Last updated on: 7/29/2016 6:33:38 PM PST | Author: ProCon.org

David Niose, JD Biography

Title:
Legal Director of the American Humanist Association
Position:
Con to the question "Should Churches (Defined as Churches, Temples, Mosques, Synagogues, etc.) Remain Tax-Exempt?"
Reasoning:

“As more Americans abandon organized religion, many of the newly secular are unsympathetic to subsidizing religion via the tax code…

Perhaps the most egregious example of religious privilege under the tax code is the so-called parsonage exemption. Under current tax law, ‘ministers of the gospel’ may deduct virtually all costs associated with housing from their income. At its worst, the exemption subsidizes the unseemly: televangelists enjoying multimillion-dollar estates on the taxpayer dime. But even in a more ordinary context, the allowance represents an indefensible benefit running to organized religion, subsidized by taxpayers.

Another gratuity to churches is the real estate tax exemption, which denies cash-strapped municipalities revenue that could be used for public safety, road repairs and other services. Like everyone else in town, churches benefit from services provided by municipal governments, but in most areas are exempt from property taxation simply because they are churches…

As we reassess religious privilege in America, even the notion of having churches pay income taxes should be on the table.”

“Americans Are Leaving Religion. Why Are We Still Subsidizing It?,” washingtonpost.com, Sep. 14, 2015

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with JDs, PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to churches and taxes. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to the churches and taxes issue.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Legal Director, American Humanist Association
  • Attorney, 1990-present
  • Columnist, “Our Humanity, Naturally,” Psychology Today
  • Past President, American Humanist Association
  • Past President, Secular Coalition for America
  • Education:

  • JD, cum laude, Suffolk University Law School, 1990

  • BS, Journalism, Boston University, 1984
  • Contact Info:
    Phone
    202-238-9088, American Humanist Association
    Email
    Online Contact Form
    Website
    American Humanist profile
    Other:
  • Twitter: @ahadave
  • Quoted in:
    Should Churches (Defined as Churches, Temples, Mosques, Synagogues, etc.) Remain Tax-Exempt? – Pro & Con Quotes