Tax Status and Religion
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02-02-2011, 07:31 PM
RE: Tax Status and Religion
I think that is really good. A few comments:

Quote:The Founding Fathers were all aggressively secular.

This is demonstrably false. Take this one line out. A quick reading of history will show they were not all aggressively secular. Some of them wanted a Christian state. That side lost. The rest of that paragraph is good, though.

On the "Church of the Banana", you seem to skirt what is, I think, the primary issue. Currently, the US Treasury Department does decide what is and is not a religion for the purposes of deciding tax exemption. You've got a potential serious Establishment Clause violation from that. If you take away the tax exemption, you solve the problem. I'd hit that point a little harder.

Now, here is where I got a little confused:

Quote:The Internal Revenue Service currently defines what is considered partisan action. We ask that this definition be applied to all religious organizations without exception. This means that institutions of faith cannot endorse a specific candidate or show preferential treatment to a specific candidate, and that clerics cannot use their pulpit to endorse a party or politician. Furthermore, it means that religion cannot lobby, its money must be kept out of the political process.

Currently, a tax exempt church is already prohibited from doing these things. So, I'm not sure what you're asking for. I think what you want to say is that it is impossible to monitor and it's happening despite the prohibition. If you take away the tax exemption, then a religious organization is free to exercise their right to free speech as they see fit, to lobby on issues, profess a preference for a political candidate, etc. The way it is now, however, creates a massive conundrum. For example, how can the Catholic Church publicly threaten to not grant communion to pro-choice political candidates and still claim it is operating outside of politics for the purpose of its tax exempt status?

I think I see where you are going there, but you just need to clean it up a little.

Overall, a good first draft. Very impressive. How old are you again? 15? 16? Your clarity of thought for that age is astonishing. I don't think I had that much clarity until my mid-30s (of course, I drank a whole lot in my 20s and then it took a few years to sober up .... but still....).

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03-02-2011, 03:27 PM
 
RE: Tax Status and Religion
(02-02-2011 07:31 PM)BnW Wrote:  I think that is really good. A few comments:

Quote:The Founding Fathers were all aggressively secular.

This is demonstrably false. Take this one line out. A quick reading of history will show they were not all aggressively secular. Some of them wanted a Christian state. That side lost. The rest of that paragraph is good, though.

Done.

(02-02-2011 07:31 PM)BnW Wrote:  On the "Church of the Banana", you seem to skirt what is, I think, the primary issue. Currently, the US Treasury Department does decide what is and is not a religion for the purposes of deciding tax exemption. You've got a potential serious Establishment Clause violation from that. If you take away the tax exemption, you solve the problem. I'd hit that point a little harder.

All right. Do you think I should take out the part about the illogical-ness of worshiping a banana vs other deities? My partner feels this is too hostile to people we want to vote for our bill, but I think it is a logically sound position.
(02-02-2011 07:31 PM)BnW Wrote:  Currently, a tax exempt church is already prohibited from doing these things. So, I'm not sure what you're asking for. I think what you want to say is that it is impossible to monitor and it's happening despite the prohibition. If you take away the tax exemption, then a religious organization is free to exercise their right to free speech as they see fit, to lobby on issues, profess a preference for a political candidate, etc. The way it is now, however, creates a massive conundrum. For example, how can the Catholic Church publicly threaten to not grant communion to pro-choice political candidates and still claim it is operating outside of politics for the purpose of its tax exempt status?

I am asking for something a bit more extreme than that. Regardless of the tax exemption, we are asking that religious organizations remain nonpartisan.
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03-02-2011, 04:33 PM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2011 08:12 PM by BnW.)
RE: Tax Status and Religion
(03-02-2011 03:27 PM)TruthAddict Wrote:  All right. Do you think I should take out the part about the illogical-ness of worshiping a banana vs other deities? My partner feels this is too hostile to people we want to vote for our bill, but I think it is a logically sound position.

I'd take it out. You will never win a point by being inflammatory. It not only distracts from you argument but it gives an opponent an opportunity to question your credibility.

(03-02-2011 03:27 PM)TruthAddict Wrote:  I am asking for something a bit more extreme than that. Regardless of the tax exemption, we are asking that religious organizations remain nonpartisan.

Well, from a strict Constitutional perspective, I don't see how you can pull tax exemption AND restrict free speech. And, the answer is you cannot. That position is a guaranteed loser. And, ignoring the legal positions of it, why would you want to argue in favor of prohibitions on free speech? There is no speech more in need of protection then that which is contrary to our own beliefs. Personally, I'd drop this issue, but your call.

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