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View Diary: Bill Maher says Romney's Mormon church donations are NOT charity (178 comments)

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  •  I'd argue that giving to a church isn't charity (6+ / 0-)

    for a number of reasons, though I'm not arguing that it should be taxed, because of the whole church/start separation thing.

    1)  You're paying for a service.
    2)  The part of the donation that goes to the upkeep of the church, salary of the church personnel, all goes to benefit the congregants...Including you.  It's often not clear how much, if any, of he donation goes to things that don't benefit you.  That's no more charity than ordering a limited edition Save-the-Children mug is charity.  You can actually count the portion of the mug above average cost as charity, I believe, but not the cost of the mug.
    3)  In the case of the Mormon Church, tithing is mandatory, rather than voluntary (Yes, this may not be enforced - I have no idea, but my understanding is it's theoretically mandatory).

    •  Churches don't even file taxes, per se, (0+ / 0-)

      because of the separation of church and state.

      Church finances are beyond the reach of legalistic determinations as to the percent of funds allocated for which purpose.

      I don't see anything to support your commoditization of salvation, either. Even Mormon doctrine only "requires" a tithe for a perfect score (Good Standing) -- do they turn you away at the door and damn you to...whichever planet hell is on?

      It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

      by Murphoney on Sat May 05, 2012 at 07:40:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most churches "require" that to be a member in (6+ / 0-)

        good standing that you contribute.  I doubt that the Mormon church is any different.  I think churches should pay taxes because as Maher so aptly pointed out, they have become businesses.  Their business is survival and growth.  They all should pay taxes.

        •  I don't know that what you say is true. (0+ / 0-)

          I don't know that you do, either.

          It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

          by Murphoney on Sat May 05, 2012 at 07:53:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't....let me give you an example...if you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior

            are not a member in good standing(regular contributions) in a parish, you cannot be married or actually have a burial mass.  If you pay the man the money(a donation), you can.  You can sit in a pew without paying, you cannot participate in many of the sacraments and if you cannot partake of the sacraments, you are not a member, no matter what you think.  That you don't KNOW that just shows YOU have never been a member of any religious organization or come up against their arcane rules.  

            •  well, I know it is not true that you cannot (0+ / 0-)

              partake in the sacraments without paying -- I know for a fact that you can partake in the sacraments without paying.

              I do not know that that is universally so, but I do know that what you say is not universally so.

              What you say might be true of some parish but what you say is not definitively true of "religion" or "churches" .

              It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

              by Murphoney on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:42:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  While I think salvation, or the peace of mind (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, elwior, sharman

        it gives, is indeed a service, Churches provide more than that.

        They provide a meeting place for communities.  They often provide classes and sermons attended by congregants.  This isn't charity - you're paying for something, and getting something in return, even when payment is completely voluntary.  They also provide moral support and maybe even counselling in one's time of need (And donations, in some special circumstances, so can be a bit of a poor-man's societal safety net).

        I just don't see how paying upkeep on a big building that you personally make use of (And others make use of in the same way), or paying the salary of preachers is a charitable contribution, when you make use of their services yourself.

        Giving away money in a way that in no way benefits you, your relatives, or your friends - that's what I'd call charity.  Admittedly, you may get some pleasure out of giving, and may gain something from thinking that if you were similarly in need, someone may help you out, and may like the idea of making the world a better place for yourself and your children, but that's about it.

        •  thing is, you don't necessarily have to pay $.01 (0+ / 0-)

          to belong to a religion.  period.

          It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

          by Murphoney on Sat May 05, 2012 at 08:01:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In the Mormon faith (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, elwior

            you must be a member in good standing to attend temple.

            And to be a member in good standing you must pay the tithe.

            The Mormon church's financial growth has been fueled by "sacred taxation" -- tithing. To be of good standing, all Mormons must tithe, or give 10 percent of their gross income to the church. The Ostlings' research concluded that annual tithing revenue, as of the mid-1990s, was likely between $4.25 and $5.3 billion.

            Not all Mormons tithe, but tithing is a requirement of keeping a temple recommend allowing Mormons to enter the temple, and the percentage of members who pay tithing is very high, probably well over 60 percent.

            http://www.pbs.org/...
            •  w/ 60% participation, the Mormon faith doesn't (0+ / 0-)

              expel 40% of its members on any sort of regular basis.

              Regardless of the available bells and whistles, the VIP passes and gold stars, not all Mormons pay anything yet they remain Mormons.

              It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

              by Murphoney on Sat May 05, 2012 at 12:27:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The Bishop comes to your house and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        harangues you.  After a while, all your "callings" (offices and duties within the church) get revoked, publicly shaming you.

        You only get damned to hell in Mormon Theology if you reject God completely even after you die.  Obeying the Church is all about getting into the really good heaven, not avoiding Hell.  They aren't Catholics.

        But not paying your tithes can result in going to a less awesome heaven.

        Your vote is your consent.

        by JesseCW on Sat May 05, 2012 at 02:41:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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