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  1. We were driving back from our weekend trip and I was busting Little 956’s chops a bit about not learning American weights and measures since they don’t teach it here. My wife (who is European) busts in to say “take it easy on her, I bet you don’t know metric, but I do.” Me: I do. It’s really not hard. That’s why they invented it, it’s a lot easier. Her: How many millimeters are in one meter? Me and six year old simultaneously: A thousand Her: Dear family, there are only 100. Me and six year old: (Confused silence). No. There are 1,000 millimeters in a meter. He
  2. I agree with you on both counts, the American lobbying system is grotesque as is our campaign finance system. My broader point is that if you really want churches out of politics, taxing them is the worst way to go about it and it will make it worse.
  3. Your example of the Catholic bailout inadvertently proves my point, even if the decision was bullshit. The LA Archdiocese spent 20k to lobby on a legislative issue. That’s well within the under five percent “insubstantial” limit and well within lobbying on legislation not for candidates. You do know, right, that churches are restricted to an even lower level of lobbying funding than other non-profits (who have a completely different formula) precisely because of the religious freedom exemption? You also know, right, that for profit organizations can spend as much as they want on lobbying,
  4. This is your worst post yet. The point at hand here is that no money that is given to “Lakewood Church” can end up in ANY SuperPac, nor can Osteen raise money for his SuperPac at Lakewood Services. And any money that Osteen pays himself from Lakewood Church funds gets taxed. And there is a huge difference in passing the plate for a tithe than trying to hustle for political donations. Like I said, you appear to be confusing “religious people and the political associations they might form” with “churches.” Or mosques, synagogues, or whatever.
  5. Kevin appears to be confusing “religious people being involved in politics“ with “churches behaving as political actors.” Anyone in this country can start a PAC, engage in political speech, and make campaign donations, even preachers. But the SBC cannot. Lakeway Church cannot. The Archdiocese of Galveston cannot. And that’s a HUGE and important freaking distinction.
  6. To be fair to the RCC, the death penalty isn’t a question of what “Catholic groups” believe, it’s just “the Catholic Church.” It’s in the catechism and everything.
  7. If drinking Millers Lite in the yard during the Cowboys game while grilling fajitas makes you a douche, call me Justin Bieber.
  8. I can’t even begin to keep track of the argument you’re making or who you’re having it with, but the simple answer is: churches have a tremendous amount of latent political power that they cannot and do not deploy because they are treated as tax-exempt non profits. If you begin to tax them, the most ruthless and wealthiest of them will still exist, will still take in plenty of money— and all that latent political power will be deployed actively and that will be a bad thing. I promise you that Osteen would love his own Lakewood Super PAC, he’s not holding back because he “doesn’t have to have o
  9. If there’s one thing history teaches us, it’s that looking to secular authorities to turn the screws on religion never blows up in anyone’s face.
  10. Did that chimpanzee get to your head? I’m suggesting that if you start taxing churches just like corporations, then all of a sudden they get to behave just like corporations. You seem to be arguing that since sometimes, some churches already color outside the lines, we should just give up and let them: -Contribute to PACs just like XOM - Conduct regulatory advocacy just like Dow - Conduct budget advocacy just like Raytheon - Conduct regular direct legislative advocacy behind the “insubstantial” rule they have to follow now - Endorse a presidential candidate in the c
  11. You mean like when there was say, one church? I feel like I watched that movie as well as the hit 1517 summer blockbuster sequel, “two churches.” It really turns out that having 500 churches in one country makes life a lot more chill for everyone.
  12. The idea is also borne from a healthy respect for the organizing power of religion. It’s one of the few motivators that can prompt people to challenge the state monopoly on violence in a systemic way. Our founding fathers were not perfect but they WERE well read. Pick up any decent Western Civ survey book and a good 1/3 of it will be about the the king trying to tax the monasteries or the emperor grabbing a dissenting church building or some shit. Then thirty years later the war ends, several countries have collapsed, and the peasants have fled the countryside. You may think religiou
  13. I think what Brisket is trying to get at is that our much vaunted separation of church and state is actually a delicately crafted, diplomatic truce that successfully ended about 1,500 years of struggle in the West over the proper place and roles of the secular and ecclesiastical authorities. And it absolutely collapses once you start taxing churches. No taxation is, in fact, true separation. The state has no claim to spiritual authority or influence over spiritual matters and in exchange, the church does not try to exercise secular authority. And of course there are attempts at cheating on bot
  14. To this day, across the Continent, various approved churches are given direct payments from taxpayer dollars. In countries we think of as overwhelmingly secular. We won’t even get into non-Christian nations. The U.S. practice of simple non taxation is Liberal with a capital L and is quite well thought out. We took the Anglo ideal of civil society and ran with it. And the problem with civil society is you have to extend its umbrella to people you disagree with, and churches/nonprofits/social clubs/etc are all civil society. There are many things wrong with the country; I assure you
  15. I don’t know what their charter is. Are they a soup kitchen downtown? Are they a parish school that serves the inner city or an “up and coming neighborhood (these exist all over the country)? I guess I’m not seeing how we’re going to see this great new world once we make it so that nonprofits can’t afford to exist. I also think there’s a real blind spot here about exactly how much money churches have and what they spend it on outside of Osteen world.
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