Archive for the ‘thomas jefferson’ Tag

Prop 8: Response to a Comment

This was a comment to my previous post PROP 8 from “Anonymous” that I’d like to specifically address as a post:

there’s actually nothing in the constitution that says church and state are separate. it just says that the government can’t recognize one/any official religion.

also, churches are tax exempt because they benefit society. the government has an interest in making sure they can use their money to benefit the poor and the needy and organize programs to help people.

there are many non-religious arguments for prop 8.

anyways, no matter what you believe you don’t want the church’s to have to pay taxes. This means they’ll be able to endorse candidates and be more involved in politics. also, it means less money to help people.

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SHAMERICA says:

Actually, your argument regarding the words contained in our 1st Amendment is a common misstatement made by those who cite it without comprehension of it’s intent.  And it doesn’t just say the government can’t recognize one/any official religion.  It certainly wasn’t taught to be that simple in the very basic high school civics course.

The legal intent was to build a wall between church and State, as further supported by Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists where he made this specific reference.  Recall Jefferson was a major influence of the U.S. Constitution, though he did not contribute to writing it.

There is also Everson vs Board of Education that carefully expresses those important clauses we all remember and learned about in civics:  Establishment and Free Exercise and also references the intent of those clauses to keep church and State separate.

I agree that religious organizations should remain tax exempt for the very reasons you indicate.  They are held to specific requirements and can lose tax exemption for actions such as:  attempting to influence passage of legislation or promoting ideas which contradict public policies (like desegregation, discrimination, etc).  Some religious organizations have arguably violated these or blurred interpretation of them with the recent Prop 8 campaigns.

Honestly, I have yet to hear any solid non-religious arguments for banning same-sex marriage.  It takes away opportunities from a specific group of people.  That in itself is discrimination.  If any citizen cannot have the same rights as the next citizen, that is discrimination.  

This is a hot topic.  Interracial marriage.  Suffrage.  Foreign born citizens owning land.  These are only a few historically hot topics that endured controversy and redefinition before they ended up as we know them today – nondiscriminatory equal rights.

Thank you for posting.

Shamerica