Tax religion before it taxes us all

The Supreme's ruling yesterday on school vouchers obviously reflects the increasing integration of religion and public life in America. [The Pledge's "under god" is symbolically very important to this impulse, and symbols are important---look at the fuss we make over the flag!]

The wall of separation between church and state is being dismantled. A NYTimes news article observes that "Recent [court] rulings have held that religion is entitled to equal treatment in public life." In an otherwise estimable editorial on vouchers in the same edition, the paper observes that in parochial schools "...for a variety of reasons [the writers do not elaborate], tuition is far lower [than other private schools]," thereby eliminating even this court rulings's premise that parents must have "genuine choice."

What's missing here? Just the observation that to get "equal treatment in public life" and incidently to give parents an equal "genuine choice" between schools competing for the voucher money collected from all taxpayers, religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status, since this is the key to their attraction as a bargain alternative to all kinds of public programs we should be looking to instead.

If we excuse religion its tax obligation, we are already heavily subsidizing it before we hand over additional money in the form of the vouchers we offer it, at least partly, as a reward for the fiction of its good money management.

If we can no longer be protected from religion, religion can no longer be protected from taxes. The two principles must stand or fall together.

P.S. The Declaration of Independence mentions "god," but that excellent text was essentially a letter of resignation, and was composed for the purpose of public relations. The deist misstep was corrected in the document which became the law of the land, the U.S. Constituion with its Bill of Rights.

It's ludicrous that religions are tax-exempt... they're based on unfounded supernatural hooey and are divisive and exclusionary (to the 'unredeemed'). If there are charitable activities beyond spreading this swill around, keep that portion tax exempt, but tax all the silly 'worship' tripe, including the often expensively placed properties. Appraise the Lord - Tax the Churches!!! (Thx., Frank)

About this Entry

Published on June 28, 2002 1:01 PM.

previous entry: one nation under David Koresh?

next entry: Zion or empire?