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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:56 PM
Original message
Poll question: Separation of church and state:
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 01:04 PM by hedgehog
Some church leaders implicitly or explicitly endorse specific politicians. IS it better for the separation of church and state to

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
1. Investigate FAIRLY. I am sick and tired of the liberal churches getting singled out over
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 12:59 PM by GreenPartyVoter
non-issues while the conservative ones are breaking rules and laws left and right and are given a free pass. x(
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. How did we permit the Rev. Moon to take over the Washington Post --- ????
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. It's the Washington Times
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #15
24. Sorry . . .Washington Times . . .
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 08:26 PM by defendandprotect
But neither is the Washington Post what it used to be --- when Watergate was progressing.
And, Woodward is still with them . . .

I should also mention that most of our reporting services --- UPI, AP are now also in foreign hands; or at least last I heard ---

Reuters . . . ???
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
2. Bush's War PROOVES that many churches are businesses, who avoided alienating their customers. nt
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Frustratedlady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. Grassley has an investigation underway at this time.
He got a lot of complaints, but they know the law and they aren't happy about the eyes on them at the moment. Tough.

There are some hospitals which own a lot of property, too. They invest their profits to stay non-profit. I don't think that's right, either.
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Brigid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
21. Don't start on non-profit hospitals.
The one in my area saved my life recently. I am without health insurance, and went to this hospital with chest pains. Turned out I needed an emergency triple heart bypass. They wrote off a large portion of the bill. I still have a big bill to pay, but not hearly as big as it would have been, and have made arrangements to pay on it. I consider myself very lucky, considering that I live in the only country in the civilized world without universal health care. I do not know if this hospital invests profits to stay non-profit, as you say; but if they do, I don't care.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. All hospitals used to be non-profit . . .
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mrcheerful Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. I know of a certain church that threatens their members with eternal damnation if they
don't vote pukelican. When you see a McCain for president sitting on the church yard you pretty much know something stinks about that church. It has been there for about a month now.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
5. Wow! So no one here is bothered by the notion of federal agents sitting in church
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 01:02 PM by hedgehog
taking notes. What about prosecutors determining whether preaching the social gospel or against an unjust war is too political?
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WHEN CRABS ROAR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I was just about to reply to that very subject.
When a church preaches peace over war it is speaking Christs words, a church can and should have many social justice positions, such as how we should treat one another. peace be with us all.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. No, I'm not concerned.
What is the point of preaching? To convert, and to teach. Churches: teach about the faith. Convert if you must. Trust your paritioners to use their own judgment in applying your teaching outside of church.

Or...simply remove tax-exempt status from all churches and don't worry about their political work. Let them come out of the closet and be transparent about it.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
19. Nope, not bothered by it at all...
the sooner, the better.

Sid
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
7. I think churches have become so intertwined with politics
and so many have devolved into businesses that they all need to be taxed. The ones that would like to apply for non profit status can do so, but it will involve opening their books, no matter which tack they take.

Too many unchallenged crooks have ruined it for all of them.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
9. It's more than their politiking.
They also benefit from everything everyone else has to pay taxes for, those things without which they would NOT exist. They SHOULD pay for them.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. PLUS, often they have huge real estate portofolios and stock investments . . .
and they're not paying taxes on those either ---

I think we can make a church and its surrounding property tax exempt --- that's it!!!


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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. Hmmm- I think you are on to something there.
Maybe a spot used strictly for worship should be taxed the same way we tax ground set aside as a nature reserve. That would imply a penalty if the land is ever sold for development.

Maybe donations shouldn't be taxed, but income from real estate or investments should be. The guiding concept here is to ensure that a tax burden is not used to deter people from having a place to assemble and worship.
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hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
10. This goes without saying
IMO. We've let the religious right walk all over us for several decades now, and we need to stop looking the other way.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
11. And that should include penalties on Catholic Churches when the Vatican comes in
to American elections suggesting that Kerry shouldn't be elected because of his stand on abortion!!!

Holding these issues as "religious" issues is a farce ---

How about a candidates's embrace of homosexual rights --- is the Vatican in charge of homosexuality?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. "Suggesting"? It's more than that
They have said that anyone who votes for a candidate like that is committing a mortal sin.

That's just criminal.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. So, is there no moral component to how we govern ourselves?
And if there is a moral component, who is to decide what can be said and not said? Is it OK to oppose the war on moral grounds? If so, (and I disagree with the sentiment) what right has anyone to tell other people they can't oppose same sex marriage on moral grounds? Freedom to do and say what we agree with usually entails allowing other people to do and say what we disagree with.

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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Why are you equating morality with churches?...nt
Sid
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Churches present themselves as arbiters of morality. Can the
government of this country be separated from moral concerns? Remember that government involves issues of wealth distribution, poverty, hunger, civil rights, health resources, land use, war and peace, education etc, etc. Some churchgoers prefer that churches confine themselves to issues of personal behavior. Others feel that churches must also address the sins of society. What I am saying is that if you wish churches to address social issues, you can not restrict what issues are addressed and where the churches come down on them. If we want the Martin Luther Kings and Daniel Berrigans, we have to tolerate the Jerry Falwells and Rev. Phelps. Try to use the tax code to silence one and you may silence all. The worse possibility is that whoever is in charge of the government may choose to selectively silence preachers.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #22
30. No ---
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 08:23 PM by defendandprotect
Organized patriarchial religions try to present themselves as MORAL --- however, the very
idea of a superior gender is IMMORAL.

The Vatican's history of hiding sexual abuse by their priest pedophiles over decades is IMMORAL.
And they not only hid it from authorities and the families who were harmed, they hid the costs
of keeping this silence from church members who were paying the hush money and the insurance costs.


