In the process of researching for an upcoming thread, I ran across this opinion piece of the same name as the OP. After reading through it, it seemed
to be deserving of its own thread.
I personally am against income and property taxation. Nevertheless, it is the reality of our society, and we all pay it whether we agree with it or
not. So this thread isn't about the constitutionality of said taxation. But rather the inequality written into our laws concerning certain religious
organizations, as well as the skirting, and outright disregard for separation of church and state.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
Which brings me to my next point. Any discussion regarding separation of church and state needs a foundational understanding of what that term means.
And I think James Madison does a fine job summarizing it in regard to this aspect of the topic.
“The appropriation of funds of the United States for the use and support of religious societies, [is] contrary to the article of the
Constitution which declares that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment.’”
“Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and
one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthed itself by exercise,
and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.
We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other
Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can
force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other
establishment in all cases whatsoever?” —James Madison (1751-1836) Fourth U.S. President—
Adding my own personal definition: Our governing bodies are to make no law in favor of, or discriminating against any religion in the United States.
Neither does our government have any business in espousing or showing prejudice toward any given religion. Religion has no place in the administration
of this country.
The author of this piece begins with a simple question. Is there seperation of church and state in America? And answers with a resounding NO! And I
believe his reasoning, though short, and to the point, is sound. A few quotes:
The first entanglement is that every state exempts churches from ad valorem taxes. Those are taxes assessed against the owner of real property.
These taxes are usually assessed by county, and the money raised is used to fund local education and city/county services such as fire and police.
There may be other government beneficiaries of these taxes such as street and sewer maintenance.
The truth is, churches own a lot of real property, and that property is not being assessed to pay the taxes that must be borne to sustain government
services. Since the churches don’t pay property taxes, the burden of county and local government services is passed on to the other real property
A second entanglement is the deduction for donations to churches. The Internal Revenue Code allows donors to take a deduction for money they give
to their churches. This means that church donors pay fewer taxes because of the deduction, thereby passing the tax burden of government on to all the
other taxpayers who do not donate to churches and do not get a similar tax deduction.
According to www.america.gov... $96.82 billion dollars was donated to churches nationwide in the year 2006. That is the latest year for which
figures are available.
This is truly amazing as it means that people who don’t give money to churches are required to pick up the tab for over $96 billion dollars. With
that amount of money, the voice of religion grows louder.
Now, let’s top this off with President George W. Bush’s faith-based tax giveaways to churches. Congress has passed a law that churches can
discriminate in hiring.* This means your tax dollars are given to churches for the supposed purpose of social services, but if you are not a member of
that church, they can discriminate and not hire you. Thus, they keep the free money among their own members.
So it would seem that there are much stronger ties between our government and the church than we all realize. Straight up to the potus. Considering
Obama has carried on with Bush's "Faith Based Initiatives", and even enhanced them. Faith
based program gets wider focus...
And also considering:
...under the Internal Revenue Code, churches are not required to file a 990 tax form, or any other form. The IRS is prohibited from inspecting the
books of churches to determine where the contributions go or how the churches spend the money.
From my perspective, the corporate christian church in this country is no better than the 1% everone has come to despise. And is no less dishonest and
diabolical than Monsanto, the government, or the elitists themselves. And indeed, maybe worse, since they claim to have all truth, and the high moral
ground of this world.
Article Link: Churches are parasites...
edit on 12/3/2011 by Klassified