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Corporate beliefs need to be subsidized or at least be colocated with a major ideological industry. "(American) businessmen had assumed the role of (insert 2016 GOP POTUS candidate)'s principal backers to suppress the working-class movement and ensure their own survival." Corporations have communities of believers, albeit less well-informed.
In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Compelling governmental interests in uniform compliance with the law, and disadvantages that religion-based opt-outs impose on others, hold no sway, the Court decides, at least when there is a “less restrictive alternative.” And such an alternative, the Court suggests, there always will be whenever, in lieu of tolling an enterprise claiming a religion-based exemption, the government, i.e., the general public, can pick up the tab....
[T]he Court forgets that religious organizations exist to serve a community of believers. For-profit corporations do not fit that bill. Moreover, history is not on the Court’s side. Recognition of the discrete characters of “ecclesiastical and lay” corporations dates back to Blackstone, see 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 458 (1765), and was reiterated by this Court centuries before the enactment of the Internal Revenue Code. See Terrett v. Taylor, 9 Cranch 43, 49 (1815) (describing religious corporations); Trustees of Dartmouth College, 4 Wheat., at 645 (discussing “eleemosynary” corporations, including those “created for the promotion of religion”). To reiterate, “for-profit corporations are different from religious non-profits in that they use labor to make a profit, rather than to perpetuate [the] religious value[s] [shared by a community of believers].”  
When people donate to religious groups, it's tax-deductible. Churches don't pay property taxes on their land or buildings. When they buy stuff, they don't pay sales taxes. When they sell stuff at a profit, they don't pay capital gains tax. If they spend less than they take in, they don't pay corporate income taxes. Priests, ministers, rabbis and the like get "parsonage exemptions" that let them deduct mortgage payments, rent and other living expenses when they're doing their income taxes. They also are the only group allowed to opt out of Social Security taxes (and benefits).

Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Money is Speech, USSC, political cartoon
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:55:56 AM PDT

  •  What a lot of supporters of this lunacy don't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, NancyWH, allie4fairness

    seem to grasp is that without all this craziness, the country could totally afford a whole new Afghanistan-level war.

    Which IMHO might be one bright side to this; but it hardly balances out how irksome it is to both subsidize all of this chicanery and then have the recipients simultaneously claim to have some magical exemption from public oversight.

    I mean really, getting back to my first point, what if our military and intelligence communities had both of those privileges?

  •  There no longer IS a separation of church (9+ / 0-)

    and state, and the state did NOT violate that principle. The standard "rationale" for a tax exemption for religious property and income is no longer extant, and it's all the doing of the "religious".

    Tax every fucking dime they own and generate, and start doing it now.

    "The tides go out, the tides come in...Nobody knows why." Glenn Beck, 2014.

    by old mark on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:37:44 AM PDT

  •  An excellent detailed analysis of (10+ / 0-)

    the church tax issue was done in the NYT a couple of years ago by Diana Henriques. You can find it online.

    "In 1875, President Ulysses S. Grant's message to Congress included a 900-foot petition containing 35,000 signatures stating, "We demand that churches and other ecclesiastical property shall be no longer exempt from taxation."

    "I would also call your attention to the importance of correcting an evil that, if permitted to continue, will probably lead to great trouble in our is the accumulation of vast amounts of untaxed church property....In 1850, the church properties in the U.S. which paid no taxes, municipal or state, amounted to about $83 million. In 1860, the amount had doubled; in 1875, it is about $1 billion. By 1900, without check, it is safe to say this property will reach a sum exceeding $3 vast a sum, receiving all the protection and benefits of government without bearing its portion of the burdens and expenses of the same, will not be looked upon acquiescently by those who have to pay the taxes....I would suggest the taxation of all property equally, whether church or corporation." -Ulysses S. Grant

  •  If We could Pass This We Could Stop Climate (7+ / 0-)


    The response to any conservative policy is not a different policy, it's a plan to reduce the number of conservatives in government. THey're a conquest force not a philosophical system.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:44:21 AM PDT

  •  BIG changes are afoot in my life ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... - The Church of glb3.

    My life is in total anarchy. I’ve lost all respect for my own authoritarianism.

    by glb3 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:53:33 AM PDT

  •  I got annoyed yesterday morning ... (9+ / 0-)

    I had to pass a large church on a road near me and counted eight 'Constables' dirrecting traffic there.  These are additional benefits we pay for.  My question is, since they are so against big government,  Why can't they direct their own traffic via volunteers?

    Rant off.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:56:50 AM PDT

  •  What's next corpo exemption from Federal taxes?.. (6+ / 0-)

    ..based on a "religious belief that taxes are discriminatory?

    Maybe "conservatives" should just jump to their next goal now that religious freedom includes telling third party employees they must abide by the corpo religious beliefs and could author a new law called the;
    'Norquist/Rand corpo's as individual persons religious freedom from discriminatory taxes (also known as any and all  taxation) law'

    From the syllabus (pdf) it seems that the "conservative" members of the courts main thrust was that for-profit corps should be considered on the same footing with non-profit religious organizations/churches. and to consider them differently is discrimination;

    Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law. States, including those in which the plaintiff corporations were incorporated, authorize corporations to pursue any lawful purpose or business, including the pursuit of profit in conformity with the owners’ religious principles. Pp. 20–25
    Then Justice Ginsburg's dissent (pdf) on that:
    With RFRA’s restorative purpose in mind, I turn to the Act’s application to the instant lawsuits. That task, in view of the positions taken by the Court, requires consideration of several questions, each potentially dispositive of Hobby Lobby’s and Conestoga’s claims:

     • Do for-profit corporations rank among “person[s]” who “exercise . . . religion”? Assuming that they do, does the contraceptive coverage requirement “substantially burden” their religious exercise?

    • If so, is the requirement “in furtherance of a compelling government interest”?

     •  And last, does the requirement represent the least restrictive means for furthering that interest?

    Misguided by its errant premise that RFRA moved beyond the pre-Smith case law, the Court falters at each step of its analysis.
    ..exemptions had never been extended to any entity operating in “the commercial, profit-making world.” Amos, 483
    U. S., at 337.16

    The reason why is hardly obscure. Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith.
     Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.
    Indeed, by law, no religion-based criterion can restrict the work force of for-profit corporations. See 42 U. S. C. §§2000e(b), 2000e–1(a), 2000e–2(a); cf. Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, 432 U. S. 63, 80–81 (1977) (Title VII requires reasonable accommodation of an employee’s religious exercise, but such accommodation must not come “at the expense of other[ employees]”).

     - emphasis and bullets added

    "Other employees" being Third party employees whose rights get stomped on - imo

    And Ginsburg warns:

    The Court’s determination that RFRA extends to for profit corporations is bound to have untoward effects.
    Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private.19 Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate, for the Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood—combined with its other errors in construing RFRA—invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith.
    Ianal but think that Ginsburg nailed this

    Thx annieli

    So now if corporations are people, have religious protections, and churches are tax exempt maybe the whole tax exempt status on both needs all whole new looking at.

    Pretty soon the way things are going, the only people left without these exemptions and special treatment will be us the people - the only real actual individual persons

    - what a mess this RWNJ court makes

    •  Ginsburg: (7+ / 0-)
      Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA. The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities. As Chief Justice Marshall observed nearly two centuries ago, a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.”
      Seems to also be saying "Corporations are NOT people" by making the distintion.  I hope this view spreads!

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 12:15:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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