What I am saying is that if you wish churches to address social issues, you can not restrict what issues are addressed and where the churches come down on them. If we want the Martin Luther Kings and Daniel Berrigans, we have to tolerate the Jerry Falwells and Rev. Phelps. Try to use the tax code to silence one and you may silence all. The worse possibility is that whoever is in charge of the government may choose to selectively silence preachers.

Churches certainly can address poverty, hunger, etal -- and they have traditionally used these issues to raise money for the church, itself. Remember "Catholic Charities". . . ??

They can also address civil rights . . .
but traditionally, they have not ---
except of course in "black" churches ---

Global Warming . . .
In order for a Christian church to properly address Global Warming they will have to dismantle "Manifest Destiny" and "Man's Dominion Over Nature" which are simply licenses for the
elite to exploit nature, natural resources, animal-life --- and even other human beings according to various myths of inferiority.

As for "war and peace" --- that has been addressed very tentatively ---
save for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr --- and he was assassinated, much as the peace-making JFK was.

Jerry Falwell, of course, was anti-homosexual --- much as Phelps ---
but I hope that one day we will say that no one can preach intolerance and hatred for any GROUP
of people --- even from a church pulpit. It has been this teaching and preaching of intolerance for homosexuals which has spread intolerance for homosexuals --- and moved others to commit violence against them.




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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #16
28. You don't need organized patriarchal religions to be moral --- !!!
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 08:10 PM by defendandprotect
To think anything like that would be a great mistake ---

Of course, people who don't practice a religion are moral ---

In fact, we can see just the opposite . . . that notions of male superiority embraced by
organized patriarchal religions are IMMORAL. That the Vatican -- a nation of ALL males ---
hid abuse of children by their priest pedophiles for decades is IMMORAL.

And why ask, "Who is to decide?" --- WHO else but you?
You have a right to your own thoughts and your own personal conscience --- !!!

That's how we know that if there is a Creator that that Creator is NOT a fascist . . .
because you have been given free thought and free will --- !!!

As for homosexuality and same-sex marriage . . . no one says that no one can PERSONALLY oppose
same-sex marriage. What we are saying is that no one has the right to make law that says there is something abnormal about homosexuality which prevents two individuals of the same gender to marry.

Same as with race . . . you can PERSONALLY hate someone of another race --- but you can't have your hatreds enacted into law.

The freedom to do and say what you personally feel cannot extend to making your personal feelings the law of the land.





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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
31. The Catholic Church can do whatever the fuck they want
But if they are going to be political in the United States, my argument would be that they have to pay taxes.

People can oppose or support whatever they want for moral reasons. You just can't have your cake and eat it, too.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #14
26. True --
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 08:02 PM by defendandprotect
And to what degree Catholic Churches here tried to reinforce that thinking, I don't know ---

However, Pope John XXIII who created Vatican II and gave the church a more compassionate and human face, told Catholics to use their own consciences to decide for themselves on matters of birth control. Some Catholics have made claim to their own consciences. ---Thank Heavens!

I would consider abortion a form of birth control, especially now with the Morning After pill
and RU486 ---

Pope John XXIII's comments/Vatican II also pretty much kicked "Papal infallibity" in the butt and
off the stage --

You've probably noticed, however, that since then, we've had a church-based right-wing attack on Vatican II . . .


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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
18. As I understand it, church leaders and spokespeople are only prohibited
from outright advocacy of a political candidate, and only if the church has claimed tax-exempt status on the property where said advocacy is taking place. So, if a church or religious leader (or group) were willing to give up tax-exempt status, they'd be immune from IRS scrutiny. By giving up tax-exempt status, they would gain the freedom to impose a greater measure of influence on governmental elections.

So far, the poll only has 51 respondents but is 96% in favor of separation of church and state. The thread's title and location may have a lot to do with the current results though - as it would tend to attract more attention from people wishing to uphold a founding concept of this nation, rather than partisans who might be willing to see the government "look the other way" on the issue rather than enforce the highest law of the land.
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. Yes. The law is written so as to try to protect both the free speech
rights of clergy and other church representatives and the missions of the churches as the IRS sees them.

So it's ok for the clergy to campaign outside the church for their candidate, it's ok for them to talk about *issues* from the pulpit. It's not ok to endorse a particular candidate from the pulpit.

The freedom of religion and the freedom of speech are both critical rights. I think the choice offered in the OP actually sets things up in opposition which are not opposed at all. The problem has been an uneven interpretation of the rules. Places like All Saints in CA get in trouble for an anti-war sermon (perfectly acceptable as I see it), right wing churches regularly seem to become involved in candidate endorsements. All Saints finds itself the target of a lawsuit.

Frankly, I'd be less concerned with political speech in a church and more concerned with looking at the church's actual activities: how much of what they do can actually be construed as charitable? For some, that's a lot. For others, I doubt it's much at all.
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. I absolutely agree with this statement
The freedom of religion and the freedom of speech are both critical rights. I think the choice offered in the OP actually sets things up in opposition which are not opposed at all. The problem has been an uneven interpretation of the rules.


Separation of church and state is an essential part of the foundation of this democracy. Our democracy is put in danger if laws supporting this foundation are not enforced equally for all citizens and for all organizations. So the real danger in the IRS regulations prohibiting any religious leader from using a tax-exempt venue to interfere in the election process, is not in their enforcement, but in unfair and discriminatory use of said enforcement. It's the abuse of power by elected or appointed government agents that needs to be addressed, not the agencies or laws themselves.
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Wizard777 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #18
29. If they lose thier tax exempt status. They don't have to pay taxes.
Donations to the church just aren't tax deductible.
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