Carl Harry Carlson

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Everything posted by Carl Harry Carlson

  1. I read about the applicable VA statute. Virginia discriminates between ministers that do have an actual church and those who don't. If you have proof of your ordination and "regular communion" with your religious society or some such language, you go to a circuit court and get "authorization" to perform marriages. Here's the quote from the website: Marriage Ceremony: Who may perform? - A minister of any religious denomination must be authorized by a circuit court to celebrate the rites of matrimony. To obtain such authorization, the minister must produce proof of his ordination and regular communion with the religious society of which he is a reputed member. Here's the link to the webiste: http://virginia.usmarriagelaws.com/#ceremony
  2. Yeh, me too, Bro. I think it's interesting that the site places all of the presidential candidates, including President Obama, very close together, right of center economically and high on the "Authoritarian" scale.
  3. Someguitarist, I am legal in Michigan with just the ULC but some people questioned it so I went ahead and filed an "ecclesiastical corporation." (That requires 3 people as "Directors" in MI.) Then I held a meeting of the "Board" and the 3 of us signed a 1 page resolution authorizing me to be the minister of the church and to perform any and all ministerial functions or some such language. So I have written evidence I'm a minister legal in Michigan. It cost me $60 bucks plus it costs $15 bucks a year for the annual report. Plus refreshments for my "Directors." Maybe that will work for you in VA. A friend of mine performed a legal marriage in one state with nothing more than a notary certification. Go figure.
  4. If you want a good general idea of where you stand politically, this is a really interesting site: http://www.politicalcompass.org/ Not only does it show you where you are on a scale from "Left" to "Right" but it also has "Y" axis ("up and "down") that shows you where you are compared to others on a Libertarian vs. Authoritarian scale. it's based on a lot of political economic and social opinion multiple choice questions. Enjoy. Compare.
  5. Thanks, Corey, I'd forgotten how much fun that flick is. Man, I'm gonna rent "Beetlejuice" again soon. I came home from that movie and told people to remember the name Winona Ryder: That teenaged girl is gonna be a star. She owns every scene she is in.
  6. S-B, Your other thread got wiped out by the server this afternoon. That's just as well I think because both were sorta on the same education topic. Nick, I probably am going to disagree with S-B in a few more postings, as usual, but I'd like to hear what the man has to say. Finland, by the way, is a country about 1/60th the size of the United States. It has a largely homogenous population by race, religion, culture, and a more closely grouped income range. Finland does not have the huge urban (and elsewhere too) social ills and poverty issues we have. The situation here in the U.S. is vastly different. We have a vastly different set of issues.
  7. . . . "there is a technology of study and it works every time it is tried." Keep going, S-B. I am reading and listening to everything you wrote. So far you are making a lot of sense. I'm not going to quibble at this point, I'm loving it. You made my mouth water with the tantalizing phrase above. What is it? Keep going.
  8. I'm thinking of all the wisdom that was lost. And all the foolishness that will now also be forgotten.
  9. I dunno, hyper. If a megachurch has a celebrity minister who has a big media ministry, and they pay him a huge salary, and he files a tax return like everybody else and he pays taxes on that salary, where is the problem? To me it's only a problem if the trustees of the church are breaking their trust with the donors and paying the preacher more than he deserves and taking church resources that burden the members unfairly or prevent the church from doing its mission. And that's a judgement call. That's why the church is supposed to have trustees. If the trustees are in the pocket of the minister and don't have to report to the flock, well, abuses can happen. I didn't/don't know that/if the IRS has guidelines on this, or if violating the guidlines could jeopardize 501( c ) (3) status. Doesn't affect my ministry, that's for sure. Sounds to me like the Covenant is pretty successful. I wonder at what point it can be considered a business. And how generous, I wonder, are the expense accounts, untaxed, for expenses incurred by the minister? It becomes a fair issue for us to debate when the church has an IRS 501 ©(3) status, which most churches do, because some of our lost tax revenue is going to that big salary. True. A lot of our lost tax revenue goes to charitable causes I would disagree with. If a church doesn't have the 501©(3) then it it truly a private matter and none of our business. But as long as we have charitable deductions, I guess we have to give a lot of latitude to the trustees of the charities to "do only what is right." P.S. Dmn website computer keeps changing ( c ) to © unless you remember to fool it by putting a space in.
