Even though the whole Occupy Wall Street movement has come to a dead-end, we're still very aware that there are people and organizations worth millions and billions that don't pay taxes or contribute to society.
Religious organizations are usually absent from this conversation, especially because of their tax-exempt status. They're not necessarily raking in Amazon levels of money, but there is still some weird and corrupt stuff going on behind the scenes.
Just west of Bixby in south Tulsa County, an opulent 7,030-square-foot, two-story brick and stone mansion rises above the surrounding hay meadows and pastures.Valued at $1.7 million, the Mounds luxury home sits on 10 acres of land, includes seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, a salt water pool, a pool house, a four-car garage, five fireplaces, a gated driveway and three large metal shops on the property.Down the street, less than a mile east on 171st Street South, sits a 912-square foot house built in 1972 situated on a one-acre lot valued at just $43,400.Yet, when it comes time to pay property taxes, the owner of the small house will owe the county more for that residence than the other owner will for the mansion and the 50 acres of land surrounding it, which are fully exempted from property taxes.That’s because the mansion’s owner is a church.
That's just the lede, and I highly recommend y'all read the whole story because Frontier is doing incredible journalistic work, and it just gets more bonkers from there. Churches are able to obtain massive amounts of money and then not pay taxes on absurd properties in Oklahoma, which is something that Jesus obviously wanted.
So what are these luxury mansions being used for? Here's our best guesses:
-Badass Air BnB
Most of the Air BnB's I've stayed at are very modest. Like, it's another-room-in-some-guy-in-Chicago's-apartment-level-modest. But what if you could have an immersive religious experience for $900 a night and all that money goes back to a church that doesn't pay taxes? Why contribute to a community when you can just say 'RELIGION' and write it all off?
-Horse Girls For Christ
We've all met Horse Girls. The name is self-explanatory. Judging from the story, many of these church-owned properties are ranches. It seems like they probably exist for pre-teens to come out and jaunt on horsies that they'll abandon and forget by the time they are old enough to get drivers licenses. The horses will then be churned into glue and cat food. This is the circle of life. It is sad and endless.
-Youth Pastor Dave's Bachelor Pad
We've all met Youth Pastor Dave. He's the COOLGUY at the church, the one who plays Christian ska music and does the funny skits during service! Youth Pastor Dave also harbors a dark side, and prefers a cloistered-off ranch where the feds can't find his predilection towards powdered drugs and girls who are too young for him, despite the fact that his goatee and three-chord acoustic guitar jams keep him youthful. It doesn't harm your virginity if it's anal, after all.
-The Lord's Sinkhole
Maybe these churches are expecting a frackquake to open up underneath their property and have it insured correctly where they'll profit off of an empty mansion sinking into the earth? I don't understand insurance enough to know if that's something that could actually happen, but these motherfuckers mooching off of tax dollars while screaming about 'nationalized healthcare is bad, figure out it out yourself' seem to have their racket figured out. It could be a plot for the next stage of gentrification. Tear it all down, then build a Starbucks Community Church on top..
Anyways, the whole article is worth reading, and it should make you think twice the next time the tithe cup comes around..