Francis Chan
Francis Chan

Image: Premier Christianity

A prominent Baptist pastor is claiming that the “LGBT agenda” poses a financial threat to churches. According to author and preacher Francis Chan in an interview with Premier Christianity (apparently promoting a book):

All it takes is one law that changes the tax breaks that we get and so many churches, the Bible colleges, would all have to shut their doors. And when you look at the LGBT agenda, and whatever else is going on in the government, you just think: “How can I continue with this system that is so dependent on so much money and so many breaks from the government?” That can’t be the future. Too much has changed. I don’t know whether it’s going to get to the point of persecution. It certainly seems like it’s headed in that direction.

Get a grip on reality. Churches and most charities (other than political organizations) are usually 501(c)3 entities which means that they are tax-exempt and contributions are tax deductible. Depending upon locale 501(c)3 organizations might be free of sale, use and property taxes. Any change that affects churches would also affect every tax-exempt organization in the country, virtually every college and university and every charity.

There are at least two significant differences.

  1. Unlike all other tax-exempt organizations, churches are not required to file an annual report with the Internal Revenue Service. They could be providing pastors with Lamborghinis and neither we nor the Service would ever know.
  2. Furthermore, by law, auditing a church requires approval by politically appointed leadership at the IRS. This opens the potential for many abuses including the deliberate confusion with personal expenses over compensation.

My personal “agenda” includes requiring churches to file annual reports with the IRS. That should have no effect on revenues.

But let’s get back to Chan who says: “And when you look at the LGBT agenda, and whatever else is going on in the government … .” The way that is worded, the mythical LGBT agenda is a government endeavor. I can assure Mr. Chan that is not the case. Were that true we would probably enjoy constitutional equality in Equal Protection and Due Process.

What I would really like to know is who he thinks is going to persecute churches and with what power and why they are going to do it. Is his irrational paranoia real or staged for effect? Either way, it is moronic.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.