Princess Marzipan wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I would prefer such an idea, yes...but taxation has been legally upheld as the power to destroy, and therefore, taxation for religions amounts to the power to destroy them.
My apologies if you already know this and are merely agog at the argument, but Tyndmyr is referring to McCulloch v. Maryland
(a "famous" early Supreme Court case often found in civics class), which held that Maryland could not tax the Second Bank of the United States, and which says:
John Marshall wrote:That the power to tax involves the power to destroy; that the power to destroy may defeat and render useless the power to create; that there is a plain repugnance in conferring on one government a power to control the constitutional measures of another, which other, with respect to those very measures, is declared to be supreme over that which exerts the control, are propositions not to be denied. But all inconsistencies are to be reconciled by the magic of the word confidence. Taxation, it is said, does not necessarily and unavoidably destroy. To carry it to the excess of destruction, would be an abuse, to presume which, would banish that confidence which is essential to all government. But is this a case of confidence? Would the people of any one state trust those of another with a power to control the most insignificant operations of their state government? We know they would not. Why, then, should we suppose, that the people of any one state should be willing to trust those of another with a power to control the operations of a government to which they have confided their most important and most valuable interests? In the legislature of the Union alone, are all represented. The legislature of the Union alone, therefore, can be trusted by the people with the power of controlling measures which concern all, in the confidence that it will not be abused. This, then, is not a case of confidence, and we must consider it is as it really is.
This is often misquoted as, "The power to tax is
the power to destroy." You can see in the context I have quoted that the actual point is that the state government cannot tax the federal government (or its chartered institutions) because the state governments should not be able to exercise any control over the operations of the federal government.
Of course, this does not mean that religious groups must be exempt from taxation (although special religious taxes would be obviously unconstitutional). Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from government control in the non-religious matters of a religious group. U.S. governments already control religious groups in a variety of non-religious ways: their buildings must be ADA compliant, if they operate a hospital they have to obey lots of laws, etc. Furthermore, they are even controlled in religious ways, although this is subject to more scrutiny: they cannot smoke peyote in a religious ceremony, they cannot perform human sacrifice in a religious ceremony, etc.
The idea that religions constitutionally must be exempt from taxation is not a mainstream argument and I am rebutting it with more attention than it deserves. Religions are exempt from taxation because such exemption enjoys extremely wide public support and we are a democracy--nothing more.