I've mused before that church members should not get a tax deduction if their church's mission is inwardly focused and fails to provide a common, public good. But this is not the direction the wind is blowing, according to the series, "In God's Name" the New York Times reports (Diana B. Henriques, reporter) in a four-part series, part three today. You can begin with the first installment here.
Clergy, aspirants to vocations and the laity alike should especially read the second installment, if for no other reason than to get past the quaint but misleading idea that clergy get a treasure-trove of benefits (like tax breaks) from the government. Those are held by management, er, the churches institutionally.
Part two: "Where Faith Abides, Employees Have Few Rights" (Diana B. Henriques, 9 October 2006, New York Times)