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View Diary: Pat Robertson to elderly woman: Your husband is sick because you arent giving enough to your church (59 comments)

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  •   that's the ultimate aim of religion (9+ / 0-)

    to make money for religious leaders

    Focus on the love! The Republicans can keep the disco.

    by Mr Horrible on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 05:10:14 PM PDT

    •  In every congregation I have belonged to (8+ / 0-)

      including my current one to which I have been a member since 1991 and have served as president, we accept reduced membership dues for those in need.  We have a committee of three who review the requests and they have always granted them.  The identities of those on a reduced dues schedule are kept secret from the congregation, but I know that nearly half our members are on a reduced fee schedule.  We have had to cut our rabbi's pay by 75 percent so he only comes now on major holidays and for bar/bat mitzvahs, and just a few other Shabbats.  I know for a fact this is the standard practice for Conservative synagogues who belong to the United Synagogue national organization.  We do insist that, no matter how poor, the member make a symbolic payment of $5 or $10 for the year, if they cannot pay more.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 05:48:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Fees"? (6+ / 0-)

        God, and people wonder why religion is on the decline. Congratulations on being 'progressive' enough to accept reduced fees from people who could use that money for, y'know, useful things, but paying some fool to spout millennia-old superstition is not worth one red penny.

        Marx was absolutely, 100%, unequivocally right about one thing: Religion is the opiate of the masses.

        Boehner: "Shut down Obamacare or the budget gets it!" Reid: "Don't think so." B: "But.. but.. shut down Obamacare!" R: "No." B: "... Please?" R: "Fuck off."

        by evilcommunist on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 06:56:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly what I thought. Fees? To listen (0+ / 0-)

          to the word of God?

          I can't help stop laughing at that idea.

          You know, Moses was dyslexic. When he said god spoke to him, he really meant dog spoke to him.

          Makes a lot more sense that way.

          •  Kindly advise me (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JDsg

            How do we pay the rabbi's salary?  Aren't clergy entitled to pay for work as the rest of us are?

            How do we pay the rent?

            For those congregations that own their building, there is the mortgage and utilities.  How is that to be paid?

            The building's owner also requires that we hire a janitor, who also must be paid, although we have often done this work ourselves, the owner insists on an outside janitor.  We also pay teens a small allowance to lead children's services and babysit the younger ones.  

            In Judaism, unlike in Christianity, you are forbidden to carry money on Shabbat, so no passing of the hat - no money collections on Shabbat.  Of course, anyone is welcome to come to services.  But synagogue membership requires dues.

            The idea that money grows on trees like oranges and apples, there for the taking, is ridiculous.  But if you know some other way of meeting these expenses that is legal and won't land us in jail, kindly share your secret.

            "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

            by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 06:59:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It seems to me that you already got (0+ / 0-)

              the answer to your questions within those comments. Don't forget that those of us who do not believe in gods or religions are forced by over 200 tax exemptions laws to support your faith whether we want to or not.  So a little frustration from atheists expressed when you talk about church/synagogue/ mosque financing is not surprising.

              •  Don't be frustrated (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JDsg

                To pay corporate tax, income (membership dues, contributions, and an occasional bake sale) has to exceed expenditures (rabbi's 1/4 time salary, rent, and other misc. expenses I ourlined) so no income tax would be due.  Pat Robinson's fraud - a political operation masking as a house of God - is another story.

                "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

                by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 12:19:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But do you pay property taxes? (0+ / 0-)

                  Can the synagogue write off supplies and salaries? Does the rabbi get a housing tax credit? When the fire co. or police come to attend to problems with the synagogue, does your synagogue pay local taxes to support them? What about the roads to your building?   Surely your synagogue knows about and utilizes the myriad of exemptions available to you. There are lawyers who do nothing but advise religious institutions on how to take advantage of the tax benefits our country has deemed necessary (especially since the fifties) to help religion ward off the godless communists (congressmen actually used that to justify the tax favors).

                  Religious institutions in this country write off trillions of dollars exemptions that the rest of us have to make up for in order to pay the bills in our communities and states. Now maybe your synagogue is struggling along, but it certainly isn't because you don't have help from the civil powers that be. Ben Franklin has a good quote on that. Too bad we didn't hold to that view as a country. You've probably read that quote, but if not, I'll share it if you wish.

                  Robertson is just an obvious fraud, but he is far far from the only one around.

                  •  Nope, the owner of the building (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JDsg

                    pays the property taxes.  The owner is also a tax exempt charity (not a religious institution.)  We're also on well traveled and heavily populated city streets.  And, as I said, you don't owe taxes when you wind up slightly in the red - and that's not do to any lawyer tricks.  If we had to pay a lawyer, we'd really be deep in the red.  We're a small congregation, less than 100 members, and convert a dining room each week into a synagogue, then back into a dining room so needy can be fed during the other 6 days of the week.   Please don't generalize.

                    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

                    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 01:12:48 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So you are saying that your synagogue (0+ / 0-)

                      (and/or rabbi) does not in any way shape or form take any kind of tax related exemptions (or grants) from federal, state, or local governments?  Someone should write a feature article on that!

                      Since 99.999% of religious institutions in this country take full advantage of the gifts from government, I wouldn't say I'm generalizing at all.

                      Too bad the synagogues that are clamoring for FEMA funds (and getting their friends in Congress to bend the laws) to rebuild after Sandy (a big church/state violation) don't take a page from your book.  Maybe you can have a little talk with them?

            •  That is the point. (0+ / 0-)

              That religions must extract "fees" and in many ways operate like a membership-based business in order to grow to a certain size is not a point in their favor.

              However, I think the underlying assumption here is the need to congregate in groups that necessitates things like meeting halls and professional clergymen. From what I can tell, all you need is ten other practicing Jews to form a "proper" Jewish Communal worship. If you are a Christian, all you need is one other Christian to have a communal worship. However, I agree that for most people, this is not enough spiritually, and people need to worship in larger crowds to get a full "communal" effect from their worship.

              That again, however, is not a point in favor of religion.

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