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NYT series: Organized religion sucking at the government teat

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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:14 AM
Original message
NYT series: Organized religion sucking at the government teat
It's a 4 part series describing organized religion's growing influence on government at all levels. The links contain some very interesting multimedia. Take a look at your tax dollars in use.

Will somebody read this and then explain to me just how Christianity is under attack in America? Looks more to me like the taxpayers are taking it in the ass ... and religion isn't done yet. This is an outrage, and I'm pissed.

part one:

October 8, 2006

In Gods Name

As Exemptions Grow, Religion Outweighs Regulation

At any moment, state inspectors can step uninvited into one of the three child care centers that Ethel White runs in Auburn, Ala., to make sure they meet state requirements intended to ensure that the children are safe. There must be continuing training for the staff. Her nurseries must have two sinks, one exclusively for food preparation. All cabinets must have safety locks. Medications for the children must be kept under lock and key, and refrigerated.

The Rev. Ray Fuson of the Harvest Temple Church of God in Montgomery, Ala., does not have to worry about unannounced state inspections at the day care center his church runs. Alabama exempts church day care programs from state licensing requirements, which were tightened after almost a dozen children died in licensed and unlicensed day care centers in the state in two years.

The differences do not end there. As an employer, Ms. White must comply with the civil rights laws; if employees feel mistreated, they can take the center to court. Religious organizations, including Pastor Fusons, are protected by the courts from almost all lawsuits filed by their ministers or other religious staff members, no matter how unfairly those employees think they have been treated.

And if you are curious about how Ms. Whites nonprofit center uses its public grants and donations, read the financial statements she is required to file each year with the Internal Revenue Service. There are no I.R.S. reports from Harvest Temple. Federal law does not require churches to file them.


part two:

October 9, 2006

Where Faith Abides, Employees Have Few Rights

J. Jeffrey Heck, a lawyer in Mansfield, Ohio, usually sits on managements side of the table. The only employee cases I take are those that poke my buttons, he said. And this one really did.

His client was a middle-aged novice training to become a nun in a Roman Catholic religious order in Toledo. She said she had been dismissed by the order after she became seriously ill including a diagnosis of breast cancer.

In her complaint, the novice, Mary Rosati, said she had visited her doctor with her immediate supervisor and the mother superior. After the doctor explained her treatment options for breast cancer, the complaint continued, the mother superior announced: We will have to let her go. I dont think we can take care of her.

Some months later Ms. Rosati was told that the mother superior and the orders governing council had decided to dismiss her after concluding that she was not called to our way of life, according to the complaint. Along with her occupation and her home, she lost her health insurance, Mr. Heck said. Ms. Rosati, who still lacks health insurance but whose cancer is in remission, said she preferred not to discuss her experience because of her continuing love for the church.


part three:

October 10, 2006

In Gods Name

Religious Programs Expand, So Do Tax Breaks

The similarities between Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame, on the north side of South Bend, Ind., and Hermitage Estates, south of town, are almost disorienting. The two retirement communities have the same simple gabled ranch houses, with the same touches of brick and stone, clustered around a pond with the same fountain funneling spray into the air and ducks waddling down the grassy bank.

But the retired residents of Hermitage Estates pay an average of about $2,300 per unit in property taxes. The management of Holy Cross Village, the Brothers of Holy Cross, says that development should be exempt from property taxes, and it has taken that argument to court.

As the Brothers of Holy Cross, a Roman Catholic religious order, sees it, providing the elderly with the amenities of the village a sense of security, social opportunities and various services to make independent living easier is a charitable activity rooted in its pastoral mission to serve others.

Members of the St. Joseph County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, all but one of them lifelong Catholics, see it differently. To them, a charitable ministry does not consist of providing lovely retirement living to affluent people. The current residents of Holy Cross Village have an average net worth of $1 million. Those with deposits on the units under construction are even better off, averaging $1.6 million.


part four:

October 11, 2006

In Gods Name

Religion-Based Tax Breaks: Housing to Paychecks to Books

For tens of millions of Americans, the Rev. Rick Warren is best known for his blockbuster spiritual guide, The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold more than 25 million copies; his success as the founder of the 22,000-member Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.; and his efforts on behalf of some of the worlds neediest people.

But for tens of thousands of ministers and their financial advisers Pastor Warren will also be remembered as their champion in a fight over the most valuable tax break available to ordained clergy members of all faiths: an exemption from federal taxes for most of the money they spend on housing, which typically represents roughly a third of their compensation. Pastor Warren argued that the tax break is essential to poorly paid clergy members who serve society.

The tax break is not available to the staff at secular nonprofit organizations whose scale and charitable aims compare to those of religious ministries like Pastor Warrens church, or to poorly paid inner-city teachers and day care workers who also serve their communities.

The housing deduction is one of several tax breaks that leave extra money in the pockets of clergy members and their religious employers. Ministers of every faith are also exempt from income tax withholding and can opt out of Social Security. And every state but one exempts religious employers from paying state unemployment taxes reducing the employers payroll expenses but also leaving their workers without unemployment benefits if they are laid off.


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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. Tell me more about this "government teat."
That sounds like a large teat.

It intrigues me.
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Same one nurturing Halliburton, KB&R, and Blackwater USA
The flow is unchecked.

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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. Bastards aren't content with fleecing their believers,
They have to suck the taxpayers dry too. :grr:
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. the founding fathers never envisioned that the churches in
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 12:44 AM by madrchsod
the united states would never reach the level of corruption that many have now. the principal of non taxation is fine it is just that now it`s become a cash cow. just to make it clear i`m a christian that does believe in the principal of non taxation and personally i feel it should only extend to the church building and parsonage.
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Just wrote a check for property taxes. I'm feeling less generous.
Wonderin' how much of that check was my real share of schools, police, fire protection, garbage pick-up, muni-water supply and sewage treatment, road maintenance, etc.

Lotsa nice churches around here, a lot with valuable land holdings. All are off the tax records. They enjoy all of the above. They contribute to none.

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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
5. Here's your 5th rec. (no text)
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
6. Straight out of my taxes to the GOP religion of choice
whoever will give the GOP the most votes.
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
8. dayshift kick
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
9. Teat? More like the Jugular. K & R nt
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GeorgeGist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
10. According to David Kuo...
it's not a teat organized religion is sucking on.
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