Posted by: Jim | September 29, 2008

More Religious Shenanigans

Today’s news shows further evidence why the rise of religion in this country is reaching dangerous levels of influence.

 

Background: in order to maintain tax-exempt status, churches have to agree to remain non-political in their stance. In other words, they cannot tell people how to vote from behind the pulpit. But many Christian churches are willfully violating this law, and in fact they are acting out in a form of civil disobedience—egging on the local authorities to tax them, so they can go to court and declare the restriction unconstitutional. I applaud their courage, but they are seriously doing the wrong thing.

 

If you are not alarmed, you are probably a Christian.

 

For those of you who are alarmed, you understand the great peril confronting our nation when a non-profit religious organization is instructing its followers how to vote. This is not a freedom of speech issue, because they are still absolutely free to stump for a candidate. No one will go to jail or be arrested for sharing their opinion. They will just go to jail for tax evasion.

 

If churches espouse a particular view, then people with that view can donate millions of dollars to that church (presumably to spread the word re: a candidate) and get a tax deduction for donating said money to that church. That’s dangerous! Also, a group gets non-profit status for doing work that the government might otherwise have to pay for. Churches ostensibly help bind communities together, feed the poor, etc. If they are stumping for a political candidate, they aren’t really doing things that the Government should pay for. It’s like getting free money for your campaign.

 

If churches end up legally being able to campaign, candidates will end up having to tailor their platforms around religious ideas. There is another country where this type of activity was really popular: Afghanistan.

 

 

As an aside, I enjoyed attending the Atheist Alliance convention last weekend at the Queen Mary. I had the distinct pleasure of spending some time with Marlene Winell  and Valerie Tarico I also got to briefly meet Lori Lipmann Brown, who was recently on the Colbert Report. It was encouraging to see so many other lucid, intelligent adults who have the same views that I do.

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Responses

  1. Today’s news shows further evidence why the rise of religion in this country is reaching moderately uninterestinglevels of influence.

    Fixed.

    If you are not alarmed, you probably had to look high and low just to find a reference to this ‘news’.

    Fixed again. If this news was ‘alarming,’ say, like the failure of the Federal bailout of the assbags on Wall Street, I’m pretty sure it would have been on the front page of the papers. My point is, there are more alarming things in the news than this story, and frankly, I expected to see anything but a story on religion during my daily visit to TMOTM. Then I remember that you are the one bearing the torch whilst approaching the stake around which religion (not just Christianity) is tied.

    I’ll become alarmed when our country is actually influenced like that of Afghanistan or where religion is truly allowed a more equal status in state affairs. I think you’re a little over the top when it comes to crying wolf. We’re nowhere near the point in time where alarm is required, and while I may be a Christian, please don’t pigeonhole me with a blanket assumption like you did. While I *am* a Christian, and I am *not* alarmed about this breaking news, you make it sound like you know what everyone’s reading by the cover of the book you see unfolded in front of us. You know how the saying goes, and that’s just arrogant.

    I have The Limbaugh Letter open in front of me, but I have a Batman comic book on the inside 😉

  2. Whilst? Who the fuck says whilst?

  3. Todd,

    I don’t have time to search out such news. Two different stories on this topic appeared yesterday on the “Top Stories” links on my Google Homepage. It culls major stories from many sources, and it’s pretty much the only place I get my news. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    It’s moderately uninteresting to YOU because you are a Christian. You don’t feel alarmed to see a swell of influence causing people to become more like YOU because you are already like YOU. This trend will only validate your YOUness. For those of us not like YOU we are extremely threatened by religious groups influencing and overtaking our government. Imagine how all the Kurds and Armenians who lived in Afghanistan felt in 1994 when the Taliban started to take over. All the Kurds were saying “hey, you can’t base our government on your religion!” And all the “moderate” Muslims were saying, “Oh you’re being an alarmist, and your opinion is very uninteresting to us. Look! We are getting rid of all the warlords!” They are just like you, Todd. You’re just like the moderate Muslims who let the extremist Taliban take power. They need you, and you don’t mind them because they’re going to try to make ME like you. Well fuck that.

