Learning Goal: I’m working on a writing exercise and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Read Parker research paper and follow the examples below to reply to Parker’s research
Tax exempt status of religious institutions that influence policy making
In the religions people devote their life to ask for obedience and to follow their word. With the devoted amount of people in one church, there seems to be other ideas and options the religions put together. The contribution to the religions outside of following their word become a very clear indication of tac exempt from religions. Having money being taken with gratitude and thanks as you follow religion. The taxing does get to most people as something to help the religions and grow them. The tax exempt does bring a sort of hierarchy to the situation of giving money to religions out of your pocket. Once the religion becomes the lesser focus out of it, the problem starts to elevate. Having government over religion and religion being the sole component of why you are giving out money anyway instead of to the government. Why would the religion be the lesser focus? The religion should be the sole reason you are involved with any of it in the first place. Tax exempt creates the controversy for the steady religion believers. Pressure does start to build up as some religion believers can give as much as others, creates a sort of hierarchy and a bigger than you mindset in religion, which is quite unfair as the religion is the main focus in all of it. The opportunities that the religion creates to help it financially, does help them but most of the money goes to the government to keep all to themselves within their own way. Government does have a lot more control over religion than people might think. The policies that should be made unto the religions have to be involved within the tax exempt areas of the religions, if you want to help the religion then perfect. The way the money is handled is corrupted as it is and needs to be fixed.
The religions become a hit and miss when it comes to political taxing. The taxes in churches becomes more problematic the more you look into it. The first amendment does help religions become where they want to be and state what they want to state. Having freedom of religion does help in the sense that other rights could be taken away but not this one. Tax exemption starts to factor in because of this. Separation of church and state does create the conflict. If we can look at the cons in all of this, they do start to add up. Churches and religions get tax exemptions because of the separation of church and state. “Tax exemption is a privilege, not a right” ( proton.org). The privilege to avoid taxes because of religion specifically violate the conduct of separating religion and state. Tax exemptions does factor and does matter to a lot of people. “Churches serve a religious purpose that does not aid the government, so their tax exemptions are not justified”(proton.org). The easy out of taxes does not serve as religious purpose.
Tax on religion has been around for a little while and people seem to find more evidence on why it should not be exempted from the religion. The religions and being a church have totally discombobulated the way the government comes to the decision of tax exemption from them. “The IRS to decide what’s a religion”(mark). The government had then awarded Church of Scientology the option to do tax exemption. The churches that take up the land, have no decisions to pay the property tax. Since the property tax isn’t being paid by the churches the money has to be “drawn in from business owners and private owners and private citizens”( mark). Unfair is a word that is right in the ballpark of how the situation is for the other organizations. Churches begin to pile up money on the taxes not paid. In this sense, taking away the money that the churches continue to get off not paying taxes could benefit other places. “ Government revenue would go up, and that money could be used to, say, house the homeless and feed the hungry”. The benefits start to be more intact of how helpful it would be if tax exemption was taken away from religions.
In every tax exemption there is other places where religions avoid paying the tax funds completely. In places where citizens and other people have to pay extra sometimes to have the religion there. The income tax is where the problems could start in terms of exemption. Income can be described as finances and other funds coming into the church either by organizations or by members of the religions. In some religions they refer to some of it as “tithing”. They also get other revenue from the “books, videos, and other materials”( jared). Allowance by churches is another point to be brought up. The leaders of some churches are forced to pay some income tax for the religions itself. Having the people of the religions have to put up with doing personal taxes to help the churches. The property taxes become the most important out of all. Especially some religions who keep growing buildings. Land becomes very valuable on sometimes where the location could be more expensive. In “2006 study found that exempt property typically represented between 3 and 4 percent of total property value in most cities, St. Patrick’s Cathedral occupies prime real estate, so the land on which it sits is extremely valuable” ( jared). This quote alone shows that the religions do take up a lot of the space needed for other organizations that pay for the property tax. With the religions avoiding taxes for the property, it becomes a hassle and an inconvenience for the other companies that have to pay for their property.
Some say that tax exemption is good for religions. In the way they say it, the arguments are made and some can seem valid. The words they would say are that “ Taxing churches would place government above religion”(proton.org). In some ways this is true. As the first amendment does say that they have the freedom of religion. The error in their thinking of this one. Religions in ways do have tax exemption which is fine is what they are saying, the problem is, the church does create unfairness for other companies who pay for in ways, property, or in other ways, the religions sometimes have the members pay for the money providing the churches to gather money without paying for property or other funds. Again, the thinking of the pro tax exemption people also say. “Churches earn their tax exemption by contributing to the public good”( procon.org). The argument is valid because the religions do contribute in these ways to the communities and public goods. The thinking goes beyond that though. Although they pay and give back to the pubic, churches do “receive special treatment from the IRS beyond what other nonprofits receive, and such favoritism is unconstitutional”(procon.org). The churches do give back but are supported from the IRS by doing so. Creating an unconstitutional way of working with the government.
