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Posted by gustav at 07:01AM, Thursday, November 01st, 2007

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Hate

My donations to the No on 8 campaign -- which used my money to coordinate its communication and "education" efforts about California ballot proposition 8 -- were not tax-deductible, because they were political in nature.

Yet the Church of Latter Day Saints -- which used donations from its members to pay to coordinate its communication and "education" efforts about California ballot proposition 8, and urged them to donate to the Yes on 8 campaign -- does not pay taxes. Further, member donations to the church are tax-deductible, even though many of the church's actions are political in nature.

There's something wrong with that. Granted, No on 8 was buying ads, and the Mormon church was pressuring its members to donate to the Yes on 8 campaign, which in turn bought ads, so it's not a direct comparison. Regardless, the church was using its resources, time, and money to coordinate the Yes on 8 campaign, and it was exerting pressure nation-wide to effect a change in the CA constitution. It was also punishing dissenters among its ranks.

It seems to me that the government, through the tax-exemption of its operation and of donations to it, gave the church extra latitude to incite this sort of political action -- latitude which the government does not afford to groups like No on 8 (why wasn't my donation to No on 8 tax-deductible again?), or to individuals. The church gets preferential treatment in its efforts to change policy.

That is not right.

But never mind the religious and moral implications -- what, for instance, Jesus would have said about expending such effort to strip rights from a relatively powerless (and under-funded) minority.

More than that, it's un-American.
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