Monday, September 8

A religion by any other name, is still a religion.

Scientologist have been charged with fraud in France. The french are essentially claiming that scientology is a scam created to get people's money. Now i won't contend that it's not a scam, but i will contend that it is no more a scam than christianity, judiasm, or any other religion. Someone spend something like $25,000 on "purification packs" and then later said oh, it was a scam. That's retarted. Religious or not, anybody who spends that kind of money on something knows what they are going in for. If i spent that much money on self help books, i wouldn't sue afterwards when i was still miserable. Same if i spent it on some church. Clearly this woman is suffering from either severe depression, or some sort of mental illness to give up that kind of money for purification. But that doesn't mean that scientology is any more fake than any other religion. And while i believe that the original founder of scientology didn't believe anything, and simply made it up, that doesn't mean that the people who currently practice it don't believe it. I also think that the original founder of mormonism just made it all up. In my book l ron hubbard, and joseph smith aer cut from the same clothe, but because one is more recent, and one is more outlandish, it is a cult and a fraud while the other is a religion? The real solution here would be to stop giving governmental protection/tax breaks to any religion. Permit freedom of religion in that religions are allowed to organize, but none of them are above the government, or above paying taxes. Then there is no need for the government to make a differentiantion between a religion and cult, which is essentially impossible on any non-subjective grounds. if you join willingly, and you give them your money willingly, then you are what is known as a sucker. Don't feel bad, there is one born every minute. But don't cry to the government afterward about how the big bad wolf stole your money. You gave it away. That's you bad. Learn you lesson and don't do it again.


Blogger Aras said...

Why should a religion pay taxes?!

7:12 AM  
Blogger Trashcan said...

The question is not why should a religion pay taxes, the question is why shouldn't it be taxed. Why should religious organizations have so much immunity from the government. (i wanted to use a different word than immunity, but i couldn't remember what it was.)

12:46 AM  
Blogger Aras said...

Posing a question in the negatives assumes there is a good reason for the positive. When there isn't, as in this case, the answe is simple:

Q: Why shouldn't it be taxed?

A: Because there is no reason to tax it.

Q: Why should religious organizations have so much immunity from the government?

A: Because the first ten words of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution read "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." No law = immunity.

To tax churches you'll have to amend the amendment, but that brings us back to the first question. Why?

3:52 AM  
Blogger Trashcan said...

taxing churches and establishing a religion are completely different things. If you were to tax only certain religions then you would be establishing prefernce for a given religion. But if you tax all religions then you are not establishing anything other than the governments right to tax it's people. Once again the government taxes all other institutions. Non-profit institutions have some protection from taxation, i don't know how much. But they must make their records public and show what they are doing, something not required of churches. There is clearly a good reason for the positive because everyone else is taxed. If you want to argue no one should be taxed that's one thing. But if you want to argue that everyone should be taxed except for these people then you need to establish a reason why they deserve to be exempt.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Aras said...

That's exactly what I don't want to argue: all people should be taxed, including religious people. Every priest and parishioner and every CEO and dock worker and teacher and politician should pay a tax which represents the cost of keeping them safe from criminals, fires, and the armies of the world, and also the costs of roads and public schools. But including religious people in that list isn't taxing an establishment of religion, it's taxing residents of America.

You drastically misread the Amendment. It says "an establishment of religion," not "the establishment of religion." If it read the way you read it I would have to agree with you. But as it does read, churches are un-taxable, and as I see it, ought to be un-prosecutable.

2:09 AM  
Blogger Trashcan said...

I don't know whether priests pay taxes on their incomes or not, but even if they do, corporations and organizations also pay taxes beyond what their employees pay. taxes that churches don't pay (once again, i guess i could be completely wrong about this issue, i never studied it.)

Finally if your only argument is going to be about the bill of rights, then i will point out that the bill of rights says nothing about states establishing religion. In fact early on many of the states had established religions, and you had to be a member of the religion to vote. So at most by your argument the federal government is required not to tax churches, but states are all free to tax them at will.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Aras said...

we're both wading through murky water now. as i understand it from wikipedia, what you say about states still having such rights may only have been true up until the 14th amendment to the constitution in 1868: it passed on to states all the restrictions that the bill of rights imposed on the federal government, including everything regarding free speech, religion, illegal search and seizure, and cruel and unusual punishment.

9:09 AM  

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