Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Why do "moral issues" mean Republican talking points?

We still have lots o' company, so my posting schedule is still erratic, but today everyone is at the zoo, and I got to stay home, so I thought I'd put something on the blog.

I got a letter from my Congressman! Whoo-hoo! My Congressman is J.D. Hayworth, a man I find vile. (If you go to his web site you can hear his smarmy voice!) He spoke at the graduation of the class of 2002 at the first school I taught at in Arizona, and the adjective that most leaps to mind when describing him is "unctuous." Of course, that can probably be said for most of our elected representatives! Anyway, why is this guy sending me a letter? We have our long-distance telephone service through a nice, relatively small Commie company, who will send letters to your Representative if you want them to, about issues you might find interesting. They're usually left-wing, "crazy" objections like Americans don't like their government spying on them or something.¹ Krys must have checked the box to send a letter to good ol' J.D., because I received a response from him (my name's on the bill). I was going to scan it, but I thought I'd just quote from it:

Dear Mr. Burgas (over which he signed "Gregory" - that's a nice, homey touch, don't you think?):

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about H.R. 235, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act. It was good to hear from you.[You can see where this is going ...]

As you know, most houses of worship are classified as tax-exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. They are prohibited from certain activities as a condition of receiving tax-exempt status. In particular, 501(c)(3) organizations are not allowed to engage in any speech or activities that can be regarded as political. IRS agents in various parts of the country have applied this ban differently, and this has caused some houses of worship to refrain from even discussing moral issues for fear that they will be perceived as partisan and lose their tax-exempt status.

H.R. 235 would allow a church to participate in political activity while maintaining its tax-exempt status as long as such participation is not a substantial part of its activities. I support modifying the law to ensure that houses of worship are not banned from legitimately discussing moral issues.

Thanks again for contacting me. Although we do not agree on this issue, I appreciate your input and hope to hear from you soon.

Oh, you will, Congressman ... When I steal your seat on my inevitable take-over of power!!!!! (Oh. Did I type that? Whoops.)

I don't really have that big a problem with this law. Krys does, obviously, or she wouldn't have sent the letter. I don't like it, but it doesn't stick in my craw like some do. However, I was interested in the wording of his letter. Churches can't discuss "moral issue"? That's all churches should be discussing! I enjoy how Republicans have tied themselves to fundamentalist Christians over the past, what, two decades, and now they see the problem with that - if Pat Robertson thunders about the evil of John Kerry from the pulpit, he's no longer tax-exempt. Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

As some of you may know, when I'm dictator churches will lose their tax-exempt status and can therefore endorse any candidate they want. I'm still a bit confused by what Hayworth is talking about, though. If you're a preacher and you don't like gay people, why can't you say anything about it? If you're a minister and you think abortion is wrong, why can't you mention it? If you're a priest and you think Desperate Housewives is leading us all on a merry path to Hell, why can't you speak up? These are all "moral" issues, and although they appear these days to be primarily Republican issues, that shouldn't mean churches can't condemn (or, alternately, uplift things they find virtuous) them. I suspect some of these churches who have been penalized by the IRS say stuff like, "Gay marriage is the worst thing that has ever happened to this world, and you should support Bush because he doesn't like it!" That's wrong. However, most people know Bush's stand on gay marriage. If a preacher says that gay marriage is wrong and you agree with him, you probably know the president is on your side. You don't need Pastor Smith telling you.

I object to this law because it seems to be saying that we should allow churches to be more political, not that we should allow them to discuss "moral" issues. As with most claims by both sides of the political spectrum, I'd like to see J.D. give me one example of a church that was penalized for talking about "moral" issues and see exactly what was said. Churches shouldn't be political at all - 2000 years of Christianity has shown us what happens when churches get political.

Anyway, the bill hasn't been voted on yet - it's in the Ways and Means Committee, of which Hayworth is a member. If you don't like the sound of it (and you can read the text here), send a letter! Start here!

¹ Those kooks!


Blogger john sweet said...

What disturbs me most about the whole separation of church and state thing is how the church continually creeps into matters of the state and noone seems to equate this the same way as they do other matters of politics... say gun control.

The arguement: if you have stricter gun control, that will lead to America ridding itself of all guns and we will be wide open for invasion from all the Commies, terrorists, and other bad ilk of the world. However, adding "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance nine years after it was first spoken did not seem to phase people into believing we were heading toward a Theocracy here in America. Nor did the addition of "In God we Trust" on our currency.

I even listened to people on a morning radio talk show arguing how America was founded on nothing but Christian beliefs. Funny. I do not remember it being the Christians who were being persecuted for their beliefs, leading them to coming to America and beginning its colonization.

Frankly, I do not give a shit about "Under God" being in The Pledge, nor "In God We Trust" being on our money. I do give a shit that this country, supposedly a melting pot of differing cultures and beliefs, is becoming more and more Christian biased. The oh-so Christian will argue otherwise; but, then again, if they did not they would lose their status as The Persecuted.

28/12/05 10:12 AM  
Blogger Krys said...

Rock on, John!

28/12/05 10:25 AM  
Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

But John- My recollection is that there WERE Christians who came here because of religious persecution. This doesn't mean that some of them didn't become persecutors themselves.

29/12/05 1:40 AM  

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