Title: Pros and Cons of Should churches remain tax exempt.
Title: what and how much do US religious organizations not pay the taxman
Author: Ryan Cragun
https://theconversation.com/amid-calls-to-taxthech… > religious organizations also pay no taxes on their investments
Title: Now the time to end tax exemptions for religious institutions
Author: Mark Oppenheimer
Title: Churches shouldn’t automatically get tax exemptions
Author: Robert Repino
Word Count: 1432
In 2020, 13.8 million households in the United States experienced some form of food insecurity. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) categorizes food insecurity into two groups, low security and very low security. Low food security applies to families who employ a variety of coping strategies, such as skipping meals to cut food costs, eating less varied diets or participating in programs to obtain food. Very low food security applies to households that have eating patterns that are majorly disrupted or where food intake is greatly reduced due to insufficient money or other resources needed to obtain food (USDA ERS). At the same time as so many households are experiencing food insecurity, approximately 40% of the food produced in the United States is wasted each year (Shultz). Current agricultural and food production practices within the United States are contributing to food insecurity and environmental damage. The USDA should change regulations surrounding agricultural and food production practices to lower food insecurity and environmental damage.
The United Nations has identified plant based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Plant based diets help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, potentially by 73% if a large percentage of the population changed their diets to remove as many animal products as possible. The most commonly known greenhouse gas is methane, which accounts for up to 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times. Cows are one of the worst sources of this gas, with a single cow belching out up to 220 pounds of methane into the atmosphere. Factory farms, such as dairy farms, generate a huge amount of animal waste, the vast majority of which sits in “factory farm lagoons”. Since 1980, it is estimated that plant and animal agriculture has been responsible for two-thirds of nitrous oxide emissions, with these “lagoons” being a major culprit (THL).
In the continental United States alone, almost half of the landmass is used just for growing livestock feed and raising livestock. 70% of the corn, wheat, and other grains produced in the United States aren’t produced for human consumption but instead, to raise animals for food. Animal agriculture itself heavily contributes to deforestation, soil erosion, high water consumption and other environmental impacts (Down to Earth). Around 70% of water consumption worldwide is due to agriculture, with 41% of that going towards producing livestock feed. Animal waste also can lead to water pollution. The nitrous and phosphorus from animal waste leeches into the water table, rivers and oceans, lowering the oxygen levels to a point where only algae can survive. The Gulf of Mexico is a victim of this, with “dead zones” reaching into millions of square miles. Greenhouse gasses also raise the temperature of the water, causing ocean acidification, which destroys the habitats of the ocean by turning them into uninhabitable wastelands. Cattle ranching is one of the leading causes of deforestation; there is an estimate that deforestation could decline up to 94%, simply by drastically reducing the amount of meat and other animal products we have in our diets . Processing, transporting and storing animal products uses a huge amount of fossil fuels that also contribute to pollution and global warming. Cattle ranching and improper agricultural practices contribute to soil erosion. Grazing animals consistently grazing the same pieces of land destroys the topsoil, but churning up the soil and destroying the needed root systems of grasses and other plants. This destruction of topsoil depletes vital nutrients in the soil. Improper agricultural practices also have a similar effect on the soil. This also causes a higher likelihood for things like desertification. The Dust Bowl in the Great Plains was partially caused by improper agricultural practices and excessive cattle ranching (THL).
There are arguments that switching everyone to a completely plant-based diet just isn’t a viable solution. To an extent, they are correct. Agricultural practices in the United States would need to be changed quite a bit to preserve the soil to produce enough crops that are nutrient efficient enough to sustain healthy diets. Production and transportation practices mainly rely on fossil fuels, which also isn’t sustainable in the long run. Add to that that certain crops can only be grown in certain climates, the logistics of transporting and storing crops to areas that can’t grow them becomes an even larger issue. The Pandemic has also caused a shortage of agricultural workers and all of these factors have raised the prices of fresh produce for production and consumers to rates that many of lower economic classes cannot cope with.
A sudden change to only a plant-diet is also not a scalable or sustainable option for the general public. Currently, producing fruits and vegetables also has a significant environmental impact, albeit much lower than animal products. Almost half of the vegetables and fruits produced in the United States are discarded, which has an impact on the amount of greenhouse gasses produced and there are few clear regulations requiring farms, stores and other businesses to donate the fruits and vegetables they can’t or won’t sell. Many plant-based products require extra processing, negating most of the environmental good they would do in comparison with their animal based counterparts. There are also nutrients, such as Omega-3’s found in fish, that are more difficult to get through a solely plant based diet (American Ostrich Farms).
