Last updated on: 2/6/2013 | Author:

Joseph McCabe Biography

Atheist writer and former Franciscan monk
Con to the question "Should Churches (Including Mosques, Synagogues, etc.) Remain Tax-Exempt?"

“The exemption of churches from taxation is one of the worst anachronisms. It meant originally that the church was a state within the state, having its own law and deciding itself when and in what measure it might, in times of pressure; contribute to the public treasury. When this arrogant claim was disallowed, church property still evaded taxation on the ground that it served a high public purpose, like, charitable or educational institutions, which were then entirely voluntary, and it ought therefore, to have at least this subsidy of an exemption from taxation. There was no need in those days to inquire very closely into the soundness of the public service. Practically the whole community used the churches and, if a tax were imposed on them, the community would have to pay it. The church was exempt on pretty much the same grounds as the civic hall. It was like transferring your money from one pocket to another. Now considerably less than half the adults of any Community use the churches, and the last argument for exempting them from taxation is quite discredited…

Church property in the United States is said to be worth about four billion dollars, and it is increasing rapidly in value… The anachronism is that city property of immense value is used by only about a tenth of the taxpayers of this city, yet the nine-tenths lazily subsidize it by remitting taxation”

“Why I Believe in Fair Taxation of Church Property,” Little Blue Book No. 1502, Ed. E. Haldeman-Julius,, 1930

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Former atheist writer
  • Former translator (German to English)
  • Renounced his Catholic faith, Ash Wednesday 1896
  • Appointed Rector of Buckingham College, England, 1895
  • Former Professor of Scholastic Philosophy
  • Ordained a priest, 1890
  • Entered Franciscan order, 1883
  • Attended Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, 1893-1894
  • Attended St. Antony’s, Forest Gate, England
  • Attended St. Francis College, Manchester, England
  • Died of prostate cancer on Jan. 10, 1955
  • Full name is Joseph Martin McCabe
  • Known as Brother Antony and, later, Father Antony while in the Franciscan order, and wrote two books under the pseudonym Martin Abbotson
  • Offered a PhD at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, but was required to refuse by the Franciscan order, which forbade the acceptance of honorifics
  • Born Nov. 11, 1867
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Churches (Including Mosques, Synagogues, etc.) Remain Tax-Exempt?