Rev. Calli

Are Christians really "Taking Over"

149 posts in this topic

If we open the door to Constitutional Convention, even a crack, it will swing wide open.  In this political climate, anything is possible.  Including the United Christian States of America.

Call it a dark vision.  I suspect we will all regret.

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3 hours ago, Dan56 said:

Trust me, I support the first amendment, the last thing I'd want is for any church to become an arm of the government.. Whether it be the desire of Progressive Liberals (socialist) or the Tea Party, I'd oppose repealing the first amendment, because politics and religion just don't mix.

It is neither the desire of Progressive Liberals, democratic socialists (as they'd be called in the USA), or our Tea Party to repeal the first amendment. The one thing each of those share is that they're Americans, and though I might expect a few of the religious 'hard-right' to try to side-step the First Amendment, it's main threats exist beyond our shores.

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3 hours ago, scottedward said:

It is neither the desire of Progressive Liberals, democratic socialists (as they'd be called in the USA), or our Tea Party to repeal the first amendment. The one thing each of those share is that they're Americans, and though I might expect a few of the religious 'hard-right' to try to side-step the First Amendment, it's main threats exist beyond our shores.

I admire your confidence in American sanity.  I can't imagine what it's based on.

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1 minute ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

I admire your confidence in American sanity.  I can't imagine what it's based on.

It has nothing to do with sanity. In this case, it's about tradition and respecting our founders.

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8 hours ago, scottedward said:

It is neither the desire of Progressive Liberals, democratic socialists (as they'd be called in the USA), or our Tea Party to repeal the first amendment. The one thing each of those share is that they're Americans, and though I might expect a few of the religious 'hard-right' to try to side-step the First Amendment, it's main threats exist beyond our shores.

Keep in mind that Liberals support the Johnson amendment, which prevents religions from endorsing or opposing political candidates, some even feel that religious profits should be taxed. And while religions depend on the separation from state, some endorse the Tea Party agenda, which donates a lot of money to influence candidates who will support conservative Supreme Court nominee's (anti-abortion, gay marriage, etc). Both groups rely on the 1st amendment when its convenient, but the waters can get a little murky when they attempt to skirt around the edges.

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16 minutes ago, Dan56 said:

Keep in mind that Liberals support the Johnson amendment, which prevents religions from endorsing or opposing political candidates, some even feel that religious profits should be taxed. 

That is inaccurate. The Johnson Amendment does not prevent anyone from engaging in political activity. It prevents organizations that engage in political activity from being 501(c)(3) tax exempt. It is just an accounting rule, really.

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11 minutes ago, Dan56 said:

Keep in mind that Liberals support the Johnson amendment, which prevents religions from endorsing or opposing political candidates, some even feel that religious profits should be taxed. And while religions depend on the separation from state, some endorse the Tea Party agenda, which donates a lot of money to influence candidates who will support conservative Supreme Court nominee's (anti-abortion, gay marriage, etc). Both groups rely on the 1st amendment when its convenient, but the waters can get a little murky when they attempt to skirt around the edges.

I believe the same can be said of many things in the world, when people or individuals try to attempt this 'skirting'. Things get messy, but I don't believe its my place to point out examples.

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3 hours ago, Dan56 said:

Keep in mind that Liberals support the Johnson amendment, which prevents religions from endorsing or opposing political candidates, some even feel that religious profits should be taxed. And while religions depend on the separation from state, some endorse the Tea Party agenda, which donates a lot of money to influence candidates who will support conservative Supreme Court nominee's (anti-abortion, gay marriage, etc). Both groups rely on the 1st amendment when its convenient, but the waters can get a little murky when they attempt to skirt around the edges.

The Johnson amendment is what keeps the churches from acting as conduits for dirty political money.  Take away the Johnson amendment; and the churches will reach new depths of corruption and degradation.

It's as much your issue as mine -- for different reasons.  Do you want the Koch brothers making huge contributions to the churches -- so that they can then hand over the money to a candidate?  We might as well stop pretending and put public office up for auction.

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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3 hours ago, mererdog said:

That is inaccurate. The Johnson Amendment does not prevent anyone from engaging in political activity. It prevents organizations that engage in political activity from being 501(c)(3) tax exempt. It is just an accounting rule, really.