    And regarding the Wall Street bailout issue. You didn’t see a post here on that because I’m not well-enough informed to have an intelligent opinion on it.

    And by accusing me of wanting to burn Christians at the stake, you confirm the shrill and incoherent source of your position. I’m just trying to save my ass here, not start an inquisition. But you’re a Christian, so you don’t see it that way.

    Go ahead and wait until we’re more like Afghanistan. I would prefer to speak up now, when it is not too late.

  4. Never argue inquisitions or burning at stakes with a Christian. You can’t win; they’re experts on the subject.

  5. Saw this in todays inbox and thought of the people on this website:

    The Pope in Alaska
    The Pope took a couple of days off to visit the rugged mountains of Alaska for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the campground in the Pope Mobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods. A helpless Democrat, wearing sandals, shorts, a ‘Save the Whales’ hat and a ‘To Hell with Bush T-shirt,’ was screaming while struggling frantically and thrashing around trying to free himself from the grasp of a 10-foot grizzly.

    As the Pope watched in horror, a group of Republican loggers came racing up. One quickly fired a 44 magnum into the bear’s chest. The other two reached up and pulled the bleeding, semiconscious Democrat from the bear’s grasp. Then using long clubs, the three loggers finished off the bear and two of them threw it onto the bed of their truck while the other tenderly placed the injured Democrat in the back seat. As they prepared to leave, the Pope summoned them to come over. ‘I give you my blessing for your brave actions!’ he told them. ‘I heard there was a bitter hatred between Republican loggers and Democratic environmental activists but now I’ve seen with my own eyes that this is not true.’

    As the Pope drove off, one logger asked his buddies ‘Who was that guy? ‘It was the Pope,’ another replied. ‘He’s in direct contact with heaven and has access to all wisdom.’ ‘Well,’ the logger said, ‘he may have access to all wisdom but he doesn’t know squat about bear hunting! By the way, is the bait still alive, or do we need to go back to Massachusetts and get another one?’

  6. This reminds me of my ex-father-in-law’s favorite joke (he was from Alabama).

    “Tell me, Jason, if you woke up in a log cabin one morning with a severe pain in your ass and a massive hangover, staggered to the bathroom…”

    Actually, I can’t go on, as it’s kind of off-color, but it ended with him slapping me on the back, grinning, and saying, “Hey, me and you should go hunting sometime!”

  7. LOL! Thanks for the laugh Bubba. That one got me!

  8. I’ve heard about this as well. Apparently, some churches want to have their cake and eat it too. Any bets on what the fallout from this might be?

  9. Saw this in USA Today this morning:

    A group of hikers, all Progressive Obama voters, were checking out Alaska to see the sights and try to catch a glimpse of Russia from across the Narrow Maritime Border, so they could round out their resumes with a little Foreign Policy Experience. They weren’t stereotypical ‘bleeding heart Libruls’ because, well, that’s just a stereotype that very few extreme types even approach actually being. In fact, one of them was a recent Iraq veteran with a Purple Heart who carried his government-issue Colt 1911 just in case they ran into trouble. Another one was a Vietnam vet who had been a sniper, and both of them, unlike your typical loudmouthed couch-surfing ‘NeoCon’, had seen the realities of war and lived to tell the tale. He carried a 30-ought-six that he could fire accurately while blindfolded from 300 yards away.

    Suddenly, in front of them appeared a large grizzly bear who was in the process of eviscerating a redneck wearing a ‘McCain/Palin’ T-shirt — who had been on a hunting trip to prove his manhood to himself, but evidently he overestimated the aforementioned manhood and the bear was winning.

    Realizing the gravity of the situation, the group quickly took a side trail and let the bear enjoy his victory — because, as they knew, bears are on the verge of becoming extinct but stupid rednecks are not.

    * * *


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