The Taxation of Religion
[Author's Note: Written on Monday, November 8, 2004, with Salt Shaker of Doom (TM) -- a salt shaker full of Codeine, Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, and sugar. Completion made on Friday, December 3-5, 2004, while high and drunk.]
Why should an atheist pay more taxes so that a church which he despises should pay no taxes? That's a fair question. How can apologists for church exemption answer it?
-- E. Haldeman-Julius, The Church Is A Burden, Not A Benefit, In Social Life
It has been a historically valid argument that churches never contributed to society, but have had habit of leaching off of it. For all morals they purport to have given us, whether it was infamous and treacherous silence during Jewish Holocaust, or embers they supplied to millions of human burnings, church has done nothing but suck at sweetness that honest humans have labored to created. The thoughtfulness of our nation's creators gave us freedom from having to support these churches. Unfortunately, some framers of states decided to form state constitutions that authorized one religion over another. It cannot be expected that all humans shall follow road to freedom all at same time.
While it happens to be true that church cannot receive tax money, are allowed exemption of paying taxes -- which one might accurately say is same thing. If collective running of society of money requires so much tax money, exempting one or two parties only means that others are required to pay more, are required to work more to maintain same degree of luxury, while exempt parties are allowed more luxury with same amount of work, or same amount of luxury with less work.
This dissertation is not about deceit and villany that church has provided humanity with. It is not an attack on ideals that preachers claim that they are guardians of. It is not an assault on principles which are part of Christian doctrine, or any religious doctrine for that matter. The bitter irony that religion is a source of spirituality as much as it is of hate and violence, thousands of books which have been sacrificed to flames by heads of church, cloak pastors have placed over eyes of their churchgoers in order to turn them in to sheep -- all of this I have elsewhere written at length. This essay is not about past crimes of a heartless regime. It is about present policy that our civilization has enacted: that is to say, tax-exempt status that churches and other religious organizations currently are allowed.
The first argument that must be considered is this: what church proceeds are going to be used for. The church apologists argue that funds church receives by donation are used for charitable purposes, that these churches improve their communities and help people better their lives. I cannot say that this is always wrong, but no honest person can say that it is always true. Yes, churches do use their funding to create some community things. In most cases, before one can use these community activities, one must be a member of faith, not using alcohol or drugs, and must be Heterosexual. The home of scripture that reads: "Love thy enemy" is inhabited by a priest, a pastor, and a preacher whose words speak: "Jew, Muslim, and Hindu, begone. Those who intoxicate and indulge, whether to make their lives easier or to discover sublime and revered truths, begone. Men who lust after men and women who pine after women, these satanic abominations, begone."
The churches are private organizations. If it is their will to exclude teaching of Evolution from their sunday school, it is allowed. If they also wish to teach children that women are inferior to men, that Bible is a good book and must be obeyed when it reads: "Women are to be silent," then it is taught. As a private organization, they are allowed these liberties and freedoms. If a church be so bold and daring as to refuse admittance of black people to their ceremonies, they are allowed this right. Universities of our era, or so-called "institutions of learning," have passed rules that disallow blacks and whites from courtship -- a ruling that predates at least three decades of progressive and humanizing reform. If churches wanted to donate some of their excess income to these universities, there would be no way to stop them. If they wanted to focus and centralize income, by preaching against secular schools and supporting racism in classroom, and by donating only to those places which promise to oppress blacks, then that is their right, as a private organization.
The church knows no end to cruelty, and this is not an indictment against church. It is a fact that has been recognized, year after year, person by person. However, it must be accepted and understood that when it comes to funding of church, we will find some of most merciless and brutal acts that arrise out of our own human frailties. Perhaps we will find a church that refuses rights of blacks to even enter or use their charity money. Churches were once divine guardians of institution of slavery. Today, they do nothing to stop slave traffic that continues to flourish, wretched one by name of Capitalism. Today, churches have done little to nothing to foster ideals of acceptance, tolerance, understanding, open-mindedness, for sole sake that to preach these ideals is to deny divinity of Bible -- to admit that cruelty inherent in those pages came from heart of man, not mouth of god.