Friday, April 10, 2009

Church: Where Discrimination Begins

by Ron Wall
rwaldron@stny.rr.com

Tax exemption is unfair and needs to end totally. It clearly is said that we should pay our taxes. Why should anyone’s stocks, bonds, and real estate be tax exempt. Charity is to be for the poor, but they rarely see it. Only 10 percent and less ever reaches the needy. But wealth has been made by a large number of greedy persons from contributions. Talk about a fraud system with no audits Though the measure is rarely enforced, the political activism of some conservative Christians over the past two decades has caused religious and political liberals to demand that the tax-exempt status of some conservative ministers be revoked. Fact being that all should be revoked. Any way you slice it, this is a government subsidy of religion. People who may not share a particular faith, or any faith, are thus forced to contribute to ideas with which they might disagree. Thomas Jefferson said of such a practice: "Almighty God has created the mind free. ... to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."


Churches may now hold weeknight political forums at which candidates may speak and answer questions. They are prohibited, however, from endorsing candidates from the pulpit, or actively lobbying for or against legislation. We all know the real reality. We would not be in the serious situation we are in today if it were not for the lobbying and complete support for the actions of the Republican Party, Israel, and AIPAC. There are options to correcting this imbalance in church-state relations. Most effective is for churches and other nonprofits that are engage in political discourse and legislative activism should give up their tax exemptions so that government will have no controlling authority over them. This would be the preference to most because it offers them unfettered opportunity to influence and shape government according to their own beliefs without the fear or favor of government leaders who might support their views today, but after a future election, oppose them. Exactly what the Republican Party has done for decades. When churches become "accepted" and appendages of political parties and politicians they tend to depart from their primary obligations and opportunities and become identified with earthly causes and political kingdom-building.

The mystical exploitation of religion has created a hierarchy of sanctimonious pedagogues who prosper in an environment free of obligation to the society from which they profit immensely. There is no such thing as a non-profit religion. If there were non-profit religions, most established religions would not exist. If a mystical organization cannot prosper or survive because of taxation, it must not have a message or purpose worth sustaining, nor the ability to communicate a concept that appeals to the public. If it requires exemption from taxation as the only way it can exist, then it is a religion based on a superficial concept of Biblical nonsense that eventually the public will ignore. The scheming and manipulation of the frenzied, right wing religious fundamentalists, has proven that religion untaxed, is more dangerous to Liberty than taxation of the same. Why should an institution founded on fantasy and myth, be exonerated from taxation while existing in a society that supports the infrastructure and services that make it possible for that religion to succeed? My freedom, yours, and every other individual that exists in this society, is threatened by the immense influence of organized religion in its massive appeal to legislate laws favorable to its establishment. We, unlike the religionists, do not as individuals, have the use of untaxed funds or Christianized Coalitions that exist to exercise leverage over politicians. What is Democratic, what is justifiable in allowing the churches the extraordinary freedom to exist exempt from taxation? Especially, when the exempted religions pursue as their objectives, the influence of legislation favorable to their continued material advancement.

The survival of organized revealed religion is dependent on not only the generosity of its members, but also from a government that is sympathetic to the continued domination of mystical authority in the affairs of state and society. Witness George Bush receiving the blessing from his religious minister for the carpet bombing and resulting mass murder of Iraqi civilians during the Desert Storm exercise in ignorance. The established religions have prospered in an environment that is maintained through the taxation of others for such simple things as street upkeep, courts of law, police and fire protection, or any of the many other services that the public pays for. It is we the people, who are assuring that religious associations can perform their functions, while they are exempted from the same obligation. They have been granted an exclusion, that is based on the erroneous concept, that religion is a non-profit enterprise. Anyone who believes religion is not profitable and exists solely as a distributor of myth and magic, has not looked recently at the vast resources and property that churches have acquired as non-profit organizations. The fact Christian religious leaders accept, and even court, the tax-exemption illustrates without question the non-altruistic, greedy and hypocritical nature which permeates Christianity. Not paying your fair share of anything, including taxes, reveals a non-altruistic and greedy streak. That's exactly what you would think of someone in a group of friends who all go on an outing and all chip-in to pay for expenses with the exception of one individual. And that selfish person is one of the very wealthiest people in the group! It will only be a matter of time until the others catch on and refuse to allow the unfairness.

Christian leaders add the ingredient of hypocrisy to themselves and their mythology by pretending to be followers of Jesus who allegedly believed religions SHOULD pay taxes to existing governments by saying, according to Luke 20:25, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." According to this quote from their holy book, their god would be against tax-exemptions for his followers. As Thomas Paine wrote, "... the Church has set up a system of religion very contradictory to the character of the person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of pomp and of revenue, in pretended imitation of a person whose life was humility and poverty." The religions of this nation do not contribute, in any way, to my freedom, your Liberty, or the future of civilization. Freed of taxation they exist exclusively as a hierarchy whose interest is the exploitation of others! IS IT NOT TIME THAT WE THE PUBLIC DEMAND THAT THE RELIGIONS OF THIS NATION PAY FOR THEIR PARTICIPATION IN SOCIETY??? Is it not the proper time to cease characterizing religious institutions as a privileged ideology that is more important than other philosophies and concepts?

