January 25, 2006

House of candor

Boston Globe

January 25, 2006

A BILL THAT would require religious organizations to disclose basic financial records is a right-minded effort to introduce accountability to an estimated 6,000 public charities that now elude such oversight. Current attempts by religious groups to cast the bill as an entanglement of church and state are misguided at best, and deceptive at worst.

The bill, which is scheduled for debate today in the House, would require churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious entities to report gross revenues, net assets, fundraising expenses, and other routine information as a condition of their tax-exempt status, identical to the state's roughly 30,000 secular nonprofit organizations. The bill, which has passed the Senate, would also require all charities, both secular and religious, to list real estate holdings as part of their annual financial reports. ...

The birth of the bill is rooted in the recent demands for financial disclose from Catholic parishioners whose churches were slated to be closed or consolidated by the archdiocese. But the need for such transparency is not limited by denomination, and the bill's basic requirements apply equally to all.

Posted by kshaw at January 25, 2006 02:13 PM