24 March 2010 Time to tax churches
The churches in this nation need to be taxed. There is no reason to allow televangelists to dictate national policies, no excuse for any church to become involved in legislation over social wedge issues. There is no reason to allow any church to harbor illegal aliens under some pre-reformation concept of sanctuary. There is a civil war brewing in America and too many churches or religious sects are squarely in the middle of that war.
The separation of church and state demanded by Jefferson is based upon his and other founders’ first-hand knowledge of what churches with political power can do to a nation. We had the chance to escape the theocracies that repeatedly plunged Europe into wars. We had the chance to not become crusaders, to not have our daily lives sculpted and dictated by one faith or another. We had the best chance any nation has ever had to leave the religious nuts behind in the dust of the old world.
Now, we’re beginning to look like Latin America. We have a Catholic Bishops Council intruding into health care legislation because they are afraid that someone might have an abortion. It is no business of any bishop whether or not our health care policies are consistent with Vatican beliefs and policies. The last time I looked, the Vatican was surrounded by Italians. Most of the political and economic problems endemic to Latin America came over on boats with priests. The promise of an afterlife in paradise in exchange for a lifetime of careless reproduction, tropical diseases, involuntary servitude, and life-long third world status can be laid at the feet of the Roman church.
And if the problems the Catholic Church engenders aren’t sufficient we’ve our native English speaking Southern Baptists and other evangelical fundamentalists who are doing their best to replace the U.S. Constitution with the King James bible and morality police who exceed those of Saudi Arabia in viciousness and stupidity. I don’t care how they pray at home. I object intensely to them trying to make the civic world an adjunct church and I will resist for ever their attempts to replace the real freedoms of our Constitution with the lies, repression, and bigotry that springs from their insistence that all of us must obey the laws they think originate in their holy texts. They complain about the Afghani Taliban but never see the faces in the mirror.
These churches are also contributing to extreme civil unrest and polarization. Their unceasing demands that Roe v Wade be overturned, their repetitive incitement to violence, describing those who commit violence against abortion providers and supporters as “martyrs” will be at the root of more murders by self-described “pro-lifers.”
Abortion, abortion funding, homosexuality and the campaign to provide homosexuals with civic rights and rituals equal in nature to those in effect for heterosexuals, and keeping religious education out of public schools, along with immigration are the primary wedge issues in American life today. There is agreement and some degree of cooperation among all the Christian sects except on immigration.
Today’s news is gravely disturbing. Ten members of the House of Representatives have asked for extra protection. They have received threats against their persons, against their wives, children, and grandchildren. Offices have been vandalized. All of these members are Democrats but not all of them support abortion. This violence has been called for by tea party speakers, suggested by Republican leaders, and demanded by anti-abortion groups. Right wing demagogues are openly suggesting that Democrats be gotten rid of. They will claim they are calling for legal election campaigns but they would be quite happy if violence results. It will raise their ratings and revenues.
The threat of violence is real and growing. We’ve seen physicians shot and killed in the last two decades by anti-abortion activists. We haven’t seen any of our elected officials shot recently but the probability is growing daily. The NRA incited several ambushes where cops were killed by gun nuts afraid Obama would seize their firearms. The homicidally intentioned have gravitated previously to the GOP and now are likely converging on the Tea Party. The GOP leadership has not been strong or rapid enough in trying to tamp down the violence they unleashed via the Palin campaign in 2008. The Tea Party leadership has no desire to decrease the level of violence, potential or real. They continue to call for a revolution that they believe they could facilitate and win. In reality they would break and run but they hold the potential to harm many innocent people.
The call to violence has been sounded by the reactionary right after incitement by the churches. Death, if it happens, will be at the hands of people who want to stop abortion by anyone at any time. They are demanding that we consider a fetus to be sacred until it is born. Once born, they have no concern for its life. We are in a cultural war that should never have happened. The churches’ desire to meddle in the lives of non-members is squarely at fault. Tax them, keep them out of politics, tax them until they bleed.