Why should the labor of a person working eight hours a day be taxed, while a preacher is allowed to avoid taxation in many areas? Why should there be a tax for the general public, but not for those engaged in the production (or fabrication) of a religious ideology? Is the enterprise of corporate religion any better or more useful to society than an individual who thinks about existence from a philosophical and rational perspective? I think not. There is no such thing as an aristocracy of thought or complete agreement on any conception. Religion in all its many forms does not have the exclusive answers to the complexity of existence. Its reliance on mystical incomprehension and the miraculous is rooted in the dreams and desires of primitive man. Taxation of religion is based on fairness and justice. It is a notification to those who represent corporate religion that they are not a special institution or a favored aristocracy. It is telling them they do have an obligation to support society in the form of taxation. Particularly, as the Christian Coalition is doing, using the millions of dollars saved from taxes to pump into the campaigns of politicians who agreed to spread their brand of bigotry and superstition.

NOW! We all face deficits in the federal budget, every state budget, local budgets, a hugh 12 Trillion national debt. That requires that we all should share in its being resolved. William H. Rehnquist spoke for the court: Tax exemption for Church property is a clear violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. It is a form of subsidy; the Tenth Circuit Court addressed and held that “tax exemption is a privilege, a matter of grace rather than a right.” We tax payers demand that TAX EXEMPTIONS SHOULD END: Tax exemption is unfair and needs to end totally. It clearly is said that we should pay our taxes. Why should anyone’s stocks, bonds, and real estate be tax exempt. Charity is to be for the poor, but they rarely see it. Only 10 percent and less ever reaches the needy. But wealth has been made by a large number of greedy persons from contributions. Talk about a fraud system with no audits Though the measure is rarely enforced, the political activism of some conservative Christians over the past two decades has caused religious and political liberals to demand that the tax-exempt status of some conservative ministers be revoked. Fact being that all should be revoked. Any way you slice it, this is a government subsidy of religion.

People who may not share a particular faith, or any faith, are thus forced to contribute to ideas with which they might disagree. Thomas Jefferson said of such a practice: "Almighty God has created the mind free. ... to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." Churches may now hold weeknight political forums at which candidates may speak and answer questions. They are prohibited, however, from endorsing candidates from the pulpit, or actively lobbying for or against legislation. We all know the real reality. We would not be in the serious situation we are in today if it were not for the lobbying and complete support for the actions of the Republican Party, Israel, and AIPAC. There are options to correcting this imbalance in church-state relations. Most effective is for churches and other nonprofits that are engage in political discourse and legislative activism should give up their tax exemptions so that government will have no controlling authority over them. This would be the preference to most because it offers them unfettered opportunity to influence and shape government according to their own beliefs without the fear or favor of government leaders who might support their views today, but after a future election, oppose them.

Exactly what the Republican Party has done for decades. When churches become "accepted" and appendages of political parties and politicians they tend to depart from their primary obligations and opportunities and become identified with earthly causes and political kingdom-building. The mystical exploitation of religion has created a hierarchy of sanctimonious pedagogues who prosper in an environment free of obligation to the society from which they profit immensely. There is no such thing as a non-profit religion. If there were non-profit religions, most established religions would not exist. If a mystical organization cannot prosper or survive because of taxation, it must not have a message or purpose worth sustaining, nor the ability to communicate a concept that appeals to the public. If it requires exemption from taxation as the only way it can exist, then it is a religion based on a superficial concept of Biblical nonsense that eventually the public will ignore. The scheming and manipulation of the frenzied, right wing religious fundamentalists, has proven that religion untaxed, is more dangerous to Liberty than taxation of the same. Why should an institution founded on fantasy and myth, be exonerated from taxation while existing in a society that supports the infrastructure and services that make it possible for that religion to succeed?

My freedom, yours, and every other individual that exists in this society, is threatened by the immense influence of organized religion in its massive appeal to legislate laws favorable to its establishment. We, unlike the religionists, do not as individuals, have the use of untaxed funds or Christianized Coalitions that exist to exercise leverage over politicians. What is Democratic, what is justifiable in allowing the churches the extraordinary freedom to exist exempt from taxation? Especially, when the exempted religions pursue as their objectives, the influence of legislation favorable to their continued material advancement. The survival of organized revealed religion is dependent on not only the generosity of its members, but also from a government that is sympathetic to the continued domination of mystical authority in the affairs of state and society. Witness George Bush receiving the blessing from his religious minister for the carpet bombing and resulting mass murder of Iraqi civilians during the Desert Storm exercise in ignorance.

The established religions have prospered in an environment that is maintained through the taxation of others for such simple things as street upkeep, courts of law, police and fire protection, or any of the many other services that the public pays for. It is we the people, who are assuring that religious associations can perform their functions, while they are exempted from the same obligation. They have been granted an exclusion, that is based on the erroneous concept, that religion is a non-profit enterprise. Anyone who believes religion is not profitable and exists solely as a distributor of myth and magic, has not looked recently at the vast resources and property that churches have acquired as non-profit organizations. The fact Christian religious leaders accept, and even court, the tax-exemption illustrates without question the non-altruistic, greedy and hypocritical nature which permeates Christianity. Not paying your fair share of anything, including taxes, reveals a non-altruistic and greedy streak. That's exactly what you would think of someone in a group of friends who all go on an outing and all chip-in to pay for expenses with the exception of one individual. And that selfish person is one of the very wealthiest people in the group! It will only be a matter of time until the others catch on and refuse to allow the unfairness.

