Skip to main content

View Diary: Organized Religion is a Protection Racket (69 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  The Constitution constitutes the government... (0+ / 0-)

    ...not the people. The people establish the Constitution and the government.

    The Constitution mandates there shall be no religious test to hold office, but these assholes act like it's their right to mandate a politician have their religious values and no one else's
    And insofar as those positions are elected, and insofar as the religious leaders speaking in their personal capacity can convince enough people not to vote for someone who doesn't share their religious values, there is absolutely no constitutional problem with that.

    The Constitution does not limit the people; it limits government. The Constitution restricts the American government from implementing a religious test for a government position; it does not place any restriction on the people, who are allowed to make their voting decisions on the basis of whatever criteria they choose.

    Now, I'll agree that the imposition of laws based entirely in religious beliefs, with no secular or general justification for them, is in fact a violation of the First Amendment, as it represents a governmental establishment of religion.

    But except for the most obvious cases, some of which remain shamefully on the books (like "blue laws" preventing alcohol sales or other business practices on Sundays), it's really difficult to show that a given law has only religious motivations, and it gets into a lot of gray areas I'd rather we not be establishing with the force of law.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 09:42:24 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Faulty interpretation. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO

      Being tax-exempt conveys special privileges on religion.

      "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

      by Troubadour on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 01:36:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's faulty about that interpretation? (0+ / 0-)

        The "no religious test" clause doesn't apply to people's voting decisions—and can't, really, unless you've devised some way to determine which votes are made on the basis of a "religious test" so you can throw them out.

        And religious personages have just as much a right to free speech as anyone else in their personal capacity, so they're free to advocate that people make their voting decisions on the basis of religion—just as they'd be free to advocate that people make their voting decisions on the basis of positions on a given issue, facial hair, height, or any other factor whether or not it has any bearing whatsoever on a person's fitness for office.

        Please indicate where the fault is in that constitutional interpretation.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 01:42:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tax exemption is subsidization (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO

          because everyone in society benefits from the services of government.  One has to pay some level of tax just to be in a state of economic neutrality.  Ergo, religious organizations receive free services from society without contributing anything back, and it's justified entirely on the religious premise that what they claim to give back - some metaphysical quality of spiritual salvation - is of value, and untainted by commercial or political motivation that, if explicit, would involve paying taxes.

          "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

          by Troubadour on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 01:48:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How doesn't that apply to other nonprofits? (0+ / 0-)
            One has to pay some level of tax just to be in a state of economic neutrality.  Ergo, religious organizations receive free services from society without contributing anything back...
            No more than any other nonprofit. Other nonprofit organizations don't have to justify their existence by demonstrating that they "contribute something back" to society; they simply have to prove that they are, indeed, not for-profit commercial ventures, and that they're not engaging in any partisan political activity.

            Again, you seem to want to give religious organizations a higher bar to clear than any other nonprofit organization—in effect, creating a governmental presumption against religion. How doesn't that violate the Establishment Clause?

            Further, that still doesn't at all address the content of my previous comment, which regarded the "no religious test" clause, and its (lack of) applicability to individuals' voting decisions or to our constitutionally-protected speech about political issues. How does your above comment apply to that conversation thread?

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 01:56:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What financial disclosure? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NonnyO

              Check it.

              Sorry, it looks like you're mistaken.  Let's give religious organizations the same bar a non-religious charity has to pass.

              To do otherwise would be to endorse religion.

              •  That's about IRS reporting... (0+ / 0-)

                ...not about any organization having to justify their existence.

                I don't see anything on there that indicates that any other nonprofit has to demonstrate that they "contribute something back" to society in exchange for their tax exemptions.

                So it comes back to Troubadour wanting religious organizations to have to do something more than any other nonprofit organization does—in having to explicitly justify why they should be allowed to continue to exist.

                As for the "endorsing religion" part... while the Constitution doesn't endorse religion, the Free Exercise Clause does specifically protect religion from the state just as the Establishment Clause protects the state from religion.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:45:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Looks like they're justifying it to me. (0+ / 0-)

                  What part of reporting one's finances to the IRS isn't justifying those finances?

                  Non-profits have to report their finances, unless it's a church.  Why do they not report their finances?  Why is that fair to the atheist nonprofit group?

                  We're supposed to be equal, but right now people who want to spread nonsense and hate have favor over those who don't.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site