i was hanging out with some friends last night when the topic of Obama's Health Care bill came up. I personally am ambivolent on this, as the matter is so complicated both fundamentally and philosophically that i don't think that nearly anyone has enough information on the subject to have a true opinion, but i digress...
their chief point was that "i don't want to pay for something that i don't believe in". i responded in kind, with a twist. "tax religious institutions, then" i said.
while certainly not an open and shut issue, this idea was judged as idiotic and morally wrong to my friends. the topic quickly changed, but i had lingering thoughts in my head on this issue.
i'm sure it's been discussed here before, but i'm not very familiar with the 'search' funtions of this site. so allow me to ramble on here, if i may. how many billiions of dollars to religious institutions raise per year? how much of that truly goes to charitable deeds? while i don't know the exact numbers, i suspect that the percentage of money that is doled out for good causes is a small one.
revenue lost due to lack of taxation is no different than wasteful spending. aren't we all 'paying' for things that we don't believe in. aren't American Muslims, Jews, Atheists, etc. all paying for gov't 'spending' to religious ideas that are not their own. Atheists seem to have to biggest disadvantage, as at least the other religions get tax breaks themselves, even if it is on a smaller scale. we Atheist certainly get the short end of the stick in this regard.
i'm all for truly philanthropic organizations getting tax-free status, but to extend this to religious institutions who do whatever the hell the want with their money is unfair to the American people and a drain on our economy. while Congress and company (or the Super Congress) are searching for ways to save money and increase revenue, why is it that no one looks into this obvious potential revenue stream? i'll answer my own question, since it's quite obvious - because Religion is off limits. and it's power is indeed growing and growing fast. in a time when even the rich are wondering how they can give more to help the economy (some of them at least), when is the Church going to step up to the plate and lead by example? i'll answer that question too - never gonna happen!