobby?”