Leftist Democrats in Washington, D.C., are once again blatantly attacking religion.
As some members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have pushed for President Joe Biden to be denied communion due to his support of legalizing abortion and making it more readily available, several politicians are threatening the church with retribution.
California Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman tweeted Friday that if the USCCB decided to "politically weaponize religion," then "a 'rebuke' of their tax-exempt status may be in order."
If they're going to politically weaponize religion by "rebuking" Democrats who support women's reproductive choice, then a "rebuke" of their tax-exempt status may be in order. https://t.co/P6TGVCOMYp
— Rep. Jared Huffman (@JaredHuffman) June 18, 2021
Yes, you read that right.
Thankfully, the First Amendment and its legacy both protect religions from the sort of "rebuke" Huffman alluded to. According to the Freedom Forum Institute, churches receive special exemptions from the Internal Revenue Service as part of a "First Amendment-based concern" to avoid violating their rights to free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
Churches are designated as charitable organizations under the law, generally giving them tax-exempt status. As churches largely exist to care for the people in their communities and often do engage in extensive charity and outreach -- hosting food drives, caring for the homeless, raising money for the needy and some even providing free medical services, among countless other ministries -- it makes sense that they are usually exempt from paying taxes on the money they incur.
It's also not as though this stance from the Catholic Church is anything new.
Catechism 2272 of the Catholic Church says, "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life." The church, by its governing documents, is certainly permitted to deny Biden communion, and under established tax laws, it seems the United States government shouldn't be able to interfere.
Nevertheless, Huffman and politicians like him are pushing for action.
And he's not alone. Many Twitter users voiced their agreement with Huffman, with one replying, "It is long past time for them to stop receiving tax exempt status."
It is long past time for them to stop receiving tax exempt status.
— Waiting for you Anpanman 🎶 (@guinea_wrangler) June 18, 2021
Another user asked Huffman to "please push the IRS" toward action.
Please push the IRS in that direction. I’m tired of them getting all the benefits without paying into the system like anybody else.
— Matt Knowles (@955_36) June 18, 2021
This amount of support for such an authoritarian course of action in the United States is not only surprising but frightening, especially considering the sheer number of Americans who rely on the Catholic Church for basic necessities.
According to Commonweal Magazine, Catholic Charities USA operates more than 2,600 service locations throughout the U.S. and served over 12 million people in need in 2019 alone. Forbes also listed CCUSA as America's ninth-largest charity in 2016.
Taking away tax-exempt status from a behemoth of a charity like this would have nothing short of a traumatic impact on the millions CCUSA serves, and yet politicians like Huffman are still advocating for it.
At the very least, this recent push demonstrates the lack of concern Democrats have not only for the Constitution and its implements, but also for the lives and wellbeing of their constituents. Millions of Americans rely on Catholic Charities for food and shelter, yet congressmen and women like Huffman are all too willing to cut them off for nothing more than misguided virtue.
Thankfully, the First Amendment has thus far protected religion from such reckless measures. The Constitution has held strong thus far -- let's hope it will continue to do so.