The exemption of religious groups from property taxes might be as old as taxation itself. In the Western world, we can trace the earliest case to the 4th century, when Emperor Constantine of Rome exempted church properties in order to help shore up Christianity as the state religion. The tension between religion and tax exemption has been around for some time. A classic case is one from the late 19th century, in which it was decided that a cloistered order of Catholic nuns was not charitable as their benefit to the outside world could not be proven. There were also debates in the 1940s in the United States about the suitability of tax exemptions for religious groups and the constitutional requirement of the separation ...

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