Proposed California Law Could Take Away Tax Exemption

Written by Founder Raul Rivera on Apr 11, 2013 in Tough Laws

The Senate Governance and Finance Committee of California voted 5 to 2 in favor of moving forward a new law that will certainly force churches and many other Christian organizations that minister to youth to lose their tax-exempt status.  The law is titled The Youth Equality Act.  Senator Ricardo Lara, D-Long Beach, sponsors it. 

In essence, the law denies tax-exempt status to organizations that have youth groups.  If in the state's determination the group discriminates on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or religious affiliation, the state will revoke its tax-exempt status.

More than just youth

It is said that the law will only go after Little League, Bobby Sox, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire, Inc., Young Men's Christian Association, Young Women's Christian Association, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, 4-H Clubs, Distributive Education Clubs of America, Future Business Leaders of America, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, Collegiate Young Farmers, Boys' Clubs, Girls' Clubs, Special Olympics, Inc., American Youth Soccer Organization, California Youth Soccer Association, North, California Youth Soccer Association, South, and Pop Warner football.  But the language of the new law leaves plenty of room to go after churches that have private schools, active youth groups, church little leagues, and other sports such as soccer and football.  To further leave the door open, the law ends by stating that the organizations that are subject to this new law shall include but not be limited to those mentioned in the law. 

It is clear that the intent of the law is to go much further than what is listed in the law.

What if a church loses tax exemption in California?

If a church in California has a youth group and in the process of hiring their youth pastor they discriminate to only hire Christian heterosexuals that live a lifestyle according to the church's doctrine, that church's tax-exempt status in California would be revoked.   The church would have to pay annual corporate and franchise taxes on their tithes and offerings and other donations including moneys made from fundraisers. 

How to prepare

At StartCHURCH we have been teaching pastors and leaders to prepare for the hostile legislative culture we are living in today.  It is not just California.  A growing number of states are considering laws that would put the church at odds with the state, simply by the church's practice of its disciplines of faith.  We are teaching pastors strategies that give their churches solid foundations upon which to stand if a new law attempts to force them to engage in or allow an activity to take place that violates their disciplines of faith.

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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