Strip Tax Exemption From Churches – Not the N.F.L.

Apparently the petulant brat in the White House is butt-hurt that he has been unable to bully the National Football League’s team owners in his fabricated outrage over athletes exercising their constitutional rights. To further rile up his base, Trump came up with some “fake news” that brings up a point of contention, and a cost of hundreds-of-millions of dollars, among many American taxpayers; churches’ tax exempt status.

After scheduling a propaganda plot with his evangelical buddy Mike Pence, Trump took to Twitter to ramp up his base’s animosity toward the N.F.L. to portray the wildly popular sports league as unpatriotic “takers.”

Trump said Congress should eliminate a law that allowed the N.F.L. central office to avoid paying taxes as a nonprofit entity. It is important to note that “only the central office” was tax exempt, like every church in America has been for far too long. The teams, players, and team owners all pay taxes and Trump knows it.

Another bit of news Trump is aware of is that the N.F.L. “voluntarilygave up its tax exemption in 2015; there is nothing Congress can do to eliminate the N.F.L.’s tax exemption they no longer have. Trump is guilty of fabricating “fake news” that he projects on every news outlet on Earth that fails to praise him as a Republican demigod.

It is important to note that the N.F.L. central office’s tax exempt status didn’t bother Trump when he was trying, and failing, to buy an N.F.L. team in 2014. As an aside, many pundits assert that Trump’s current attacks on the league are, besides a distraction from his glaring incompetence, retribution because the league didn’t accept his bid to buy the Buffalo Bills because it was considerably lower than billionaire Terry Pegula’s.

On the only media outlet that Trump has a semblance of control over, his Twitter account, he tweeted:

Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country?” Change tax law!

Ignoring the fact that the N.F.L. is not getting any “massive tax breaks,” there is more “fake news” from Trump that the 32 teams that make up the “league” are disrespecting “our anthem, flag and country.” Neither the “league” nor any one of the 32 teams are disrespecting a song, a flag or America any more than the players exercising their First Amendment rights are. The players are protesting racial injustice and they are paying taxes; something no-one knows if Trump is doing because he is too corrupt to release his tax returns. Everyone knows churches are not paying taxes.

One would support eliminating the N.F.L. central office’s tax exempt status if it still existed on one condition; first strip the tax exempt status from every church in America and do it with extreme prejudice.

According to the last time an organization “estimated” how much church tax exemption is costing American tax payers, that free welfare amounted to about $8.5 billion annually in 2013.  It is noteworthy that the $8.5 billion does not include tens-of-millions in “faith based” initiative money or the double-dipping members of the clergy enjoy on what little they claim on their personal income tax returns. Added in those number are religious organizations exemption from paying sales tax, property tax, federal, state, and local income tax, or investment taxes.

Trump’s claim the N.F.L. Is disrespecting “our country” applies “bigly” to evangelical and Catholic Church organizations. According to their namesake Jesus Christ, and  “their” almighty god’s immutable words, Christians are commanded to pay taxes as well as obey the government on pain of everlasting damnation in eternal Hellfire.

Instead, primarily evangelicals and Catholics regularly violate federal and state laws they claim don’t comport with their “religious beliefs;” even though those “deeply held beliefs” are not part nor parcel of either faith. Those groups also disrespect the United States Constitution by denying other Americans their constitutional equal rights or freedom from religious imposition. It is a monumental form of “disrespect” to other Americans and the Constitution to violate their equal rights and still take the “violated people’s” tax dollars in the form of a tax exemption.

There are many people who have asked for years; “Why are churches getting massive tax breaks while disrespecting the Constitution, other Americans’ freedoms and the secular nation the Founding Fathers provided? Change tax law!”

Trump doesn’t come up with great ideas often. For dog’s sake, he never comes up with even good ideas until now. It is an excellent idea, and time, to “change tax law.” However,  before even considering the N.F.L.’s non-existent tax issue, it is damned high time for Congress to strip tax exemption from every church in the land and save taxpayers what is certainly well over $100 billion annually.

It is possible that for some Americans churches provide a service of sorts, but they don’t deserve tax exemption for doing what their “holy books” command. School teachers, firefighters, military personnel, police officers, librarians, dog catchers and many, many other Americans pay taxes and they all actually provide crucial services to all Americans. For Trump to demand the N.F.L. lose a tax exemption it  forfeited voluntarily two years ago while not focusing on the unwarranted, and wildly expensive, church tax exemption is not only hypocritical, it is further proof that Trump is a punk-ass hypocrite looking for a reason to rile up his base and distract America from his criminal enterprise in the White House.

