Those who are interested in Church-State relations in the United States dare not take for granted as good and permanent the religious tax exemptions presently in effect in the nation and in the several states and municipalities. The subject needs to be discussed despite the hesitancy caused by the fears of churchmen that merely to raise any question opens the churches to the possibility of crippling taxation and the hesitancy of government officials caused by their fears of appearing to be antireligious if they even speak of taxing churches. The already complex Church-State question is further complicated by competitive concerns of churches with each other, especially typical Protestant fears of increasing Roman Catholic power, and typical Roman Catholic interpretation of all Protestant political action as being primarily anti-Roman Catholic.
Writing for an American audience one may take for granted (except possibly among some Roman Catholics) the universal acceptance of the assumption that the Bill of Rights is here to stay, preventing the establishment of religion, which at the least means that no single church shall have preferential financial or other support by the state and, as usually more broadly interpreted, means further that churches in general must depend upon the voluntary gifts of their adherents for their support and not upon the taxing power of federal, state, or municipal governments. Most Americans, in contrast to many Europeans, believe that this is a good arrangement for both Church and State. They point to the vigor of these competitive American churches and the freedom in the United States of the nonreligious to be nonreligious as values more than counterbalancing any possible national advantages put ...1
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