  10. Hey I just thought of an idea . . . Why not print this thread and send it to him and ask him what he thinks you should do?
  11. Hello Atwater, Interesting lesson. Question: You mention that Pagans tend to believe in several dieties, gods, and goddesses. Do you or most other Pagans view these dieties as "real" or more as a way of humanizing an abstract concept like, say, Spring? Do you invent new dieties or use traditional ones? Best Regards.
  12. As I mentioned somewhere else, I tell people that I'm happy to perform the service and as a minister I don't charge a fee, but an "honorarium" is gratefully accepted ! Even if you don't care about the money, most people feel a need to give you something. They realize you are performing a service for them. They want to show you their gratitude. They want to do the right thing and not feel they are imposing or taking advantage. Accept the payment. What you do with it, whether you give it to charity or your local barkeep, is your own business. I wouldn't diminish their contribution by telling them you will give it to charity. In a way that's telling them their offering to you gives you no enjoyment. In my view. ( I have only done a few weddings. It's an honor and a privilege for me. I really don't care if I get paid or not. The first one I ever did, the father of the bride paid me $100. Unbeknownst to me, my wife gave the bride a gift of $100. I told my wife, "How are we ever going to make a racket out of this if you are going to give it back?! The minister's wife isn't supposed to give a gift!" We laughed. )
  13. It's so difficul to undue a bad first experience with a new neighbor. It is always very helpful when the first encounter with a new neighbor is pleasant, especially when the current resident welcomes a new one. OK, that didn't happen, and your first encounter was negative. So now you need to do relationship repair, if you wish to have a friendly relationship with your neighbor. And, you want to reach a suitable resolution of the dog tresspass issue. Sorry, everyone, I don't agree with several of the postings that suggest what are essentially retaliatory tactics that will not only not solve the problem, they will create more simmering anger between you neighbors. Remember that everybody tends to assume that they are not at fault, it's always the other guy who is. You can bet it's your neighbor who thinks you are the unreasonable people. You've disturbed his daily routine. He obviously feels he is justified to let his dog defecate on your garden without, I presume, scooping it up. Maybe he's never had to scoop poop before. This is where some new testament biblical advice is in my opinion most effective and practical: Respond with kindness. Send your neighbor a gift, like a bouquet of flowers with a note saying something like, "I hope we can be friends first, we'll talk about any problems after we get to know one another." Or some other very friendly, non-sarcastic words that canot be misinterpreted as hostile. Then keep being friendly. Permanently. Both of you, not "good cop - bad cop." Even if they aren't. Even if they keep disrespecting your territory. Remember, every unfriendly thing you do will verify in their minds that you don't deserve courtesy. Or, perhaps you could knock on their door ands ask them if they will do you a favor, like, will they accept a delivery from the UPS guy until you get home, or will they pick up your newspaper while you are away (tell them they can keep it). Once one of you has done a favor for the other, you have a chance to break down barriers. And in the meantime, definitely check the local ordinances. You probably have the law on your side, if it comes to that. And even if you involve the law, you still need to be polite. (When I'm being Santa, I keep telling siblings, "Just because your sister is being a jerk, doesn't give you permission to be a jerk back!" Or I say, "Never play the game called, 'I can be a bigger jerk than you!' ") This is where a neighborhood network can come in handy. In my old neighborhood, we used to have an annual homeowner's meeting at someone's house. Meeting people in a polite, friendly setting makes it easier to resolve disputes later. Sometimes a neighbor has a barbeque or beers on the patio or a superbowl party or some social event and invites a few neighbors and that helps build relationships. You are, after all, neighbors. You don't have to be friends, but neighbors do (in my view) owe one another some obligation to civility and mutual security. You'd forget your anger and call the fire department if you saw their house on fire, or call the police if you saw their house being robbed, wouldn't you? Of course.