 

Virginia GOP Says Dem. Opposing Racism Is a “Christian-hating bigot”

It is stunning, really, that the state with a motto “Virginia is for lovers” has been the scene of a world of hatred lately. Of course the hate-fest in Charlottesville was attended by a fair number of white supremacists from out of state, and no doubt the haters were all Trump supporters as well as Republicans; but there is something else about Virginia’s Republicans that reveal they emanate hatred. In fact, Virginia Republicans are some downright nasty characters and this week, for the second time in six years, the official Republican Party of Virginia (RVP) has distinguished itself as a horrific example of shameless hatred..

As a secular humanist, one has very little f*ck to give about what the faithful do as long as they are harmless and doing it with themselves. In fact, if the bastardized Christians in the Republican ranks and religious right would hew close to the Jesus teaching of brotherly love, charity and acceptance, they may not be perceived as religious haters on a crusade to control the nation.

When a Virginia Democrat who served in Congress, former Rep. Tom Perriello, called out his “fellow Christians” on Twitter for “ignoring the issue of white supremacy while cloaking themselves in the mantle of their faith,” the Virginia GOP reacted like the haters they are. The Virginia GOP said that because Perriello had the temerity to speak out against white supremacists, he was “a Christian-hating bigot.”

It is a fairly hateful, and odd, thing for so-called religious Republicans to say; particularly because Mr. Perriello was expressing his opinion  from an explicitly Christian perspective against white supremacy.  It is curious that the Virginia GOP, a group that knows Perriello well, would label him a “Christian-hating bigot” when they know he has served as a consultant to the evangelical National Council of Churches of Christ and aided in starting several evangelical faith-based advocacy organizations. Obviously he can in no normal universe be regarded as a “Christian hater.”

Mr. Perriello launched a series of three “Tweets” in response to the violence in Charlottesville at the hands of Donald J. Trump’s white supremacist and Nazi devotees. Perriello appealed to religious right leaders who have not spoken out against white supremacists and called on them to “at least” acknowledge that “racism and white supremacy are a Christian problem.” It is a problem Perriello acknowledges and felt he had to call out the white religious right who are certainly Republicans. He said via Twitter:

White evangelical leaders [whose] whiteness is the golden calf you choose to worship and idolize, is blasphemy of God’s word,”

Any white pastor or priest not preaching this weekend on white supremacy as blaspheming the image of God is another is part of the problem.

 If you have a white pastor/priest who doesn’t preach on white supremacy as blasphemy against image of God in another, please say something.”

Perriello’s entreaty to his fellow white evangelicals, and their clergy, to “please say something” about the white supremacy and racism permeating the South was a bridge too far for the religious fanatics in the Virginia GOP.  Their response was pure Trump and doubled down on Virginia Republican hatred. The Republican Party of Virginia “tweeted:”

Let’s not mince words: you are a Christian-hating bigot We were better off when you were out of the country. #LeftWingBigot

Now, Mr. Perriello’s call to speak out against white supremacy, from his devout Christian worldview, was not an outlier by any means; not now and not historically. After Charlottesville, there were myriad denominations’ leaders speaking out against white supremacy and racism; even some of Republicans’ most fanatical evangelical leaders including Trump’s personal spiritual advisor.

In fact, as noted by Alison R. Parker at ShareBlue, “opposition to white supremacy has long been a bedrock principle for many people of Christian faith; including America’s 19th Century abolitionist movement.” Ms. Parker quoted Christianity Today noting:

Not that all abolitionists were orthodox Christians, though a large proportion were. But even those who had left the church drew on unmistakably Christian premises, especially on one crucial point: slavery was sin. Sin could not be solved by political compromise or sociological reform, abolitionists maintained. It required repentance; otherwise America would be punished by God.”

Now, ignore that weary nonsense about god punishing America. No sane human being believes that now in the 21st Century, and it is likely that few believed it in the 19th Century either. However, the bit about opposition to slavery, white supremacy and racism being  “unmistakably Christian premises” could not be more true if uttered by mythological Jesus himself.

It isn’t clear if some right wing evangelical leader put the Virginia GOP up to the seriously nasty retort to former Representative Perriello, or if they came up with it of their own accord. It is quite likely that Perriello’s message hit home with the religious Republicans ensconced in the Virginia GOP leadership and instead of actually addressing the substance of his call to action against white supremacy, they acted like Trump and attacked what appears to be a ‘real Christian’ appealing to white evangelicals to “please say something” about white supremacy.