This is true.  Without the Johnson amendment, the Koch brothers could make a huge contribution to the church -- and take it off their tax liability as a charitable contribution -- to the church.  The church then contributes to the candidate.  Who actually pays for the foul deed?  The American tax payer.  Dirty, dirty, dirty.   

:whist:

 

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1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

This is true.  Without the Johnson amendment, the Koch brothers could make a huge contribution to the church -- and take it off their tax liability as a charitable contribution -- to the church.  The church then contributes to the candidate.  Who actually pays for the foul deed?  The American tax payer.  Dirty, dirty, dirty.   

:whist:

 

One might wonder why the Koch brothers haven't silently wondered how or why they had so much money.  :mellow:
I mean, what's the point of having so much wealth if it cannot be used or spent during the entire stretch of two or three lifetimes?

Edited by scottedward

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10 minutes ago, scottedward said:

One might wonder why the Koch brothers haven't silently wondered how or why they had so much money.  :mellow:
I mean, what's the point of having so much wealth if it cannot be used or spent during the entire stretch of two or three lifetimes?

They are remaking the world to suit themselves.

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3 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

They are remaking the world to suit themselves.

Some might suggest that the world already suits them just fine.

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3 hours ago, scottedward said:

Some might suggest that the world already suits them just fine.

Perhaps.  Maybe they enjoy playing with their property.

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10 hours ago, mererdog said:

That is inaccurate. The Johnson Amendment does not prevent anyone from engaging in political activity. It prevents organizations that engage in political activity from being 501(c)(3) tax exempt. It is just an accounting rule, really.

That's kind of like saying that there's no rule that forces me to pay my taxes, I'll just go to jail if I don't :).  Telling a church that if they engage in political activity, they'll get the hell taxed out of them, does prevent them from engaging in political activity. That's how liberals operate, when they can't legally outlaw something, they invent rules to make it tough for someone to exercise their rights. For instance, In Illinois I have the right to carry a gun, but it cost me nearly $500 to obtain my CCW permit. These "accounting rules" serve as a deterrent.

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On 3/27/2017 at 3:03 AM, scottedward said:

It is neither the desire of Progressive Liberals, democratic socialists (as they'd be called in the USA), or our Tea Party to repeal the first amendment. The one thing each of those share is that they're Americans, and though I might expect a few of the religious 'hard-right' to try to side-step the First Amendment, it's main threats exist beyond our shores.

While I doubt the progressives would mess with the 1st, I believe the conservatives would. I think you are right, neither would eliminate it, due to optics. But a bit of a tweak, can lead to all kinds or intended and unintended consequences. An effort to define religion, for example, in a way that can exclude say, satanists, or Rasta, or FSM. 

15 hours ago, Dan56 said:

Keep in mind that Liberals support the Johnson amendment, which prevents religions from endorsing or opposing political candidates, some even feel that religious profits should be taxed. And while religions depend on the separation from state, some endorse the Tea Party agenda, which donates a lot of money to influence candidates who will support conservative Supreme Court nominee's (anti-abortion, gay marriage, etc). Both groups rely on the 1st amendment when its convenient, but the waters can get a little murky when they attempt to skirt around the edges.

Most see it as one or the other. I would have not problem with churches being taxed. I think that excluding them from taxation is a violation of the 1st Amendment. Churches are businesses, and setting them into a different tax structure is, defacto, establishing religion. The charitable arm of a church might be given tax exempt status, just as any charitable organization would. But the church, itself, is just a theater venue, for really bad theater. 

Of course, with normal taxation the Johnson amendment no longer applies. The amendment itself is sound, for reasons presented by others. 

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6 hours ago, Dan56 said:

That's kind of like saying that there's no rule that forces me to pay my taxes, I'll just go to jail if I don't :).  

No. It's really just an accounting rule. People don't go to jail for breaking it unless they are involved in deliberate fraud.

A lot of small churches do not file as 501(c)(3) because they do not want to make themselves beholden to government by accepting the privelege of tax-exempt status. Their perspective is that money is less important than religious freedom. Churches who would rather have the money get little sympathy from me.