  14. You just reminded me of that famous quote from Will Rogers: "I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat."
  15. Thank you for your very thoughful and kind posting, Von. Of course there will always be debate among people who believe in these things. "The devil is in the details."
  16. Really excellent points, people. You are really helping me think. I am rapidly coming to the idea that my religion and my politics are one. I thought they were separate, like the separation of church and state in our America. The difference in my personal religion and many mainstream religions is, I don't believe in forcing my values and beliefs into law that must be followed by all others. Or do I? The things I advocate should become law are indeed from my philosophy, which really means my religious beliefs. I used to object to religions that insist on merging church and state. Now I think I do the same thing.
  17. If I believe in equal justice for all, and equal treatment under law, does that make me a Liberal or a Conservative? If I believe that everyone should be able to do anything they wish, as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others, does that make me a Liberal or a Conservative? If I believe that the government must conduct its financial affairs responsibly and sustainably, does that make me a Conservative? If I believe that we as a society do have some moral obligation to help people who are not abole to help themselves, does that make me a Liberal? If I believe that there is a limit to how much we can help our less fortunate, does that make me a Conservative? If I believe that the government should do whatever it can to improve the circumstances of as many its people as it can, whenever it can, does that make me a Liberal? If I listen to all sides of an debate and try to form opinions based on logic and reasoning, does that make me a freak? If I hold certain opinions for a lifetime but am willing to change them when I find a better philosophy, does that make me a turncoat? If I can see both advantages and disadvantages to everything we do, does that make me indecisive? I believe in all of these things.
  18. Hi md, Thank you for the IRS tax info. I think the information you supplied applies to individuals, not, say, corporate financial support of Political Action Committees (PACs). This detail is important and relevant to a discussion of donations and taxation because of the landmark 2010 U.S.Supreme Court ruling that now allows corporations, unions, and even 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) charitable organizations, including religious organizations, to give unlimited financial support to PACs of any type, which can then be used to influence elections at any level. (The "Citizens United" case.) Giant sponsored PACs ("super-PACs") buy millions and millions of dollars of advertising every month to influence your thinking and mine on a variety of political issues. You don't have to watch TV or read a magazine or cruise the internet for very long before you are until you get a message paid for by a PAC. A PAC is not supposed to "co-ordinate" its activities with a political party or candidate, but many PACs are run entirely by former staffers of those people. Co-inkydink? Of course not. And to my knowledge, those payments from corporations are considered legitimate business expenses. But when individuals like you and I contribute to a PAC, we have to use our after-tax dollars. That puts corporate-financed PACS at an advantage, if they are posting their expenditures as business expenses (which I still am assuming they are). Frankly I need an accurate answer to this question before I go shooting off my mouth again on the subject.
  19. Hex, Mark, I'm not sure you are correct. I'm going to hold off on this until I get a little more information. If I am running a corporation and I spend money for lobbying or contribute to a Politiacl Action Committee ("PAC," which is now permitted due to the Supreme Court ruling on this issue), you damn well can bet I will show those expenditures as expenses on my books. Hex, Mark, please supply some reference material. The law is clear, however, that individuals may not deduct political contributions.
  20. Ahem. Money paid to political organizations is not tax deductable by individuals. But it is deductable by corporations, because it is considered a business expense. Donations made to any organization that does not have charitable (501 C3 ) status with the IRS are not deductable. An organization can be not-for-profit but not a charity. Unions are not charitable organizations. However, union dues are a business expense and therefore deductable if the union member itemizes deductions on their tax return. Disclaimer: I'm not an accountant, that's just my understanding of the tax laws.
