How Big is the Religion Industry?

| August 29, 2008 | 1 Reply

I found this post How Large is the Religion Industry in America?. In brief, the unreported, unaccounted billions of dollars paid to churches and faith-based programs certainly amount to a noticeable slice of the GNP pie. But because of the special status given to religion in this country, no one knows how much.

Any non-religious not-for-profit is required to file papers to the IRS to prove that they are an above-board charitable organization even if they earn less than the typical neighborhood parish. Yet not even tithing mega-churches in wealthy areas are held accountable. Apparently, the laws of the land have established a special place for religion.

More importantly, why is this huge processor of funds not regularly referred to as an industry?

After all, anyone will tell you that churches do good for the community. Well, in the U.S. the secular government largely feeds and shelters the poor and heals the sick. So church funds now go to. Um. Bigger screens and cushier seats in the temples? Advertising campaigns? Recruiting drives? Political action?

Wouldn’t we like to know?

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Category: Economy, Fraud, Politics, Religion

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

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  1. I am currently working on a documentary that explores this very topic! Do you know Dan, if individual religious leaders who start a church in their own home can apply for tax-exempt status and are they too supposed to be accountable?

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