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Letters to the Editor: If churches are getting COVID-19 relief funds, they should pay taxes

St. Patrick's
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York was approved for at least $1 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Does anyone else see the hypocrisy when churches fight tooth and nail to be exempt from societal norms like fair hiring, basic medical services and bearing the cost of one’s own religious instruction, then turn around and put their hands out for billions in COVID-19 relief money? (“After lobbying to be eligible, Catholic Church won at least $1.4 billion in PPP loans,” July 10)

It’s time to start taxing the churches — all of them.

No category of citizens should get their own rules, their own tax exemptions, and still reap massive benefits while contributing nothing. When churches stop biting the hands that feed them, they can come looking for money from the federal government.

James Underdown

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Los Angeles

The writer is executive director of the secular nonprofit Center for Inquiry West.

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To the editor: It is a travesty that our government has given somewhere between $1.4 and $3.5 billion of our taxpayer dollars to the Roman Catholic Church in the United States so it could make up for the huge settlements it had to pay for sexual abuse cases and, in some instances, embezzled funds.

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Translated in numbers, the church received 9,000 loans, of which a minimum of 3,500 are forgivable.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was meant to assist small business owners whose operations were threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. Many of these businesses would not be able to survive without the help.

The PPP was not meant to enrich religious institutions or large entities.

Sylvia Fogelman, Beverly Hills


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