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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

May 20, 2004
Takin' On the Man

Lookee here.

Texas is getting' awful big for its britches these days, isn't it? I mean, taking on god and all. What's next?

I mean...Unitarians aren't a religion? I don't know from Unitarians, buy why pick on them? Why aren't they a religion? Because they don't have "one system of belief"?

Okay, but the Catholic Church in currently in the middle of a debate over homosexuals and ordaining women and male priests using their churches asd hunting grounds for little boys to abuse and whether or not they have the right to threaten to withhold church procedures for politicians they don't approve of, so they're arguing over what they believe and they're in trouble, right?

And Episcopalians...aren't they the ones in the middle of a huge schism over homosexuality? (Or is that Methodists or one of the other ones?) Not one system of belief...they're out of there.

Michael (in the comments) is right. It wouldn't matter one way or the other if it weren't for the tax-exempt status and it's absurd to make religion tax-exempt. If a church has a charitable arm, then fine, make that portion tax-exempt, but I don't see why the rest of a church's activities should be exempt.

Certainly churches try hard enough to throw around political muscle and they benefit from the taxpayer-funded amenities of society, so why don't they pay their fair share, like any other business?

Since Strayhorn took over in January 1999, the comptroller's office has denied religious tax-exempt status to 17 groups and granted them to more than 1,000, according to records obtained by the Star-Telegram. Although there are exceptions, the lion's share of approvals have gone to groups that appear to have relatively traditional faiths, records show.

That's just bigotry. I think either all systems of belief have to be treated equally under the law, don't they? It's no one's business if one person worships a theoretical, disembodied spirit and another worships a plate of fudge. It's no one's business if someone's religion centers around western Christianity and someone else's centers around the equally valid (from my point of view) Wicca.

Nor do I think being "open to the public" should be a requirement when evaluating a religion.

"The issue as a whole is, do you want to open up a system where there can be abuse or fraud, or where any group can proclaim itself to be a religious organization and take advantage of the exception?" he said.

Yes, we do. If you want to prevent it, remove the exemption.

Those who oppose the comptroller's "God, gods or supreme being" test say that it can discriminate against legitimate faiths. For example, applying that standard could disqualify Buddhism because it does not mandate belief in a supreme being, critics say.

Remove the exemption.




Sometimes I think I post things like this just to be annoying.

Other times I'm sure of it.




(From Charles Kuffner, via Avedon Carol, who was really talking about a freeper outbreak at Eschaton.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:54 AM


Comments

Strongly said, which is appropriate.

Posted by: Lawrence Krubner at May 20, 2004 10:41 AM

It's interesting. I wonder if there should be a distinction in law between religious organizations and other non-profit groups. There are certainly instances where religious faith and practice require accomodation from the law, though, so some form of formal recognition is clearly necessary.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at May 20, 2004 07:57 PM

What instances?

Posted by: Anne at May 20, 2004 07:59 PM

Ummm.... The two that come to mind are parochial schools and building codes. The fact that religious schools predate state-sponsored schools does not mean that the state had to let them continue operating, and they operate under different rules than the public school system, including the ability, if they don't take the wrong kind of federal money, to discriminate in hiring based on religion. And churches apparently are exempt from some of the zoning strictures faced by private individuals or companies, on the grounds that applying those rules to the churches would constitute a restriction of free exercise of religion.

We can argue about whether it is necessary to make exceptions for religious institutions, though, if you want. I'm not really sure where I come down on the question, myself.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at May 27, 2004 12:06 AM

I don't know that I'm prepared to argue that. :) It's honestly not a topic that I ever gave much thought to before I started reading about the extent of the Catholic church's criminal culpability in the child-abuse scandals.

This is just my knee-jerk reaction - that criminal is criminal,and that whatever delicacy our courts feel about prosecuting a criminal who happens to have chosen that profession needs to be eliminated.

Posted by: Anne at May 29, 2004 12:09 PM