Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampa
Con to the question "Should Churches (Defined as Churches, Temples, Mosques, Synagogues, etc.) Remain Tax-Exempt?"
"While some people may be bothered by the fact that there are pastors who live in multimillion dollar homes, this is old news to most. But here is what should bother you about these expensive homes: You are helping to pay for them! You pay for them indirectly, the same way local, state, and federal governments in the United States subsidize religion—to the tune of about $71 billion every year...
Hypothetically, the leader of a drug cartel could have one of his lieutenants start a church and file for tax-exempt status. Once granted, money from the sale of drugs could then be donated to the religion, which could use the funds to build extravagant buildings (including a 'parsonage'), host extravagant 'services' (a.k.a. parties) for members of the religion, and pay extravagant salaries to its ministers (including the leader of the cartel). Drug money could be laundered through the church’s bank accounts with little risk of being caught by authorities. If drug cartels and the Mafia aren’t already doing this, we’d be surprised...
[A]s the perceived 'benefit' to society of religions becomes increasingly irrelevant as more and more Americans cease to utilize their 'services' by disaffiliating, it will also be increasingly unfair for a large percentage of nonreligious Americans (almost 40 percent in some states) to subsidize the recreational activities of others. These subsidies should be phased out."
Cowritten with Stephanie Yeager and Desmond Vega, "How Secular Humanists (and Everyone Else) Subsidize Religion in the United States," Free Inquiry magazine, June-July 2012
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:
Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Tampa, 2007-present
Founding Co-Editor of Secularism and Nonreligion, 2011-present
Quoted and/or research cited by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, National Catholic Reporter, Dallas Baptist Standard, The Christian Century, The World (Public Radio International), Huffington Post, Reuters, Daily Mail, NBC/CNBC, Chicago Tribune, and other publications and programs
Secretary and Treasurer, Mormon Social Science Association, 2011-present
Webmaster for the Mormon Social Science Association, 2002-present
Recipient, Faculty Development Award for CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) guided trip to the United Arab Emirates, Jan. 2012
Conference Organizer, Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2012
Recipient, Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award, College of Social Sciences, Mathematics, and Education, University of Tampa, 2011-2012
Recipient, Joyce Keller Faculty Volunteer of the Year Award, University of Tampa, 2010-2011
President, Mormon Social Science Association, 2009-2011 (President-Elect, 2006-2008)
Recipient, Excellence in Research Award from the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics, and Education at the University of Tampa, 2009-2010
Member, Student Paper Award Committee, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2008-2009
Editor, Newsletter for the Mormon Social Science Association, 2002-2009
Norris Johnson Teaching Fellow, Raymond Walters College, 2006-2007
Member, American Sociological Association, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Mormon Social Science Association, Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network, Center for Atheist Research, and Mormon Social Science Association
Recipient, Delo Grant, University of Tampa,
2009-2010 (with Mary Anderson), 2010-2011 (with Vicky Blyde)
Recipient, Dana Grant, University of Tampa 2008-2009, 2009-2010 (with John
Recipient, Taft Graduate Fellowship, University of Cincinnati, 2005-2006