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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (RNS) City officials say a new $100 “annual registration fee” will help defray the costs of building safety inspections. Pastors, however, say it's a tax by another name, and possibly unconstitutional.

7 Comments

  1. Daniel Hoffman

    What Church-State separationists think that taxing or charging fees to churches constitutes government entanglement with religion? When a congregant shoots people in the church, do they pray or call the cops? Who pays for the ambulance when someone gets hurt on church property? Churches sit on land that could be generating tax revenue were it not afforded special status.
    Church-State separationists do not support the subsidy of churches by municipalities through allowing them to not pay for services they take advantage of.

  2. Southern Baptist

    It’s bad enough the country club churches don’t pay their property taxes (which is unconstitutional since it is like handing tax dollars to churches)!

    They should pay their share of services provided, fire department, police, sidewalks, etc.

  3. Churches use city services (fire, water, police, etc). They’re also responsible for the safety of their members. The services they use are not free, nor would any lawsuits related to incidents that occur due to their negligence be cheap (like if a fire broke out because wiring was faulty). Pay the inspection fee and stop pretending you should get a free ride just because you’re a church.

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