Many advocates for a completely plant-based diet often disrespect and ignore cultural consumption practices that are typically very in tune with and helpful to the local environment, for the sake of their own ethical beliefs regarding eating animal products. For example, Indigenous groups in Northern Canada are often attacked for their cultural practice of hunting and eating seal meat. Similarly, Finland has clear fishing practices that help prevent overcrowding and keep their lakes healthy. In this instance, fish is arguably a necessary part of their diet. Plant-based diets often tend to be based on Western diets and Eurocentric ideals and don’t have space for cultural diets. Essentially, there’s alternatives for burgers and steak dinners, but not as much for non-Western foods (Harvard Politics).
Despite the challenges that surround the issue of switching a nation known for its love of meat to a more plant based diet, it is still possible. The USDA has some regulations in place to improve agricultural practices and reduce produce waste, mostly to encourage donation and the use of cover cropping and other practices to improve soil and crop health. However, these agricultural practices aren’t being used in a widespread manner. Pesticides are also not well regulated, and an uptick in need for fruits and vegetables increases the risk of water pollution and such. Regulations surrounding the use of pesticides would need to be more heavily regulated, while practices to naturally reduce pesticides and improve crop yield would need to be introduced. At the same time, the current USDA regulations to encourage the donation instead of disposal of excess produce aren’t universal and tend to be very vague, varying widely from state to state. Currently, the most that is being done is to provide tax credits and write offs for donated produce, but there are conflicting regulations surrounding what food can be donated and how it can be donated makes it more trouble than it’s worth for many farms and businesses.
Nutrition education would also need to be improved in the education system to provide the needed information to young people about proper diet. Food insecurity often manifests through restricting the variety of a person’s diet, as well as restricting the amount of food a person eats. While part of this is due to the lack of reliable access to fresh produce, it is also in part to a lack of thorough, in depth education about nutrition. Many public schools offer a basic nutrition class, sometime during one of the grades, but not much beyond a single class. To have any sort of impact, the classes need to be longer, taught on a yearly basis and be more in depth. The USDA currently only requires the single nutrition class taught once during a student’s school years, but like the regulations around produce donation, this regulation is rather vague and also varies from state to state.
Food insecurity and improper agricultural practices are a serious issue within the United States. However, these are all issues that can be solved by the USDA clarifying and making its regulations stricter. Food is a necessity, but we don’t need to destroy our planet or let part of the population starve in the pursuit of producing food.
“14 Reasons Why Going Vegan Is The Best Thing We Can Do For The Planet.” The Human League, 3 Nov. 2021, thehumaneleague.org/article/environmental-benefits-of-veganism.
Keselj, Maria. “‘Vegan’ Shouldn’t Be The Last Word in Sustainability.” Harvard Political Review, Harvard Political Review, 3 Oct. 2020, harvardpolitics.com/more-than-veganism.
McCoy, Alexander. “Is Veganism Sustainable? | Vegan Diet Environmental Effects.” American Ostrich Farms, 8 Jan. 2021, www.americanostrichfarms.com/blogs/news/is-veganism-sustainable-vegan-diet-environmental-effects.
“New Study Confirms Veggie Diets Are More Sustainable than Non-Veggie Diets | Down to Earth Organic and Natural.” Down to Earth, www.downtoearth.org/articles/2018-04/12051/new-study-confirms-veggie-diets-are-more-sustainable-non-veggie-diets#:%7E:text=Compared%20with%20diets%20that%20include,to%20diets%20that%20included%20meat. Accessed 25 July 2022.
“USDA ERS – Key Statistics and Graphics.” United States Department of Agriculture, 22 Apr. 2022, www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-u-s/key-statistics-graphics.
Exposition – I believe your exposition is “The USDA should change regulations surrounding agricultural and food production practices to lower food insecurity and environmental damage.” The USDA is your clear subject agent, but the modal “should” does not work, as it implies bias. Maybe switch the sentence around so it is “The USDA could accomplish xyz, by doing abc.” I found your intro paragraph to be good otherwise.
Central Relationship – My only confusion with your central relationship, it is my understanding that the exposition and the thesis, though similar, are supposed to be separate statements, so different sentences, in your intro. Whereas it seems that the last sentence in your intro is both the thesis and exposition statement. I could be mistaken in that, but perhaps move the exposition to the beginning of the paragraph, and then make a similar thesis statement at the end. I also see no because clause, just the “to” which may work but to make it clearer you should swap it with “because it will lower…” Otherwise I think you included some great examples and statistics to make your argument clear, and back up your claim.
Work Cited – I see no errors in your work cited, other than some of those links aren’t actually linked they are just pasted, but that’s nothing major and the links were probably just lost when transferring your paper to moodle.
Otherwise, I think you have a great paper, well written, maybe fan out your conclusion a little so it doesn’t feel rushed. Awesome Job Dominique!!