COMEDY

Bill Maher Breaks Down Why All Religious Institutions Should Be Properly Taxed

"Almost a quarter of us are being forced to subsidize a myth that we're not buying into."

Bill Maher is angry as hell about the way religious institutions are, or more accurately aren't, taxed in the U.S.

The "Real Time with Bill Maher" host vented his frustration over their tax-free status on Friday night, and issued a call for action to all American citizens.

"Now that it's April 15," he said, "all U.S. taxpayers must call out all the deadbeats who ride for free -- which includes giant corporations like GM and United Airlines, which this year are going to pay no taxes."

As photographs of temples and churches appeared on the screen beside him, he added, "But the list should also include this place, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one…."

The comedian said there are 300,000 religious congregations in the country that pay "no tax, no federal, state, or local, no income, sales or property tax," yet they own $600 billion in property.

Maher cited a quote from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, that the only way to make any real money in this world was to start a religion, before asking, "if we levy taxes, sin taxes they call them on things that are bad to get people to stop doing them, why in heaven's name don't we tax religion?"

He called religion "a senseless homophobic magic act that's been used to justify everything from genital mutilation to genocide."

And after pointing out that 22 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, Maher asked exactly why "almost a quarter of us are being forced to subsidize a myth that we're not buying into. Why am I subsidizing their Sunday morning hobby?"

Check out Maher's address in the clip above.

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