In the same manner the preponderance of Republicans are not screaming out against Trump’s, and their racist white supremacist supporters, white evangelical clergy are staying predictably silent. Neither Republicans nor bastardized Christians are going to criticize what is almost certainly the GOP’s most reliable voting base. But they are quick to loudly criticize a religious Democrat for opposing white supremacy.

h/t AlisonRParker

Evangelicals Rage At Failure To Force Child Rape Victim To Give Birth

In a story that explicitly explains why America’s quickening into theocracy is sheer evil rivaling the religious tyranny under Taliban rule, a pair of Alabama evangelicals lashed out at an appeals court decision and a barely 12-year-old impregnated rape survivor because god and Catholic Church dogmata. A young girl was raped several times by an adult relative and a former director of the legal staff under maniacal Christian Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore, and the director of an evangelical “pregnancy center” held a press conference to publicly blame and shame the now-12 year old child of committing an act of violence.

The anonymous child drew the wrath of the two religious extremists for seeking a waiver to get the result of several rapes (a pregnancy) terminated without parental approval. The pair of evangelicals were even more incensed that an appeals court agreed that the “tween” should not be forced to suffer the lifelong consequences of being repeatedly raped, impregnated, and then have to give birth. If one listens to the evangelical running the COPE pregnancy center, Lorie Mullins, and a Judge Roy Moore acolyte Win Johnson, the child chose to be repeatedly raped and now has to live with the consequences of either being a sixth grade child raising a child, or with the guilt and shame of committing willful murder.

The appeals court overturned a biblical ruling by an “anonymous” county’s district attorney who decided that the fifth grader had to carry that fetus to term and then work it out for herself how to attend the sixth grade in the fall with a newborn in tow. The appeals court noted there was no dispute that girl was impregnated by an adult relative who raped her repeatedly. They also noted that the child and her siblings were removed from her mother’s custody five times and placed in the care of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) because of repeated physical abusive and neglect.

The fifth-grader had to petition the local juvenile court for a legal waiver to have the pregnancy terminated without her abusive mother’s consent, and after hearing testimony from the child and a DHR caseworker, the court determined the circumstances justified a waiver. One wonders what kind of monsters enact laws that force a child to “petition the court” for a waiver after being repeatedly raped, but it is Alabama where one of the evangelicals railing on the court’s and child’s decision claims that it is high time judges and courts start “standing up for god;” not the secular law and certainly not the 12-year-old victim of repeated sexual assaults.

The attorney who lashed out at the secular (read legal) ruling said the appeals court decision was stunning because they ruled that “a 12-year-old was mature enough to murder her own child in her womb.”

Win Johnson must be one of those typical biblically-stupid evangelicals because according to his own bible’s almighty and never erring god, there is no child in any woman’s womb; the fetus becomes “a living being” only after it leaves the womb and draws “the breath of life.” Still, Johnson was irritated with rage that he or no other evangelical got the opportunity to berate and shame the 12-year-old child to impress on her that what she really wanted to do was commit murder. He said:

“Now, nobody has said that to her, I bet you, in any of her counseling. Nobody has explained that to her in its starkest, rawest form, like that. But what if it was, what if she really thought through it, even as a 12-year-old and said, ‘Gosh, I don’t want that on my conscience.’ “

The woman who joined Johnson in railing against the court and the rape victim, Lori Mullins, boasted that she counsels hundreds of pregnant women, including those considering abortion and those after abortions. She said the aftermath of abortion often leads to depression, substance abuse and difficulty with relationships. She also said that a “child entering the sixth grade should not be allowed to take that step.” Here’s a clue for Mullins: a child entering the sixth grade should not be forcibly and repeatedly raped or forced by compassionless evangelicals to carry the result of several violent crimes against her to term.

This incident is not about some evangelical public officials’ opposition to abortion, it is about evangelicals attempting to enforce the Catholic Church’s 1968 dogma on all women no matter if they are forty-two year-old wives and mothers or an innocent child getting ready to enter the sixth grade.

One thing is abundantly clear: these so-called pro-life Christians have no compassion whatsoever, not for the newborn or the soon-to-be sixth-grader. Despite gnashing their teeth and Hellfire and brimstone scare tactics, neither of the pro-life cretins ever considered the plight and life of the 12 year-old child being forced again to submit to the will of adults over “a belief.”   One thing is certain, neither one of the evangelicals offered to pay for and raise the child while the child mother finishes attending grammar, junior and senior high school. It would have been the Christian thing to offer if they were not heartless evangelical bastards.