Christian leaders add the ingredient of hypocrisy to themselves and their mythology by pretending to be followers of Jesus who allegedly believed religions SHOULD pay taxes to existing governments by saying, according to Luke 20:25, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." According to this quote from their holy book, their god would be against tax-exemptions for his followers. As Thomas Paine wrote, "... the Church has set up a system of religion very contradictory to the character of the person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of pomp and of revenue, in pretended imitation of a person whose life was humility and poverty." The religions of this nation do not contribute, in any way, to my freedom, your Liberty, or the future of civilization. Freed of taxation they exist exclusively as a hierarchy whose interest is the exploitation of others! IS IT NOT TIME THAT WE THE PUBLIC DEMAND THAT THE RELIGIONS OF THIS NATION PAY FOR THEIR PARTICIPATION IN SOCIETY??? Is it not the proper time to cease characterizing religious institutions as a privileged ideology that is more important than other philosophies and concepts?

Why should the labor of a person working eight hours a day be taxed, while a preacher is allowed to avoid taxation in many areas? Why should there be a tax for the general public, but not for those engaged in the production (or fabrication) of a religious ideology? Is the enterprise of corporate religion any better or more useful to society than an individual who thinks about existence from a philosophical and rational perspective? I think not. There is no such thing as an aristocracy of thought or complete agreement on any conception. Religion in all its many forms does not have the exclusive answers to the complexity of existence. Its reliance on mystical incomprehension and the miraculous is rooted in the dreams and desires of primitive man. Taxation of religion is based on fairness and justice. It is a notification to those who represent corporate religion that they are not a special institution or a favored aristocracy. It is telling them they do have an obligation to support society in the form of taxation. Particularly, as the Christian Coalition is doing, using the millions of dollars saved from taxes to pump into the campaigns of politicians who agreed to spread their brand of bigotry and superstition. NOW! We all face deficits in the federal budget, every state budget, local budgets, a hugh 12 Trillion national debt. That requires that we all should share in its being resolved. William H. Rehnquist spoke for the court: Tax exemption for Church property is a clear violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. It is a form of subsidy; the Tenth Circuit Court addressed and held that “tax exemption is a privilege, a matter of grace rather than a right.” We tax payers demand that Churches pay their “Fair-Share”…

President Obama is ready to fight the lobbyists to pass his bold agenda. And the fight is officially on. Yesterday a top lobbyist called Obama's plan to transform our economy What we must understand is that we have only one real enemy, our OWN defeatism, for that is all that stands between us and generating policy moving numbers.

One need only observe how quickly Congress can move when there is real public outrage, like over the AIG bonus scandal, to realize that all we need to do is speak out in sufficient numbers to instantly have any policy change we want.

"devastating." If Obama's going to win this fight, he's going to need all of us fighting with him.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation calls on all of its member groups and individual supporters to join marches protesting U.S. spending on wars and occupations and calling for a new economy based on our country's unmet domestic needs.

Over the next ten years, the United States is scheduled to provide Israel with $30 billion in military aid to maintain its illegal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, and to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians living under this military occupation. During the Bush Administration, Israel killed more than 3,000 innocent Palestinian civilians who took no part in hostilities, often with U.S. weapons.

Cut off military aid to Israel, in fact Boycott Israel.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Richard Aberdeen said...

Response to article: Church: Where Discrimination Begins

I have long believed that religions should not receive any tax exemptions. As Ron Wall says, it is a clear violation of the 1st Amendment to force taxpayers who don't believe in a particular religion to subsidize it. I think that Mr. Wall doesn't go far enough and, that tax exemption should also be revoked for organizations like the Mensa Society, the Skeptics Society, all political "think tanks", partisan organizations posing as "non-profits" and various "rich man's" clubs, such as donating to museums and similar.

I have long championed the idea that only contributions that help the sick and poor in some fashion, should be tax exempt and, that tax exempt organizations must pass the "80/20" test or else lose their exempt status; such a test is a measure of expenses for other than directly aiding their specific cause, such as salaries, office expenses and similar, not being allowed to exceed 20% of total revenues received via tax exempt donations. Many worthwhile charities, such as Save The Children and the Muscular Dystrophy Society have passed this test for their entire existence, Save The Children using over 90% of all funds donated directly to aid world hunger and related relief.

There should be no tax exemptions allowed in a sane society for any kind of "club" or partisan organization of any kind, whether religious, educational, secular, liberal, progressive conservative and/or, whatever it may be.


Thank You, Sincerely
Richard Aberdeen
Freedom Tracks Records
615-889-1669 - 800-992-8084
richard@freedomtracks.com
www.FreedomTracks.com

April 24, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

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