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

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  •  Defining charity legally, morally, ethically (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Murphoney, Sychotic1

    The law defines tax deductible charitable giving from a legal perspectic - and it includes churches and religious organizations among many others. There is certainly room to debate how the law defines these things, but probably not a very fruitful debate - too many people's pet causes at risk. As I read through the Maher rant I hit my roadblock with symphony and other arts organizations. Even though I am a staunch defender of the work of faith based charities, the bridge too far for me was threatening arts organizations.

    All of that aside, I think there is a definite distinction between the moral and ethical level of charity when someone tithes to their church vs giving to the food bank or SPCA or local little theater or public radio station. The most generously charitable people I know, who also are church members, give to their church and to many of the other kinds of causes. If someone contends that their only charity is their church (let alone the "minimum required" by their church) then they are being miserly. I have wondered if Mitt's avoidance of sharing his tax returns is because of this.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:51:00 AM PDT

    •  thank you for this: (0+ / 0-)
      The most generously charitable people I know, who also are church members, give to their church and to many of the other kinds of causes.
      My husband and I both give through the Combined Federal Campaign.  I support hunger charities, international relief organizations, etc. -- I do not give to the arts because I know others will do so. I'm not sure which organizations my husband supports with his, but I trust him to make good decisions.

      But, as Presbyterians, we also pledge and give to our church, and some of that money -- about 11-12% of it -- does go directly to our mission projects (local, national and international.  Furthermore, our church provides a free space for 8 AA meetings/week. As an historic church, we have a docent program so we can share our space and our stories with tourists and other visitors.  And we have many additional special events during the year that raise funds/collect needed goods for direct assistance. (Food collection crates are permanent fixtures all year long.)

      Nationally, the Presbyterian Church is very active in social justice areas. The Presbyterian Health Education and Welfare Association is a ministry of the Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry ministry area of the General Assembly Mission Council, Presbyterian Church(U.S.A.)  

      This organization includes the following networks:
      PAN: AIDS Network
      PHN: Health Network
      PARO: Affirming Reproductive Options
      PADVN Domestic Violence Network
      PDC: Disability Concerns
      PSMIN: Serious Mental Illness
      PCAN: Child Advocacy
      PACT: Community Transformation
      PCJN Presbyterian Criminal Justice Network

      None of our money goes to sponsor hate -- anywhere. Do we pay our ministers/support staff? Of course. Do we pay to keep the lights on and the roof repaired? Yes. Can our congregation do everything we do without the staff and buildings? No.

      Every charity anyone gives to has some overhead. If you want to limit that part of my charitable contributions that go to support the Presbyterian Church to the amount that goes for direct assistance, fine.

      But then that should also be done for donations to every other charitable organization.
       

      "The corrupt fear us. The honest support us. The heroic join us." Jesse LaGreca (MinistryOfTruth),Tuesday, October 4, 2011.

      by gfre on Sat May 05, 2012 at 11:50:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Surely You Don't Mean This... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster
      If someone contends that their only charity is their church (let alone the "minimum required" by their church) then they are being miserly.
      Using your standard Vice President Biden is one of the most miserly politicians in Washington.  Do you really hold him in such low esteem?
    •  Arts orgs are playgrounds for the rich. (0+ / 0-)

      There's no way they're as valuable as food banks.

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