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Should religious buildings (synagogues/churches/worship halls/etc) be eligible for FEMA aid?

Church-State Concerns Keeping Sandy-Damages Houses of Worship From Receiving FEMA Aid

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Asked by NotPanicking at 5:07 PM on Dec. 4, 2012 in Politics & Current Events

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (19)
  • No aid because of their tax exempt status? That is such a flawed argument, I can't believe anyone would suggest that! So how many more places shouldn't get FEMA money because of their tax exempt status? Like already pointed out, half our country doesn't pay federal taxes. I wouldn't want my church accepting FEMA money but they shouldn't be excluded from qualifying.

    Answer by HHx5 at 9:43 AM on Dec. 5, 2012

  • If we go the no taxes = no FEMA route...then we must include all the people that pay no know the ones that get everything they pay in back...otherwise you can't use this as justification.

    Now..considering what most of these facilities offer to their community whether the people are members or not...I think it would benefit the people if the facility received assistance.

    This is one of the reasons why I think the funds for disaster aid should be handled by the states & communities.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 9:21 AM on Dec. 5, 2012

  • Fire departments don't ignore religious buildings because they don't pay taxes, so that's not the best argument.

    It's a tough question tho. The only businesses that qualify are non-profits that offer certain governmental services. From what I've read, religious schools can qualify for FEMA aid. Churches and synagogues do offer a lot of charitable work, but not all of them do.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 7:59 AM on Dec. 5, 2012

  • I do no think that anyone is saying that the church will not be rebuilt, its that they should not be able to use FEMA funds to do so with. FEMA is stretched very thin as it is. There is barely enough money for folks who need the money to rebuild their homes. We all know the churches are exempt from paying taxes. There are a few pastors out there that are living in multi-million dollar homes. Maybe some of them should pony up some dollars to help these churches rebuild. There are states that bypass an estimated $26.2 billion per year by not requiring religious institutions to pay property taxes!! U.S. clergy may claim as much as $1.2 billion in tax exemptions annually via the parsonage allowance! So come on, really?

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 1:47 AM on Dec. 5, 2012

  • Why shouldn't they receive FEMA aid?

    Because it's very possibly illegal as the law is written.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 12:55 AM on Dec. 5, 2012

  • Yes! What the hell kind of question is that? Why shouldn't they receive FEMA aid? We aren't an ANTI-Religious country now, are we? I mean i'm not very religious myself, but why be a dick about it to the people who are?

    Answer by uwmilf at 12:48 AM on Dec. 5, 2012

  • No taxes paid = no FEMA assistance would mean a lot of people would not get assistance. As someone said, the charitable assistance from churches is important to communities. My family had to get food from a church-sponsored food pantry for several years when we were on one income. All of that would come to a stop if the church wasn't rebuilt, and that would leave a lot of people in the community without help.

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 11:49 PM on Dec. 4, 2012

  • Do people feel the need to go to church to feel closer to God or Allah or what not? If someone needs to pray or whatever they wish to do, couldn't they join in a make shift tent or a FEMA trailer minus the formaldehyde? That is until other churches can unite and do a fund raiser together. I am with the others, if they made the choice of wanting to keep church and state separate, they shouldn't be allowed to ask for help from a federal or state government.

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 11:46 PM on Dec. 4, 2012

  • I really don't know about this one. It seems so cut and dry on the surface. No taxes paid so no FEMA aid. However, as others have stated, those buildings are used for more than religion. They could be historical sites, they could be emergency shelters. Churches are also where people turn in time of need. Ugh, I really can't say how I feel about it....

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 11:33 PM on Dec. 4, 2012

  • That is tricky. I mean, yeah, they didnt pay in any of the money that they would be getting. HOWEVER, they are also a great comfort to their paritioners, so I can see how fixing them may be important. It truely is a conundrum and I am glad that I don't have to make that call, because no matter which way they go, they are going to get flack and crap from someone. I wish them all the luck in the wolrd with that one!

    Answer by spiritguide_23 at 10:48 PM on Dec. 4, 2012

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