If atheists and other non-believers had something akin to a confessional, I should have to go and spill my guts. The confessor would inquire what troubles me and I would say, I have sinned, Father. I failed to emulate Thoreau and refuse to pay taxes unless and until the Supreme Court of the United States realizes the foolishness of its Greece decision to allow God to get into public meetings so that the first party heard is a confidence artist requesting the intrusion of Judeo-Christian dogma in programs and meetings that are supported by my tax dollars. Thoreau, as you know, was jailed briefly for refusing to pay taxes. That takes courage, and I am a chickenshit. Of course, to a non-believer, any prayer or invocation at the beginning of any public meeting is simply anathema, but Muslims, Wiccans, Satanists, Odinists, Onanists, and followers of the Great Spaghetti Monster can just feel offended and face facts: America was founded by Christians to be a Christian nation.
How would I go about pro-rating or proportioning or partitioning the amount I pay annually so that the proper waste of public meeting time, time spent in metaphysical speculation instead of critical thinking about the problems of the day, unemployment and the inequality of wealth, for example. If I pay nothing at all, even if I file a return and say, "Here is my return but I am not enclosing a check to protest the Greece decision," I am going to the federal penitentiary. They won't punish me as harshly as, say, Bernard Madoff, but then I didn't complain about paying taxes at any time before Greece, and you've always cashed my checks. If a public meeting lasts, say, two and a half hours, and when actuarial and other experts figure out that one hour's use of the facilities, upkeep, salaries, &c. is $200 an hour, and the invocation lasts...
Well, Thoreau only spent one night in jail. His aunt paid the poll tax the next day.
I didn't like the decision, but it's the world we live in. There are no atheists on the Supreme Court as far as I know. It is majority Catholic, how that happened, who knows? Papist conspiracy? Random chance?
The country is only 25% Catholic, so the court does not have a demographic representation. Not that we should expect that - way too many factions, and the court is expected to be blind to religion, and the no-religious-test thing. But when it comes to issues that are so close to the hearts of religionists, so to speak, it's hard to imaging a different outcome. They sure as hell won't recuse themselves.
Yes, Craigart14, and there was a good Broadway play about it, "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail."
If it makes you feel better, James, your taxes might be enough to cover the annual cost of washing and waxing Justice Scalia's limo.
No, no, Justice Scalia will make ME wash his limousine.
My taxes aren't much at all, but I pay them to avoid jail and yet retain ownership of the property. That's just how it is.
Every now and again I find someone on TV and up in arms about taxes, claiming that he does not pay them, and he does not pay the IRS, and that this is legal, and that he can get away without paying, and that there is nothing they can do to him. He hasn't paid anything in years! Then suddenly you do not see or hear this person any longer. Gee. I wonder where he went?
Pardon me for laughing at the story. Paying them regularly year after year is supposed to build up the same mutual trust one enjoys with, say, one's auto or home or life or health insurance carrier. The government in turn funds some projects I approve of, and they fund other things I do not like at all. There is, as Michael Penn says, nothing we can do but go on paying.