Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Church and State

Franklin Graham, son and heir to evangelist Billy Graham, says that "progressive" is just another word for "godless;" and that what godless progressives want most is to take away the tax-exempt status of religious organizations.  In the real world, of course, you're unlikely to find any politician willing to endorse ending religious tax breaks; but that doesn't make it a bad idea.

Religion and politics are inseparable.  Both are systems of social control, evolved to limit certain individualistic behaviors by defining them as deviance: the immoral and the illegal largely overlap.  It follows that every sermon is political speech: no clear line ever has separated Church and State.  Religion has been integral to American politics since the arrival of the Puritans, entangled in every major political debate.  Inevitably, a contribution to a church is a political contribution.

Property tax exemptions for religious organizations deprive local governments of revenue, subsidizing church members at the expense of everybody else, irrespective of need; and the deductibility of donations lets individuals use government funds to advance sectarian ideologies.  Granted, the only feasible path to reform is to make all charitable contributions non-deductible, but given the political abuse of 503(c) corporations and similar manipulations, the time for genuine "tax simplification" has arrived.  Donors will have to give out of genuine altruism; religious donors, perhaps, to avoid joining godless progressives, and anybody else who doubts their "truth," in Hell.

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