And there are other ways a religious group can organize where they still avoid taxation, and, of course, there is the whole "Render unto Caesar" thing. Whether and how best to file as exempt was actually a hot debate topic when I first came to this forum.

Edited by mererdog

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is the route when encountering an immoral law automatically determined as not obeying or should it be to seek change in the prescribed manner available?

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1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

is the route when encountering an immoral law automatically determined as not obeying or should it be to seek change in the prescribed manner available?

We can't ask something like that in the abstract.

I think that the laws granting tax exemption to churches are immoral.  Truthfully, I don't care enough to get involved.  Not all laws that are unjust or immoral are on the same level of urgency.

 

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11 hours ago, kokigami said:

While I doubt the progressives would mess with the 1st, I believe the conservatives would. I think you are right, neither would eliminate it, due to optics. But a bit of a tweak, can lead to all kinds or intended and unintended consequences. An effort to define religion, for example, in a way that can exclude say, satanists, or Rasta, or FSM. 

Most see it as one or the other. I would have not problem with churches being taxed. I think that excluding them from taxation is a violation of the 1st Amendment. Churches are businesses, and setting them into a different tax structure is, defacto, establishing religion. The charitable arm of a church might be given tax exempt status, just as any charitable organization would. But the church, itself, is just a theater venue, for really bad theater. 

Of course, with normal taxation the Johnson amendment no longer applies. The amendment itself is sound, for reasons presented by others. 

 

There is no good reason why the government should be subsidizing religion through tax exemption.  It is a subsidy.  If the church does not pay for trash pickup, their water bill, etc. -- then the general public pays it for them.

There is one very bad reason why the churches are tax exempt.  Because they're "special."  And they hijacked the culture.

Yes.  I am aware that other religions get the same tax breaks.  Sort of like the Mafia cutting a deal with the Yakusa, for mutual advantage.

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8 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

There is no good reason why the government should be subsidizing religion through tax exemption.  It is a subsidy.  If the church does not pay for trash pickup, their water bill, etc. -- then the general public pays it for them.

There is one very bad reason why the churches are tax exempt.  Because they're "special."  And they hijacked the culture.

Yes.  I am aware that other religions get the same tax breaks.  Sort of like the Mafia cutting a deal with the Yakusa, for mutual advantage.

Believe it or not, I agree with you... Anyone who makes money (profit) should be taxed.. Its a hardship on everyone else when the government practices favoritism,. I don't believe they should subsidize churches, farmers, or anyone else. Jesus told a would-be follower to give all his money to the poor, and if a religion donates to charitable causes, that money should be tax exempt, but not if they decide to build a Crystal Cathedral.with their money. 

 

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6 hours ago, Dan56 said:

 if a religion donates to charitable causes, that money should be tax exempt

That is still favoritism. Someone gets to decide what is and is not a charitable cause, and hand out special privileges based on that determination. That is government picking winners and losers.

Edited by mererdog

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3 hours ago, mererdog said:

That is still favoritism. Someone gets to decide what is and is not a charitable cause, and hand out special privileges based on that determination. That is government picking winners and losers.

If donating to a charity is a legal deduction for everyone, then its not favoritism.. I just wrote off a tax deductible donation to the ASPCA, and I'm not a church.

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39 minutes ago, Dan56 said:

If donating to a charity is a legal deduction for everyone, then its not favoritism.. 

I think you missed my point. What happens is that government decides what is a charity, and by doing so decide who gets a tax break. This is favoritism. It would be more obvious to you if the government currently disagreed with you about what is a charity. But give them time... Using tax code as a form of social engineering is nothing  new. It's not unlikely that they will eventually try to change who you give your money to by changing who gives you the deduction ...

Edited by mererdog

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Which brings us back to the Johnson amendment.  If it is appealed under the current system, the super rich can make a tax deductable contribution to the churches -- which take that donation and give it to their candidate.  The bottom line is that the tax payer is coerced into making a political contribution.

This will corrupt both the government and the churches.  A true disaster for both.  It turns the churches into power brokers and puts elections up for sale.  Don't imagine that any participant in any capacity will have clean hands.

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