Churches: Rendering unto Caesar

Federal and state laws have traditionally exempted church property from taxation. But now that the value of church possessions has grown to some $80 billion, professional secularists such as Atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair have raised far-reaching court suits challenging these exemptions, and financially hard-pressed local governments have begun to nibble away at the limits of the churches' immunity. As a result, U.S. churches are today in the midst of an agonizing reappraisal of their traditional privileges.

Last month, for example, the Episcopal diocese of New York appointed a blue-ribbon panel of lawyers to determine whether the church should pay taxes...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!