  21. Frankly I no longer believe that charitable donations should be deductable on income tax returns. I believe it has created too many distortions. A lot of money gets donated without a lot of attention paid to whether the money is actually doing good or not. If you or I want to support our church or other charity, in my view we ought to be glad to support it with our own hard-earned money, not subsidized by Uncle Sam. Furthermore, church owned real estate in my view should at least be subject to enough property taxes to support the cost of providing city services to that property. Churches require police and fire protection just like all other buildings. Paying for that has become burdensome to many communities. By the way, I once bought some real estate from the Catholic Archdiocese in my area. I was very favorably impressed with how they conducted their real estate management. The Archdiocese had a huge real estate management operation, because they had a huge amount of real estate. The Archdiocese holds some real estate for investment purposes, and some for religious purposes. People often donate real estate to the church, and it has to be managed. The Archdiocese was quite scrupulous about property taxes. They paid property taxes on all the lands they held for investment purposes. They obtained tax-free status only on the properties they used for religious purposes. No funny business, unlike some other charity-owned investment real estate I have seen over the years. If real estate owned by a charitable institution is owned and used for business purposes, it is supposed to pay property taxes. That's the law. And profits from the business are supposed to be subject to the same taxes as any other business. Some charities abuse that. Among other things, when charities use their tax-free status in their business operations, they gain a huge advantage over their competitors who have to pay taxes.
  22. Cool. All the more reason to cross your Ts and dot your I s, Ulti. Do it excellently and properly and enjoy yourself and let the future take care of itself. Best regards.
  23. Using the link to Washington State legislature's website that Md kindly supplied,, and quoting some relevant paragraphs: Who may solemnize. The following named officers and persons, active or retired, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriages, to wit: Justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of appeals, judges of the superior courts, supreme court commissioners, court of appeals commissioners, superior court commissioners, any regularly licensed or ordained minister or any priest of any church or religious denomination, and judges of courts of limited jurisdiction as defined in RCW 3.02.010. Form of solemnization. In the solemnization of marriage no particular form is required, except that the parties thereto shall assent or declare in the presence of the minister, priest, or judicial officer solemnizing the same, and in the presence of at least two attending witnesses, that they take each other to be husband and wife. RCW 26.04.140 Marriage license. Before any persons can be joined in marriage, they shall procure a license from a county auditor, as provided in RCW 26.04.150 through 26.04.190.
  24. Hello Santana, It's been a while since we chatted. Hooka and I disagree more often than we agree. In this case, I completely agree with my frequent debating opponent Hooka. Why are these people telling you you are "bad?" Is that exactly what they said? Did they all say it at the same time? How do you react when you get these negative messages? In any event, if you want any peace at all in your life, you are going to have to remove yourself from exposure to these destructive messages, probably by removing yourseelf from exposure to these people. Maybe you need to find more positve people to associate with. And as Hooka suggests, reflect on our own life and make corrections as you see fit. Please do not pass on the bad Karma or pass it back to them. The only way to stop destructive emotions is with you. When someone dumps bad emotions on you, you have to work at not letting them continue on from you to the next person. And as Hooka said, Good Luck. We are rooting for you. Carl
  25. Hi Jodi, I'm not sure what state you are in but in Michigan it is very easy to start a non-profit organization. Your state may even have the forms available to download or file online. Usually the simplest method is to form a Limited Liability Company ("LLC") rather than a corporation. If there is more than one person in the LLC you probably should have an Operating Agreement that spells out the rules of the LLC. That involves an attorney or the use of a standard Operating Agreement form from somewhere. If you are the only person in the LLC, you don't need the Operating Agreement, at least, at first. You will if the organization grows to the point where there are issues of managing money and succession after you are gone. You don't need the ULC ordination, or any ordination, to have your organization apply for and qualify for a 501 C-3 (charitable) organization with the IRS. And you don't even need that designation until you are handling money, and you want your donors, including yourself, to be able to deduct the contributions as a charitable deduction from the donor's income tax. So you can start or keep on with your work right now. The only advantage of the IRS 501 C-3 charitable designation is that donations to your organization are tax deductable. (The designation also gives you some credibility, if that's an issue.) Good luck with your good work. Regards, Carl