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View Diary: Separating Religious from Secular Marriage (8 comments)

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  •  IMHO, as long as churches get massive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask

    tax breaks, they SHOULD have to conform to society's norms.

    If they wish to be ass backward dinosaurs, let them go do it on their own dime for fuck's sake.

    •  Churches get tax breaks for a reason (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thomask

      It is presumed that they provide a public benefit. As long as they provide that benefit they should be able to conduct their internal affairs as they deem appropriate (provided that those eternal affairs don't include covering up for sexual predators or embezzlement of organizational funds). Now under that definition some churches might still lose their tax exemption. What public benefit, after all, does the Westboro Baptist Church provide? It appears to exist only so that its members can provoke members of the to assault them, so they can sue for injuries and not be subject to taxes on the monies they collect as a result of those lawsuits.

      On the other hand, religious institutions that provide charity to the needy by handing out food to those who are hungry or helping to develop low-income housing should be rewarded for doing so. They can marry or not marry who they choose as long as their charitable services are available on an equal basis to anyone who needs them.

      •  If they do this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thomask
        religious institutions that provide charity to the needy by handing out food to those who are hungry or helping to develop low-income housing should be rewarded for doing so
        they should have to prove it to the IRS and THEN receive any appropriate tax credits to be used against the regular amount of tax they (should be required to) pay up front just like everybody else.
        •  That's a logical solution (0+ / 0-)

          But not a practical one. Many churches don't have the resources to hire an accountant with sufficient skills to do the sort of tracking you suggest. The government tends to tread very lightly when it comes to dealing with religious bodies, presumably based on their understanding of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. In other words they want to make it easy for churches to function. Whether or not that's fair or appropriate is a separate question but it seems to me that as long as churches (I use the term broadly so as to also include synagogues, mosques, etc.) don't stick their necks out by wading into partisan politics I don't have a problem with them keeping their tax exemptions. I would like to see the current understandings enforced more vigorously; that  would take a toll on the evangelicals and dominionists but...well...too bad. Any religious institution that tries to make the entire government the means by which it forces its views on all citizens sort of has it coming to them.

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