Postcards to say something: 013 – The Mammonary Glands
Giving the theologians a rest, and letting the economists loose for a moment. The Purple Economy would be a good jumping-in point.
Money for anybody’s good works may be justified, but tax exemptions, subsidies and other breaks, for the purpose of spreading the brain-virus further? It’s so patently dishonest, the first thing that one sees is generally apologists yawping about the “good works”.
Would churches be prepared to let all charities be subject to the same rules for funding and taxation, and “charities” to be defined in a way that didn’t include proselytising?
Would the carpetbagging Hinn-jet and the Houston family property portfolio, for example, suffer under such arrangements?
What of the property portfolios of some of the more “traditional” churches, asset-rich with dwindling, ageing congregations?
How much would actual charities like the Bob McGuire Foundation be able to disburse if there was a tie between funding and works?
Well, let your mind boggle… nobody’s lifting the veil of secrecy from that one while there’s a buck to be salted away or diverted to propaganda purposes.
Pascal’s All-Day Sucker.
Anybody who’s been “witnessed to” by a christian of any intellect at all, is probably aware of Pascal’s Wager.
Good ol’ Blaise Pascal, mathematical French guy, provided this little mind-bender, and it’s been a handy leading edge to many a wedge of witness ever since.
Oh, you don’t need to prove there’s a god, it goes. Just hedge your bets. If you follow my simple gambling system, says Pascal, you cannot lose…
- Believe there’s no god and die believing there’s no god. If there’s no god, End of story – No Gain, No Loss.
- Believe there’s a god and die believing there’s a god. If there’s no god, End of story – No Gain, No Loss.
- Believe there’s no god and die believing there’s no god. If there’s a god, Endless Pain and Nasty People With Pitchforks. Never mind that they’re not in the bible.
- Believe there’s a god and die believing there’s a god. If there’s a god, Jackpot, grab a harp and get ready for a forever of being good.
Now, like many a racing system, there is a bit of flawed thinking going on. Like the tout who has you mentally counting your winnings, the whole shebang concentrates on Happy Endings.
Please forgive me for wandering, but this reminds me of the olden days.
There was an old trick that got tried time and again at my boarding school: new boys would be told not to stoke up on sausages, because this dinnertime there would be as much ice-cream, jelly and custard as the lads could eat, due to some mysterious malfunction in the kitchen freezers.
Of course, the greedy little blighters would often eat one sausage, or none, out of their three. The older lads would say, “Oh well, if you don’t want those…” and wolf down the discarded snags.
Guess what? Dessert was a small serving of Indescribable Hard Slice in a small pool of watery custard, as always.
And we were speaking of sweets, weren’t we? Well, what about this for a revised “wager” – Pascal’s All-Day Sucker:
- Believe there’s no god, live life like it’s all there is, and die believing there’s no god. If there’s no god, End of story – Life lived, No Loss.
- Believe there’s a god and die believing there’s a god. If there’s no god, and you’ve been holding back on living (a big “Hi!” to all our celibate clergy) and spent your entire life praying, tithing and annoying people about your religion, it’s still end of story – No Gain, and a complete loss of a life.
If the absence of other possibilities annoys you, perhaps I could interest you in this wonderful scheme where I bless all your money overnight in my Secret Holy Place. Results are guaranteed!
Why should non-believers be made to pay for the churches of believers?
To the extent that religious organisations fulfill genuine charitable or educational activities, they should be entitled to the same tax regime as secular non-profit organisations which are doing similar work, but in particular with regards tax concessions, purely religious activities should not have rights above and beyond secular non-profits. We also don’t know the amount of the concessions given to religious groups, as this is kept hidden. The Jesus All About Life campaign, as it is run by a church, is entitled to tax exemptions or concessions. We want this made public. As Australian citizens, we ought to be entitled to know exactly how much concession is given and where the money is going.
Federal exemptions or concessions apply to religions for income tax, fringe benefits tax and the GST. In state government, concessions apply to payroll tax, land tax, stamp duties and car registration fees. Local government bodies give exemptions from municipal rates to religious bodies. Concessions apply to some water and power charges, as well.
Section 57 of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 gives total exemption to fringe benefits given to employees who are religious practitioners. Exemption from the Goods and Services Tax means weddings and funerals which are conducted by priests, even if they are not held in a church, do not attract GST- yet when those same ceremonies are conducted by secular marriage celebrants, they do attract GST.
There appears to be one rule for believers and another for non-believers. Non-believers are forced to pay the way for religionists.
Section 116 of the Australian Constitution states that “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion or for imposing any religious observation …”
Well, we are being imposed upon, Australia. The tax-exempt status of religious practitioners establishes direct support of a religion by the state. You don’t get tax-exempt status for believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Faerie, indicating the government’s bias toward particular religions, not the mere act of believing in something unprovable.
The Catholic Church alone turns over $15 billion a year from insurance companies through to funeral services. Sanitarium Health Foods, as it is owned and operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, pays no company tax, unlike its competitors.
Some claim we’re ‘attacking’ religions if these points are raised. However, we raise these points with reason and absent malice. It is a simple matter of fairness to treat all citizens equally, regardless of what they claim to believe.
I’m sure our readers can come up with plenty more examples!