Quote of the Day

What will religion look like in the year 2060? Conservative Christians will be treated as second class citizens, much like African Americans were prior to civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Family as we know it will be drastically changed with the state taking charge of the children beginning at birth. Marriage will include two, three, four or any number of participants. Marriage will not be important, with individuals moving in and out of a 'family' group at will. Churchbuildings will be little used, with many sold to secular buyers and the money received going to the government. Churches will not be allowed to discuss any political issues, even if it affects the church directly. Tax credit given to churches and non-profit organizations will cease. Christian broadcasting will be declared illegal based on the separation of church and state. The airwaves belong to the government, therefore they cannot be used for any religious purpose. We will have, or have had, a Muslim president. Cities with a name from the Bible such as St. Petersburg, Bethlehem, etc. will be forced to change their name due to separation of church and state. Groups connected to any religious affiliation will be forced out of health care. Health centers get tax money from the state, making it a violation of church and state. Get involved! Sign THE STATEMENT."
- The [White, Straight, Rich, Nuclear, Christian] American Family Association, in an email designed to make privileged asshats very, very afraid indeed.

There is only one possible response to this.

A screen-cap from the old Spiderman cartoon. Spidey is pointing urgently at something off-screen, and two policemen beside him are laughing.  Macro-style text on the image reads "LOOK AT HIM. LOOK AT HIM AND LAUGH."

This Should Be Interesting...

I've complained before about the IRS' privileging of churches and religious organizations.  My complaints were generally more about churches being totally tax-exempt despite their politicking, which has gotten bolder and bolder in its forays over the border between "non-specific beliefs that have political ramifications" and "telling people how to vote or who to vote for" - and the IRS has done nothing about it.

These two lawsuits, however, take up against different religion-specific tax rules, ones I hadn't even known existed.  Apparently, churches and affiliated organizations which have 501(c)(3) status or want to acquire such don't have to pay application fees, which secular non-profits do - and these are not $20 copay type fees; apparently, they can run up to $850.  Which isn't *that* much to most big orgs, but a lot of starting-out non-profits don't have a generous budget, and so this takes a big bite out of what they can do as they're getting set up.  Additionally, churches and religious organizations aren't required to submit yearly financial information filings, which secular non-profits do.   When the IRS itself estimates a total of 211 work-hours to complete the relevant filing?  That's not a small inconvenience.  The informational filings are public information, and must include the names of any donors who give over $5,000.  People who want to donate fuckbuckets of money to churches to carry out their (frequently political) work can do so in anonymity, but if you want to donate to a secular non-profit, your contribution goes on public record.

I don't know enough about the relevant laws and precedents to speculate on these cases.  But I think it'll be interesting to see how they play out, and if it might help lay groundwork for further challenges to churches as tax-exempt demi-political organizations (for those who choose to behave that way).


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