Last month, a delegate from Galveston County, Texas presented a proposal to the Republican National Convention to revoke tax exempt status for the Church of Scientology.
Here is the Resolution:
Initiative for Texas Resolution Calling for the revocation of the Church of Scientology’s status as a Legitimate religion in the sate of Texas.
Be it resolved that the Church of Scientology in the state of Texas no longer be recognized as an official religion, thus revoking its religious tax exempt status in the state of Texas.
In order to preserve Scientology’s religious tax exempt status in the state of Texas an organization must meet objectives in order to qualify. They are listed in the following statements:
1.) The organization must have an official statement of Faith. The church of Scientology has no such statement.
2.) The organization must have some form of routine worship service. The church of Scientology has no such routine.
3.) Church services must be open and freely available to the public. The church of Scientology requires its members to pay an amount equal to or greater than 15,000 U S dollars and to be subjugated to months of mind altering auditing sessions in order for a member to obtain the information regarding the teachings of Scientology. Members who complete these courses are forced to sign agreements not to inform either unpaid/unaudited members or the general public of the teachings of Scientology.
Be it resolved that the church of Scientology in the state of Texas be officially regarded as a business and not as a religion.
Resolution adopted this twenty-ninth day of March, 2008, at the Precinct Convention of Precinct Number 341, and/or senatorial district 11 Convention, Galveston County, Texas of the Republican Party of Texas.
Hmm. This is certainly an interesting development as the Church of Scientology has had its share of battles with the IRS over the years regarding tax exempt status. In 1993, the Church of Scientology paid the feds $12.5 million as part of a settlement to obtain tax-exempt status. The details of the settlement have not been made public but reportedly included a special “church tax-compliance committee” and an agreement not to sue the IRS for pre-1993 claims.
The Church has been in existence since the 1950s and was established by author L. Ron Hubbard. The Church claims membership of between 8 and 15 million people worldwide. Famous Scientologists include Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Lisa Marie Presley, Kirstie Alley, Leah Remini, Beck and John Travolta – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes actively promote the Church.
The IRS had previously denied status to the Church on the grounds that the Church was a “for profit” business – countries such as Germany have continued to deny tax-exempt status to the Church for similar reasons. The church reacted with a barrage of lawsuits. It will indeed be interesting to see if, in the event that Texas was to make this resolution the law, a similar end would happen in Texas. What do you think will happen?